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Can You Use a Deceased Person's Bank Account to Pay For Their Own Funeral?

Simply put, it is possible to use a deceased person’s bank account to cover the costs of their funeral. Only certain activities are allowed on a bank account once the bank has been notified of their death.

If you attempt to make payments for other things, such as personal items for yourself, with a dead person’s bank card, for example, then – even if you stand to inherit from the estate – it could be deemed as fraudulent activity by the bank. In some cases, a prosecution might even follow after an investigation.

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Nevertheless, there are different rules surrounding funeral expenditure. Here at Newrest Funerals, we are very well used to all of the different ways people pay for funerals today. In some cases, it will be worth investigating whether the funeral has already been paid for by the deceased person while they were alive. Many people plan their own funeral services these days and take out payment plans to split the costs up. If you are planning the funeral of someone you have just lost, then we would recommend checking to see whether there is any paperwork they have left behind about such a scheme. Equally, if the deceased person planned their funeral in advance with us, then our records will indicate what the plan is and which costs have been covered already. Just ask us if you are unsure and we will take it from there.

If the deceased took out funeral insurance, then it is also a good idea to confirm this. Insurance policies differ from pre-payment plans somewhat but they can mean at least some of the funeral expenses will be paid for. Under certain circumstances, it may be that the policyholder’s bank account will receive the payout which would still mean needing to pay the funeral directors and other funeral bills from their account anyway.

Please note that in cases like these – where you need to access the deceased’s person’s account to obtain the necessary funds – only two purposes are allowed under UK law. The first is to pay funeral fees. Only direct funeral costs incurred by professionals can be paid for from a deceased person’s account. Therefore, you cannot buy an outfit for yourself, for example, on the justification that you intend to wear it at the funeral. The other allowed case is when inheritance tax needs to be paid. Payments to the government of this type are permitted. However, you would not be allowed to use their account to pay your council tax bill, for instance, even if they used to pay it for you when they were alive.

Finally, it is worth noting that the rules on deceased people’s bank accounts referred to above also apply to building society accounts. They do not, however, apply to joint accounts. If you held a joint account with the deceased person, then you must inform the bank of their death but you can continue to withdraw funds and make payments from it as you see fit.