How To Beat The Funeral Price Hike
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Leaving funeral planning to loved ones can not only mean that your wishes are not adhered to, but it can also cause them a great deal of undue stress and financial worry at an already upsetting time.
Making clear your preferences for the event can reduce any tension or conflicts about what you would have wanted, which can also make things easier on your family. By planning ahead, you can ease the burden on your loved ones left behind, ensure you have the ceremony you want, and can assume some self assurance over your final wishes being met.
Planning your funeral ahead of time is about so much more than looking at just the financial aspects. It provides you the opportunity to reflect and put in place plans that will ensure you have the meaningful send off you deserve. Everyone’s vision of what exactly this entails is different, and so by clearly outlining your preferences, you can be sure that you are remembered in the way you wish.
For some people, less is more, while others would prefer a large get-together to offer family and friends a chance to congregate and celebrate. Whatever you choose, make sure that choice is indeed yours by investing the small amount of required time to plan ahead so your loved one's don't have to.
Above: Testimonial from Phil who came to FuneralGuide.co.uk looking for help
Statistics from the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) have shown that the number of funeral plans sold between 2006 and 2016 tripled, meaning more and more people are taking steps to put in place arrangements for their end of life celebrations.
This is perhaps in no small part due to the fact that the cost of funerals has also risen, and if unaccounted for, these costs can leave your loved ones out of pocket and struggling after you're gone.
Funerals in the UK arranged in the “usual” way currently cost an average of £3,675, but this figure is expected to rise rapidly in coming years. In fact, by 2031, the average cost is expected to top the £10,000 mark. Even if you have been ill or your loved ones have had some time to think about and plan your funeral, unexpected costs can still arise.
So how can you deal with the cost of such an expensive rite of passage?
Just as you prepare for retirement, you can over time put savings aside in a designated funeral fund to help your loved ones cover the costs. This could be in a high interest savings account to help you accrue more money over the long term, for example.
Withdraw equity from a property - If you are over 55, you may be eligible to withdraw equity from your home and use this money towards the cost of your funeral. Many people use this strategy to fund retirement, but you could use some of the equity released for your funeral costs as well.
It may be that your family may have to sell possessions from the family home in order to raise money for the funeral costs, parting with items that may hold sentimental value during a difficult time. This could be through a private sale or through an auction
Of course, the easiest way to alleviate fears about how to pay for a funeral is to buy a prepaid plan.
Putting in place a burial or cremation plan enables you to make a one-off purchase/or a low monthly payment, and secure a plan that gives you control over your wishes whilst alleviating your loved ones of any financial burden. This can provide you with peace of mind, and protect your family from incurring unanticipated bills.
Many families who are faced with the cost of a funeral they simply cannot afford may be forced to choose other options such as Direct Disposal, which can be upsetting for all involved if this was not your intention. Not to mention that after the passing of a loved one, there are many other things to consider beyond burial plans, such as the will, what to do with property and inheritance, how to divide assets, closing accounts, notifying banks and creditors, and so much more. On top of all of this, the cost and time associated with planning a funeral should not weigh heavy on the shoulders of your loved ones.
Finances shouldn’t dictate your final farewell - take action and ensure your affairs are in order:
When my uncle passed away suddenly at only 52 years of age, I found myself faced with the challenge of having to plan his funeral.
Not only was I left reeling from his unexpected death at a young age, but I also realised I knew next to nothing about how to organise a funeral ceremony. What’s more, when I looked into his plans, I realised there was nothing in place. There was no blueprint or indication of what he would have wanted left behind, which left myself and my family in the difficult position of having to imagine what he would have wanted from his final goodbye.
On top of all this stress and heartbreak, there was also the financial pressure to deal with. My uncle hadn’t put anything aside for this purpose - and I suppose I can see why.
As a healthy civil servant working in a relatively low-stress job he enjoyed, he probably didn’t expect to begin estate planning until much later in life. There was no history of early deaths in our family, and he was an incredibly healthy guy who still enjoyed a regular weekly kick about. Suffice it to say, when he passed away, we were all plunged into deep shock.
