Are adult children responsible for burying their parents?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 16, 2016
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 Answers

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. Her tips about funerals and life can be found at

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

Community Answers

Chalbelle answered...

Immoral, UN-Ethical "ad-vice" from a practicing Licensed Embalmer & Funeral Director whose top reasons for writing this article is to drum up more funeral business; for themselves &/or their "In-Dust-ry." Prey on the elderly via this "once-cherished-by-me website." FAIL!

I was the former Executive Director for a National Unionized NPO of Midwestern Funeral Directors, so I speak from DIRECT, 2nd largest County in the USA, Union-blue experience. Want to peek at my resume? I have professional, Certified Non Profit Management experiences in this VILE, UNsustainable "trade of Funeral Services "In-Dust-ry."'

In one sentence, "Financially, he (Caregiver's father) is responsible for his own disposition."

Research, then re-search again. Be aware, become informed and (USA) Be the Consumer you already are. Cremation services are available in most states. If cremation services are chosen, Cardboard Caskets are an appropriate container for its designated use. If you decide to save the ashes, bring your own Lidded Urn when you make "Final Disposition Arrangements." I could continue on this topic and choose to let it be as it is... An article that: --was improved upon --had a more "neutral objective" perspective & --offered verifiable LIVE testimony: ----of my own, incredibly unique, Life experiences - "On Both Sides of the Casket" (Copy-written) as I am "VocalWitness" on Twitter "& I Live it all LIVE daily, as I AM; MY WAY"¦"

Caringdenise answered...

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William30120 answered...

As parents it's our responsibility to get life insurance and create a will or legal instruction so our spouse or someone appointed to make the arrangements to be buried. It is NOT our childeren who has to be responsible for the financial aid of our burial.