When a loved one dies, it can be a huge emotional struggle – but for some it can also be a financial struggle. You may have to find a way of covering funeral costs if there was no funding already put in place. If it was a partner who you lived with, they could have also contributed to your household income and helped pay many of the bills. To help you to financially cope, here are just a few tips that could help you through this difficult time.
Financially Coping With The Death Of A Loved One
Know exactly what money/assets you have access to
Many loved ones – especially spouses – assume that they have access to all their partners funds after death, but this may not always be the case. Make sure that you know exactly which funds and assets you have access to.
There will be probate offices in your area that can help with the administration of your deceased loved one’s estate. Whether or not they had a will in place, a probate officer will be able to help you fairly divide up money and assets.
It is possible that your loved one may have saved up money for funeral expenses, taken out life insurance or started a pre-paid funeral plan. Talk to friends and family, search through bills and log on to emails to check for evidence of this (if you have access).
Understand all the funeral expenses
The average funeral costs thousands, but many expenses can be unnecessary. We all want to honour our loved way by putting on a great funeral service, but you should consider whether your loved one would really want you to financially struggle over small details.
You should first consider whether to opt for a cremation or burial. If your loved one wanted a burial, this will likely cost more – but there could still be ways of reducing the costs such as not opting for a gasketed casket and even getting a home burial.
When it comes to the service itself and the wake there could be ways of saving money on aspects such as food and flowers (some people spend hundreds on flowers only for them to all get chucked in the bin at the end of the day).
Talk to creditors
It’s important that someone talks to creditors after a loved one has died. Lenders, insurers, energy providers and other creditors may still bill your loved one if they haven’t been notified of their death.
If the loved one was your spouse and they paid all the bills in your home, it’s possible that you may be able to negotiate freezed payments while you determine how you will pay for these bills.
Look into government grants and benefits
You may be entitled to a funeral grant from the government if little or no money was left behind. This is unlikely to be a lot of money, but could be something to put towards a funeral.
There are also bereavement benefits available for widows which could be worth look into to help pay for bills. The amount of money you are entitled to may depend on your age and your financial circumstances.
Be careful of borrowing money
Some people take out a loan to fund a funeral or to simply financially cope in the first few months after a loved one’s death. There are even specialist funeral loans available that you can look into. You should be careful when borrowing money and should spend time shopping around to get the best rates (compare interest rates and make sure that there are no hidden charges for early repayment)
Reach out to friends and family
Friends and family will likely be able to chip in money if you are struggling to afford the funeral – don’t be afraid to ask for their help.
You friends and relatives may also be able to help if you are struggling initially to pay bills.
Look into charity funding
Some local charities may be able to help offer money for funeral expenses and other costs if you are in need. Consider contacting charities in your area if you are severely struggling – they will generally have an online application process in place but you may be able to talk to someone in person on the phone if you need funding urgently.