The cost of a funeral has increased year on year, and it’s expected to continue in the future. Therefore, despite the current average cost coming in at around £4,700, this is thought to rise to over £5,100 by 2023. In 10 or 20 years, this could have increased to over £7,000. This price doesn’t include extras such as flowers or catering, which could add around £2,000 to this total.
You might be relying on money from life insurance to pay for a funeral, however the lump sum that is paid out once you have passed away may not cover the full cost of the service. Many policies don’t pay out if a monthly instalment has been missed or if the policy holder stops making payments. Depending on the age of the policy holder, the contributions that they’ve paid into the policy might exceed the amount that’s payable from the life insurance. This is why it’s important to consider all of the available options and think about taking out a prepaid funeral plan. Doing this could mean that the majority of the funeral is paid for and you don’t have to worry about it.
But what if the deceased didn’t have a funeral plan and you cannot afford the final bill? A funeral is important for all family members and friends to say goodbye to their loved one, so it’s likely that not having a memorable service isn’t an option. Here are some suggestions if you can’t afford to pay for a funeral.
Who is responsible for funeral costs?
Firstly, it’s worth discovering who is actually responsible for the funeral costs and whether they’re happy to pay them. If a will has been left by the deceased and an executor has been nominated, then it’s suggested that they cover the funeral costs. However, there are no legal obligations that state the executor must pay for the funeral – it’s merely a recommendation. As an executor, you could split the bill with someone else or, if you don’t have the funds available, pass the responsibility onto someone else entirely.
If another person has been appointed as executor, but you want to pay something towards the service costs, then you can absolutely do so.
In the event that a will cannot be found, a funeral plan could be used to determine exactly what the deceased wanted.
How to get assistance with funeral costs
There may be some steps you can take to get assistance with any funeral costs and ensure that your loved one still has a perfect send-off.
You may be able to receive a Funeral Expenses Payment from the government, but you need to be eligible in order to secure this. To qualify, you must be receiving certain benefits or tax credits and be arranging a funeral in the UK, the European Economic Area or Switzerland. You also need to be a partner of the deceased, a close relative or friend or the parent of a deceased child.
You can use the Funeral Expenses Payment to help cover the costs of burial or cremation fees, the cost of moving the body, death certificates and up to £700 to go towards other funeral expenses, including funeral director’s fees or the coffin. It’s likely that the payment won’t cover the whole cost of the funeral, but it could help you out. The claim can take a couple of weeks to process, so make sure you arrange it as soon as possible to get it before the funeral.
In some cases, you might be able to arrange a Public Health funeral. If someone dies with no next-of-kin or the family are unable to pay for the funeral at all due to previous estrangement, then the council will pay for a very basic funeral.
As stated above, the funeral costs lie with the executor of the will left by the deceased. However, if the executor and other family members don’t have the funds available, they can provide a written statement disclaiming responsibility and the council can arrange and pay for the funeral service. It’s thought that these funerals cost UK councils over £5 million every year.
Remember that the cost of a funeral doesn’t have to lie with just one person. Other family members and friends may be willing to chip in, so it’s worth asking people who were close to the deceased if they’d like to contribute. A £5,000 funeral that’s split between 10 people would cost just £500 each, which is a significant difference.
Finally, anyone who pays for the funeral has the legal right to claim the money back from the deceased’s estate. Therefore, you have two options. You can either pay for the funeral directly using the money of the person who has died or you could claim the money back from their estate later on. Some banks will release up to £5,000 to cover funeral costs.
Given the financial pressure that paying for a funeral can cause, it’s always better to look at your options and choose the one that’s right for you, such as paying into a prepaid funeral plan. You’ll be happy knowing that you won’t be putting additional stress on your family to make these payments. If you don’t have one yet, you can take a look at the Age Co funeral plans