What happens if I can’t afford a funeral?

The average cost of a funeral in the UK is £4000 – £5000, which is a significant investment for most people. With the cost of funerals rising annually, some families discover that even a simple funeral is out of their financial reach. If you are concerned about affording a loved one’s funeral, you may be wondering whether any financial support is available.

Why are funerals so expensive?

When someone dies, there are many different elements involved in their care, the funeral and their cremation or interment. All these costs can add up, meaning the overall price you pay for a funeral can be costly. Whilst some funeral costs are unavoidable, such as the care the deceased receives or the cost of cremation or burial, there are several ways you can make a funeral more affordable.

It can be helpful to consider how much you can afford prior to arranging the funeral, and be clear with your funeral director about what your budget is. The good news is that there are options available for families with more limited funds. One way you could do this is by arranging an unattended funeral (also known as a direct funeral), in which a person is buried or cremated without a formal funeral service.

What if I can’t afford to pay for the funeral?

Some families will struggle to pay for a loved one’s funeral, no matter how hard they try. In this instance, there are several options that may be available to you…

Public Health Funeral – the local authority or hospital can arrange a public health funeral if there is no money in the estate to pay for the funeral, or when there are no friends or family to arrange it. This is usually a cremation, with the time and date of the funeral being set by the local authority. There is usually a very simple service, which friends and family are able to attend. Things such as funeral cars and flowers won’t be included.

Funeral Expenses Payment – this is a government scheme for people that are on a low income and are receiving certain benefits. This payment aims to support you in paying for a loved one’s funeral. It won’t typically cover the whole bill, but things such as the death certificates, cremation/burial fees, funeral transport and some of the funeral director’s fees are usually included. If the deceased has savings or an estate, you may be required to pay this money back.

There are some instances where a family may be entitled to additional money. These include;

  • Veterans and armed forces personnel – when someone dies in service, the armed forces will cover most funeral costs. Veterans may also be entitled to financial support from the government. In addition to this, the Royal British Legion may be able to provide financial support to families of veterans and ex-armed forces personnel.
  • A child, or young person – you may be entitled to financial support from the government if you are the bereaved parent or guardian of a stillborn baby, child or young person. The Children’s Funeral Fund will cover some of the funeral costs for children under 18 and stillborn babies born after 24 weeks.

You can find out more about the support you may be entitled to through the government website. Alternatively, reach out to your local authority or Citizen’s Advice to find out more. There are many UK charities that may also be able to secure financial help to pay for funerals. If you have any questions, our team will do our best to support you and point you in the right direction.

Planning ahead for your future

If you are concerned about how your family will afford your funeral after you’ve died, it can be helpful to make financial provisions while you are still alive. You could outline in your Will that money should be taken from your estate to pay for your funeral, or else set up a dedicated savings account. It is now becoming more popular for people to take out a prepaid funeral plan.

At Dillamore we provide the Independent Way plan from Golden Charter. This is a fully flexible prepaid funeral plan that allows you to pay for the majority of your funeral at today’s prices. Taking out a prepaid funeral plan now could save you and your family money further down the line. For more information, speak to one of our team – we will provide you with impartial and honest information, without any pressure to commit.

Dillamore’s Commitment

At Dillamore, it’s important to us that everyone gets a meaningful goodbye. That’s why we’re committed to providing funerals you can afford. We work with each family in a flexible way, adapting the service we offer to meet your needs. The care your loved one receives will remain the same, no matter how big or small the funeral is. We never up-sell, always provide clarity over costs, and where a family is struggling to meet funeral costs, we will do everything we can to support and guide them.

You can find out more about Dillamore’s costs via our standardised price list. To speak to someone from our team, call us on 01525 372210 or send us an email using our contact form. You can also arrange an appointment with us using our online booking tool.

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