Social assistance: help in other situations - funeral expenses

Funeral costs can be covered if the estate is insufficient and the funeral debtors are not able to bear the funeral costs.

In Germany there is a funeral obligation. In the event of a death, the relatives (in the order regulated by law) of the deceased are obliged to arrange for the funeral. They also have to bear the costs incurred, which they can claim from the heir of the estate unless they themselves are heirs.
If the estate of the deceased is not sufficient for this and you, as a relative subject to funeral obligations, are not able to bear the funeral costs, you can apply for reimbursement of the funeral costs.


  • The deceased did not leave a sufficient estate,
  • the heirs/relatives are not in a position to bear the costs from their own resources and no other provision has been made (e.B funeral provision contracts, death/life insurance, etc.) or
  • there are no contractually obliged persons who have to be called upon to bear the costs.

Evidence of the deceased:

  • Preparation and valuation of the estate with proof of assets, in particular:
    • Current account statement from the day of death,
    • Savings books/investments,
    • residential property,
    • sum insured by life insurance policies,
    • a copy of the motor vehicle registration document,
    • Home savings and the like.
  • If available: will or contract of inheritance,
  • list of possible heirs and family members of the deceased (spouses, children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, grandparents or partners in marriage-like community, other heirs),
  • Death certificate (as soon as it is available).

Evidence provided by the applicant:

  • Certificate of inheritance, if necessary proof of waiver of inheritance,
  • copies of the type and amount of income of the last 3 months,
  • Information on other relatives of the deceased (e.B heirs living in the household and relatives of the deceased),
  • proof of financial circumstances,
  • Proof of monthly charges,
  • Proof of the current rent amount or of the burdens of residential property,
  • if the application is made after the funeral: original invoice from the funeral home.

The application must be made in writing.


You can also contact the local funeral homes to find out which funeral costs are taken into account as part of social assistance.

  • §§ 8, 74 Social Code (SGB) Twelfth Book (XII) Social Assistance,
  • Gesetz über das Leichen-, Bestattungs- und Friedhofswesen des Landes Schleswig-Holstein (Bestattungsgesetz - BestattG).

Related Links

  • §§ 8, 74 SGB XII
  • BestattG

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