Who is legally responsible for a funeral?
05 Dec 2022

When a person dies someone must take charge of making the necessary funeral arrangements and administering the deceased’s estate in accordance with their wishes. But who takes on that responsibility?

If the deceased has made a Will then they will have named an executor or executors to fulfil this responsibility. This can be any person from inside or outside the family who the deceased feels is best suited to carry out their final wishes.

Setting out a plan

The Will would normally be made with the assistance of a solicitor or Will maker and be held by them until the death. The reading of the Will informs all relevant parties of its contents and who the executor is. 

Many people put off making a Will which can lead to problems and distress after a death. It is important to make a Will as it brings clarity and direction to what is almost certainly going to be a difficult and stressful time. 

It will also probably detail the deceased’s funeral service wishes, whether it has already been paid for or set out where funds can be accessed to pay for it.

Important conversation

In circumstances where no Will has been made, the responsibility for making funeral arrangements will normally fall to the nearest relatives, so it’s important to have that difficult conversation with your loved one about their funeral wishes, whether they have set up a funeral plan and if so who it is with.

If no funeral plan is in place, the deceased may have left sufficient funds to pay for their funeral - but it is important to remember that a bank or building society may temporarily freeze accounts following a death, although in such cases they will normally release sufficient funds to pay for the funeral.

It may be that the deceased had a life insurance policy or was in a personal or employment pension scheme providing a lump sum towards the cost of a funeral, or you may be able to recoup the cost from other assets of the deceased. 

Having that discussion with your loved one will provide you with the reassurance of knowing that you will be as well prepared as you can be when the time comes. 

Whether working with an executor, family member or friend of the deceased who assumes the responsibility of arranging a funeral, WRR Pugh & Son will be there to help and guide you through the process every step of the way.