Funeral assistance

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If relatives or friends can’t arrange or pay for the funeral of a loved one who has died in Queensland (and the deceased's assets cannot cover the cost of a funeral), the Queensland Government may organise a simple cremation or burial. This is called funeral assistance.

Eligibility for funeral assistance

Applications may only be made once a person has died.

To be eligible to apply for funeral assistance, you must:

  • ensure that:
    • a contract has not been signed for funeral arrangements with a funeral business
    • no previous applications for assistance have been made for the same deceased person
    • the deceased does not have any superannuation, life insurance or funeral insurance
  • provide evidence that:
    • there are insufficient funds or assets in the deceased’s estate to cover the funeral costs
    • the deceased’s spouse or parents are unable to pay for the funeral

Please note: the person must have lived independent of his or her mother; be of 20 weeks gestation or more and weigh at least 400g.

How to apply

To further assess your eligibility, you will need to attend an interview at your local Magistrates Court or the Coroners Court of Queensland.

You will need to provide the following information to support your application:

For the applicant -

  • photo identification as you will need to complete a statutory declaration
  • for a spouse or parent of the deceased, documentary proof of your own finances such as bank statements, current to date of interview.

For the deceased –

  • bank statements or bank details for the deceased, current to date of interview
  • certified copy of the deceased’s will (if one exists)
  • other financial information for the deceased such as Centrelink details, share certificates, superannuation documents, insurance policies or the details of any assets of value such as a car etc.

If you have the relevant documents you can apply for funeral assistance by contacting your nearest Magistrates Court. For more information, contact the Coroners Court of Queensland.

After the interview the registrar will advise if your application has been granted or declined.

When an application is approved:

  1. The department will contact a contracted funeral director in the area where the death occurred to provide the funeral service. The applicant cannot choose the funeral director to perform the funeral service.
  2. The deceased will be cremated unless objections are raised by the family, or there is evidence that this is against the wishes of the deceased. Family/friends may approach the funeral director and take possession of the ashes. The disposal of the ashes and any associated cost is a matter for the family.
  3. The location where the deceased will be cremated or buried is determined by the department, usually in the location where the person died.
  4. For burials, up to four other deceased persons may be buried in the same plot as the deceased. For this reason, the plots are unable to be marked by a headstone or plaque.

Services provided

The funeral director will:

  • provide a properly made, conventionally shaped, stained and suitably lined coffin
  • conduct the funeral in a proper and respectful manner
  • provide a graveside service for burials or a service at the crematorium for cremations. Family and friends may speak at the service if they wish.
  • the applicant should notify the funeral director if a member of the clergy is to conduct a graveside/crematorium service. The applicant will need to pay any associated costs.

The funeral director is NOT permitted to provide extra services for additional fees such as:

  • church or religious service
  • funeral notices in the newspaper
  • flowers
  • viewings
  • coffin upgrades
  • headstones or plaques

If an applicant requires these services they will need to arrange a private funeral and elect not to proceed with the application. Family and friends may take their own flowers, however these must not be arranged through or by the government contracted funeral director.

Recovering money from the deceased’s estate

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General is entitled to recover monies from the estate of the deceased, similar to any other debt. If a relative or friend becomes aware of any monies belonging to the deceased’s estate they must advise the department.

Families of homicide victims

Families of homicide victims are eligible for financial assistance towards funeral costs.

For advice, contact:

For more information, contact your local courthouse or the Coroners Court or phone (07) 3109 9609.

More information