Should adult children be expected to pay for final burial costs? -

Should adult children be expected to pay for final burial costs?


My mother is starting to make end of life decisions as to how she wants things done. She has 5 children living and one sibling (the one she lives with) feels that all of her children should "chip in" and pay for cremation services and monument costs. How are final costs usually handled? My mother has no life insurance, however does have savings to cover costs needed to pre-plan her wishes. Not all children are able to contribute to these costs, WWIII is about to break out over this situation, HELP!



"however (she) does have savings to cover costs needed to pre-plan her wishes."

It, therefore, is up to HER to pay for her last arrangements. There is nothing I know of, legally or otherwise, that says that her children have to pay for the cremation and internment. One of you should have access to the money in her account upon her death to pay the expenses.

If she has the money, but she wants the kids to "chip in", what would she then be doing with her money? Is she planning to give it to someone and needs to know that all her children will financially take care of her death?

This sounds fishy to me. "NO" should be the answer to your mother. That is her obligation to pay for her own arrangements. Then make sure you all have your rifles ready 'cause here comes WW3.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to SueC1957

Be very careful when and if you select a pre-planning contract. When Mom passed in November of 2016, I went to the funeral home/cemetery to sign papers and make arrangements. That cost $2,000+. When I was done with them, I went across the parking lot to the cemetery office. I came out of there minus $5,000+, taken on payments of $350 a month. That was for several charges, including opening the grave, burial, closing the grave, and a small,
unassuming gravemarker. To this day, I don’t know what the heck my parents paid for all those years. Neither had funerals or memorial services. They did have plots, though, for which I am grateful. That would have been another $5,000. There was no inheritance and the cost all fell on us. We’re still dealing with the repercussions.

Make sure you know exactly what to expect when she passes. Get a copy of any pre-planning paperwork and memorize it, especially the fine print. I am an only lonely and couldn’t possibly shirk the responsibility I felt for my mother’s final wishes. But, my mom would be incensed if she knew how her careful preplanning all turned out and how much it cost us.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

If Mom has the resources, she should be paying for her own funeral costs.
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Reply to Becky04473

What are mom's resources? Is she able to pay her way for care at your sibling's home?

If possible, mom should pre-pay her final expenses. She can go to a funeral home and arrange that. Does she have a plot? Or a plan for her cremation, and remains?

My parents preplannex and prepaid their funeral arrangements. There were some additional expenses that were paid out of a checking account that was joint with POA sibling, so not frozen upon death.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

No, children should not be expected to do this.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Karsten

tam, funerals can be expensive... if some items are already pre-paid that is a great help, such as the cemetery plot or columbarium [to hold ashes] at the cemetery already chosen and paid. When your Mom pays for the plot she should get a Deed saying she owns that spot. Or if your Mom was with your Dad when he died, did he have a dual-plot plus a headstone?

When my Mom passed, it was my Dad who paid for everything. My parents had a family plot where 5 generations were buried. When my Dad passed, it was his estate that paid for his funeral. Otherwise, I would have needed to pay being an only child.

I realize not everyone leaves an estate where money can be pulled for such cost. When that happens, either everyone chips in as much as they can... with cremation one doesn't need to purchase a plot or metal drawer, the ashes can be spread at Mom's favorite place. That's what I want for myself.
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Reply to freqflyer

Tam, the reason your brother is co-owner of your Mom's bank account is so that he can write checks for expenses. This is very common. My Dad had me on his checking account as he didn't want to bother with writing checks.

Taking care of an elder can be expensive. Even something as simple as Depend garments can wipe out a well thought of budget. Eye glasses, and hearing aids are out of pocket expenses. Those are very expensive.

Special food items, such as Boost or Ensure is expensive. There are co-pays when it comes to doctor appointments, and believe me, elders have a lot of doctors, and co-pays on prescription medicine. New clothing as clothes do not last long with stains that are hard to get out. Plus changes in weight. Shoes are expensive.

Did your brother need to make changes to his house which would help Mom? Like putting up grab bars in the bathroom, put in a higher toilet, change the shower spray to a hand-held spray, and purchase a shower bench or chair? Did Mom need a lift-recliner? How about a rolling walker?

My own Dad had Agency caregivers, 3 shifts per day, and that was costing him $20k per month, yes per month, so having your brother be your Mom caregiver has saved the family a lot of money at this point. Then there is no telling what would happen later on. Mom might need extra care at home, or need to go onto Medicaid [which is different from Medicare] and be moved to a skilled nursing facility.

I assume Mom is still clear minded since your profile mentioned age related issues, then she can do what she wants with her money. It's not easy to direct a parent to talk about buying a grave plot or columbarium drawer.
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Reply to freqflyer

Am I reading your post correctly--Mom's sibling thinks the kids should may for Mom's funeral? Is there a Will? Typically, the deceased person's assets are used to pay for final costs and debts and then distributed according to the Will. Does Mom's sib stand to gain if the kids pay for the funeral? i,e, the remainder of the assets go to Mom's sib?
In a perfect world (LOL) there are assets/life insurance/prepaid burial plans to take care of these things. But (as we all know)life isn't perfect. When my friend's Mom passed there literally was less than $30 in assets. NONE of the kids had financial resources to pay for the funeral. So the funeral home took all 5 kid's credit cards, divided the bill by 5 and it all got charged equally.
Lesson here for all of us.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to geewiz

I'm confused. If Mom has enough resources to cover her last wishes - why do you all think you must 'chip in' to pay for it?

You can contact the funeral home and ask about prepayment. I did this with my father because if he had needed a nursing home, they would not have left enough money to cover the final expenses. Thankfully it never came to that and 7 years later he passed on and everything was covered, exactly as planned.
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Reply to RayLinStephens

I agree mom should pay for her own burial if she has the funds. I also agree that what you've said brother has spent doesn't sound outrageous. You need more information one way or the other to decide if your brother is taking money unnecessarily from mom. And I was also on my mom's checking accounts and investment accounts since I managed them. Mom had no capability to write checks or track her spending. I don't know how your mom's mental capacity is, but having your brother on those accounts is normal.
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Reply to blannie

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