Apply for assumption of funeral costs (social assistance)
If someone dies and has to be buried, you as the next of kin must arrange for the funeral and bear the costs incurred for the time being.
The following are obliged to bear the funeral costs in turn:
- the contractually obliged party (e.g. in the case of a funeral provision agreement)
- the heir/heiress and, in the case of a community of heirs, each co-heir/co-heiress
- Persons obliged to pay maintenance
- persons liable for burial according to the burial law of the respective federal state or, if there is no such law, according to the provisions of the Civil Code.
If you have arranged the funeral without being obliged to do so, you have a claim for compensation against the obligor(s).
It is advisable to seek advice from the social welfare office before commissioning a funeral.
- if the deceased person received social assistance: the social welfare office from which he or she received social assistance until death
- if the deceased did not receive social assistance: the social welfare office of the place of death
Social welfare office is,
- if you live in a city district: the city administration
- if you live in a rural district: the Landratsamt (district administration office)
Note: In some cases, the administrative districts have transferred responsibility to larger cities in their district area. If you live in a district, the district administration office or the municipal administration of your place of residence can give you the name of the competent authority.
- You are obliged to pay the funeral costs.
- The deceased person did not leave a sufficient estate.
- You cannot bear the costs of the funeral from your own resources.
- The costs are reasonable under social welfare law aspects.
Only the costs for a locally simple but dignified burial or for such a cremation are taken into account. For example, this includes the costs for the coffin or an urn, a mortuary and grave fees as well as costs for laying out the grave.
It does not include, among other things, costs for the ongoing care of the grave and for mourning clothes.
You must apply in writing to the competent office to have the funeral costs paid.
You can also get advice there and fill out the application.
The competent office checks with the person liable for the funeral whether the costs of the funeral cannot be borne from their own income and assets. In this case, an existing estate must be used for the funeral costs.
If the competent authority approves your application, payment will be made either to you yourself or, with your express consent, directly to the funeral home.
You can apply before or after the funeral. If possible, discuss the assumption of costs with the responsible office beforehand.
Evidence of the deceased person:
- Death certificate
- Funeral provision contract
- List and valuation of the estate with proof of assets, especially:
- complete current account statements for the last three months
- Savings books
- Financial investments
- Residential property
- Sum insured of life insurance policies
- Current value of motor vehicle
- Building society savings and similar
- if available: Will or contract of inheritance
- List of possible heirs and family members of the deceased person:
- Wife or husband
- Partners in a marriage-like community
- registered civil partners
- other heirs
Proof of the applicant:
- Certificate of inheritance or proof of inheritance
- Copies of the type and amount of income for the last three months
- Details of other relatives of the deceased person (e.g. heirs living in the household and relatives of the deceased person)
- Proof of financial circumstances
- Proof of monthly charges
- Tenancy agreement and last declaration of rent increase by the landlord or landlady (current amount of rent)
- if you are applying only after the funeral has taken place Original invoice from the funeral home
27.06.2023 Sozialministerium Baden-Württemberg