If you do not know if the person who died had any money, go to the Information pathway Managing money and property (‘the estate’) if you need to for more information. The first step is to search the home of the person who died in case there is any cash tucked away in a drawer or elsewhere and also for any bank books or letters from banks or other financial organisations. You may find bank statements.

If the person who died was in care of some kind, speak to the care home manager who will know who was looking after their money if the person was incapable of managing their own affairs. This may be someone who had power of attorney or who was appointed by the Office of the Public Guardian which can include Social Services.

If there is just a little money in a bank or building society, most of them will pay money directly to the funeral director if you take the invoice for the funeral directly to them

You need to know: There are two essential facts to be aware of as you continue reading this Pathway:

  1. Any money left by the person who died must be used towards ‘reasonable’ funeral expenses unless the person had secured credit such as a mortgage which takes priority (see What do I do about debts?). Reasonable funeral expenses includes a simple coffin and service but does not include a headstone for a grave or any costs associated with mourners getting together for refreshments after the funeral.
  2. Any government or other help towards funeral costs is based on the financial situation of the person responsible for arranging the funeral and NOT on the financial situation of the person who has died.