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Financial Responsibility for Funeral Costs

February 15, 2018

I have been separated for 3 years. I live in New Jersey which doesn't have legal separation laws. My soon to be ex is very sick. If he dies am I responsible to pay for a funeral for him?

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He's in the marital home and has not paid one dime in child support. So to say I don't have money for a funeral would be true.

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February 15, 20180 found this helpful
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You have to check the laws in NJ. If there is no separation law, it would seem that you are still married and would have to pay for some kind of funeral.It could be a cremation. You could bury him in Potter's Field if you have no money.

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February 15, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

I strongly suggest that you discuss this problem with an attorney-legal aid is good, if you can arrange an appointment quickly! Otherwise, you may need to hire an attorney to represent your interests. Don't wait until the last minute, you need answers before the ex dies.

Also re child support, the father may have money, etc., you do not know about so definitely check his financial status for any possibility of back child support.

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12 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

So I just had to take my older brother off of life support in January 2017. I am woundering who is responseable for the costs of his funeral. It is kind of complicated because he is married but separated not legally. They just separated and he has a girlfriend of about four years.

He was married to his wife 20 + years. I was told that because I was the one to make the decision to take him off life support and I signed the death certificate I am responsiable for all costs.

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May 15, 2015

My ex-husband just passed and I was told by the funeral home that being that we were married 25 years and never married anyone else that I am responsible for half of the funeral expense. Is this true that there is a law for this?


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May 15, 20150 found this helpful

That sounds like some weird idea that perhaps some of your ex-husbands relatives dreamed up to save them money. You better consult an attorney about this matter. However, I don't know why, being you are divorced you would be responsible for part of the expenses.

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July 6, 2010

Who's responsible for a funeral when there is a spouse?

By linda

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July 6, 20100 found this helpful

I would think the spouse would be responsible. I don't know who else it would be.

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July 7, 20100 found this helpful

The spouse unless someone else volunteers.

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July 7, 20100 found this helpful

The spouse is. It is a debt just like any other. But by the same token, the funeral can be as simple as can be afforded. No one should make the arrangements except the one paying the bills.

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July 8, 20100 found this helpful

I agree that the spouse would be; when you're married, his debt is her debt and the other way around unless some sort of legal agreement ( like a pre-nup) was in place at the time of the marriage that specifically stated otherwise and was agreed to by both parties.

The only other monkey wrench in the machinery may be if they were legally separated when the other died, or the surviving spouse left to live in a different location a long time ago and there was never a legal separation or divorce. In that case, the family's best bet is to contact an attorney.

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July 9, 20100 found this helpful

The fact that you are asking means that there is a problem somewhere. while the answers given are the best ones in the circumstances, it would be wise to make sure that you yourself wont have a problem like this ever! I have put aside money in a special bank account which i have told my daughter about, its actually written in my will with the a/c no. So that there will be no problems in the future and so that my ex-husband wont be able to touch them. they are written in my will as funeral expense account. Worth keeping in mind.

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February 5, 2014

My mother in-law remarried 8 years ago. They live in my mother's home and he will continue to live there after her death. She has let her life insurance lapse and she is now 80 years old. If she died first who should be responsible for paying for her funeral?

By Harriet W.

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February 5, 20140 found this helpful

That is something your husband should discuss with his mother and step father. That being said, if there aren't any plans already made, it would depend on how your husband feels about his mother. There are inexpensive funeral plans. If nobody in the family can afford a funeral, counties will do an inexpensive one.

In my case I will have to have the county pay my final expenses and there is one cemetery in town that has one area that has been blessed and is referred to as a spreading garden, where a person's ashes can be spread and a cement stepping stone is made with the person's name, date, etc. and put in place in the garden, all this for $100.00, plus the cost of cremation.

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September 3, 2013

I am legally married to a woman who recently passed away. Her family decided to pull the plug and I was present during that decision. Now they want me to pay for her funeral, but we haven't been together for more than 14 years. Am I legally responsible to pay the funeral cost?

By DP

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September 4, 20130 found this helpful

Yes, legal spouse followed by adult children. Perhaps you could all pitch in? You can cremate for less than $1,000 in WA state.

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September 5, 20130 found this helpful

You are saying that you and your wife have been separated for 14 years, and there is no one in her family who would rather step up and take care of her funeral? Did no one care for this poor woman? Were you living totally separate lives, or was she confined to a care home or something like that? Well, that isn't really my business, but it seems to me that whoever inherits her estate should step up and take care of the expenses. However, if there is no estate, and you can afford to pay for the funeral, perhaps you should do so, as a final act of respect for this woman whom you once loved.

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September 5, 20130 found this helpful

In most states the spouse is responsible for funeral expenses as well as all bills the person has left behind. Only 14 years together? If your wife were a millionaire, what if her family said you all had only been together 14 years so really that isn't long enough for him to get anything. This was your wife.

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September 24, 20130 found this helpful

Yes, some state the spouse is responsibility, and also you can donate the body to science and it want cost you a thing or you can just have the body burned and throw the ashes to the wind. Since you have been seperated for so long there may not be anything legally that ties you to her, her family can go half with you on the funeral, and I will check and see if there was an insurance policy!

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September 18, 2018

My brother was killed and it was supposed to get paid for by an organization. But now they don't wanna pay and I signed the papers because my mom wasn't doing well.

Am I stuck with the cost? Or can my mother assume responsibility?

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June 15, 2017

What do you do if the beneficiary only pays half of the funeral costs and takes the rest and then expects the other sibling to pay that other half?


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March 15, 2016

My sister and I are not close. If she passes, am I responsible for her funeral costs?


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October 25, 2012

If two people are not married who is legally responsible for funeral costs and medical bills?

By Norma

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October 25, 20120 found this helpful

I think the funeral director will ask who will be responsible for the cost. They don't take care of business first and then ask who is to pay after. Best bet is to call a funeral home and ask how payment is handled for funeral costs. They would have the answers.

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October 26, 20120 found this helpful

Unless you have paper work drawn up, the information will be requested of your family...legal family. Get some power of att and executor work done at the lawyers. You might end up with a pauper's funeral or cremation when you want something else.

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November 16, 2013

My partner left his wife and came to live with me. We were together for 2 years. He never divorced is wife and he has now died. I've been told that his wife is the next of kin so she has to arrange the funeral and handle the cost. Is this right?

By Luela from Lancashire

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November 17, 20130 found this helpful

I would think that would be right, but then on other hand if she is resentful of the situation she might not be inclined to do so. That being said I would never admit to having a married man live with me. If his wife doesn't do the funeral and you don't want to do it, turn him over to the country as being indigent. Unless he has a bunch of money in savings and you can get to it, in which case use that. You aren't really entitled to have anything of his other than what you purchased together. Did he have a will and did he by any chance have pre-made funeral plans.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

July 6, 2010

My mother passed away Aug 9th, 2009. She was married and her husband (my step-father) did not show up to make the funeral arrangements. My question is, if you are married and something like this happens can the legal spouse be held responsible and be made to pay for the funeral arrangements?

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April 30, 2010

My mother recently lost her husband of 35 years. The day before he passed his daughter got him to sign a power of attorney for his funeral arrangements.

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