Emergency Intervention for Payment of Funeral and Burial Expenses

Texas law allows for a procedure to be used when heirs and devisees of a person who died (“decedent”) refuse to cooperate in connection with arrangements for the decedent’s burial and funeral proceedings. An application for this emergency intervention procedure to pay for funeral and burial expenses of an individual must be filed in probate court between three and 90 days after death. Additionally, a small estate affidavit must not have been filed, nor may proceedings for estate administration have already been initiated.


An application for emergency intervention must provide information about the decedent, the person applying to the court, the known heirs and devisees of the decedent, and where the funds to be accessed are located. The application must also contain any instructions the decedent left behind, including a copy of any written instructions, for the funeral and burial. The court must make specific orders for cremation unless the decedent left written instructions for cremation.


Upon such suitable application, the court will order funds to be paid directly to a funeral home not to exceed $5,000.00 Additionally, the court will order reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of court to be paid for reasonable charges incurred in obtaining the order.