Paying for a funeral the easy way!


Aug 25, 2014
Paying for a funeral the easy way!

Too many people struggle with costs when it comes to paying for a funeral either because the money is not readily available or even non-existent, so it does help to look at the options ahead of time because there really is an easier way forward.

Don’t make it difficult for your family
A death in the family is an extremely difficult time which can often be made all the more traumatic when it comes to making funeral arrangements and finding the money to pay for funeral expenses.

Arranging a funeral at the point of need rather than pre-arranging it means that your family are more likely to be emotional and as a consequence, less likely to look and shop around when it comes to making arrangements. In many instances families opt for the first funeral director they speak to regardless of cost, potentially paying more than you would have liked, had you arranged everything yourself.

And it’s not just about cost; there’s also your final wishes to consider. What type of funeral would you have wanted: what music, reading or poems? Would you have preferred flowers or charity donations and what about the choice of coffin? There is just so much to think about; all anything but easy.

The cost of dying
Typically when someone dies, you will need to cover what is known as third party costs (disbursements) up front which includes the cremation or burial fees and the minster’s and doctor’s charges, costing around £825 depending on where you live; then pay for the funeral director’s services within 14 to 28 days after the service.

With the average cost of a funeral exceeding £3,400, this can be quite a hefty sum of money to find. Whilst the proceeds from a sale of a property can pay for the funeral, probate can often take a few months to sort out, so it’s best not to rely on this money being readily available at the outset.

If there is money sat in a savings account, this can of course be used or as a last result a credit card may be the only way of securing sufficient funds in time. It’s a sad fact that the British Credit Card Association reported that funeral expenses were the second largest bill on credit cards in the first half of the year, so those people finding it tough going securing the cash to pay for funeral costs are not alone.

An easier way forward
By pre-arranging your funeral, you are more likely to have done your homework and shopped around, not only to get the best deal, but also to understand what happens and how you can tailor your final wishes so that your loved ones know what you want. So a big tick on removing the money worries from them and a big tick on reducing the painful decision making process that can go hand in hand when arranging a funeral.

Of course the most difficult things is getting your head around arranging everything in advance and then trying to get others to understand why it is important; generally though once the subject is broached, families are more often than not relieved that plans are being put in place. 

Ways to pay
When it comes to making arrangements for funeral costs, there are a number of options available to you. This can be as simple as “ear marking” savings or perhaps some assets that can be liquidated easily.

Another way of pre-arranging everything which is growing in popularity is with a prepaid funeral plan, with over 135,000 purchased in 2013 alone. These plans allow you to secure your funeral director’s fees at today’s prices, potentially saving you thousands when the time comes; especially if funeral inflation continues to soar at an eye watering 7%, as it has for the last 10 years.

In addition to covering the cost of the funeral directors fees, most plans either provide a guarantee or an allowance of around £1,100 for disbursements.

The price of a funeral plans ranges from £2,000 to £4,000 depending on the level of service you require and you can pay monthly from around £22 if you prefer to spread the costs

For those on tighter budget, life insurance can help with funeral costs as it pays a fixed cash sum when you die that your family can use in a way they choose. Depending on the state of your health, you can opt for either a regular life insurance plan that includes a longer application process with higher pay outs or an Over 50 life insurance plan that guarantees acceptance.  

It’s the kindest thing you can do

Pre-arranging a funeral may not be high on anyone’s list of things to do but given the impact doing nothing has on families throughout the country, don’t you think it’s one of the kindest things you can do for them?

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Ashley Shepherd is an Over 50s Personal Finance Expert

ashley shepherd

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