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35 million Brits want their funeral to be a celebration. Here’s how to set out your wishes

Thinking about passing away and leaving loved ones behind can be incredibly difficult. While it can be challenging, many Brits have thought about what their preferences would be, and millions want their loved ones to celebrate their life.


According to a survey from Co-op Funeralcare, a third of Brits feel like funerals, in general, are too sombre and should be more uplifting. So, it’s not surprising that an estimated 35 million would prefer their funeral to be a celebration of life. This could cover a variety of areas including attire, with a fifth of people saying they’d prefer mourners to wear bright colours, rather than the traditional black.


If you have clear ideas about what you’d want, it’s important to set out your wishes for loved ones. There’s more than one way to do this.


1. Have a conversation with loved ones


Conversations about death with loved ones can be difficult. However, conversations with loved ones can help them understand what your preference would be and your reasons behind them. It’s a step that can mean your wishes are more likely to be followed.


It can help loved ones too. At a time when they’re grieving, having an idea about what you would want can help them to make decisions.


2. Write your wishes in your will


When you’re writing or reviewing your will, you can also set out your wishes. This could be whether you’d prefer a burial or a cremation, or even details like the attire you’d like guests to wear. Again, it’s a step that can provide loved ones with guidance when they’re making arrangements for you.


It’s important to note that while you can set out funeral wishes in a will, they are not legally binding.


3. Choose a funeral plan


If you want more control over your funeral, choosing a funeral plan could help you. A funeral plan is a way to pre-arrange the funeral you want. What’s covered will vary between providers and there will usually be several different options to consider. A plan could include details like flowers, catering, and other aspects that are important to you. The more comprehensive packages cost more but will give you more flexibility and control.


A funeral plan also means you’ll pay for the costs during your lifetime. It can reduce the financial stress that family members may experience, and give you peace of mind. In some cases, if you pass away before the full costs are met, the provider will cover it; in others, your family will have to make up the shortfall.


Make provisions to ensure your wishes are carried out


If a funeral plan isn’t right for you, it may be worth making provisions to pay for a funeral. It can take some of the pressure off your loved ones and ensure there is enough to carry out your wishes. According to a British Seniors report, the average cost of a funeral between 2016 and 2021 was £5,531. Your choices will have an impact and the report found some funerals cost £7,500 or more.


Worryingly, 38% of people said they struggled to cope with the extra financial strain of a funeral. This figure rose to 46% for a burial. Around one in three turned to some form of borrowing to fund a funeral. If you want to make sure the cost of your funeral is taken care of for your family, you do have options. Among them are:


  1. Taking out a life insurance policy: A life insurance policy that runs for the rest of your life will pay out a lump sum to your beneficiary when you pass away. This money can then be used to fund funeral costs and provide financial security to loved ones.

  2. Paying from your estate: You also set money aside within your estate, for example, in a savings account. This provides you with flexibility as you can use the savings to provide a financial safety net during your life too. Your bank should release funds from your account when they’re presented with an itemised account from the funeral director and a copy of a death certificate. However, in some cases, loved ones may have to wait for the probate process to conclude.


Setting your affairs in order


If your funeral wishes are something you’re thinking about, it’s also an opportunity to make sure your affairs are in order. Does your will accurately reflect your wishes? If you need to consider Inheritance Tax, have you taken steps to reduce the bill? We can help provide peace of mind about your estate and long-term goals.


Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning.

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