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Can funeral expenses be deducted from the estate in Australia?

At Tomorrow Funerals, we often get asked about the possibility of deducting funeral expenses from the estate of the deceased person.

Planning a funeral is not something we do every day and it can be an overwhelming task. On top of all the difficult emotions, there are so many choices. Decisions about the type or style of funeral that will best suit the person, which funeral package to choose and importantly, where to find the money!

At Tomorrow, we aim to keep things simple, yet very personal, with our modern and transparent memorial package.

Can a funeral be paid for with the deceased persons assets?

When starting the process of planning a funeral, many people wonder whether funeral expenses can be deducted from the deceased person’s bank account to help alleviate the financial strain. The simple answer is YES in theory, you can pay for the funeral with funds from the estate of the person who has died. But there are some details to consider.

The possibility of deducting funeral expenses from the deceased person’s estate in Australia is influenced by several factors, including the size of the estate (whether there is enough money to cover the costs,) applicable Australian laws and the specific assets within the estate.

Do we have to wait for the Official Death Certificate before the funds can be released?

In handling the estate of a person after death, an important document will be the official death certificate. This will be arranged by your funeral director after the cremation or burial. However, it is possible to arrange for the payment of the funeral before the official death certificate is issued.

What costs are usually included as legitimate funeral expenses?

Funeral expenses in Australia can vary significantly based on factors such as the type of service chosen, the location, and other individual preferences.

At Tomorrow, we pride ourselves on keeping things simple. Our complete funeral package costs $6,800, giving you everything needed to plan a very personal, modern memorial ceremony. Our events are never held at traditional funeral parlours. Instead, we celebrate life at modern event spaces such as restaurants, pubs, sporting clubs, galleries or even out in nature!

There are likely to be additional costs for food & drink and venue hire. These are also considered part of the funeral and can therefore be paid for by the deceased person’s estate. We can help you arrange this. Contact us here for more information.

Here’s what you need to know about paying for a funeral with the deceased persons funds, within the context of Australian law:

  1. Estate Size: In Australia, ‘funeral expenses’ are generally considered legitimate estate expenses. However, if the estate’s assets are insufficient to cover the cost of the full funeral fee, a family member or the executor of the estate, will need to cover the remaining expenses, or pay the funeral costs.
  2. Prioritised Payments: Funeral expenses in Australia are generally classified as ‘priority claims’ and are paid before other debts or distributions to beneficiaries.
  3. Documentation / invoice: To ensure that funeral expenses are appropriately deducted from the estate, it is crucial to maintain thorough records of all expenses related to the funeral. Your funeral home should be able to help by providing an invoice for the funeral costs made out to: “The Estate of (the deceased person’s name.)” This invoice should then be passed on to the lawyer involved in handling the estate OR (after consultation,) to the bank where the deceased held their account. This documentation will help demonstrate to the executor of the estate, if necessary, that the expenses were reasonable and necessary.
  4. Family Agreements: In some cases, family members may decide up front, to share the financial responsibility for the funeral expenses. Afterwards, after the estate is distributed, they may repay costs, or pay for the funeral themselves. Such agreements should be well-documented for future reference so as to demonstrate to the executor of the estate, if necessary, that the expenses were reasonable and necessary.
  5. Jurisdictional Differences: Australian states and territories have their own laws governing estate administration and funeral expenses. The legal requirements and procedures may vary, so it is essential to consult with a solicitor or legal expert familiar with the laws applicable to your specific jurisdiction in Australia.

With that in mind, we suggest the first step would be to contact either deceased person’s lawyer, or the bank or financial institution where their assets are held.

Managing funeral expenses while mourning the loss of a loved one in Australia can be a complex and emotional journey.

It’s essential to maintain open communication with your funeral director so that they can help you navigate this and provide you with the documentation you require. Additionally, consult with a legal professional or estate administrator to ensure that you are complying with all relevant laws and regulations in your Australian state or territory.

We’re always here to help

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Or visit our funerals page, for more information on our unique memorial style funeral package.