No one likes to think about death and the spectre of the Grim Reaper but it’s better to know what you’re dealing with financially so that you can prepare for the sad final farewell. Whether you pay in to an insurance or funeral plan, talk to loved ones about it or leave an instruction in a will, the universal truth is that the cost of funerals has risen to an average of £3600.
Funeral directors charge, on average, £1800 for the services of storing the body and providing the coffin, hearse and staff for the funeral itself.
Additional fees of around £1600 or more cover the burial or cremation and a minister or celebrant’s services. The best sources for finding an industry standard, code of practice adhering funeral director are the National Association of Funeral Directors and the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors.
Mintel’s 2014 report quoted that in 2004 the cost of a funeral was £1920 and the projected cost by 2034 was an eye watering £12818.
A pre-paid funeral plan can be a cost effective way to keep fees down at today’s rates. The Funeral Experts offer funeral plans which start from £21.29 per month for their basic plan. Although the monthly fees for these plans may seem high it works out well for the customer because the maximum term that you ever pay towards the funeral costs is ten years rather than the alternative plans offered by competitors which run until the age of ninety so although their £15 per month fee looks tempting initially it very often means that it costs the customer more overall.
If you’re looking to buy a funeral plan here are some things you might want to consider:
- Plan in advance and decide if you want a burial or a cremation because it can affect the plan that you need. For instance, the option of a burial may not be compatible with some of the lower priced plans.
- You might feel that to give someone the best send off that only the most expensive and splendid coffin will do but there are many less costly but just as dignified models on the market. You can even opt for a shroud and no coffin.
- Always remember to look at what’s included in the plan. The less expensive options may not include an allowance for third party costs such as flowers and medical fees. If you select a plan without third party costs here are some ideas to lessen the burden of expenditure for your family:
- Professionally arranged funeral flowers can cost about £150 so why not bring them yourself, home grown or home arranged, to lower the cost? It is becoming popular for flowers to be eschewed in favour of charitable donations.
- The cost of a Church of England minister to carry out a funeral service in a crematorium is £164 but if it is felt that a relative, friend or group could officiate when this is allowed.
- The average death certificate from a doctor costs £165 but it is only mandatory for a cremation, not a burial.
- A technology driven development is that instead of a traditional headstone or plaque costing in excess of £750 more and more people are creating a memorial website. These are frequently linked to a charity donation page. This is a great way to help a deserving and normally a personal experience motivated cause.
- Catering for a wake or a reception after the service needn’t be expensive, see if family and friends will pitch in and prepare food and provide drinks rather using a catering company or a public venue.
Another option is to take out over 50’s life insurance. These policies are ideal for if you can’t afford the price of any of the funeral plans on the market. You can simply choose a monthly insurance premium that’s right for you, although the life insurance isn’t guaranteed to cover 100% of your funeral costs.
Whatever you decide is right for you, the cost and arrangements for a funeral can be dealt with well in advance so that when the unhappy final day arrives practical concerns about saying farewell won’t intrude on personal grief. That’s a gift to your loved ones.
Should a loved one die without making provision for their funeral funding and you find yourself responsible for the expenses and are on a low income you may be eligible for a Funeral Payment from the government. This is a loan, dependant on circumstances, which is usually paid back from the deceased’s estate, if they have one.
Otherwise, the fees of the funeral and related expenses are to be taken from the person’s estate or paid for by relations.