Who has to pay for the funeral?

Verified 22 November 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

In the event of the death of a loved one, check whether the deceased had a contract to cover funeral expenses. If not, they are your responsibility as heir. You can then claim a refund on the estate or other heirs. Various organizations may also reimburse all or part of the costs.

The following expenses constitute funeral expenses (non-exhaustive list):

  • Burial expenses and accompanying ceremony
  • Cremation expenses and accompanying ceremony
  • Obituary notice
  • Letters of invitation and thanks
  • Purchase and placement of a religious emblem on the grave
  • Acquisition of a concession in a cemetery
  • Construction, opening and closing of a vault
  • Cost of transportation of the body
  • Cost of erecting a funeral monument
  • Purchase costs of flowers and crowns

At the time of the funeral

Funerals are supposed to take place within 6 working days of death.

You must check whether the deceased had taken out an insurance policy for the payment of his funeral.

If this is the case, the person named in the contract receives a sum of money that makes it possible to pay all or part of the funeral.

There are several types of contracts, with different services.

Death Insurance Contract

It allows you to receive a principal if the contract subscriber (the deceased) has designated you as the beneficiary of the contract.


a death insurance contract does not oblige the beneficiary to use the money received for the organization of the funeral.

Funeral insurance contract

For funeral funding, this contract provides for the payment of a principal to:

  • A person designated by the subscriber (the deceased)
  • A funeral business

This contract provides for the payment of capital, but it does not list funeral benefits (ceremony, coffin...).

It doesn't necessarily cover the full cost of the funeral.

To check if the deceased had taken out a funeral insurance policy, you can use the following online service:

Request a search for a funeral insurance contract

If the deceased had taken out a funeral insurance policy, you must provide proof of funeral expenses to obtain a refund.

Funeral contract

It funds and organizes the funeral. It specifies the conditions of funerals (for example, funeral services) and their cost.

This type of contract relieves the family of the deceased of certain steps and costs (religious service, announcement in the press...).

As an heir (ascendant or descendant of the deceased), you must pay the funeral expenses, regardless of the existence or absence of emotional ties with the deceased.

As an heir, even if you give up the estate, you must pay the funeral expenses of your ascendant or your descendant.

Please note

you are not required to pay your parent's funeral expenses if the parent has seriously failed to fulfill its obligations to you.

If you sign the contract with the funeral business, you pay the bill alone.

You then have a recourse against the other heirs to make yourself repay.

If you cover funeral expenses without being the heir of the deceased, you ask to be reimbursed by the heirs.

If the family of the deceased does not have sufficient resources, the municipality of the place of death must cover the costs of funerals.

In this case, it is the city council that chooses the funeral home.

It's the mayor who assesses the lack of resources.

Who shall I contact

After the funeral

As a loved one of the deceased, you can obtain a refund of all or part of the funeral expenses.

Means of appeal

The heir who paid for the funeral has recourse against the other heirs to be reimbursed.

In the absence of an amicable agreement, it may opt for one of the following remedies:

  • Commissioner of Justice (former bailiff and judicial auctioneer) for a summons to pay or a small claims recovery procedure
  • JAF: titleContent

You can find the contact details of a Commissioner of Justice near your home on the website of the National Chamber of Commissioners of Justice:

You can to bring proceedings before the court by subpoena or by request.

The request is possible when the amount of your request does not exceed €5,000.

Who shall I contact

Please note

If the person who paid the bill is not an heir (such as a partner or a friend), the heirs can reimburse him. He must to bring proceedings before the court of justice, by summons or by request (depending on the amount of his request).

As heirs, you can ask the deceased's bank to withdraw the advance money to pay the funeral expenses on their accounts, up to €5,000.

You must submit the invoice you paid.

Funeral expenses may be deducted from the estate up to €1,500.

If you pay a parent's funeral, you can deduct from your taxable income, if they are not deducted from the estate.

