Planning a Memorial Service

Executing A Small Estate? Answers To Questions About The Funeral

by Wade Watkins

Are you the executor or personal representative of a loved one's small estate? Then you have many responsibilities and undoubtedly many questions. Some of the earliest questions that must be answered involve managing and paying for the funeral arrangements. To help you make the best decisions when the estate is limited, here are some answers to the most pressing questions. 

Is the Executor In Charge of the Funeral?

Generally, there is no law stipulating who is responsible for a funeral. Although the deceased person's remains are part of their estate and therefore under the purview of the executor, many executors leave funeral arrangements to family members. And of course, if the deceased family member had preplanned their funeral with a local funeral home, the executor's job is to see that their wishes are followed. 

Who Must Pay for the Funeral?

Because the remains are part of the estate, the primary entity responsible for costs is the estate. If there are funds to cover burial and funeral expenses, they should be paid from the estate first. However, the executor must ensure that the estate only finances a funeral that it can afford. Even if you permit family members to make arrangements, you should keep an eye on costs if the estate is limited. 

Who Can Pay for the Funeral?

Is your loved one's estate very limited? Do family members want to make special arrangements beyond the norm? In either case, be aware that anyone is permitted to pay for a funeral from their own pocket or pockets. They may pay expenses directly to the funeral home or you can allow reimbursement to the estate. This can reduce family conflict over arrangements since some can make their own additions. 

How Can the Funeral Home Help?

If cost is a factor for the estate, the executor should speak frankly with the funeral home. Funeral homes have experience with all types of final arrangements and can offer guidance in finding a plan in line with the estate's funds. They can also help coordinate separate arrangements with family members who wish to add some element the estate isn't paying for. Their experience helping families at a difficult time is invaluable. 

Where to Start

Whatever challenges you face as the executor of a loved one's estate, the best place to begin making final arrangements is by meeting with a funeral home in your area. A reputable funeral home will help you work through the financial and practical matters of laying the loved one to rest in a fitting and responsible way. Call today to make an appointment. 

For more information on funeral home services, contact a company near you.