Dying is expensive; there’s no getting around it, and the expense can come as quite a shock to those responsible for arranging your funeral.  In recent years, the cost of a simple funeral has risen sharply due to a number of factors such as grave shortages and local authorities increasing cremation fees.

According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), who have been reviewing funeral costs, the average cost of a simple funeral in 2017 was just under £3,800.  This excluded the optional extras such as embalming, the funeral service, funeral venue and limousines.  In 2018, Sun Life produced a report “2018 Cost of Dying Report” in which they found a standard funeral had risen to £4,271 before extras.  These optional extras can increase the cost by an additional £2,061; this means a total of over £6,000 for the average funeral.

So what can be done to help lessen the burden?

Provided there is enough money in your estate to cover the costs, some funeral directors are happy to liaise with the solicitor assisting you to get the bill paid directly from the deceased’s bank account or, in some cases, even delay payment until probate has been settled.  Failing that, a funeral plan, whereby you pre-pay the funeral costs, may be an option.  It is vital, however, that you fully understand exactly what is covered by the plan so that there are no further unexpected surprises to add to the burden of grief your loved ones will already be experiencing.  In addition, you must ensure that the funeral company is a reputable one and is regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority.

Generally, a funeral plan will cover the following:

  • Funeral director fees
  • Coffin
  • Transport
  • In some instances, cremation or burial fees
  • What you want to happen at your funeral

Additional fees are payable for the cost of the doctors’ fees for the death certification; the funeral celebrant; the death notice; the order sheets; the venue hire for the wake; plus, in some cases, the burial or cremation fees are not covered by the plan.  As well as these, you need to be aware of solicitors’ fees for administering your estate, especially if using your estate to cover these costs.

With standard funeral costs expected to rise further to £7,000 by 2020, making plans now to lock in the cost of a funeral at today’s prices is good preparation.  A bit of research and planning now will go a long way to helping relieve the future anxiety of your loved ones.

For advice on funeral plan companies and further frequently asked questions, see https://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/faqs/.

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