Dealing with a loved one’s passing is never an easy situation, especially if you are responsible for handling the funeral arrangements. Depending on the circumstances, the funeral and burial expenses may be high.
How do you pay for a funeral before probate in Florida? Read on to find out.
Funeral Arrangements vs. Florida Probate – The Basics
Under Florida law, there are no specific provisions regarding who is supposed to pay for a deceased’s funeral arrangement.
When a Florida resident dies, the person in control of his or her will must submit the document to the appropriate court within ten days. Once the will is deemed valid in court, the court can issue letters of administration to commence probate.
Waiting until probate is complete to pay for funeral and burial expenses may be inconvenient to the deceased’s loved ones. In such cases, the best approach is to find alternative solutions.
How Do You Pay for a Funeral Before Probate in Florida? – In Detail
The deceased’s estate is responsible for paying any administration expenses and outstanding debts.
Florida Statutes §733.707 (1) provide that “the personal representative shall pay the expenses of the administration and obligations of the decedent’s estate in the following order:
- Class 1—Costs, expenses of administration, and compensation of personal representatives and their attorneys’ fees and attorneys’ fees awarded under s. 733.106(3)
- Class 2—Reasonable funeral, interment, and grave marker expenses, whether paid by a guardian, the personal representative, or any other person, not to exceed the aggregate of $6,000 9 (…)”
If the deceased’s loved ones or a personal representative wants to pay for the funeral before probate, it is possible in two different scenarios:
- The decedent had funeral arrangements set out before death
- The decedent set aside an amount for survivors to fulfill this specific purpose
Some Florida residents purchase burial insurance policies to help cover the costs of their final arrangements, such as the costs to hold a memorial service, purchasing a casket, and burial or cremation expenses.
If the decedent died without any arrangements, the surviving spouse or heirs must cover the costs to pay the funeral expenses before probate.
Life Insurance Policies, Pensions, and Death Benefits – Payment Alternatives
It is important to identify whether the decedent died owning a life insurance policy. In many cases, the proceeds paid from life insurance can be used to cover funeral expenses.
The decedent’s loved ones or the personal representative must discuss the terms of the policy with the insurance agent and check the individuals listed as beneficiaries of the policy.
If the policy was titled in the decedent’s sole name, it is considered part of the estate and must go through probate. If the policy was titled in the name of one or multiple beneficiaries, the funds can be paid directly to them.
Another option is to identify whether the decedent was entitled to pension or death benefits through an employer. Some types of benefits offer resources to help with funeral expenses, which may relieve the decedent’s estate and heirs from the burden.