Just this morning, another leaflet was pushed through my door extolling the benefits of Pre-paid funerals plans.
The literature focuses on the rising costs of funerals and suggests how people should protect their family from the worry and distress of having to pay for their funerals by taking out one of their pre-paid funeral plans.
There’s no discussion, no planning, no advice and certainly not a great deal of information about what is and what isn’t covered by the plan – you simply tick the box, pay your money and file the document away for someone else to find after your death
But, is this really the best way to help prepare your family for your death?
When you look closely at the small print, the majority of these plans don’t even guarantee to cover all of the future costs associated with your funeral. Plus, if you change your mind, and ask for your money back, you’ll often find there is a large administration fee to pay and you won’t get back all of the money that you paid in.
In fact, there is now speculation that the selling of pre-paid funeral plans may become the next financial scandal ( https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/sep/09/prepaid-funeral-plans-experts-warn-national-scandal )
Now, I’m all for making financial provision for your death (if you can afford to) but I’m worried that many people are parting with their hard-earned savings when there are many other more flexible and less costly options available. A simple life insurance policy, with small monthly premiums, or money put aside in your bank account may well be a better option – especially if you may need the money for something else at a later date.
However, what I feel is much more important, is actually putting together a proper plan for your final years and, ultimately, your death. It’s vitally important to sit down with your family and discuss things such as where you might like to live in the future, what kind of care you might need, what happens if you go into hospital, and what kind of funeral you’d like at the end of your days. Of course, as part of this conversation, it’s also sensible to discuss the financial costs involved and where this money is likely to come from.
Some of these things can be put off, and discussed as and when they are required, but planning your funeral is the one thing that you can’t be involved in at the time. So if you have any particular thoughts and wishes about your funeral and what happens to your body after death then it’s now or never.
But this is only possible if you know all of your rights and options at death and, unfortunately, most people do not know what’s possible. Did you know, for instance, that you don’t need to use a funeral director, that you can hold a funeral service in your back garden, or that you can book a cremation yourself?
At Holly’s Funerals, we aim to help people reconnect with death; we're clear about what we do and what we don't do regarding death and communicate this clearly to all of our clients, we support people to be more involved in the care of their loved ones, either at home or at our premises, we help people plan for their own death and support them to communicate this with their family.
One thing we offer is a “Get creative with your funeral” workshop during which we advise people of all their rights and options at death and help them create the perfect funeral for themselves. At the end of the workshop, people leave with a funeral thoughts and wishes book, which contains all of their ideas and plans for them to share with their family.
If you would like more information about this topic, or any other funeral related advice, please feel free to contact us without obligation.