Losing a loved one is an unimaginable event. While dealing with shock and trauma, you may also have to plan for the funeral and burial.
Unfortunately, last expenses can be just that – expensive.
While you may have the right to compensation by bringing a legal claim, the claim can take a long time. So what should you do while you wait?
The Elite Litigation Group of Bachus & Schanker, L.L.C. grieves with families who have lost loved ones. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys want you to understand the options and resources available when planning and paying for a funeral after a wrongful death.
Navigating a wrongful death claim can be complicated. Call us today at 303 222-2222 to get the help you need and the compensation you deserve.
How to plan for a funeral after a wrongful death
There are several steps to take when planning a funeral after a wrongful death. These steps include:
- Speaking with a lawyer to start your legal claim
- Locating any pre-arrangements
- Knowing how costs will be covered
- Choosing a funeral home
- Deciding on the type of burial
- Choosing the location of internment
- Discussing details of the service
Start your legal claim
Funeral expenses are recognized and allowable in Colorado wrongful death claims. Even though it may take significant time, the sooner you start your wrongful death litigation or claim, the sooner you will have your compensation. Our Elite Litigation Group understands the balancing act – you need your funds quickly, but you also need to diligently build a solid case to ensure that you have fairness and justice in your legal case. Beginning your case without delay can speed up the process because it is easier to preserve evidence and advance legal action when minimal time has passed.
Types of funeral expenses recovered in wrongful death claim
Examples of funeral and burial expenses that may be included as part of a wrongful death claim:
- Casket or urn
- Burial plot and tombstone
- Rental of a facility like a funeral home, community space, or church
- Service fees, minister gratuity
- Flowers and programs
- Embalming or cremation
- Vehicle rental
See C.R.S. § 13-21-201; Espinoza v. Garcia, 356 P.2d 891 (1960); Kling v. Phayer, 274 P.2d 97 (1954); McEntyre v. Jones, 263 P.2d 313 (1953) (Affirming that funeral and burial expenses can be claimed as part of a wrongful death claim in Colorado.)
How will I pay for a funeral after a wrongful death?
State Coverage Programs and Reimbursement
A victim receiving government assistance at the time of their death may qualify for reimbursement of final expenses from the State of Colorado. The legal claim does not have to be complete to receive benefits through the program.
To qualify, the person must have received Colorado Works (C.W.), Medicaid, or adult financial assistance programs like Old Age Pension, Aid to the Needy Disabled State Only (AND-SO), and AND Colorado Supplement (AND-CS). The maximum amount that can be covered is $2,500.
Assets of legally responsible family members are considered when determining if a person is eligible for assistance. Legally responsible doesn’t mean a person responsible for the wrongful death. It means someone legally responsible for the care of their relative – the spouse, a parent of a minor, or anyone else with financial responsibility, legally speaking, for the victim at the time of their death.
A legally responsible person must contribute to expenses if their income is above a certain threshold. Their contributions count against the amount the victim may receive through the state for funeral expenses.
Individuals other than those legally responsible may contribute to funeral expenses without it counting against the victim’s eligibility for state funds.
Do you have questions about your wrongful death claim? Contact our catastrophic injury attorneys to get the help you need to create a strong case.
Charities, Community Groups, and Crowdsourcing
Some charities and community groups may provide grants to help families honor their loved ones. Some examples are Children’s Burial and the TEARS Foundation. These two organizations help cover funerals for child victims.
Similarly, the Funeral Consumers Alliance provides information and resources to help with funeral planning, including cost management. In addition, religious and community groups may help, including providing a memorial service facility. In addition, friends, family, and community members may assist. If they are not legally responsible parties, contributions from family, friends, and others do not count against any state grant funds to which the victim may be entitled.
Life Insurance and Work Benefits
It’s common for employers, especially large companies, to have life insurance as a benefit for workers. The insurance usually pays a nominal amount, like a year’s salary or even a small flat amount. The benefit can help cover funeral and burial expenses.
Sometimes, these benefits are offered without the employee paying a premium, so you may not even know you can claim them. Check with your employer to see if there is coverage that may help pay the victim’s funeral expenses.
Personal Loans and Litigation Funding
Catastrophic injury settlement funding or a personal loan may be an option. Litigation funding can advance funds that you expect to receive in compensation for a legal claim. There are limitations, and you can typically receive only a small percentage of the amount you expect to recover. When you receive your judgment, the funds repay the loan with interest. Law firms cannot personally pay your expenses or give you funds, but litigation funding may be helpful. It’s important to clearly understand the terms of the agreement if you’re considering this option.
Attorneys for wrongful death including funeral expenses
Let the Bachus & Schanker Elite Litigation Group attorneys pursue your wrongful death and punitive damages compensation, including funeral expenses. Contact us for a free consultation today.
Kling v. Phayer, 274 P.2d 97 (1954)
McEntyre v. Jones, 263 P.2d 313 (1953)
Lamburg, E. USA Today. Step-by-step guide to planning a funeral.
Nova, A. (19 January 2022) CNBC. Some states offer assistance to families unable to afford funeral costs.