FUNERAL PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
Wills, estate planning and probate are intimately connected, after all, they are concerned with what happens after we die, and yet there is something we tend to forget about in terms of financial obligation. There is little point in imagining an all bells and whistles funeral with a large wake and a handmade oak coffin if there is insufficient money to pay for it all – and the same goes for even the most mundane and ordinary of funerals.
Costs for funerals are rising all the time, with the Guardian recently stating that even the cost of the most basic funeral more than £3700 plus disbursements. Remembering that a funeral director will still make a profit from a basic funeral, it isn’t their fees which are being cut, but the ‘service’ that is arranged will have no minister, perhaps no Orders of Service or flowers and the coffin is likely to be very simple. There will be no viewings, and no limousine, and you will not be able to choose a time for the service, with an early morning cheap slot being given.
Funeral Directors will not like to offer this kind of funeral as they make no money on the mark ups for goods and services. People are often made to feel that this is the ‘cheap’ option, and any addition will immediately render the basic price null and void. There are alternatives of course.
Direct cremation (a cremation funeral with no mourners, at a time and location of the funeral director’s choice, with the ashes returned to the family) is possible and will suit some people. A memorial service can be arranged by the family in their own time and in the style they wish.
Costs will vary and depend on where you are in the country, and you may not know where the body is stored post mortem. Many providers of low-cost direct cremation funerals are based in a part of the country where cremation costs are low and it is likely that the body will be picked up from hospital and driven cross country for an early morning “disposal”. They are unlikely to have a local branch or offices.
It may well be that someone has the money and desire for an expensive send off. A fancy casket, horse drawn hearse, a following procession of expensive custom limousines, extravagant flowers, orders of service and a big celebration. But many people either cannot afford, or do not wish to spend this kind of money, and indeed why should they? But they still want a funeral, one that is dignified and professional, led by a professional Celebrant or Minister, with a thoughtful and carefully designed service and time for everyone to grieve.
So, what’s the alternative – if direct cremation or DIY isn’t a preferred option, and a basic funeral seems undignified and still overpriced?