Most of us don’t wish to spend much time thinking about what arrangements we need to put in place for when we pass away – and that’s very understandable. However, it is also an unavoidable responsibility, especially as far as costs are concerned.
If you’re worried about the pressures the cost-of-living crisis are exerting on your current day-to-day life, what about the situation when you or a loved one dies?
Recent statistics indicate that the costs for a burial now hover well over the £4,000 mark, and even for cremation, you would still be looking at expenditure north of £3,000. So, what steps can you take right now to prepare financially for that deeply saddening time?
First of all, what type of funeral do you have in mind?
The exact way you answer this question will naturally vary depending on whether you are preparing for your own funeral, or that of a loved one.
If, for instance, you are getting yourself ready financially for the funeral of a loved one who has yet to pass away, it will naturally be important to communicate with each other to start getting a sense of what their wishes will be for their funeral.
There’s no reason why someone necessarily has to have a funeral at all – indeed, this has been specifically requested in the past by celebrities such as David Bowie and Anita Brookner. Meanwhile, others may wish to have a funeral, but might favour a relatively low-key treatment, such as a direct cremation, with a separate memorial event perhaps taking place elsewhere later.
These matters are all important ones to consider, as they will shape the budget and spending plans you ultimately decide to put in place for the funeral.
Consider putting money towards a funeral plan
Presuming you’re planning for a funeral that will probably take place many years into the future rather than within weeks or months, the ‘traditional’ way to financially prepare for such a service is to commit to a pre-paid funeral plan.
A pre-paid funeral plan is very much what it sounds like – it’s a plan that you commit to as a means of paying some or all of your funeral costs in advance. You might do this by paying the entire sum upfront, or you may arrange to pay monthly instalments over time.
You can find attractive funeral plans being offered by leading funeral directors in Gravesend, London, and other parts of the UK. One of the big advantages of committing to a funeral plan is the opportunity it presents to pay for a future funeral in today’s prices, rather than whatever price it might be in months or years to come as a result of inflation.
As with any major financial commitment, though, it is crucial to look at the finer details of whatever funeral plan you’re considering, before making your final choice.
Look into the other ways to pay for a funeral
Whether or not you decide in favour of a funeral plan, it isn’t the only way to help pay for a funeral.
A lot of people, for example, take out a life insurance policy, the idea behind this type of insurance being that in the event of the policyholder’s death, the policy will pay out a one-off tax-free lump sum to that person’s beneficiaries. So, your surviving loved ones might choose to use a certain proportion of that payout for the funeral costs.
Then, there is the old-fashioned way of putting money aside for any anticipated future expense, whether that’s a funeral, a house or car purchase, or even a holiday; putting a bit of money into a savings account each month. But as we all know, life is unpredictable, and you can’t guarantee you won’t have to turn to those savings for other expenses. Plus, future funeral costs might rise faster than the interest you earn on your savings.
Another possibility for helping to pay for your funeral, could be stating in your will that you want certain assets of yours – such as your house, investments, or valuables – to be sold when you die to help meet the costs.
But of course, the latter approach depends on you having many such assets of significant value in the first place, and it is important to bear in mind the likely time lag between assets being put up for sale, and them being sold. It is still probably advisable, then, to have a conversation with the person who will be responsible for arranging your funeral, to check whether they will have sufficient money to pay the costs of the service upfront.
Hopefully, the above will have given you a good sense of the things you need to think about when financially preparing for a funeral – whether your own, or someone else’s. It may not be something that you wish to spend that much time thinking about, but by preparing now, you can help ensure minimal future regrets for you or your family when that day eventually comes.
How to prepare financially for funeral costs is a feature post