Many of us over-indulged during the recent holiday season, and now we have that dreaded…
Our client, Mr. W from Newbury, tells us about two of his recent, separate experiences after the deaths of family members….
Have you ever been in the unfortunate position of having to arrange a funeral for a loved one? I have done a few and they can be very different experiences. None are enjoyable because of the circumstances but as I have learned, there are things that can be done to help, with the help of pre-paid funeral plans.
The first one I got involved in was my brother, who unexpectedly became ill and died within a few weeks. That was incredibly stressful, stepping into the unknown where it appears that at every turn somebody else wants some money and a lot of questions answered, some I expected, and others just caught me out. Not only are you personally experiencing grief but there is the added pressure of your newly bereaved family asking questions of you in an area where, at best, you are only half a step ahead of them in your knowledge of what to do next.
Registering a death
I was going to say “with a sudden death like his”, but all death is sudden because even though you prepare for it, at the final moment you still aren’t quite ready for it happening. Anyway I did at least know that my brother wanted to be buried, so after getting the autopsy report from the hospital (standard in sudden death apparently) I could get on with registering his death. How many death certificates do I need? I thought you just got one but apparently loads of people want originals. Then all the people who need to know about his passing, Luckily the “Tell Us Once” service in the registrar office sorts a good number of the official ones but that is just the start of it. That of course can wait until after the funeral.
Where will the funeral be?
So what do we need? Where is the funeral going to be? He didn’t exactly go to church every week so I guess you just try the closest one to his house? After a bit of stumbling about and a lot of people inputting their views, not all helpful, we settled on a cemetery and then a church and therefore a vicar. We almost forgot we will need an undertaker to get things going and if we are lucky they will sort all this out for us, turns out not. I am thinking I have started to get on top of things with a list when people start asking where are we going after the funeral for a few drinks and something to eat? Now added to the list.
Costs can escalate
Crikey, this is when it starts to get messy as everyone on the list wants money and it is not a couple of quid! Yep, the vicar can do it, even though my brother has never been to his church BUT he will be charging and so will his church. No problem, he can be buried in the graveyard, but you will need to fill in lots of forms and buy a plot! Okay. I know the undertaker will need to charge and I know it is a lot but at least that will cover everything, but apparently not the cars, or the headstone and as we have not gone for the standard coffin, that is also extra. Oh, and as some people are going to arrive late to the funeral from overseas and would like to see him before the burial, there is an extra charge for keeping the chapel of rest open later.
Arranging the wake
Food is now something that needs to be arranged and the venue is very kindly not charging for the room, as long as we spend over a certain amount and of course all this lot needs bringing together on the same day. Blimey, what about flowers?!!
The vicar now wants to meet the main family members to learn about my brother and work out what he is going to say during the service, does anyone else want to say anything? What songs do we want, coming in, during the service and going out??
You will all be pleased to hear that the whole day went well, he got a very good send off and nobody was more relieved than me that it all came together as planned.
The difference pre-paid funeral plans can make
Roll on a little and my mother called me to say she wanted to get a pre-paid funeral plan and would I sit with her while she arranged it? Pre-paid funeral plans were all new to me so I wanted to understand what this was all about and make sure she was not going to get taken for a ride and spend her money on some undertaker’s holiday fund. Well, was I in for a surprise? And in a funny sort of a way I was also going to spend some quality time with my mum sorting out something I would have never thought would bring me and her so much peace of mind. The pre-paid funeral plans people gave us the guidelines on the options we needed to select from. They weren’t actually that complex; based on our family size we needed so many cars and then it was just the choice of coffin, and pretty much everything else was included in the price.
Peace of mind for the family
The whole of the rest of the afternoon was a really helpful time spent learning from my mum what she actually wanted to happen at her funeral. She told me what songs, hymns, poems and music she wanted, and knowing she had picked them made a very big difference. Until you pick music with somebody and understand why that song means so much to them and is important enough to be at their funeral, you don’t realise how much more you learn about them.
Mum saved her estate money because she paid for the plan a good time before she passed. But that wasn’t really the point, because she never really got to see the main benefit of what she had done for me.
The pre-paid funeral plan meant that when she did pass, all I had to do was make a single phone call and agree a date and the rest was sorted, what a different world this was to the last time. Don’t get me wrong, I did have to register my mum’s death and some other things but the bulk of the things I had to do when my brother passed were sorted and during a time when nobody is on top emotional form. What I could then do was spend some time comforting my family for their loss rather than being stressed and busy sorting things out
Pre-paid funeral plans
Want to know more about how to make things easy for your family when you pass away? Read about how you can fix costs with pre-paid funeral plans and watch our video.
Or please get in touch with us via email or phone. We are available for online video consultations during the pandemic and would be happy to arrange a call to discuss how we can help you and your family achieve peace of mind.