Please note

The costs of erecting a funeral monument and those of purchasing flowers and crowns cannot be deducted from the estate of the deceased or from the taxable income of the person who paid them.

Apportionment of costs between heirs

The funeral expenses are divided among the heirs, in proportion to the value of what each one collects in the estate.

You must agree among yourselves or before the notary, if the appeal is mandatory.

In the absence of an agreement, it's the JAF: titleContent which sets the allocation.

You can attempt mediation before bringing the matter before the judge.

You can enter the JAF by request or by subpoena.

The request is possible when the amount of your request does not exceed €5,000.

In this case, you can explain your request on free paper, justifying your situation.

Send your request to the JAF of the court of your domicile by mail RAR: titleContent.

Who shall I contact

Social Security Death Capital

The death capital of the general scheme is an allowance which is paid to the family of the deceased by the Social Security, provided that he has been employed. We have to ask.

Death capital of an official

It's paid-in capital rights-holders of a deceased official. The official was supposed to be active.

You have to request it from the employer administration of the deceased official.

Reimbursement of the Cnav

Benefits are payable until the end of the month in which the pensioner dies.

The National Old Age Insurance Fund for Employed Persons (Cnavts) may reimburse part of the funeral expenses if it still owes money to the deceased (pension arrears).

This refund shall not exceed €2,286.74.

In order to benefit from this, you must present the funeral bill and the death certificate.


be an heir or entitled is not necessary to be reimbursed.

Complementary bodies

In some cases, you may be eligible for assistance to pay part of the funeral costs.

You must contact directly the organizations with which the deceased was affiliated:

  • Supplementary pension fund
  • Mutual

Depending on the cause or circumstances of death, funeral expenses may be reimbursed.

Traffic accident

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The person responsible for the accident is identified 

Insured persons are compensated by their own insurer in most cases. They benefit from agreements between insurers.

If the person died in an accident, and if the liability of a third party is retained, you can obtain compensation from the person responsible.

The insurer must offer you an offer of compensation that you are free to accept or refuse.

If you refuse the insurer's proposal, you can go to court to seek compensation for the damage you suffered as a result of the death.

Who shall I contact

The person responsible for the accident may be ordered to pay you damages.

This includes burial and burial expenses (such as the purchase of a concession or the restoration of an existing cellar).

The person responsible is not identified or not insured

You must request compensation from the compulsory insurance guarantee fund (FGAO). Funeral expenses are included in the compensation.

Accident at work occupational disease or

In the event of death on accident at work outcome of an occupational disease, the rights-holders may obtain CPAM: titleContent reimbursement of funeral expenses and the cost of transporting the body.

These 2 types of costs are reimbursed up to €1,833.00.

The cost of transporting the body is covered if the victim died during a business trip and is buried in France.

Contact your CPAM either directly or via the email of your Ameli account.

Ameli Online

Who shall I contact


this charge applies to persons who are members of the general social security scheme.

You can also benefit from pension guarantees, depending on the professional situation of the deceased.

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General case

Coverage is provided for by the collective agreements and agreements in the branch or profession to which the deceased employee was connected.

The law does not provide for a minimum guarantee.

Additional guarantees

Additional guarantees may be provided by the employer and cover the reimbursement of funeral expenses.

Criminal offense (violence, attack...)

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General case

When the death results in a police investigation or judicial inquiry before an investigative judge, relatives of the victim may to institute civil proceedings.

If the perpetrator(s) is/are convicted, civil parties may obtain damages to compensate for their various damages.

In the event of the insolvency of the convicted person, the civil parties must apply to the Victims of Crime Recovery and Assistance Service (Sarvi).

This service forwards the application to the Guarantee Fund for Victims of Terrorism and Other Crimes (FGTI). It may replace the defaulting convict up to €3,000.

Act of terrorism

The Guarantee Fund for Victims of Terrorism and Other Crimes (FGTI) compensates for moral and economic damage to the relatives of the deceased victims, such as funeral expenses.

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