Funeral expenses - social assistance

In Germany, there is a burial obligation. In the event of a death, the relatives (in the legally regulated order) of the deceased are obliged to arrange for the burial. They must also bear the costs they can claim from the heir of the estate, unless they are themselves heirs.

If the relatives are not able to bear the funeral costs and the deceased's estate is also insufficient, the relatives may apply to cover the funeral costs.

Evidence of the deceased:

  • Death certificate
  • Preparation and valuation of the estate with proof of assets, in particular:
    • Complete current account statements of the last 3 months
    • Savings books
    • Investments
    • Residential property
    • Sum insurance of life insurance policies
    • Contemporary value of the motor vehicle
    • Building savings and the like
  • if available: will or inheritance contract
  • List of possible heirs and family members of the deceased (spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, grandparents or partners in marriage-like community, other heirs)

Evidence of the applicant:

  • Certificate of inheritance or proof of the stroke of inheritance
  • Copies of the type and amount of income for the last 3 months
  • Information on other relatives of the deceased (e.g. heirs living in the household and relatives of the deceased)
  • Evidence of the financial situation
  • Evidence of monthly charges
  • Rental agreement and last rent increase declaration of the landlord (current rental amount)
  • if the application is made only after the funeral: original invoice of the funeral institution


  • The cost of burial is reasonable from a social welfare point of view.
  • The deceased did not leave a sufficient estate.
  • The heirs are not in a position to bear the costs from their own resources.
  • There are no other persons who can be obliged to bear the costs.

Related Links

  • § 8 Zwölftes Buch Sozialgesetzbuch (SGB XII) (Leistungen)
  • § 74 Zwölftes Buch Sozialgesetzbuch (SGB XII) (Bestattungskosten)

A written request for payment of the funeral costs must be submitted to the competent authority. The easiest way is to go to the authority with the necessary documents and fill in the application as part of a consultation.

Responsible for the content
Hessian Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration

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