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So what has inspired me to write about the benefits of planning your funeral while you’re still alive.
My dad passed away just over a week ago.
He was in hospital for exactly 4 weeks with doctors trying to save his life.
I now think that all they were doing was prolonging his life.
However, I must say that he received great care from the nursing staff which I really appreciate.
On that first day I arrived at the hospital and saw him hooked up to all those machines I didn’t believe he would be leaving alive.
So since my dad’s death the focus has been on his funeral.
My dad remarried and so it is my step mother who is the main person organising this.
We have a good relationship so she is ensuring that I am included in discussions and some of the decision making.
I am very fortunate to be in this position with a step family.
What is not so good is that alongside the grief are financial concerns.
My dad had no insurance policy and had no savings to cover funeral costs.
This is in contrast to the situation when my mother died some 5 years ago.
My mum never remarried.
She was always a practical person.
Her main concern in the years prior to her death was that her children would not be burdened after her death.
She made sure she had an up to date will.
She had a small insurance policy and some savings.
She didn’t want any fuss or for her children to have to spend lots of money on her funeral.
She told us that she wanted us to be able to have a little bit of money for ourselves.
I remember her saying to just get her a cardboard casket.
Just like my mum.
She wanted to be cremated and not buried because she knew that would cost less. I also think she had a fear of waking up trapped in a coffin.
I think she may have watched too many horror films.
The money from my mum’s small insurance policy and her estate covered the funeral costs.
We chose a beautiful wicker casket for my mum which I’m sure she would have approved of and yes I think it did cost less than a traditional coffin.
I was thankful that we did not have that financial worry during that time when we were consumed with grief.
Over the past few days my step mother has been researching funeral directors to find the best price. My dad’s wishes was to be buried.
I believe that funeral will cost in excess of £6000.
The money will be found I know.
But it has got me thinking about my own funeral arrangements.
Like my mother I do not want to be a burden on my family.
I am now single.
If at the time I die I’m not in a relationship it will be my children who will be responsible for carrying out my wishes.
Which means of course …
They need to know my wishes.
I don’t know about you but when someone close to me dies it gets me thinking about my what will happen when I die.
I get quite preoccupied and it is the main subject of conversations.
I’ve had these conversations with my partners in the past about what I’d like but I’m yet to put it down on paper or in a will.
But it seems that after a funeral.
Time passes and we just carry on again.
Death touches us and we’re in deep grief for a while.
And because life carries on those thoughts and feelings start to subside.
No we don’t forget that person.
We just stop thinking about our own death because we get consumed with just living.
Now you know me.
I love a good bit of research and of course I did my own search on funeral prices.
In my search I came across cremation without ceremony. This is something I hadn’t heard of before.
Of course I had my money saving hat on.
Intrigued I clicked on the Co Op website and started to read. It was definitely a cheaper alternative.
Less than £1500 as compared to the average of around £4000 cited on other websites.
I felt a little uneasy about this idea more because I wondered how the other people left behind would feel if my wish was to not have a traditional type ceremony.
Here is a list of some things to consider when planning your own funeral in advance:
Whether you want to be buried or cremated
Type of service you want - Religious or non religious
Who you'd like to do the service
Who you want as Pallbearers
Who you'd like to present the eulogy
What readings, poem or readings to be included
What you'd like your family and friends to wear or colours to avoid
What type of wake, gathering or party afterwards
If you want flowers what type or would you prefer donations to your favourite charity
Pay for the funeral in advance
The kind of outfit I’d like to wear
What type of music to play or someone to sing
Where the ceremony will take place
Final resting place for your burial
Where you would like the ashes to be kept or scattered
For me the main benefits of planning my funeral in advance are:
I would have relieved the burden of my family having to plan my funeral once I’ve passed.
My family will be clear and have a sense of satisfaction that they can carry out my wishes and that my life will be celebrated in the way I want.
Relief from the stress about the financial aspect of the funeral whilst grieving.
If my death is unexpected and without warning my family won't have the added worry of planning the funeral whilst they are in shock.
Peace of mind whilst I’m alive that I won’t leave this burden for my family when I pass.
It probably sounds as if I’ve got everything planned myself and set out.
Not at all.
Writing this out is my first step to getting my own funeral plans under way.
Have you already planned your funeral and most importantly have you communicated it to the people who need to know?
I would suggest telling a few people because we don’t know when our time will come.
The Freedom At 55 Project is my journey to become more money savvy following the breakup of my relationship in my 55th year. I share what I learn about saving money, retirement planning, pensions and living a simpler life. I want you to know there is hope. It starts with reconnecting with your true self and deciding to take charge of your life.