So your friend is going to need to get a death certificate issued. As next of kin she should be able to make the arrangements with the funeral home but she is either going to have to pay them on her own or guarantee payment in the future if the funeral home will agree to wait on payment. The district may cremate her if there are no other assets. It is possible even if the district cremates her.
It is only after the aunt can get the death certificate that she can go to the probate
court in the county where her niece died and apply to qualify as administrator of her estate
. The probate court can appoint your friend as administrator which will give her the right to search for bank accounts at the local bank and to file a claim with the insurance company for life insurance. This process can take weeks and sometimes months. It is not going to be a short term solution to get her money to pay the funeral expenses. Unfortunately there is no short term solution to get money unless the niece had a joint bank account with someone. The joint account holder will still have access to the account.
I cannot provide you with legal advise. I have provided you with information about the law related to your question. My answer, and any information that you find online, should not take the place of having a consultation with a lawyer in your area to advise you regarding your specific issues.
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