Getting the funeral wrong

Getting the funeral wrongOne of the most interesting interviews I conducted as part of my documentary film about retirement was all about funerals.

I interviewed Simon Ferrar, founder of Clandon Wood Natural Burial Reserve just outside of East Clandon.

As we sat and chatted by the lake in his wildflower meadow, he mentioned how important it was for families to understand the funeral wishes of their loved ones.

You see, we often get this ‘wrong’ simply by not having the right conversations at the right time.

This comes at a time we are spending more than ever before on funerals.

According to new research by Sun Life, the cost of an average funeral send-off has risen by more than 9%.

This coincides with a finding that 99% admit not knowing loved ones’ wishes.

The findings of their annual Cost of Dying Report, the leading report into funeral costs and now in its ninth year, make interesting reading for Financial Planners like me with an interest in later life planning.

Their research found that while the average cost of a funeral has risen 2.9% to £3,693, people are spending much more on the send off (flowers, the memorial, the wake and so on), with spending on this aspect of funerals soaring 9.1% in a year to £2,000.

The research also found that 99% of those organising the funeral don’t know all of the deceased’s wishes.

66% of respondents were not sure if they should be the one organising the funeral in the first place. 31% didn’t know if they would have wanted a cremation or a burial, and 70% didn’t know how they would want their ashes scattered.

These conversations can be tricky.

Death has long been a taboo subject and not exactly dinner conversation in most households.

But it is so important to share your funeral wishes.

A good catalyst for these types of conversation can be the creation of a Financial Plan.

Here at Informed Choice, we are always happy to involve families in the Financial Planning process, inviting children to participate in a family conference facilitated by one of our Financial Planners.

When you can get everyone in the family singing from the same hymn sheet, it removes a great deal of worry about personal finances and important decisions like funeral wishes.

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About Martin Bamford

Martin Bamford is a Chartered Financial Planner, Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional and published personal finance author. He works with elderly clients to provide advice on funding residential care fees, hosts the Informed Choice Podcast and is a keen ultra runner.
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