Planning a Funeral

Planning a funeral can be a stressful task and most people would rather not place the responsibility of planning or paying for their funeral on the shoulders of their family.

Many people prefer to take out a funeral plan whereby they can plan and pay for their funeral in advance, meaning that in the event of their death their family will not incur the expense of a funeral.

In the UK you can choose to either be buried or cremated, or you can donate your body to medical science. You can choose whether or not you want a funeral director to help with organisation and can make your funeral as personal as you like.

Funeral plans can be offered by a funeral director, insurance company or funeral plan company. To get a funeral plan you must pay a provider an agreed fee. This can be paid in installments or as a single sum. The money you pay is either paid to a funeral plan provider, invested in an insurance policy or in a trust fund and the money is released to be used to pay for your funeral in the event of your death.

The fee you pay will be agreed at the time you sign up for a plan, which means that you will not be required to pay more if the cost of your funeral rises.

How do I plan a funeral?

Step 1: Draw up a will

If you have a specific idea about how your estate/possessions should be divided up, it may be a prudent idea to create a will which takes these issues into account. This will ensure that your wishes are adhered to after your death.

The best way to approach this is probably by drawing up a meticulous record of your estate/possessions and how much everything is worth, both individually and collectively. You can then work alongside a qualified solicitor to compile a list of all the items/possessions, along with their worth, to give yourself peace of mind that everything has been covered. It is then down to you to decide exactly how everything should be divided and between whom.

Step 2: Plan the day

As with your possessions, it is likely to be very important to you that certain parts (or the entirety) of the whole day follow your wishes. This could involve everything from the music which is played at the service to how people should dress for the actual day.

Some people will also have specific ideas on how long the service should last and what kind of atmosphere should be created at any potential wake. If you have definite ideas about these issues it will provide you with peace of mind if you make them clear to a funeral director prior to your death.

Thinking about such things in advance may not be pleasant, but it is all part of taking the potential responsibility from the shoulders of loved ones, and making their lives a little bit easier on the day itself.

Step 3: Determining the structure of the service

Many people see a funeral service as a celebration of life rather than an acknowledgement of death in the modern day. With this in mind, it is important to consider what specific type of service you want. You may wish for something short, simple and sombre that does not burden your loved ones with too much grief on the day itself.

Alternatively, you may want something that genuinely celebrates your existence with music that people associate with you and stories of the life that you have led. This could potentially be a way to detract from some of the grief associated with the occasion and will encourage people to view the day in a positive light.

Step 4: Tallying the overall cost

Obviously all of the criteria outlined above will be dependent on your budget, by planning ahead you can have the funeral you wish for on the budget you can afford. It may be a good idea to consider the things which will be most important to you on the day.

It may also be worth considering the overall cost before you draw up a final copy of your will. It may be that you can free up some funds to contribute towards the funeral service itself before you finalise plans for all of your possessions.

The key with this issue is simply to take your time and make the choices which feel correct and appropriate for you as an individual.

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