It certainly isn’t the most cheerful subject in the world and for a lot of people, it really isn’t something they ever really want to talk about. But after saying goodbye to my Nana earlier this year and dealing with all the arrangements, talk about it you should, and here’s why!
Funerals cost a lot of money and what happens on the day and with your remains should be your choice and not left to those you leave behind. By ignoring the one true certainty in life many people end up lumping the cost and all the organisation onto already grieving loved ones…cue the mighty funeral plan!
What’s a Funeral Plan?
Well, it is actually a lot more than you may think. Given a choice most people would say a funeral plan is a list of how you want your funeral ceremony to go and how you would like your body treated after you die. However, in reality, it is so much more and it is really important. A funeral plan is basically a savings plan that you pay into like insurance so that when you die it covers the considerable cost of the funeral. However, a good funeral plan actually allows you to plan the ceremony and all the others bits too so you can literally have it all sorted and done.
Are Funeral Plans Safe?
Sadly, as we all saw in 2008 financial products can be mis-sold, misused and downright dodgy. Thankfully in the UK, we do have a governing body called the Funeral Planning Authority. The idea with this body is that they have a massive list of approved providers so you know they have been fully checked and audited. The idea of paying into a plan for years and then your loved ones finding out it was all a con doesn’t bear thinking about, ask the people who’s pensions ended up being worth nothing. So it really is best to think very carefully about finding the right provider.
Let’s Talk About Dying
It has already been said; no one wants to talk about dying but we really need to do it more. One of the biggest reasons is that often death comes along when we are not expecting it and when that happens the lack of provision or planning can make it even more heartbreaking for those left behind. Think about it, a husband dies suddenly and his family are naturally devastated. But what will make this worse if the fact that the funeral could cost nearly £9,000 and the family has no idea what the poor chap may have wanted to happen? On the other hand, if a discussion had been had about the type of funeral, songs, guests, readings and the cost was planned for this situation while awful would not be made worse by taking on debt and worrying about getting the ceremony right.
Burial or Cremation?
Out of the back of initial chats about funerals comes the big choice about what happens to your body when you die. Some people chose to donate it to medical science which is becoming a very popular choice. Others still go for the more traditional burial but this is becoming very expensive. The cost of cremation is actually falling and with it comes to a big rise in popularity. For many, the idea of having ashes scattered at an important place is much more appealing than lying in the ground! But even burial has options now with natural burial in woodland or meadows becoming very popular. Why not mix things up with a cardboard coffin or a banana leaf option? All of these things should be looked at and talk about.
A Happy Day?
While your funeral is unlikely to be a happy occasion it doesn’t have to be utterly miserable. Most people would agree they would like loved ones to think of fond memories, maybe even have a laugh or two over some funny stories and to that end talking, planning and having a real choice about how your funeral happens is so important. Leaving it to your loved ones means they will have to make choices on your behalf and while you may say “that’s fine I’m not there” when asked your loved ones may disagree and want some guidance.
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