We might not like to tackle the subject, but planning a funeral in advance can remove a lot of the stress involved. The experts from compareyourfuneralplan.com tell us how
Whether you’re recently bereaved and planning a funeral or considering how your relatives will cope with yours, the details can seem overwhelming. Despite death being the common denominator that comes to us all eventually, funerals can still be taboo and most of don’t know how to plan one until we have to. With the current Covid situation, and the associated restrictions, planning a funeral can seem incredibly challenging.
The basic steps
If a loved one has died and you’re wondering where to start, you need to consider the basics. Did they leave any instructions about burial or cremation, what were their religious beliefs, and did they have any music or flowers that they particularly wanted? If you don’t have a clear wish list – and as less than half of the UK have considered their own funeral, many people don’t – a chat with a reputable funeral director is a good place to start.
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If you’re forward planning for your own funeral, these are the things that you might want to list to alleviate some of the burden of decision making for your relatives when they’re likely to be preoccupied by their grief.
What are your options?
It’s important not to make a funeral more expensive than it needs to be – recent research shows that 9% of people feel pressured into spending more than they wanted – which is unnecessary as there are options available to suit every budget.
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A ‘basic’ funeral service will include the funeral director’s fees which usually covers the coffin or urn, use of the chapel of rest, their services on the day and limousines. Disbursements – burial or cremation fees, the officiants fee for conducting the service and doctor’s fees for certification if necessary, should also be factored into your budget. Extras such as flowers, music and a wake can then be planned at your discretion, depending on your wishes or those of your loved one.
The lowest cost option is a direct cremation, where there are no mourners or funeral service, the deceased is cremated, usually outside of the crematorium’s peak hours and the ashes are handed over to relatives. While this option is not for everyone, for those on a budget it can save around half the price of a traditional funeral and gives relatives the chance to plan a memorial service in their own time.
Price comparison is crucial – recent research from the Competition and Markets Authority found that a lack of easily comparable information on quality and price makes funeral planning more difficult. It also found that customers can save up to £1000 on the cost of similar funeral packages by shopping around and talking to more than one funeral director.
If you’re planning a funeral right now (October 2020), it could be further complicated by the pressure of current Covid-19 imposed restrictions. While the Rule of Six has been relaxed for funerals, mourner numbers are still limited to 30. It’s important to consider social distancing particularly if you have friends or family that should be shielding and funeral homes, churches and crematoria will require face coverings to be worn. If this seems nothing like the send-off you hoped to give your loved one, you could consider a small, basic service with a memorial later, when the current pandemic eases.
How much does a funeral cost?
Currently, a UK funeral can cost as much as £4,893 and a typical cremation comes in at £3,858. Unfortunately, funeral costs are rising fast – as much as 7% in some parts of the country. By 2030, you might have to pay up to £7700 for the funeral you want.
Forward planning for funeral costs makes sense to alleviate the burden for your relatives, whether that’s through savings or a pre-paid funeral plan. Pre-paid funeral plans lock in costs at today’s prices, removing some of the pressure from those that you leave behind.
If you’re arranging a funeral now, and your loved one didn’t have a funeral or insurance plan, you may need to find the funds yourself. Some banks or building societies will release funds from the account of the deceased, upon production of a death certificate, without waiting for probate. This isn’t a given though, so you might have to top up funds. If you’re on benefits, you may qualify for the Funeral Expenses Payment from the Government which won’t cover the whole cost but could help with burial or cremation fees, travel, death certification and some other expenses.
Funerals are stressful to organise, especially amidst the shock and grief of a bereavement, and even more so in the current pandemic. But with a pre-paid funeral plan, decisions can be made while everyone is in a calmer, more rational state of mind. Compare Your Funeral Plan’s experienced, empathetic advisors can help you select the plan you need from just a few pence per day – visit compareyourfuneralplan.com or call us free on 0800 254 5450 to find out more.