Online funeral planning - could it cut costs?

You can also take out funeral insurance...

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Online funeral planning - could it cut costs?

Nobody likes to think about their own death, but failing to plan for this event can mean your loved ones are left to deal with the costs of your funeral.

However, more people are making their own arrangements and making them earlier thanks to an unexpected source – the internet.

Co-op Funeralcare has seen a 60% increase in online funeral planning in the last year.

Those choosing to go online are on average five years younger than those making arrangements in funeral homes.

This could be considered a welcome trend, as cremation costs have risen by 10% and burials by 4% between 2014 and 2015, according to research commissioned by OneFamly.com.

Who pays for my funeral?

The easiest and arguably least problematic way to pay for your funeral is to plan and pay for it in advance. This means you get the funeral you want and your family is not left to pick up the bill.

You could also take out funeral insurance, which pays out a fixed lump sum. These do come with a lot of terms and conditions so it is worth doing your research before taking out a policy.

Things become a little more complicated if you have made no plans.

Your loved ones could pay for the funeral themselves, but this can be quite expensive and troublesome at a time when then could do without the extra hassle.

The costs could be reclaimed from your estate. If your money is in a joint account, where the surviving account holder immediately becomes the sole owner, then this is a valid plan.

However, if it is not a joint account, your relatives will have to wait for probate to be completed before being able to claim the money. The problem here is funeral directors want to be paid up front and probate can take a long time.

Probate is a legal document that allows the executor of the will to sort out person's estate as they instructed in their will.

When should I plan my funeral?

This is a very difficult question to answer, mainly because it is not something we like to think about. We would much rather focus on what we are going to do with our money while we are still alive.

Most people do not even start to contemplate this part of their life until they are in their 50s and this includes the really important stuff like making a will.

This is one of those situations where, generally, the earlier you think about it the better. A quick online search will bring up plenty of stories of people planning their own funerals in their 20s and 30s, which may seem excessive. But it is worth thinking about the implications of your death on your family, and what may happen if you are no longer around.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.



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