What to do if someone dies

Arrange for funeral costs to be paid

You should look for funeral plans and insurance policies that may help pay for the funeral.

Funeral costs take priority over all other estate debts.

You don’t have to wait until the Supreme Court gives the executor permission to take control of the person’s money and belongings before the funeral costs are paid. Read more about taking control of an estate.

Paying funeral costs from their bank account

Payments can be made from the person’s bank account for funeral costs.

You will need to give their bank:

  • a quote from the funeral company
  • a doctor’s certificate confirming the death.

The bank will usually issue a cheque for the costs directly to the funeral company.

If there isn’t enough money to pay for the funeral in full, their bank may issue a cheque for the money that is in the person’s bank account.

You will need to talk to other members of the family to decide who can personally cover the money owing to the funeral company. The funeral company will usually request payment up front.

Road accident deaths

If the death was caused by a road accident, the motor accidents compensation scheme may cover some of the funeral costs. You will need to contact the Territory Insurance Office (TIO) to find out more.

Defence veterans

It may be possible to access a Department of Veteran’s Affairs funeral benefit if the deceased meets the criteria. For more information go to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs website.

Indigenous funeral benefit

Both the Northern Land Council and the Central Land Council have schemes to help with the funeral costs of an Aboriginal person who meets their criteria. You will need to contact them for further information.

Coroner’s Office burials assistance

If the estate can't pay for funeral costs and the family are unable to contribute, the Public Trustee can apply to the Coroner’s Office for financial assistance under the Indigent Person’s Funeral Scheme.

This fund is managed by the Coroner’s Office, but all applications are made through the Public Trustee office. Any money that is brought into the estate must be used to first pay back the Coroner’s Office.

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Last updated: 01 September 2017

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