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Funeral plans that won’t break the bank
The birds are chirping, bees are buzzing and there’s a buzz in the air. It’s summertime once again. Despite it being warm and glorious, that hasn’t stopped us thinking about funerals. We don’t want to be all doom and gloom, but unfortunately, the hard times in life don’t wait for anyone.
The number of public health funerals, or ‘pauper’s funerals’ have increased 26% since 2019 – that’s almost 6,000 people. So, it’s no surprise most people may feel they need to sort out their funeral plans at some point.
According to SunLife’s most recent Cost of Dying report, the average price of a basic funeral, if it includes a burial is £4,794, while a funeral with a cremation is £3,673. Meanwhile, the overall “cost of dying”, if you include a memorial or wake, flowers, catering and, crucially, the professional fees to administer the estate, is closer to £9,200. That’s quite a chunk of cash!
Some people feel that a simple cremation will do them just fine after they pass. A cremation alone with no service would set you back around £995 with Distinct Cremations or Aura Cremations, or around £1,295 with Pure Cremations. Although this is a cheaper option compared to some funeral plans, admittedly it is still a big sum to pay. Luckily, some businesses offer payment plans, starting from just over £10 per month.
Many people opt for a fuss free, small gathering of family and friends after they die – a celebration of life, without all the bells and whistles. But for many, having a ceremony for their loved one helps them to process their loss. It can be a key part of healing for people, helping them to come to terms with their grief.
Maria Bailey, founder of GriefSpeciaists.org says: “If your loved one has chosen a direct cremation and you’re not sure about how to celebrate their lives, think about how you can still come together to share memories. Having the rite of a funeral removed can feel like you’ve been robbed. Think about how you can create your own alternative that is personal to you and your family.”
A full funeral, with added extras on top of the burial or cremation can become fairly pricey. According to Over50choices.co.uk a memorial will set you back £1,064, limousine hire is £353, venue hire for the funeral would be £312, catering £467, order of service £105, flowers £210, death notices £77…all that expense and you won’t even be there!
Conversations about death and funerals can feel difficult, awkward and sad. But it is important to outline the type of send-off you’d like with your family. If you feel a simple send-off is right for you, let your loved ones know. Alternatively, if you’d like added extras and a funeral with great ornamentation, it’s a good idea to get costs sorted whilst you’re still around.
According to research conducted by Farewill, more than four in ten people who have contributed to the funeral costs of a relative or friend in the past two years had gone into debt to do so. Sometimes people choose to take out life insurance, but this may not always be the best route to take.
One of the biggest companies that offers life insurance is Sun Life. Its over 50 plan starts at £7 a month – meaning the average 65-year-old woman would pay in £2,100100, only to receive just £1,193 after fees and tax. Put the same amount in a tax-free ISA and you’d have the pay-out amount two years quicker!
Getting a funeral plan can be far more cost-effective. You can lock in the price of the funeral you choose and know that those you leave behind will get a far better deal financially. You can either pay in monthly instalments, which end when you have paid off the cost of the funeral or pay in one lump-sum.
When choosing a funeral plan, make sure to double-check which extras are included. Often, costs such as a coffin and a hearse will be within the plan, but sometimes you may have to add these separately. For example, most plans don’t usually cover the cost of a burial plot, which can be more than £3,000, or a headstone which can cost upwards of £2,000, so always double check.
Anyone over the age of 18 can take out a funeral plan. However, some providers are specifically catered to those over 50 – so this is also something to bear in mind. Also, double-check the provider is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that if the company in charge of your funeral plan goes bust before you die, the money you paid in is covered and your family won’t be left out of pocket.
The Co-op – one of the biggest funeral providers in the UK – has lots of options. It allows those paying in instalments to choose a price that suits their wallet. Plans include ‘Simple’ (£3,150) for a basic funeral through to ‘Bronze’ (£3,735), ‘Silver’ (£4,150) and finally ‘Gold’ ((£4,460). None of these includes the price of a burial plot, however.
You can choose to either pay in full, spread the cost over six or 12 months with no additional costs or monthly instalments (with extra cost) over a period of two to 25 years. Co-op members get a very small discount on the above fees – £75 off the Simple and £125 off the other three packages – so make sure to check that out.
Golden Charter is another popular provider, which offers various options. Plans can be paid in instalments over the course of either 10 or 15 years. However, think carefully. The amount you pay in instalments works out quite a bit more than the value of the funeral package being offered, so it may be beneficial to pay in one lump if you can.
For example, its Basic Plan (which pays for a coffin, cremation and £500 towards third party costs) either costs £1,785 if bought outright, or you can spread it out over 10 years, paying in £19.01 a month, which means the final bill comes to £2,330.20 (more than £500 extra). The Standard Plan costs £3,730, which covers all the basics, but would cost £5,447.20 if you chose to pay in instalments, spread over 15 years.
Dignity offers prepaid funeral plans which guarantee to cover your burial costs in full (excluding the burial plot itself). Its burial funerals start at £2,990. It doesn’t offer set plans but allows you to create your own. The plans can be paid for up to five years at no extra cost. Prices start at £2,990.