Is a senior legally responsible for the funeral of an adult child?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 12, 2016
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Is a senior legally responsible for the funeral of an adult child?


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Not usually--although you may be asked to cover the bill, at least temporarily.

If no other provision has been made, funeral costs are generally covered by the estate of the person who died if there is enough money and property of value to cover them.

Survivors, which may include you if you are the nearest living relative, are often asked to pay the costs to a funeral home before or soon after goods and services are provided, then those costs are reimbursed to them from the estate.

However, if the child’s estate won't cover the amount of the funeral costs, then there may be other sources to look to for help, such as Social Security, insurance, Veterans Administration payments, or union funeral benefits.

If none of these are available and if you are unable or unwilling to pay the funeral costs, contact the clerk at your county courthouse. Most locales have laws that ensure that help pay the final expenses for residents in need.