For Sir Isaac Newton it was an apple and for Elon Musk a traffic jam.
For everyone else it’s the realisation after a funeral that we put ourselves through additional unnecessary worry and grief, not because someone died but because we are trying to meet the costs of a funeral arrangement.
There are several primary reasons why a pre paid funeral plan should be one of the most important financial decisions we make and it is right up there with pensions and getting a mortgage.
1. Funeral Planning In The Moment
‘Mother knows best’ is a well known phrase in English society and probably elsewhere but perhaps she really does.
The experience of burying someone thankfully doesn’t come around too often and it might be that you are yet to do so.
Without a doubt, a person who had died having already organised 80% of the final funeral arrangements takes a lot of weight off our shoulders.
Speaking from experience I honestly couldn’t tell you whether I made the right decisions when meeting the Vicar. It was a case of he knew best let’s go with it.
I think if planned in advance with perhaps consultation with close family members it may have been a better more inclusive service.
2. The Burden Of Additional Worry
Each of us handle the grief from death differently.
Though I think on average it’s still a case of numbness, detachment, worry, concern, crying, weight loss, more worry and there is so much to do isn’t there? And in such a short space of time.
A person needs to contact as many people as they know, try to provide ideas for a eulogy. If you are an only Son with a single parent, consider now how much you knew about your Mother’s life outside of your own relationship.
The Celebrant or person doing the Order of Service, Uncles, Aunts can help greatly but it’s near impossible to plan anything correctly while suffering with so much grief.
Funeral planning at the time of death is needless today.
3. Funeral Plans Are A Sure Bet Financially
Traditionally the UK population has been overwhelming homeowners as a share of the market.
Property prices increase usually. Savings are not going too well these days and offer stagnant rates. Investments can also be a form of gambling. So what are pre paid funerals?
Funeral plans are set at the price of today’s local funeral and linked to indices which ensure funds match the cost of a funeral in the future.
Ten or twenty years time. It could be as is the case now, that funeral costs rise considerably higher than the average cost of living, yet it may stabilise or fall too but no one can imagine a funeral costing the same in twenty years as it would now.
Not only do you get to invest your limited term monthly payment you also get the funeral in return – at some point.
In essence you should save money, there should be no risk due to the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) and at the time of writing your money is possibly better off buying a future service than leaving it in a savings account.
4. The Taxman Can't Get At It
We don’t know how our finances will be in thirty years, nor those of our children.
Yet we know one thing, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is very useful at taking what is useful to us. Large percentages of our money or our inheritance when people die.
The Tax man cannot touch a funeral plan, nor can anyone else. It is held in trust by accountable people who are audited annually until you pass away. While you may pay £3000 over ten years now, in thirty years the funeral plan could be worth £6000.
Imagine a scenario where you really wanted to leave your family something but in the last few years you got into trouble. There’s several thousand in your bank account but no funeral planned and pre paid.
Your family will either use that money to pay for your funeral or the local council will claim an amount to offer a pauper’s funeral. Stuff the council and the tax man I say!
5. Religious Beliefs And Adherence To Own Wishes
Every religion has their ways, rites and traditions.
We may not all be religious to a fault but we have wishes. Even if you write out and legalise a last Will and Testament, this is only a list of guidelines.
There are no laws that absolutely state that if you were to ask for a “Silk lined coffin with gold handles and gold leaf flower embellishments” that a relative would have to provide. It would be perfectly acceptable for them to choose the lowest cost coffin.
Aside from personal wishes if a Muslim or a Jew, you may need to be buried according to a certain code.
If you pre pay for a funeral, pay for all the aspects that matter and make it known that any named next of Kin cannot change those plans no matter what, then this contract is with you and the future Funeral Director of whichever religion. This is one written wish that can remain true to the end.
These are perhaps just several reasons why pre paid funeral plans are receiving a lot more attention these days. As someone who had to arrange my Mother’s funeral, I can honestly say no one should have to go through funeral planning as a grieving relative at the time of the death.
It’s a responsibility of course but it need not be a tradition carried forward as there is now a more modern and financially secure way of planning a funeral.