Funeral expenses

Who bears the funeral costs?

According to § 1968 BGB the heir bears or the heirs bear the costs of the testator's funeral.

Who has to pay the funeral company?

The person who has commissioned the funeral parlor or other service providers is also obliged to pay the agreed remuneration to them. The funeral home cannot therefore be referred to turn to the other heirs on a pro rata basis with regard to the remuneration. The person who initially carried the feces of the funeral may, however, receive the money again from the other co-heirs. By the way, this also applies if the other co-heirs did not agree with the arrangement of the ceremony at all. However, a funeral must be appropriate. The more prosperous the deceased was, the more expensive the funeral service may become. The distribution of the costs is then simple. Each heir bears the funeral costs according to his inheritance quota.


Who has to pay when all heirs have declined?

If all heirs have declined, the obligation to pay for the funeral and the costs for the close relatives arises from the funeral laws, which differ somewhat in the individual federal states. Frequently, the funeral laws of the states also determine the order of the obligated persons, whereby the following ranking often applies: spouses, children of full age, parents, siblings of full age, grandparents and grandchildren of full age (see § 9 BestG NRW). This can mean that the following survivors are not liable for the reimbursement of costs as long as there is a survivor with a priority obligation who can bear the costs. For example, the siblings of the deceased are not liable for the funeral costs if there are children or parents of the deceased who can bear the costs.


Who takes care of the funeral if the relatives do not agree and do not take action?

Usually, the authority responsible under the funeral laws of the federal states - usually the municipality where the death occurred or where the deceased was found - sets a deadline for the relatives to issue a funeral order. If the relatives still do not take action, the authority arranges the funeral itself.


From whom does the authority claim back the costs of the funeral?

The authority demands reimbursement of the costs from the relatives who are responsible under the funeral laws of the countries. If several relatives are liable for reimbursement, they are jointly and severally liable to the authority, i.e. the authority can in principle demand reimbursement in full from any equally liable person. There are, however, court decisions which indicate that the authority must exercise discretion in deciding from whom it demands reimbursement of the costs. For example, different financial circumstances of the parties liable for reimbursement play a role here. Furthermore, it is argued that the authority must justify its selection decision among several potential debtors (see judgment of the VG Saarland of 14.1.2014 - 3 K 956/13).




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