Are adult children responsible for burying their parents?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My father is indegent with no will or life insurance. There are four children and I am the only one with money. My father kicked me out of the house 30 years ago. I am responsible for burying him?

Expert Answer

Rebekah Peoples, CFSP, CPC, Is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is passionate about serving others and believes that giving clients honest, accurate information empowers them to create tributes and services that are meaningful and appropriate.

The short answer to your question is "no." The longer explanation is that assuming he is not married, his children are his legal next of kin and as such will be contacted to make arrangements for his body at his death.

Financially, he is responsible for his own disposition. If he has no assets or life insurance, he may be eligible for funeral funds through his county's social services department. The funeral director can help you or your siblings with this application process.

Another source of assistance is available from the Veterans Administration if he is a veteran. Aside from military honors and free burial in a veterans cemetery, he is eligible for monetary assistance usually only if he dies in a Veteran's hospital or Veteran's nursing care facility. There are other less common criteria, such as death from a service-related injury, that you can find out more about by calling the VA at 1-800-827-1000. You can find more information about this at