Category Archives: Your Questions

Free Funerals

Donate your body to Science for Free Funerals.

Free funerals are hard to come by and we were intrigued by an article elsewhere.  Free funerals are apparently available from some medical schools, but others will return the body later for your  family to bury.

Free Funerals?  Check first!

If the only reason for donating your body is the prospect of  free funerals, you wouldn’t want to come unstuck and land your family with a major upset and bill a couple of years after you had died.   Doesn’t really bear thinking about!   You need to check with the medical school concerned what their arrangements are.   Medical schools do not accept all donated bodies, and they are really only looking for local ones, as otherwise the cost of transport can be substantial, unless your estate bears it.  In can end up being a costly free funeral.

How to donate your body for anatomical examination.

Under the Human Tissue Act 2004, written and witnessed consent for anatomical examination must be given by you; consent cannot be given by anyone else after your death. A formal consent form can be obtained from your nearest medical school and a copy should be kept with your Will. You make certain that your family, close friends and GP are aware that you wish to donate your body: it can come as rather a shock that there is to be no conventional funeral.   While you are doing this, do confirm when where and how your free funeral will be carried out – and double check that it is a free funeral.

Which Medical Schools offer Free Funerals?

There is a PDF list of medical schools on this page (click the free funerals link immediately below) – you will need to ask about free funerals as policy may vary from time to time.   The one thing you can be sure of is that your body will be used to benefit future generations of doctors and the general population.   But please do make sure that your family are fully aware and understand your wishes.

For a more conventional prepaid funeral plan, not a free funerals, click the link.


Originally posted 2012-07-30 08:44:08.

Garden Burials – are they Legal

Garden Burials – can I bury my wife in the garden?

Garden burials aren’t wildly popular, for the simple reason that it would probably be impossible to sell a normal house with a human body in the garden!  We haven’t yet been asked to arrange a funeral plan for a home burial.

Apparently, Environment Agency says no law prevents garden burials.  Authorisation forms, however, must be completed, as a decomposing body could create a health risk to the rest of us.

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

Garden burials must be more than 10 m. from any standing water, and a minimum of 50 metres from any source of drinking water. They must also be deep enough to stop wild animals from digging them up.

You must also record exactly where the garden burial plot is and give this information on the deeds – which is why it is generally a really bad idea!  Few people want to buy a house where garden burials have taken place.

The law is apparently in the Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880.  The death must first be registered by Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.  You may get some information HERE.

You must then get agreement from the local council before the garden burial can take place. A dead person comes within the legal classification of “clinical waste.” He or she can’t be buried in a garden except under rules set by the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and also the Environment Protection Act 1990. A licensed operator is generally needed but the Council  may or may not require this – you’ll have to ask. It’s a criminal offence to use garden burials to dispose of  “controlled waste” except with the rules. Before you consider such a burial stop and think what you would do if you ever decided to move!

Ashes don’t cause a problem, and can be scattered in the garden or alternatively buried in a container somewhere where they are never likely to be dug up eg.under a favourite tree.

Headstones for Garden Burials as long as they aren’t too near the road or over a specified height, planning permission is not needed.

Pets: a pet owner can bury a pet in the garden where the pet lived.  Provided it is it is not technically  “hazardous waste”.   Enquire of your Council and let us know please!

Garden burials – not really!

Originally posted 2012-01-20 20:28:47.

Funeral Planning Options

Your Funeral Planning Options:

We all think about how our funeral will end up being paid for, so here are some options for you to consider:

1) Keep cash in the bank to pay for the funeral.

Over the last 5 years, your original £2000 might have grown to £2,308.59 if it some emergency hasn’t caused it to be spent, and it hasn’t gone on Care Fees. There are other issues too

Client review.

I can’t thank The Prepaid Funeral Review team enough. They asked me what I wanted and then sent me the details of companies that could offer just what I was looking for. A thoroughly professional, friendly and stress-free experience, and they hold your hand every step of the way. No question is too silly or small. They really do understand and take the time to help. 

