What if there isn’t enough money to pay for the funeral?

If you ask a funeral director to conduct the funeral, you have made a contract agreeing to pay for the funeral. So the executor or administrator should do this, and make sure that there is enough money in the estate to pay for the funeral. Otherwise, you should be willing to pay for any of the bill that won’t be covered by the estate.

The person who takes responsibilty for arranging the funeral has to be claiming the appropriated means-tested benefit in order to be eligible for a Funeral Payment grant from the Social Fund of the Benefits Agency. For more information about this situation, contact the Department of Social Security.

What if there isn’t enough money to pay the person’s debts?

When someone dies, their debts don’t die with them. They have to be paid out of the person’s estate. If there is not enough money to pay for all the debts, they must be paid in a particular order. This is:

1. the funeral expenses and ‘testamentary’ expenses (those to do with dealing with the will);
2. the Inland Revenue;
3. Customs and Excise;
4. Social Security; and
5. unpaid pension contributions or wages.

This can be done rather like a bankruptcy or by the personal representatives.

If all the debts can be paid, but there isn’t enough money left to pay everything set out in the will, the legacies (those where a specific amount is mentioned) will be paid first, and other people mentioned will get what is left over.

If there is not enough to pay all the legacies, the people entitled to the legacies will get a proportion of what they have been left, depending on how much money is available. The other people mentioned in the will will get nothing.

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