Category Archives: Planning a Funeral

Funeral finance plans – are they worth it?

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With the average funeral costing around £3000, many people worry about how they will cover the cost of paying for their funeral. Of course the majority of people pay for their funeral directly from their estate but if you’re concerned that you won’t have sufficient funds, a funeral finance plan could be the solution.
There are a number of designated funeral finance plan providers operating in the UK offering schemes designed to be paid into in advance, either for your own funeral or someone else’s such as your spouse. The alternative to paying into a funeral finance plan is to open a savings account but with interest rates currently so low, a pre-paid funeral plan could be the best choice if you are looking for peace of mind.
So what is a funeral finance plan and how do they work? Put simply, a funeral finance plan is a way to pay for your funeral costs in advance. Funeral finance schemes are operated by specialist plan providers and some funeral directors also offer schemes. Money is either paid into the scheme in instalments or a lump sum, this money is then either invested into a trust fund which is managed by trustees, or an insurance policy and the money is paid out for the funeral whenever it takes place.
It is worth noting that funeral finance plans are not authorised or regulated by the Financial Services Authority which means that the FSA’s compensation and complaints procedures do not apply if things go wrong. Funeral finance plan providers can, if they agree to meet the requirements, register their services with the Funeral Planning Authority although they are under no obligation to do this. The Funeral Planning Authority’s website contains a list of FPA registered providers.
Before signing up for a funeral finance plan, it’s a good idea to consider a few important issues. For example, will your chosen plan allow you to use the funeral director of your choice? What will happen if you die overseas? What will happen if there are extra expenses for arranging your funeral? Can the plan be cancelled and will there be any charges for this? How long will you have to pay into the plan and what happens if you die whilst payments are still due? Any reputable funeral finance service will be more than happy to answer your questions and if you have any concerns, contacting the Funeral Planning Authority for advice is a sensible course of action.
If you do decide that a funeral finance plan is right for you, make sure that you let your next of kin know. You should be given a written record of the arrangements for your funeral plan; keep these records safe and let your family or friends know where this documentation is kept. Whilst a funeral finance plan is not for everyone, having the peace of mind to know that the cost of your funeral has been covered can be a great source of comfort and reassurance.

Planning a Green Funeral

What makes a green funeral?

According to Leeds based funeral directors, increasing numbers of people are considering a green funeral and with increasing pressure on overcrowded cemeteries, churchyards and crematorium, consideration for the environment is becoming an important element of funeral planning.

Choosing to be buried in a natural burial ground is not for everyone and if you think it could be right for you, it’s important to visit a couple of natural burial grounds before making a decision. It’s much harder to make decisions in the immediate aftermath of someone’s death so to minimise the pressure on your loved ones, letting them know about your plans is vital. There are around three hundred natural burial grounds currently open in the UK with the number growing and the association of Natural Burial Grounds can be contacted for more information.

It’s interesting to note that the use of a coffin in a funeral in not required in UK law. Whilst it goes without saying that dead bodies should be covered in public, it is entirely up to you whether you are buried in a coffin, basket or a simple shroud. The options for different coffin designs are very wide and if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly design, willow coffins fit the bill perfectly. It is also possible to buy coffins made from 100% environmentally friendly wood, complete with biodegradable lining and handles.

Natural funeral flowers are a lovely way to add a beautiful finishing touch to a green funeral and natural, wildflower arrangements are becoming increasingly popular. The best funeral flowers are those that reflect the personality of the deceased and sadly most of the traditional funeral wreaths and displays that are available from many florists are simply too formal. Natural funeral flowers look as though they have just been picked from a garden or wild flower meadow and the flowers used are seasonal and native to the UK. It is even possible to buy natural funeral arrangements made from fruit or vegetables – perfect for commemorating the life of a keen gardener!

When it comes to planning a green funeral you’ll find that there is a wide – and growing – choice of different options. Funerals should be as unique as the person who is died and to make your green funeral as special as possible, you could add a range of unusual finishing touches. If the environment is important to you, why not consider a greener alternative to the traditional funeral transport of a hearse and fleet of funeral? A number of companies now offer a horse drawn carriage hearse whilst it is also possible to have your coffin transported using bicycle power!

How you plan your funeral isn’t restricted by rules and regulations and the details of your final send-off are entirely up to you. Planning a greener funeral is simply about having a funeral that is as natural as possible and how you go about that is your decision: whether you opt for a coffin made from recycled materials or to be buried in a shroud the range of choices is huge.

Advice on Planning and Arranging a Funeral

Arranging a funeral can be incredibly difficult and because arrangements have to be made when you are at your lowest ebb, is likely to be one of the most stressful things you’ll ever have to do. A number of important decisions will have to be made and all at a time when you least feel like it.
Thankfully planning a funeral is not something most of us have to do very often but this means that many people simply don’t know where to begin when it comes to making arrangements. This article contains some basic information to get you started and, hopefully, take some of the stress out of the initial stages of funeral planning.
Some people take a great deal of care and time over the planning of their own funeral and if you’re arranging a funeral for someone who has already left instructions, many of the decisions which need to be made will be taken out of your hands which makes things a little easier. However, if prior arrangements have not been made, you’ll need to begin by deciding on a cremation or burial.
A UK based or funeral directors will be happy to help you with decisions such as this but many people prefer to arrange all aspects of a funeral themselves. It’s worth bearing in mind that there are no laws, regulations or legislation to cover funeral arrangements or ceremonies. The different types of funeral ceremony available in the UK are divided into three main categories: a religious funeral ceremony, a ceremony led by a civil funeral celebrant (this can be religious/non-religious as preferred) or a humanist ceremony which does not have any religious content. The type of funeral you arrange is entirely up to you. Your local funeral director will be able to offer advice on the different types of ceremony which are available in your area and they can talk through the various options with you.
Other details to consider when planning a funeral are funeral flowers, music, poetry and/or readings. Again a funeral director will be happy to help with these aspects but if you’d prefer to make the arrangements yourself, it’s entirely up to you do what you feel is fitting for the person who has died. Funeral flowers can be arranged through your local florist and a wide range of arrangements are used at funerals, including wreaths, floral sprays and casket sprays designed to be displayed on the top of the coffin.
Donations at funerals can be used as a way for people to give money to a particular charity in memory of the person who has died. There are thousands of charities in the UK and you may already have a particular charity in mind but if not, if can be helpful to think about which charities the deceased may have supported themselves. Funeral directors can assist with charity donations and information on where and how to send donations can be printed on the back of the funeral order of service.
When it comes to funeral music the choice is almost limitless and whatever you choose, music can prove to be incredibly powerful and emotive. Depending on where you have chosen to have the funeral, you’ll need to discuss your choices with the church minister, crematorium staff or funeral celebrant as they will help ensure that it’s played at the right time during the service.
As with funeral music, poems and readings can be used to reflect on and celebrate the life of the deceased. You could choose a poem which you know was a particular favourite of the deceased or ask around friends and family for ideas. There are a number of websites full of content and ideas for funeral readings and poetry if you feel you need a little inspiration.


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