2) Take out a typical over 50s life insurance.

Your £2000 plan taken out 5 years ago would still pay out £2000, or nothing at all if you miss a couple of payments. Non-profit whole of life is the technical name, and it is usually only the insurance company that makes the profit, so as far as your family is concerned it will probably be no profit and no interest on many years “savings”!

3) A funeral costing £2000 then would already cost :

According to Sun Life, costs have risen by 36.53% in just 5 years – and it gets worse. They have risen from £1,230 in 1997 to nearly £4000 today  (2017). Conservative estimates suggest that by 2024 a funeral will cost, on average, between £7,000 and £8000.

4) Take out a Prepaid Funeral Plan.

At least that way the major burden of costs will be taken care of.

Not everyone can afford to pay for the whole lot in one go, so there are all sorts of different ways of easing the inevitable problems. Different providers offer their own options, so a chat with us may mean you discover options you had no idea existed.   Or you can invite all their salesmen round to sell to you! At least ask us for a Free copy of our Final Wishes booklet so you can leave some guidance behind even if there is no money for a plan.

So what to do next…

It makes sense to minimise the financial and emotional strain on those left behind. The majority of prepaid funeral plans are paid for in one go, but monthly instalment terms are available too, so most people can afford one.

Just give us a call on 0800 0588 240, or use the enquiry form if it is out of office hours (we have lives!), and we will be pleased to discuss the issues with you, give you any advice and guidance we can, and send you written recommendations (if you wish.)

Direct Cremation – a personal view

Direct Cremation – a personal view.

A market place that is becoming more and more acceptable to clients and their families is that of Cremation Direct Packages. (click For information on prepaid direct cremation plans.)

In their bluntest form, the deceased is picked up from wherever they pass away and the company will arrange for a cremation to take place. Nothing more.

This is even easier and sometimes cheaper if they pass away in a hospital as the company (usually National) will pick them up directly from the Hospital Mortuary and take them to be cremated with no family or friends in attendance. Where a client passes away at home or in a nursing home etc. where a body cannot be stored then there may (with some firms)  be an extra cost of around £250 as a local Funeral Director may need to arrange collection and storage.

These disposal services are increasingly available as a prepaid or even a monthly paid funeral plan. The prices are usually around half the cost of a normal cremation with a service.  There are some extra costs such as return of ashes etc.

The Crematorium direct services will often be conducted well away from the clients home, for example, one firm’s service is at Croydon Crematorium and the family does not know when it is going to happen.

The cost is not the only element that has seen the rise in these types of funerals. Other reasons include:-

–        Difficulty getting a family together from around the world (A service or family event, party etc. can be arranged much later) and the deceased may even attend as ashes.

–        The client wishes to be sent abroad (much easier to travel as hand luggage than be shipped with a coffin!)

–        The client did not want a formal service or funeral, perhaps believing their body is of no value on death.

–        The client’s family would find it difficult to be in the same room, with many families splitting up a funeral could be a trial too far for spouses, step-families and children.

–        It is fashionable with the likes of David Bowie having a no service cremation, it is increasingly acceptable and possibly even fashionable.

–        No family or very few mourners likely to attend.  This could even be the very elderly who are the last of a family to pass away, ironically as we become more connected through social media etc. we are often more and more disconnected from friends and relatives

–        Religious reasons can sometimes be a factor with a Direct to cremation funeral fitting with religious requirements such as same day (Or very quick) cremation.

–        The method of passing can also mean that a Cremation Direct is right, such as passing away whilst being involved in a crime of some notoriety or some families may decide that a suicide or a person not being discovered for some weeks may be a reason to consider a cremation of this type.

These types of funeral however often need to be sympathetically organised as not all family members are in agreement that this course of action is respectful to those that have passed away and their relatives.

