Funeral Expenses paid before death

Dear All

I have a quick question.

Our clients mother purchased a funeral plan and paid for it long before her death. Can we still include the bill amount on the IHT 400


If the client’s mother had paid for the funeral plan, the cost of her funeral has already reduced her estate. Therefore, I cannot see the justification for including the cost of the funeral in the IHT 400 as a debt of the estate.

Paul Saunders FCIB TEP

Independent Trust Consultant

Providing support and advice to fellow professionals


Thank you for your response, while i have you on this thread can i ask,

One client was informed by her solicitors that even though she’s named executor on the will she can renounce her right as executor but should have power reserved to her. Her sons signed an oath to say that drafted by said solicitors in which it mentions that our client has renounced probate however no mention of power reserved to her.

The grant of probate has been issued. The two sons have been named on the grant of probate and one of the sons wishes to renounce his duties as executor as he lives in Holland. Our client wishes to be added back on to the grant of probate alongside her other son.

What wold be the procedure if this is possible?

If your client renounced her right to act as Executor, the Probate Registry will have asked for a renunciation. If her rights were reserved, under the NCPR 1987 the proving Executors would have had to serve notice on her about the application, which it appears did not happen.

It is not possible for one of the proving Executors to renounce after the Grant has been issued.

If your client wants to act as Executor now, this will not be possible if she did renounce. If her rights were reserved, she can apply for a Grant of Double Probate.

Cliona O’Tuama


…and yet the IHT400 says “Funeral expenses You may deduct funeral costs and reasonable mourning expenses. You may also deduct the cost of a headstone or tombstone marking the site of the deceased’s grave. These expenses may also include a reasonable amount to cover the cost of: • flowers • refreshments provided for the mourners after the service • necessary expenses incurred by the executor or administrator in arranging the funeral Use the space provided to give details of other costs that are being deducted.”

This seems to me an inadvertent double-allowance by HMRC, one that you might well take advantage of.

Julian Cohen

Simons Rodkin

I agree with Paul.

I don’t think that this is a “double-allowance” by HMRC. In the IHT400 HMRC are referring to funeral and ancillary costs incurred by the estate.

I do not think that it is appropriate to deduct funeral expenses that are not actually being paid by the estate. Sometimes in the case of pre-paid funeral expense or funeral plans, there are additional sums to be paid, such as for a headstone or an inscription on an existing headstone. In those estates I include the additional sum to be paid in the relevant place in the IHT400 and then state in the white box at the end that the major part of the funeral expenses had already been paid by the deceased.

Cliona O’Tuama


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s.172 IHTA says: “In determining the value of a person’s estate immediately before his death, allowance shall be made for reasonable funeral expenses”. HMRC practice is as quoted by Julian. Without s172 they would not be deductible in the estate “immediately before death” per s.4(1) because they would not have been incurred “at that time” per s5(3) if incurred after death.

If a funeral plan was paid for before death the expense laid out has reduced the estate as Paul says. There is no related liability to deduct unless any part of the contractual debt remained due and payable. No doubt there may be further reasonable expenses within s172 if the plan does not meet them because there is a scope or amount cap.

I do not believe HMRC’s lexicon includes the phrase “double allowance”.

I would expect HMRC to refuse s172 treatment for any expense that was reimbursable under a lifetime plan by analogy with s162 (1) for an actual liability. Or to suggest that the plan was an asset of the estate! Arguably it is not such immediately before the death or, if the deceased owned it. contingent with a value discountable for the likelihood of the event, like a term policy. I doubt HMRC would want to engage with this area if PRs played ball sensibly.

Jack Harper

Jack Harper

Our client confirmed she did not sign any forms but was rather told that if probate was granted in her sons name she would be able to come back on the grant at any time in the future.

Now that probate has been issued, can the mother be added back onto the probate.

What will happen if the current nominated executor renounces?

I would love to hear what you think.

Awais Mahmood
Law Lane Solicitors

The Grant will mention on it if Power Reserved was taken up. And if she is the only one who isn’t named on the Grant, and it mentions Power Reserved then yes, she can apply.

The current Exors can’t renounce if the application has been submitted and the Grant issued.

The more relevant in fact is whether the buyer of a funeral plan has an asset. Generally the funds resulting from buyers of such plans I said to be held in trust. The nature of that trust is not clear but it is almost certainly a relevant trust. As such the buyers have no valuable asset.

Ray Magill

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