Funeral Arrangement FAQs
There are sufficient funds held in the bank account of the deceased to pay the funeral home's tax invoice but the bank has frozen the accounts. What can I do?
Even if the bank has frozen the accounts of the deceased, provided there are sufficient funds held in an account, the bank will issue a bank cheque made payable to the funeral home. The bank will require a certified copy of the Death Certificate and the original tax invoice from the funeral home in order to issue the cheque.
If you intend to pay the tax invoice from a bank account held in the name of the deceased, ensure you inform the funeral home that payment of their account will be delayed until the Death Certificate issues. When informing the funeral home of this delay, check whether they will charge interest or overdue fees for the delayed payment and attempt to negotiate a waiver of these fees.
Note the bank will not supply a cheque for paying ancillary expenses associated with the funeral, such as a tax invoice issued by a florist.
There are sufficient funds held in the bank account of the deceased to pay for the ancillary costs of the funeral (e.g. flowers and headstone) but the bank has frozen the accounts. What can I do?
We recommend you initially liaise with the supplier and determine whether they would be willing to await payment of their invoice until the estate has available funds. When discussing this option, check whether the supplier will charge interest or overdue fees for the delayed payment and attempt to negotiate the waiver of these fees.
If the supplier is unwilling to await payment, and you have confirmed the estate has sufficient assets to reimburse the cost of the invoice, you or any other person can personally attend to payment of the invoices and be reimbursed by the estate when the funds become available. If this option is chosen, ensure you keep a copy of the tax invoice and receipt for every expense paid. Be aware, however, that should you purchase items for the funeral which are later determined to be unreasonable by a court of law (e.g. purchasing the most expensive funeral package when you know the estate is only small) the court may order that you only be reimbursed for a reasonable amount of that expense.
The estate has insufficient funds to pay for a funeral. What can I do?
First, check whether the deceased holds an insurance policy or funeral plan which may help pay for the funeral. If you are unsure whether an insurance policy contains funeral assistance, we recommend you contact the insurer and ask if assistance is available under the policy.
If the deceased does not have an insurance policy or a funeral plan, Centrelink may be able to offer some financial assistance for funerals via their bereavement allowance. Similarly, the Department of Veterans Affairs offer some financial assistance for funerals for veterans. Contact can be made with both organisations via their local branches.
In the event you are unsuccessful with all of the above, we recommend you liaise with the deceased’s family members and close friends to discuss appropriate funeral arrangements. If a family member or friend offers to cover the cost of the funeral, ensure they are made aware that there will be insufficient funds for that person to be reimbursed.
I disagree with the decisions being made by the executor concerning the funeral arrangements. What can I do?
Whilst the executor is responsible for arranging the funeral and attending to payment of the costs from the estate, it is preferable that the wishes of not only the deceased but all family members be taken into consideration when making a decision.
If you feel the executor is making unreasonable or inappropriate decisions concerning the funeral (e.g. organising a cremation rather than complying with the wishes of the deceased to be buried), we recommend you contact a solicitor and inform them of your concerns so appropriate and prompt action can be taken.