Funeral assistance

Under the Burials Assistance Act 1965, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General through the Coroners Court of Queensland (CCQ), is authorised to make funeral arrangements for eligible persons who:

  • have died in Queensland and
  • have no known next of kin who are willing or able to meet the cost of a funeral service.

This is administered through the CCQ Funeral Assistance Scheme (the Scheme).

If you are eligible under the Scheme, you can apply for help with paying the upfront costs of a funeral service for a loved one or a friend.

Agencies can apply under the Scheme where the deceased has no family or friends to make funeral arrangements, or to apply for funeral assistance on their behalf.

How do I know if I’m eligible to apply?

If you are applying as an individual, your application will be assessed based on the financial information that you are able provide on behalf of the deceased, in addition to your own personal finances.

For this reason, individual applications for assistance will be automatically declined in any one of following circumstances:

  • where an application has already been made on behalf of the deceased (unless there has been a significant change in circumstances; all applications and outcomes are centrally recorded and monitored);
  • a contract for funeral services for the deceased has already been signed with a funeral company
  • the deceased has a superannuation account
  • the deceased has a life insurance policy
  • the deceased has an existing funeral plan or funeral insurance
  • there are sufficient funds, assets or shares in the deceased's estate (including any bank accounts held solely in their name)
  • where funds have been withdrawn from the deceased's bank account by the applicant, after their death (for any reason) and/or
  • where on review of the applicant's financial information, the department deems that sufficient funds are available for private funeral arrangements to be made.

Note: Agencies are not required to provide personal financial information.

Will I need to pay the Department back?

Yes, CCQ is entitled to recover the full cost of all funeral services provided under the Scheme, from any monies available from the deceased's estate (including any bank accounts held solely in their name), like a debt.

Individuals who submit an application agree to receive an enquiry letter from the Department about recovering these costs from the deceased's estate sometime after the funeral service (you can nominate how long you would like for us to wait before contacting you, from 1 to 3 months).

You may also wish to make a voluntary contribution towards the cost of the funeral service at the time of applying. If your application is approved, we will then check that the amount you would like to contribute is not more than the cost of the funeral service, and help you to make your payment online (coming soon), or in-person at a Magistrates Court (cash or cheque). If you wish to make a voluntary contribution after the funeral service, you can let us know after receiving your enquiry letter instead.

Note: Agencies are not able to make voluntary contributions.

What does the assistance include? Are there are any limitations?

Funeral assistance is strictly limited to the services that our government-contracted undertakers (also known as Funeral Directors) are permitted to provide under the Scheme.

The service will include:

  • local collection and transport of the deceased for preparation and the funeral service (within the undertaker's authorised boundary area)
  • a properly made, conventionally shaped, and suitably lined coffin OR a coffin with additional braces and boards
  • sufficient to accommodate a larger person (usually over 150kg, or as required)
  • a cover for the deceased (being a white calico shroud), in situations where clothing is not provided by the applicant
  • an appropriate funeral service for the deceased in a dignified and respectful manner, where family and friends can make a small speech, either at the crematorium (in the case of a cremation) or at the graveside (in the case of a burial) and
  • death registration for the deceased.

Before making an application, please ensure that you fully understand that the following limitations apply to the assistance we can provide:

  • you may not choose the location of the funeral, or the funeral director
  • the deceased will be cremated (unless burial is requested on the form below)
  • as the applicant, you will need to make arrangements to collect the deceased's ashes from the undertaker (in the case of cremation). If unclaimed, the ashes will be stored for a maximum period of 12 months, after which a disposal process is initiated
  • the government contracted undertaker in not permitted to provide or charge for any upgraded funeral services for the deceased
  • It is possible that up to four (4) deceased persons may be interred (buried) together in one burial plot and
  • the marking of the burial plot with headstone or other memorial is not permitted for this reason.

How do I request for the deceased to be buried in their traditional homelands?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who have passed away may be returned to their traditional homelands or Country for burial, at the full cost of the applicant (within Queensland).

As CCQ only provides for the cost of the funeral service and any associated local transfers, this type of long-haul transfer is not covered or funded by the Scheme.

Simply fill in the correct section of the Individual form (DOCX, 187.8 KB), so that CCQ can consider your request when reviewing your application.

For burials, can I apply for a headstone or engraving later, or move the deceased to a family plot?

Yes, this is called a transfer of burial rights. If the deceased was buried under the Scheme (or any previous versions of the Scheme), you may apply to pay the department back in full for the cost of the funeral (in addition to any local council fees), and request to have the rights to the burial plot transferred to your name (subject to certain restrictions).

This will allow you or your family to add a headstone or other memorial marker to the burial plot and prevent other persons from being buried there (subject to local council restrictions).

A similar process will apply if you wish to relocate the deceased at a later date (e.g. relocation to your family plot).

CCQ handles these types of requests separately to applications for funeral assistance. You will need to carefully read through and fill out the form called FAS-007 Request for transfer or burial rights or relocation (DOCX, 114.2 KB).

Which form do I fill in?

Our application forms contain a comprehensive fact sheet at the start, that explains the scheme in full and will answer most common questions. Please make sure you read it carefully before starting to fill in your application.

If you’re a relative or friend of the person who has passed away, you should complete the form called FAS-003A Apply for the Funeral Assistance Scheme (Individual) (DOCX, 187.8 KB).

If you work for an agency (e.g. Queensland Police Service), or a health or aged-care facility, you should complete the form called FAS-003B Apply for the Funeral Assistance Scheme (Agency) (DOCX, 157.1 KB).

Note: The Department is collecting your personal information, including your email address and limited financial information, to assess your eligibility under the Scheme. Your personal information will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless authorised or required under a law. DJAG handles your personal information in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009.

To request for transfer of burial rights to your name or to relocate someone who has already been buried, please complete the form called FAS-007 Request for transfer or burial rights or relocation (DOCX, 114.2 KB).

If you already submitted your application and forgot to complete the section to request a Return to Country (or your circumstances change), please immediately fill in the separate form FAS-006 Request to transfer deceased (Return to Country) (DOCX, 116.9 KB) and submit to the same Magistrates Court.

Submitting your application

You will need to lodge your application over the counter at the nearest Magistrates Court to where the person died (e.g. this may be the Court closest to their home address or a hospital).

If it is not possible for you to travel, you may instead lodge your application at the Magistrates Court closest to where you live.

Only Agencies are permitted to submit applications via email – if you require assistance, or there are exceptional circumstances, please contact your closest Magistrates Court for more information.

See the full list of Magistrates Court locations.

What happens next?

The Coroners Court of Queensland will review your application in detail and make a decision.

The average processing time for applications is currently 2–10 working days (subject to delays due to mandatory agency checks that are required prior to decision-making).

You will receive an email with the outcome of your application (or a letter if you did not provide a valid email address).

If approved, we will provide your details to the authorised government-contracted undertaker, who will contact you directly to make the funeral arrangements.

Need help?

Please contact a Magistrates Court if you would like help completing your application or understanding the assistance provided under the Scheme.

The Magistrates Court may also be able to book in a time for you to attend the court to sit down and talk about your application; please request a face-to-face information session when talking to court staff (usually 15–30 minutes duration, subject to availability).

See the full list of Magistrates Court locations.

Additional resources

Families of homicide victims are eligible for financial assistance towards funeral costs. For further advice, please contact:

If you need to talk to someone about loss, grief and/or bereavement, you may wish to access resources such as: