2 minute read

Can I be reimbursed by the estate for funeral and other expenses?

Keep reading to find out how reimbursement works for funeral expenses after the death of a loved one.

Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell, @MitchMitchell

Product Counsel, Legal, Trust & Will

After the death of a loved one, family members often have to handle many immediate expenses, specifically the costs associated with a funeral, before the estate is officially opened and the probate court grants access to estate assets. If you’ve paid some of those costs or are planning to, you’re probably wondering whether you can use the estate assets to reimburse yourself for funeral expenses or other out-of-pocket expenses.

The answer is: absolutely, yes! 

In fact, funeral expenses are often a first priority claim in an estate and will supersede any other creditor, including taxes due to the government.

 [Need help with probate? We offer helpful probate services and will work with you to find the plan that meets your needs. Learn more.]

Order of priority for payment of estate assets

State statutes determine who gets paid first from the estate. There may be some variation from state to state, but the general priority in payments is: 

  1. Funeral expenses (including reimbursements)

  2. Estate administrative expenses (including reimbursements)

    • Court fees

    • Public notices

    • Legal expenses

    • Executor/administrator fees* (note these can be limited if the estate is insolvent)

    • Expenses for the upkeep of the estate

  3. Taxes

  4. Family allowances

  5. Creditors

  6. Heirs

As you can see, state law places great importance on making sure that families are able to pay for their loved one’s funeral. Therefore, when a family member pays for the funeral, they are the first person to be reimbursed for their expenses.  

We highly recommend that you keep all records of invoices and payments so you can support your claim for reimbursement.

How to make a claim for reimbursements from estate assets

In order to make a claim, you will need to submit a creditor claim to the estate and the probate court, specifying what the claim is for and including supporting documentation such as invoices and receipts.

At Trust & Will, we’re here to help you keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific Estate Plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options today!

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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.


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