The Cost of Funerals
Timothy Leary said “The most important thing you do in your life is to die.”
And while it may have been true for Timothy, many of use would prefer to think of other important things to do, while we are alive.
However, the fact remains, “no one here gets out alive” as per Jim Morrison, we all at some point in time will die.
And death may not be proud, but death is also not cheap.
The average cost of a funeral is almost £4,000, and if you wish to be buried and not cremated in London, that cost rises to as much as £13,000.
Makes a Viking funeral look more attractive.
However, this “cost factor” has changed how we prepare and have funerals.
Many people are pre-planning their funerals, paying in instalments or in advance, so that when they die their family is not burdened with the expense of a funeral.
Many of us are opting for direct cremation, where once we die our bodies are taking direct to a crematorium and cremated. And no fancy ceremonies.
There also is life insurance, having life insurance in place to cover the cost of a funeral, again as to not leave our loved ones we have left behind in a financial mess over paying for our funeral.
According to research done by Royal London, 12% or 74,000 families “struggle to cover the costs of saying goodbye to loved ones”.
Families were going into debt, and needing to borrow money in order to pay for their loved one’s funeral expenses.
There is help from the government for funerals, however not all will be eligible. In addition, there are caps on what will be paid for and covered.
The report by Royal London states, “The eligibility criteria for the benefit are complex; open to a relatively small number of people in receipt of qualifying benefits, who then have to submit a lengthy claim form with evidence that is assessed. This processing takes on average 18.6 days, nearly four weeks.”
“Most consumers consider costs for services delivered by a funeral director such as a coffin and collection and care of the deceased to be essential components of a funeral. [The] Department for Work and Pensions do not consider these to be “necessary” elements meaning that if a funeral director is used their fees would need to be paid out of the £700.”
Some councils provide “public health funerals”, however, there may not allow anyone to attend, and the ashes may not be returned to a family member unless payment is made.
A sort of posthumous extortion.
If a family member has not pre-paid their funeral expenses, or has life insurance, the options for burial and a funeral become limited.
The family can try to all pitch in and come up with the money, or one or more can take out loans to cover the costs.
There also is the option if the deceased has assets, of selling those assets to cover the funeral expenses.