Will funeral payments from the Social Fund form part of the Estate?

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Question:

Will funeral payments from the Social Fund form part of the Estate?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

An estate of a person should be utilised in the following order:

1) Payment for funeral expenses
2) Debt clearance
3) Execution of bequests

After personally discussing the eligibility criteria, terms and conditions of the Funeral Payments from the Social Fund with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and reviewing relevant documentation, we understand the following:

  • The estate is primarily responsible to pay for the funeral expenses.  In Common Law, the funeral bill has the highest priority of all debts except for secured loans.
  • The claim for the funeral bill will be on the next of kin or the person who is invoiced by the funeral director.  If the estate was short of funds, the invoiced party will be held liable to pay.  In such a scenario, a person who is a claimant of means-tested benefits and tax credits may be eligible for a contribution to funeral expenses from the Social Fund.

If the funeral director hasn’t been paid, the Social Fund will directly pay the funeral director.  If the funeral director has been paid, the money will be paid to the relative who is eligible for means-tested benefits.

If the Social Fund paid the invoiced next of kin in his account, since he is the beneficiary of the payment, he will become the owner of the funds.  Furthermore, the payment is of a philanthropic nature.  Thus, it is a gesture of good-will from the Fund to the next of kin.  Therefore, the payment will belong solely to the beneficiary and is not part of the estate.

And Allah Ta’ālā Alone Knows Best

Mufti Faraz Adam al-Mahmudi,
www.darulfiqh.com

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