With no assets and cash, how can I pay for my own final expenses?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 26, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I have a life ending disease, no assets, no cash. How can I pay final expenses? Cremation? There will only be small memorial service done by minister in family.

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

Facing one's own passing is a difficult enough ordeal without having the additional burden of not knowing how to pay for final funeral expenses.

Fortunately, there are a number of sources of funding and assistance. If you are a veteran of the armed forces, you may be eligible for funeral and burial expenses. You should contact the local VA office as well your state Veterans Affairs office for assistance and help in determining for what services you may be eligible. Local funeral directors may also be able to assist you in applying for Veterans benefits.

The town or city in which you live most likely also has a program to pay for funeral expenses of residents who are indigent. Contact your city or town clerk for help in directing you to the right department within your municipal government. County and state human services departments also have programs to help pay for the funeral services of citizens. This varies considerably from state to state and county to county so it is important to contact the appropriate human services departments to see what programs may be available to you. Social Security also has a program to pay for a small amount of funeral expenses. Contact the local office of the Social Security Administration for more information.