Common Funeral Questions - Wills & Estates Law
Friday, July 03, 2020
The loss of a loved one can be an extremely difficult time for family and friends.
This is often exacerbated by the uncertainty of how funeral arrangements and estate administration occur.
We have compiled the following list of common funeral-related questions to assist those navigating this challenging time.
Can a will specify funeral wishes?
Yes, a will can state whether a person wants to be buried or cremated.
It can also stipulate other specific wishes, such as whether the funeral service should occur at a specific place or whether the deceased’s body should be donated for research.
These funeral wishes are generally not legally binding upon the executor, except where the will directs that the deceased be cremated.
Pursuant to section 7 of the Cremations Act 2003 (Qld), the executor is legally obligated to ensure cremation instructions are followed.
Importantly, it is the executor’s responsibility to make funeral arrangements and it is their discretion as to whether suggestions by the deceased’s family and friends are incorporated into the funeral.
Who pays for the funeral?
Generally, the executor of the deceased’s will is responsible for organising funeral arrangements. These are an estate expense however and should be reimbursed. Sometimes banks will release funds to pay funeral expenses to the executor or a person organising the funeral.
If relatives have organised funeral arrangements and the deceased’s estate is solvent, they can usually call upon the estate for reimbursement once probate is obtained and the assets have been collected by the executor.
However, relatives must keep proof of payments and charges (invoices and receipts) to provide to the executor.
So before paying from your personal account, it is best that you contact the deceased’s bank for information on their processes.
What happens if the deceased dies without an estate?
If there is no estate, then the person organising the funeral is liable to pay the funeral expenses.
In Queensland, if the deceased’s friends or family cannot pay the funeral expenses and the deceased’s assets do not cover the funeral costs, the Queensland Government can organise a simple cremation or burial, also known as “funeral assistance.”
An application can be only be made once the person is deceased and there are certain eligibility requirements.
For more information on funeral assistance eligibility, visit https://www.courts.qld.gov.au/courts/coroners-court/funeral-assistance.
With law firms located in Brisbane (Upper Mount Gravatt and Stafford), the Sunshine Coast (Kawana) and the Gold Coast (Robina and Mermaid Beach) - our experienced solicitors are available to assist you with your will and estate matters now.
To talk to a lawyer near you, please contact us today.