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When you lose a loved one, it can be one of the most difficult experiences you ever face. Not only do you have the grief to cope with, but a lot of people are left with funeral expenses to contend with too. In most cases, the person that has passed away will have put a funeral plan in place or they will have enough money left to fund the funeral. In other cases, the entire family will come together to pay the funeral, so that it is not a big burden on anyone. However, there are rare instances whereby the burden of paying a funeral falls on one person’s shoulders. If this person is you, you may be feeling incredibly stressed and worried. How are you going to afford a good funeral for your loved one? Well, here are some of the key steps you need to take…
Double check that you’re actually going to be on your own – The first thing you need to do is talk to any family members or close friends of the person that has passed away. Don’t simply assume that there is going to be no help available to you. You may assume that no one has the money to help or that no one is going to be willing to help. However, if you tell people about your predicament, the help that is available may surprise you. Why didn’t these people offer their assistance in the first place? Well, they may have assumed that everything was under control, and they may not have wanted to interfere.
Make sure your loved one doesn’t have a pre-paid funeral plan – The person that died may have had a pre-paid funeral plan in place. This means that the cost of their funeral is covered, as a funeral care company or funeral director has been prepaid. With these plans, you will have to choose a specific funeral director or at least pick one from a list that has been pre-approved. It is a good idea to check what has and has not been included in the plan, so you will know exactly what you should be getting from the plan and what aspects you are going to need to cover yourself.
Speak to your boss – The next step you need to take is to talk to your boss to find out about the bereavement policy they have in place. At present, there is no legal obligation for compassionate leave – paid or standard – to be provided. However, this is not to say that your employer won’t offer it. Many do. You can take a look at this employee bereavement leave guide for more information. It explains everything you need to know surrounding the law regarding bereavement leave. After all, it is likely that you will need some time off work to be with your loved ones and to plan the funeral.
Work out how much money you are going to need –You have probably heard a lot of stories about how expensive funerals are. You can expect to spend several thousand pounds for a funeral. However, you don’t need to spend a fortune. Skip the unnecessary extras that are going to add to the costs you face. For example, do you really need to rent a venue for after the funeral and put on food and drinks for everyone? Instead, simply choose a pub, and everyone can get a drink to celebrate the person’s life. You don’t need to shell out money for this side of things. You can also save money by shopping around with regards to funeral flowers and the coffin. So, take the time to work out a budget of how much you are going to need.
Negotiate instalments – Some funeral directors will give you the option of paying off the funeral in instalments, others won’t. If you manage to find a funeral director that agrees to instalment payments, please note that you will also need to make an upfront payment too.
Consider a Public Health Funeral – If you cannot afford to pay for a funeral for your loved one, and no friends or relatives can pay for the funeral either, you could arrange a Public Health Funeral. This is something the local hospital or council can arrange, and it is usually a cremation. The local authority will determine the date and time of the ceremony, which is usually a short service. Any extras, for example, notices in the local newspaper, cars, and flowers, are not included. You can also make an application for Funeral Payment from the government if you are receiving certain benefits, which will help you to cover the cost of the funeral.
Take out a loan – The final option, which will be the last resort for most people, is to take out a loan. This is something you should only do with very careful consideration. Plus, make sure you can afford the repayments. After all, the last thing your loved one would want would be for you to get into financial trouble while trying to organise their funeral. There are some companies that provide dedicated funeral loans, but make sure you check the APR and fees beforehand. You may find that it is cheaper to apply for a bank loan. There are lots of companies that will sting you with massive APR rates and early repayment fees, especially when borrowing smaller amounts of money, so make sure you thoroughly understand the terms and conditions of your loan before signing on the dotted line.
Hopefully, you now feel more prepared when it comes to financing the funeral of your loved one. This is an incredibly difficult time in anyone’s life, and it is made even worse when you have money troubles to think about as well. But there are numerous options available to you, so make sure you follow the steps that have been mentioned above so that you can pay off the funeral in a manner that is more comfortable for you.