February 14th, 2024

Should you pre-plan your own funeral? 4 surprising positives to consider

While the UK has experienced its cost of living crisis over the past two years, another financial phenomenon has appeared alongside it: the “cost of dying crisis”.

According to the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, the average cost of dying in the UK rose by 5% in 2023 to £9,658, the highest figure ever recorded. This cost includes a funeral service, a wake, and professional fees for administering a person’s estate.

What’s more, the cost of a “basic funeral” has gone up by 4.7% to £4,141.

Although it may feel morbid to consider the “cost of dying”, especially when put into the context of your own family, the rising cost of funeral arrangements could present you with an opportunity.

Indeed, it is possible to pay for a funeral, and other burial costs, in advance. Keep reading to find out four surprising positives of pre-paying your funeral and other death arrangements.

1. You have time to ensure you can cover the cost of your funeral

The SunLife Cost of Dying Report says that in 2023, 70% of people made provisions specifically to pay for their funeral before they pass away. However, only 54% actually put enough aside to cover the cost of their funeral.

The report goes on to say that family members are often required to make up any shortfall, with the average family needing to spend £2,716 of their own money when a loved one dies. 25% of families use credit cards to cover this cost, while 35% draw upon savings and investments.

So, if you wish to ensure your funeral will be paid for before you pass away, you could put financial provisions in place sooner rather than later.

Here are two options you could consider when looking to arrange funeral costs before your death.

  • Pre-paying your funeral in full. Several providers allow customers to pre-pay for a funeral package in full. You might be able to pay in a lump sum or spread the cost over several months.
  • Funeral insurance for over-50s. If you are over the age of 50, you may be able to obtain funeral insurance. These plans allow the policy holder to pay between the date they sign up until they pass away, and on their death, the provider may pay a lump sum to cover funeral costs.

Both these options could help you to ensure that your family need not use their own funds to pay for your funeral.

What’s more, if you are unable to afford to pre-pay your funeral straight away, learning about funeral costs and looking into pre-paid services could prompt you to save up for the necessary fees.

2. You may choose the type of funeral you wish to have

Although the average cost of dying is now nearly £10,000, that does not mean you are required to spend this amount on your send-off.

For instance, the report states that a direct cremation service might cost around £1,500.

On the other end of the spectrum, the best quality wooden coffins can cost up to £2,000 alone, and this does not include the cost of burial, flowers, and other fees that may come with a funeral service.

Understandably, if your family were to organise your funeral after you passed away, they may decide to splash out to give you the send-off you deserve.

However, if you would rather keep things simple and inexpensive, pre-paying your funeral lets you set the tone and the budget for your own service.

Choosing which type of funeral you would like in advance and paying for it before you pass away might alleviate significant pressure from your family’s shoulders.

3. You can nail down the specifics

In today’s world, it is possible to arrange even the most eccentric funerals and memorial services.

Alongside deciding more broadly on how much you would like to spend, pre-paying your own arrangements might mean you can set your specific ideas in motion from the outset – no matter how weird and wonderful they may be.

For instance, you could wish to have the final say on the:

  • Location
  • Dress code
  • Music
  • Readings
  • Decorations
  • Wake arrangements.

For instance, a Co-op Funeralcare survey, published by HuffPost in 2019, found that 1 in 5 people want guests to wear bright colours instead of black to their funeral.

Plus, the survey said that in the three years to 2019, Co-op had seen a 21% increase in requests for “unique hearses”, from someone who “chose a Land Rover instead” to another person who asked for a “rainbow-coloured hearse”.

From movie-themed ceremonies to wild locations, making your own funeral arrangements gives you more control over how the day will look and feel for your loved ones, and how you will be remembered.

4. You and your family may gain peace of mind

Although funerals are often very sad affairs, it might bring a smile to your face to know that your family and friends may not have to spend weeks arranging yours.

While there will still be some administrative work to do, even with a pre-paid funeral, arranging your service in advance might help your loved ones mostly focus on their own grief and wellbeing when you pass away.

Plus, pre-paying your funeral may alleviate your family’s financial stress after your death, too. Overall, you might all gain immeasurable peace of mind from this option.

Get in touch

Our financial planners are here to guide you through all areas of estate planning.

Email enquiries@prosserknowles.co.uk or request a callback from one of our advisers.

Please note

This article is no substitute for financial advice and should not be treated as such. To determine the best course of action for your individual circumstances, please contact us.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning or will writing.

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