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Save money on funeral costs

Here at Perfect Choice Funeral Plans, we are often asked about funeral costs by customers and enquirers, and what can be done to maximise their budget. We often hear, via the media, about people not being able to afford funerals, but this situation is easily avoided by preparing in advance.

So what are the typical funeral costs?

The average funeral in the UK costs around £3,000, and this figure is increasing year on year. In fact, funerals have seen a rise in cost of around 80% over the last 10 years.

Some families are finding themselves in debt after trying to cover the cost of a loved-ones funeral. Others are cutting back on the choices they make for the funeral, such as reducing the flower arrangements and choosing a more cost-effective coffin. A recent report highlighted the pressure on the government’s social fund and growing concerns about funeral poverty.

There are currently calls for the government to provide a basic allowance for funeral costs as part of National Insurance contributions, this is to help to combat the rise of funeral poverty. The government has said that they currently offer funeral payments which on average equal £1,225, but that it’s important that funds are targeted effectively to those who need help the most, which is why the payments are linked to pension credits, tax credits and other benefits. Don't be alarmed by this though. £3,000 may seem a big figure as a lump sum, but by putting a little by each month, you will find that you've soon saved up enough to cover this cost.

Funeral costs can be split into two parts – funeral director’s costs and third party fees.

The funeral director’s costs cover the services of your funeral director. This includes things like the provision of the funeral arrangements, advice and support, care of the deceased including collection and storage, a hearse and any limousines, and the collection and administration of charitable donations.

Third party fees (sometimes called disbursements) also make up part of the funeral costs. These costs are outside the control of the funeral director and include crematoria fees, medical fees for Cremation Certificates and payments to a minister or officiant. These costs will vary depending on where you live.

So what’s causing the rise in funeral costs?

According to a study by the University of Bath, the rise in energy prices means the cost of cremation has risen at a consistently higher rate than the cost of burial. Crematoria used to be run by local authorities, but there is an increased presence of privately-owned crematoria. Even so a burial is still around £1,000 more than a cremation, although this can vary depending on location. In addition clergy and doctor’s fees have also increased.

So how can you keep funeral costs down?

Funeral directing firms that offer Perfect Choice Funeral Plans are accredited members of the National Association of Funeral Directors, known as the NAFD for short. NAFD members follow a strict code of practice, and are required to have price lists available showing the cost of the services they provide. They are also required to provide you with a written estimate and confirmation of arrangements before the funeral takes place, as well as itemised accounts which can be easily compared to the estimate. This ensures that bereaved families are able to make informed choices and are aware of the costs of the funeral they have requested.

All NAFD funeral directors are also required to offer a ‘simple’ funeral option which is a basic funeral package – this can provide a good solution for families looking to keep costs down.

Of course, many families stay loyal to a particular funeral directing firm through generations of their family and because of this long-term relationship, they choose not to shop around. But for those wanting to research the options, this can take time so we always encourage people to plan ahead.

A pre-paid funeral plan is another way of reducing funeral costs as the funeral director’s fees are fixed and guaranteed to be covered no matter how much prices rise. Pre-arranging your funeral can also take a great deal of stress away from your loved-ones and ensure that your funeral wishes are known, so it’s definitely something to consider.

As with many things these days, the initial cost of funeral planning that your faced with does seem like a lot of money, but there are plenty of options out there to help you out, so make sure you explore all the options.

Perfect Choice Funeral Plans is a trading name of Ecclesiastical Planning Services Limited Reg. No. 2644860 which is registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ.
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