Accessing the Deceased’s Funds to Help Pay Funeral Expenses

Families occasionally lack funds to pay for a loved one’s funeral expenses.  Sometimes the only money available is in the deceased’s bank account which is now frozen.  Is there any way to tap into those funds to pay funeral expenses?  Yes.  The Estates Code labels it an “application for emergency intervention.”

Not anyone can file an application for emergency intervention with the Probate Court.  Persons who qualify include:

  1. The person named as executor in the decedent’s Will (even though the Will has yet to be probated);
  2. The decedent’s surviving spouse;
  3. Any devisee in the Will (i.e. a person named to receive a gift); or,
  4. The decedent’s next of kin.

The Probate Court will review the application.  Once approved, the Court can order an individual, employer or financial institution holding the decedent’s funds to pay those funds directly to a funeral home for:

  1. Funeral and burial expenses not to exceed $5,000;
  2. Resonable attorney’s fees for the attorney who obtained the order; and,
  3. Court costs in obtaining the order.

Talk with a qualified probate attorney to learn more about filing an emergency intervention.

Author Jim Cramp is the founder and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm.  The Cramp Law Firm provides a spectrum of family-related legal services in the greater San Antonio Region.