Clueless Funeral Arrangers: How Not To Mess Up A Funeral

Clueless Funeral Arrangers

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Most family members or friends who end up with the job as funeral arrangers are clueless.  Not because they are daft or inexperienced (though they probably will be inexperienced!)  It will be because they don’t have a clue what the deceased actually wanted to happen.  Four in ten don’t even know if they wanted to be buried or cremated.   As to the type of ceremony (or none) or who should be invited – not the faintest idea.  That means they fall easy prey to less scrupulous target driven undertakers who guilt trip the funeral arranger into buying needlessly expensive coffins, flowers, memorials .  A £3,500 funeral fee could easily be doubled – and leave the family in needless debt. A few hundred pounds on a posher coffin, limos for the family, a coach and horses and that could add £2,000 to the bill in minutes.

Over one 20% of people funeral arrangers were totally clueless about the deceased persons wishes! Just one in a hundred were confident they knew exactly what the deceased wanted. That uncertainty leaves room for stress, worry, guilt and family arguments as to the rights and wrongs of every part of the arrangements.

The average funeral in early 2016 cost £3,897.  That was an increase rise of over £203 in a single year. Since Sun Life started tracking funeral prices in 2004 costs have more than doubled. (Except for those families who had invested in a sound prepaid funeral plan of course.)  On top of the basic cost of the funeral, the average cost of extras including flowers and the wake is very nearly another £2,000.

So what should you make sure that your family funeral arranger will know when the time comes?

1. What sort of funeral do you want?
What songs you would like played.   Whom you would like invited.   You may not care about a lot of things like coffins or flowers or donations.  But you may.  And one of the great advantages of prepaid funerals is that they give you the opportunity to consider what is important to you. At the same time you are reducing the burden on the final funeral arranger.  Even if you don’t care, a firm decision makes things easier for those left behind.  You can always update your wishes as the years go by and things change, but what you won’t know is when they will be needed, so advance planning is clearly rather important!   Whether you want a sound but economical funeral or a more elaborate one, make the choice early. And pay for it of you can.

2. Consider the cost.
Some of your decisions will have no bearing on cost, but if you want a large crowd and a horse-drawn hearse, they will be expensive. It’s worth talking to us about a the cost, so you can see how much your ideal funeral will cost. If this comes in as far more expensive than you had expected, then you can compromise. Or start off with a basic prepaid funeral plan and add to it later, rather than let the burden fall on your family.

3. How you will pay for it.
Insurance companies would have you take a stab in the dark and buy a fixed cash value policy, which may be worth half as much in 7 years and just a sixth of the value in 20 years.  Funeral cost inflation has been consistently high.  Not only that but with many policies you will lose
every penny if a couple of payments are missed.  And that is very likely to happen when you are older and finances are stretched.  Worse still you may end up paying in more than you get out.  Or with the “guarantee” that you will never pay out less than you have paid in. So in effect, you have lent them your money interest free for thirty years!

4. Talk to your family.
Once you have thought through your wishes, and what you can afford.   Then you can tell your family about your ideal funeral. It won’t always be an easy conversation, but it is an important one, and they will be the funeral organisers at the end of the day.  Good funeral plans are flexible though!

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