Until it comes time to plan one, few people really understand the true cost of a funeral. While there are variations on what type of service you can choose and how much budget you have to work in, you will still need approximately £3,000 for the average cremation and as much as £5,000 for a burial. Paying for these fees, especially in the midst of dealing with grief and working your way through the overload of emotions, can feel incredibly daunting. Thankfully, there is support out there in certain situations that can lessen the load and allow you to direct your focus elsewhere.
The Importance of a Funeral Plan
A funeral plan is a pre-arrangement for your funeral or cremation. It is designed to help alleviate the stress that could be placed on your family in the event of your death. Not only does it offer peace of mind, but it also means that there is an agreed structure in place and you get the funeral you want. Most funeral plans allow you to pay a monthly fee or a lump sum with varying levels, depending on the type of service you would like.
Benefits of a Funeral Plan
- You are guaranteed to be accepted.
- Fixed fees for your funeral directors.
- Most plans can be transferred to any legible funeral director.
- Protected from inflation.
- Allows you to pre-organise everything now, to eliminate the stress on your loved one.
Organising a funeral plan means that you have time to make payments towards the celebration you want. It eliminates stress on your loved one – especially the financial stress of trying to pay for an appropriate funeral – and gives you full control over the way you want to be laid to rest. We believe that everyone, especially those with dependents, considers a funeral plan that fits with their needs.
What Happens Without a Funeral Plan?
There are no legal requirements to have a funeral plan here in the UK. Therefore, there are many situations where a loved one may die without any structure in place to manage the finances of their funeral. If the deceased has left a will, it falls to the executor of the estate to organise and make payments for the funeral. Without a will, it is down to the closest family member.
In the first instance, you will need to:
- Pay for the funeral using the bank account of the deceased.
- Extract money from the deceased estate by selling assets or property.
In many instances, these two actions will create enough capital to organise a funeral. However, if you still need more, there are several additional support avenues available.
What Support is Available?
So, what happens if you don’t have enough money to cover a basic funeral or cremation?
Funeral Expenses Payment
If you are in receipt of certain benefits, you may be entitled to the Funeral Expenses Payment. This is designed to help pay for a funeral that you are in charge of arranging. It is there to help you pay for:
- The burial fees.
- Plot fees.
- Creation fees.
- Relevant paperwork, including Dr’s certificate and death certificate.
- Travel is needed when organising or attending the funeral.
- Costs associated with moving the body within the UK (50 miles minimum).
The exact amount you can claim depends on your circumstances. You will only be entitled to £120 should the deceased have a funeral plan in place.
What Benefits Will You Need to Be Claiming?
To claim the Funeral Expenses Payment, you or your partner need to be in receipt of one of the following UK benefits:
- Income support.
- Jobseekers Allowance (income-based).
- Employment and Support Allowance (income-related).
- Pension Credit.
- Housing Benefit.
- Working Tax Credit (disability/severe disability element).
- Child Tax Credit.
- Universal Credit.
- Support for Mortgage Interest Loan (DOA).
Your Relationship With the Deceased
You or your partner will need to have one of the following relationships with the deceased to claim:
- Be the partner of the deceased when they died.
- Be a close relative or friend of the deceased when they died.
- Be the parent of a stillborn baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
- Be the parent or responsible person for a deceased child under 16 years old.
- Be the parent or responsible person for a decreased young adult under 20 years old and in approved education/training.
To make a claim, you must apply within 6 months of the funeral by calling the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469.
An Important Note
The Funeral Expenses Payment is there to help support those in paying for a funeral. It will not cover all of the associated costs. In fact, you may still need to pay for most of it yourself – for some families, this is as much as ⅓ of the costs of a simple funeral.
Public Health Funeral
If there is not enough money in the deceased estate to pay for the funeral, it cannot be covered by family members or there are no relatives available to pay, the local authorities can arrange a Public Health Funeral. These are designed to protect public health and ensure everybody is treated with a consistent level of dignity and respect. There are generally cremations that take place in early weekday morning slots. Family members generally don’t have much say in what happens during these celebrations and additional features, such as flowers or family transport, are not included in the arrangements.
Even if the family is unable to pay for a funeral, the local authority will inform them of the time and place, in case they wish to attend.
Here at Wallace Stuart Limited, we offer a compassionate and tailored service to help you achieve an appropriate send-off, regardless of your available budget. With options for different burial sites, coffins and even simple cremations or burials, we’ll ensure your loved one is laid to rest in the most respectful manner. If you would like to speak to a member of the team, please do get in contact with us here today.