It is a very emotional time when a loved one passes away and you are unlikely to feel particularly confident when it comes to dealing with the financial aspects of bereavement.
Dealing with all of the practicalities as well as going through the grieving process can mean you have a lot on your plate at a difficult and sensitive time.
If your partner has recently died, you might have to get by on a reduced income, particularly if he or she contributed the most to the household budget.
Getting through the first few months is important and you may have to make significant cuts to your household expenditure until the estate affairs are settled and any insurance policies pay out. But you also need to think about how you’ll get by in the longer term and whether you need to make more radical decisions - such as moving home - to help you live comfortably.
You may also be entitled to benefits, especially if you are under State Pension age.
More immediately, you may be required to take care of the expenses associated with arranging a funeral.
If you arrange the funeral with a funeral director, you're responsible for the costs. You should ask to see a price list before choosing a funeral, or explain how much you have to spend and see what services are possible.
Once you've chosen the funeral, you should be given a written estimate giving a breakdown of all of the costs involved. Ask for one if it's not provided.
Some funeral directors might ask for a deposit before making the funeral arrangements.
Money may be released later, if the person who has died made arrangements to pay for their funeral through an insurance or other policy, or if money is released after their estate has been dealt with.
Funerals are not cheap and even a basic funeral can cost thousands of pounds, depending on the services provided. You may therefore agree payment to the funeral director by instalment, or pay after the legal process of dealing with the deceased’s estate has been settled.
The following organisations provide more information on issues surrounding bereavement and funeral planning: