How to be Reimbursed by the Estate* for Funeral Expenses

(*) The reimbursement is by the estate of the deceased, not the state where you live.

Ideally, you would have a final expense life insurance, which is designed to pay for funeral and burial or cremation expenses and hence has expedited claim processing. Unfortunately, this is not a rule and in many cases family members have to find a way to pay for it. The good news is that the person who paid for it from his own pocked can be reimbursed by the estate of the deceased. It may take as long as an year, but it has priority over other payments.

If you got life insurance while you were young and healthy you probably got a lower rate. However, final expenses insurance can be affordable even if you are already in your senior ages and has some health issues. The application is by phone, approval is often immediate and the coverage also.

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Order of Priority for Payment of Estate Assets

There may be some variation from state to state, but in general the priority in payments is:

  1. Funeral expenses
  2. Estate administrative expenses
  3. Court fees
  4. Public notices
  5. Legal expenses
  6. Executor/administrator fees
  7. Expenses for the upkeep of the estate
  8. Taxes
  9. Creditors
  10. Heirs

Document all payments made towards funeral expenses to support your claim for reimbursement.

How to be Reimbursed.

In order to be reimbursed you need to submit a creditor claim to the state and the probate court.

Filing a claim requires the use of a Judicial Council creditor’s claim form, which is available at the courthouse. A creditor must then serve a copy of the claim upon the person appointed as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.

WARNING: Your claim will in most instances be invalid if you do not properly complete the creditor’s claim form, file it on time with the court, and mail or deliver a copy to the personal representative and his or her attorney.