Some people will not have the closure that a funeral can help them with and it is possible that this will have a lasting effect on their lives. I would suggest that this is not organised lightly, but soberly and after much considerate thought to quote the marriage service. I know from my experience writing Wills clients often quip that they want their funeral to be as cheap as possible or stick them in the wheelie bin, well this is not necessarily a trigger to arrange a Cremation Direct Funeral Plan. The family needs to be in agreement as a funeral is usually as much for those left behind as those who have died.

Just remember when the state or local authority organise a funeral for those with no relatives or no money for a funeral, they are afforded a proper funeral with flowers, a coffin, a celebrant and an advertised funeral with a marker for ashes or in some cases a burial. With a Crem Direct often none of these will be present.

As Crematorium Direct Packages grow in popularity there will be some families where this is not the right answer for their loved one. Just one close family member who does not agree with this as the right way to mark a loved one’s passing can lead to family breakdown and possibly a lifetime of grief and heartache, not to mention lawyers sharpening their pencils as they represent children taking on step-parents who arrange a non-funeral for their Mother or Father. Organising the right Funeral plan is not just about price, it is about organising the right funeral for both the client and their family.

Peter Brown

Our comments: we respect Peters views, but these sort of plans do have a place, and with our expertise, we can find the most suitable one in the prepaid direct cremation market – or in the main market where Peter primarily works.

Monthly Funeral Plans: What Are The Options?

Monthly Prepaid Funeral Plans.

pay funeral plan monthly

Monthly Funeral plans

Not everyone can afford to pay for a funeral plan in one go, so most plans offer some sort of monthly payment plan.  You can, of course, go for the Over 50s style insurance which we dislike intensely.  But proper prepaid funeral can also be paid for on a monthly basis. With most prepaid funeral plans, monthly contributions only go on for a maximum of 10 years – then the plan is fully paid.  Even if you miss instalments you rarely lose everything unless it is very early on. Contrast that with monthly premiums for Over 50s Plans which typically have to be paid until you are 85 or 90 and where you do lose every penny if you miss payments.

Ideally, you should be able to put down some money as a deposit, to reduce the monthly cost, but not all providers insist on one.  So what are the normal offers available?

Do I need a deposit for monthly payment funeral plans?

Not necessarily, but if you have one, it gives us a wider range of plans to make recommendations from. Where a deposit is required, the typical amount is £250. Always bear in mind that you must keep up the payments, as you will lose out if you don’t.  But if you start an instalment plan, then hot financial problems, always talk to the company concerned and try to work something out rather than just getting an automatic penalty.  One company does not return any payments to the client at all!

Low cost monthly funeral plans.

Most plans can be paid in monthly instalments.

  1.  The cheapest type is the Direct Cremation Plan.  They are not really ideal, but some of them will allow you to upgrade them to a more normal plan allowing for a service later on.   That option allows for dramatically lower monthly payments.  But we need to make sure that you have a plan which can be upgraded.  In some cases upgrades can be done at almost the last minute.
  2. The next lowest in monthly cost is the group of plans which pay only the funeral directors fees.  The crematorium or burial costs have to be found elsewhere, as do ministers and doctors fees.  But again, the plans can be upgraded later. These can be used as a way of topping up one of the Over 50s life plans as they lose out to inflation – if you already have one.
  3. Moving up slightly are the new breed of cut down plans.   They are typically only perhaps £5 a month cheaper, but they seriously restrict where and when the funeral is held.  But if that fiver is more than you can stretch too, many can be topped up to the normal full plans below later on.
  4. Then we get to standard funeral plans which cover the basics.  Typically, the funeral director is paid in full.  A substantial allowance is put aside (and inflation linked) to cover crematorium fees, ministers or celebrants fees and the doctors fees.  You can allow for limousines for the family and all sorts of fancy things if you wish. But we believe that the main thing is to cover the basics as far as you are able, and keep the monthly payments at a reasonable level!

We’re happy to chat through the options, without obligation, so why not give us a call!