1 Funeral Planning Guide | How to plan a Funeral | FiftyLife

Funeral Planning Guide

Learn some of the elements which go into creating a fitting memorial,
and how you can help your family by planning your own ceremony.

Cemetary in the UK funeral

Why plan your own funeral?

More and more people are now dictating their own funeral wishes as part of their will, or in a separate funeral plan.

Doing this allows you to specify the kind of service that will best honour your memory. It could also save your loved ones the considerable stress and heartache which comes from having to arrange a memorial immediately after losing you.

In this guide, FiftyLife helps you consider these important decisions for your funeral:

  • DIY or Funeral director?
  • Burial or cremation?
  • Types of service – non-religious or religious
  • Extras to consider
  • Funeral costs
Funeral at a church FiftyLife

Specifying your funeral arrangements

DIY vs funeral director

Contrary to popular belief, you are not legally required to use a funeral director, you can appoint someone to arrange the whole funeral on your behalf if you choose to.

Most commonly, this would be the executor of your estate, but it can be anyone you feel has the skills and determination to make your planned ceremony a reality.

Using a funeral director can save hassle at what may already be a stressful time. They have established professional networks for any kind of service, they handle a lot of the paperwork, and offer sound advice. However, their services cost, and could push up the overall price of a funeral.

You can search for a funeral director online via the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Arranging a DIY funeral gives your executor complete control over every last aspect of the service. This can be useful if you have specific wishes. It can also work out cheaper if you opt for a simple service. However, doing all the work themselves following the death of a loved one could be a burden during an already difficult time.

Types of funeral service

Nowadays, the social expectations for what exactly happens over the course of a funeral service are a lot more relaxed. The focus has shifted to honouring the wishes of the deceased, with fewer taboos and restrictions.

Non-religious funerals could offer greater flexibility. They can be held in a range of venues, from community centres to hotels, or even in the great outdoors.

These services can also be conducted by anyone. Family and friends sometimes take the lead, but you could also request the services of a celebrant, who specialises in conducting non-religious funeral services. You can search for a celebrant near you via the Humanist Society.

Church funeral FiftyLife

 

Religious funerals, on the other hand, are still very common in the UK. The Church of England offers anyone in the UK a religious burial, whether they were regular churchgoers or not. Other religious traditions might require you to be a confirmed member of their faith.

You might be able to choose a specific venue to host your religious service or be restricted by demand to a smaller selection. Contact your nearest religious representative to find out more about the options available to you.

Funerals with a religious element can reinforce the idea of your place as part of a wider tradition and a global community, something many people find comforting.

Burial vs Cremation

Whether to have yourself buried or cremated is a central decision, which could be made for you due to a religious tradition. But in some cases, the choice will be up to you.

Burial involves securing a plot of land, which can be private land if you have permission from the owner. You can also opt for a dedicated graveyard, and the local authority where you’d like to be buried can help you in buying a burial plot there.

Be aware that demand for such land in the UK is very high, which affects price. The average cost of a cemetery burial plot can be as much as £950.

There are other burial options, such as a Woodland Burial, which could work out cheaper depending on location.

With cremation, a body is turned to ashes, which are typically kept in a memorial urn or scattered in a place which has some emotional significance to you.

You can find your nearest crematorium online. Some are owned by local authorities, others will be private, with private crematoriums offering more services at a typically higher cost.

Due to the scarcity of burial land in some areas of the UK, cremations often work out significantly cheaper. If cost is a factor, consider direct cremation which forgoes a ceremony.

Cremation ashes FiftyLife

Extras

The basics of a funeral – a coffin, transport, and the service itself – are just the beginning. There’s enormous scope to include extras which let guests properly honour and respect your memory in a touching, personal way.

  • Flowers are a common element of many services and can be customised into wonderful creative celebrations.
  • Buffet table at a funeral FiftyLifeCatering is always a good idea when you’re getting people together. Why not specify your favourite dish?
  • Venue hire is something to consider. Did you or your loved ones have a favourite spot? Could the service be held there?
  • Music is an essential element of a funeral service. A mix of hymns and beloved contemporary tracks can create a truly special mood.
  • Readings and recitals are a great way of introducing some unique personality into a service. Poems, or excerpts from books are great options.
  • Photo and video memorials are also brilliant ways to bring fond memories to life.

 

Extras

The basics of a funeral – a coffin, transport, and the service itself – are just the beginning. There’s enormous scope to include extras which let guests properly honour and respect your memory in a touching, personal way.

  • Flowers are a common element of many services and can be customised into wonderful creative celebrations.
  • Catering is always a good idea when you’re getting people together. Why not specify your favourite dish?
  • Venue hire is something to consider. Did you or your loved ones have a favourite spot? Could the service be held there?
  • Music is an essential element of a funeral service. A mix of hymns and beloved contemporary tracks can create a truly special mood.
  • Readings and recitals are a great way of introducing some unique personality into a service. Poems, or excerpts from books are great options.
  • Photo and video memorials are also brilliant ways to bring fond memories to life.
Buffet table at a funeral FiftyLife

Specifying your funeral arrangements

Average cost of a funeral

Over time, the cost of a funeral is likely to go up, not down. Even before you factor in things like inflation and the short supply of land for burials, related services and extras like flowers and vehicle hire are not going to get cheaper.

Location is also a huge factor in the overall cost. London, for example, is always going to cost more than elsewhere.

Price comparison sites can help you compare the cost of individual elements of a funeral. Alternatively, you can compare quotes for the whole service from funeral directors in your area.

Even the most basic funeral still has to be paid for, and this could place an unpleasant burden on those you leave behind. Loved ones will obviously want to give you the memorial you deserve but might not be able to comfortably foot the bill.

By planning ahead, you can specify the kind of memorial which can properly honour your memory without putting those closest to you in financial jeopardy.

Coffin with flowers FiftyLife

Paying for a funeral

When the time comes to settle up the bill, there are a number of common ways to do so:

  • You can pay funeral costs from your estate, which will obviously lower the amount of inheritance to spread around.
  • You could pay for it in advance out of your own pocket, a perfectly valid but probably very expensive option.
  • Friends and family could club together to spread the cost, potentially from their own savings.

FiftyLife’s Funeral Benefit Option

There are many different options available to help pay for your funeral, so be sure to do your homework when it comes to what’s right for you.

FiftyLife’s Over 50s Life Insurance policy offers a Funeral Benefit Option at no extra cost. This means you receive an extra £300 towards the cost of your funeral, which is handled by our trusted partner, Golden Charter.

Read more about our Funeral Benefit Option

 

Protect your loved ones with Life Insurance

With Over 50s Life Insurance, any money left over from your funeral costs could be given to your loved ones. Interested in how Over 50s Life Insurance from FiftyLife can help those closest to you?

If you’d like to talk to our expert team about your options, we can discuss any questions you may have and assist you in taking out cover with us.

Call us on 0800 294 0750