Family disputes after a death are extremely common. In fact research commissioned by Ecclesiastical Planning Services shows that as many as a quarter of deaths result in some form of family quarrel, with finances and funeral arrangements being the most common cause of disagreements. Steven Barrett of R.W. Barrett & Son explains how pre-paid funeral plans can provide a preventative solution to both of these issues, as they ensure the cost of a funeral is already provided for and that specific funeral wishes are recorded in advance.
When a death occurs in a family, the responsibility for arranging the funeral service usually falls to the surviving widow or widower or other family members. Decisions about whether the deceased would have wanted to be buried or cremated and where the funeral should take place have to be made, as well as how it is going to be paid for. At what is usually an extremely emotional time, clarity and patience are often ignored as family members strive to ensure the service is befitting the deceased. Differences in opinion on how the funeral service should be conducted and what arrangements the deceased would have liked can cause rifts in previously harmonious family relationships.
One of the main benefits of pre-paid funeral plans, and indeed one of the main reasons behind their surge in popularity in the UK, is that they allow you to discuss and record exact funeral wishes in advance. This means that when a funeral service is required, your surviving family members are not burdened with the responsibility of making decisions on your behalf as your funeral director is already aware of the arrangements you specified. Naturally, this greatly reduces the risk of disputes.
Many people do not realise that funeral plans can be as detailed as you would like to make them. For example, it might be that you do not care about what happens to you after you die and therefore want the simplest funeral possible, if you note this in your funeral plan, it is what you will receive. However, while simplicity at your funeral service may be your wish, your family may feel differently and, when the time comes, arrange an elaborate ceremony that is completely contrary to your ideals. Funeral plans provide transparency and information when it is very much needed.
Financially, pre-paid funeral plans ensure that your loved ones who are left behind are not left with a large bill to pay. There’s no escaping the fact that funerals cost money. Largely due to third party price hikes, the average UK funeral has, according to the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2016, reached the £3,897 mark. When surviving family members are left to find this amount of money then, it can present real financial issues and therefore disagreements.
A pre-paid funeral plan allows you to sit down with your funeral director and arrange a funeral service including costs. This greatly reduces the risk of a family disagreement surrounding financing a funeral service.
At R.W. Barrett & Son we have extensive experience of arranging pre-paid funeral for people in our community. We understand the courage it takes to plan your own funeral in advance, but we see regularly the vast benefits that taking the time to come and see us, or arranging a home visit, in advance has for families.
One of the main aspects that puts people off funeral pre-planning is a fear of having that difficult conversation and facing your own mortality. This is never easy and requires bravery, but the best way to do this is with your local funeral director. As an industry professional, they will know better than anyone, the questions to ask and the way to handle this conversation to make you feel at ease. Information that needs to be discussed includes identifying a eulogiser, music you would like played and specifics that perhaps you have never thought too much about before.
By having this conversation and putting arrangements and financial provision in place in advance, you can ensure that when the time comes, those difficult decisions are already made and the majority, if not all, of the cost of the service is covered. Making sure that family disputes are not a result of your funeral service.