As his two young sons struggled to cope, I stepped up to the plate to help with the planning. Trying to organise everything from the physical burial process itself to the accompanying ceremony, invitees, flowers, food and the location became increasingly difficult.
There were many sleepless nights and even a few arguments with family about how things should be dealt with. The financial aspect of funeral planning was a main source of conflict; his family resorted to placing things on credit cards, and even selling the odd item here and there to raise extra funds.
We didn’t even opt to have a big funeral in the end because the costs were so high, and yet we still faced a struggle. Eventually, the family and even a few close friends chipped in enough to cover the cost, and my beloved uncle was laid to rest.
The average age of death in the UK is officially 81.5 years of age, but if my uncle’s death taught me anything, it’s that it’s never too early to start estate planning.
I can’t help but think how much easier the whole process would have been if there was a plan in place, not just to ensure he got the send off he truly wanted, but also to alleviate the financial strain that burdened his family.
My own parents were so impacted by the whole turn of events, they looked into prepaid funeral plans. Seeing the strain that his sons faced really resonated with them, and I think made them aware of just how much I would have to do if either one of them were to pass away suddenly.
I miss my uncle every day, and would never begrudge him for not planning ahead. Luckily, our family was just about able to manage, but I know that won’t be the case for everyone.
That's why I am urging everyone to at least listen to what I have to say, look at and compare prepaid funeral plans before it’s too late. They are often much more affordable than you would think, and having something in place can make a truly difficult time just that much easier.
Above: Mark Brown, FuneralGuide.co.uk Founder
At FuneralGuide.co.uk, we understand how personal an affair a funeral is.
That’s why we make it easy for you to view and compare funeral plans to help you make the most informed choice possible. We appreciate that for many people, planning a funeral can be a distressing thought, and we don’t want to compound any stress or pressure. All of our information is free to access and jargon free, helping you weigh your options with no obligation whatsoever.
FuneralGuide.co.uk also offers a number of additional resources that can be of use during the planning process. For example, our checklist is ideal for those who are not sure where to start when it comes to organising a funeral.
If finances are a barrier, we can present some low cost options to help ease the cost of a funeral. There’s no one-size-fits-all burial plan, and we understand that the wishes of families and individuals are different. That’s why we take the time to put together 100% FREE guides, giving you the information and opportunity to select something that is the most suitable for you.
To find out more, request our Beat The Price Hike downloadable PDF guide today.
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It may be possible to save for a funeral, and use the lump sum, or, if an ISA can be utilised for this purpose it may also be worth it. Saving a set amount every month could then be used by family members to pay for the funeral.
Downside: With a cash ISA, you won't be able to get the money out until your executors have probate.
Life Insurance may be an option?
If you are under 50 years old, life insurance cover may be a better option. Click below to read the benefits available to you:
Although not traditional, home burials can be an option, if your home meets certain criteria, including informing your local police, local authority and environmental health authority.
Downside: Don't forget that it will probably impact property resale value and desirability also.
Funerals can be unexpected, and costly. At FuneralGuide.co.uk we want to unburden you from the stress and worry associated with all aspects related to funeral costs and choices, such as burial or cremation. So loved ones and yourself are better financially prepared, and more able to deal with the death and grieving process. This is, of course, not to be confused with budget funerals where you are compromising on what you want.
Believe it or not, funerals are increasing in price. This is down to the professional fees involved in dealing with a funeral; including crematoria, doctors, etc. Prepaying allows to spread the cost over time and ensure you only pay the amount listed at today's prices.
There are now a number of touches you can add to a funeral to make it extra special, which is yet another reason you may want to plan ahead. For example, filming, photography and video services are rising in popularity, especially during “end of life” celebrations. Some people plan to have music or even entertainment like fireworks at their funeral, to really leave loved ones with a lasting memory! The rise in natural burials and tree planting ceremonies also gives people more options beyond the standard, conventional funeral. With all of this to consider, why leave the finer details up to someone else?
* Weekly representation of the Standard Plan paid monthly, prices are a representative based on a
** Source: International Longevity Centre "The Funeral Time Bomb" report published 20th April 2015.
*** Source: BBC News article titled "Funeral time bomb" dated 17th April 2015.
**** Source: Mintel 2014.