I’ve just been reading an article in the latest issue of Moneywise magazine, titled ‘Rest in poverty. Why death is the last rip-off’ and I’m staggered.
With the absolute fact that all of us will (sadly) die at some point, it’s something that we could plan for frequently don’t.
As with the subject of personal finance, for many the subject of death and planning for a funeral, is not a subject we willingly indulge in.
According to Sun Life’s Annual Cost of Dying Report 2011, the average funeral cost now stands at £4,955. According to the Moneywise article this is the 4th biggest expense we face after buying a house, getting married and having children. That’s a rather sobering thought!
What is staggering to me though is how much money businesses are making out of death.
In basic terms, there’s the funeral director’s fees, death certificate, cost of the service and the burial or cremation fees.
So why have the costs gone up so much?
My initial thought was that funeral director’s must be cashing in and putting up their fees. This is not the case though. They have of course put their fees up but, for example, in the last year this was ‘only’ by an average of 6.7%.
The biggest contributor to the increased costs is the soaring cost of cremations or burials. You can find out the finer details in the article but suffice to say whether you opt for a burial or cremation a large bill will result.
It pays to plan ahead.
There is an overall message to take away and to me that is, as with all personal finance matters, you need to plan and do your research to ensure you get the best product, at the best price, to meet your specific needs.
You can plan ahead by buying a funeral plan or opting to save money and let your family and friends know what the money is intended for.
Not my cup of tea but, as the article points out, there is always the option to donate your body to medical science and thereby completely avoid the costs of a funeral.
And there’s inheritance to think about and a will to write.
Finally, don’t forget the subject of inheritance as you make your plans. Property and money are the most wanted assets to be passed on as inheritance but do make sure you make a will and specifically reference your wishes.
You will also need to name the executor or executors, they will in all probability need to get a grant of probate to deal with your affairs once you have passed on.
This all may seem a morbid subject, which of course in many respects it is, but with planning you will both know that your wishes will be met and also importantly that you will not cause angst to your loved ones by leaving them to decide what to do.
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