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Advice needed re funeral costs

(9 Posts)
NutherChange Mon 16-Sep-13 10:38:06

I was wondering if anybody can help.

My brother recently took his own life. His next of kin is a 5 year old child, apart from that there is a sibling in another country, myself (single parent and student) and another sibling with wife and children.

I was called by the coroner a few days after this had happened and asked to arrange a funeral as my brother's next of kin is only 5. In the shock I was dealing with, I just did this as obviously it was my DB and we were close.

His ex partner, the mother of his child, removed all of his belongings from his flat the DAY AFTER she had found him. This included his car which would have covered the expenses.

My problem is that I have now become liable for all costs (I'm already in debt after having to borrow the deposit), is there anything I can do to recover the goods? As she has defaulted as next of kin due to be being the child's mother (I did not know this at the time), she also has personal belongings of my late parents.

I'm honestly going through hell and don't know what do do and have now been placed in over £2,000 worth of debt on top of losing my brother in this way.

I did apply for a social fund payment but it has been refused on the grounds that it was unreasonable to accept responsibility for the funeral.

Thank you for reading.

RedHelenB Mon 16-Sep-13 14:10:15

Funeral expenses should come from any estate left by your brother. Was there any will?

NutherChange Mon 16-Sep-13 16:03:59

No there wasn't a will, his ex has just taken over as default next of kin, the problem is retrieving the goods, have no idea if I can do this, or how to go about it.

Methe Mon 16-Sep-13 16:12:41

If they were not in a relationship and the items did not belong to her then surely it is theft? Who's name is the car registered in?

LazyMonkeyButler Mon 16-Sep-13 16:22:36

Your brother's estate must pay his funeral expenses. What that means in practical terms is that any assets belonging to your brother must be sold to cover the cost, unless he had a bank account or savings account with sufficient money in it at the time of his death.

Unless your brother's ex can prove that the items taken belong to her, then they will form part of the estate and she will be required to return them/sell them to cover the costs. Likewise the car.

I am very sorry you are going through this sad.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Mon 16-Sep-13 16:27:29

I've been through this with my brother and brother-in-law. The expenses should come out of your brother's estate. His ex has no right to take anything prior to the expenses being met.

NutherChange Mon 16-Sep-13 22:33:29

Thank you everybody for your replies.

The car is definitely registered to my brother, not enough money in accounts, or any savings.

How would I go about having the car and personal family items returned?

Trying to avoid a solicitor's fees or it may not be worth it.

Methe, we did ask the police about theft, but they have told us it's a civil matter. Feel like I'm living a nightmare with this.

TootiesFrootie Mon 16-Sep-13 23:43:05

You could try posting on MoneySavingExpert forums. They have a section just for Deaths, Funerals and probate.
They have some really knowledgeable posters and they are quick to reply.

78bunion Tue 17-Sep-13 09:02:19

Email and also post a letter to the ex saying that the law requires the car be sold for funeral expenses and that unless she returns it to you with the keys and registration document within 48 hours you will call the police about the theft. You could also ask her if instead she would like to take over liability for paying for the funeral. Do shop around. Also see

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