Funeral Homes and Partnerships

Here are questions and answers about funeral homes and services.

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Funeral Homes and Partnerships

Why pre-plan and pre-pay for your funeral?

Once you pass away, there are many difficult decisions to be made. If you have previously not expressed your preferences, then your loved ones will be left with emotionally draining decisions, to be made at a very difficult time.

Do you wish to be buried or cremated? In which cemetery? Where would you like your ashes to go? Who do you want to be at your funeral? Would the funeral service be a sombre reflection on your life, or a celebratory party for a life well lived? Have you expressed to your family your feelings on organ donation?

One of the most difficult decisions to be made is the amount of money to be spent on your funeral. Your loved ones will want to be respectful, but this will be paid for out of your estate, and it is probably money that can be used by your family rather than paying for an expensive coffin. A coffin that will be buried or burned.

But how can you express your wishes to your family without seeming macabre or sombre. It's not something that people want to discuss. If you start to describe your funeral wishes to your family they will likely say "Don't be silly... you're not even 70 yet, you've got years left".

But we have provided a way, and we can ensure that your wishes get to the people who need to know, at the right time, and not before.

By writing down your wishes, you are protecting your loved ones from never-ending difficult decisions, to be made at a time when they are emotionally vulnerable.

At LegalWills.co.uk, we believe that a funeral service should be an expression of your life, and of your personality. You should be able to decide who will attend, what the atmosphere should be like, and where you would like it to be held.

By stating your preferences for your funeral arrangements, you will be able to control costs. Should it be a final fitting tribute to your life on Earth, or should it be a modest affair as you feel that the money could be better spent if it were passed on to a charity or to your family? The decisions that will be left to the organisers of your funeral will require them to make trade-offs on price against worthiness, and these difficult decisions will be made at a time of great loss.

Describe your funeral wishes

There is a common misconception that your funeral wishes should be included in your Last Will and Testament. This is not advisable for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, in the UK, your funeral wishes are not legally binding in the same way as a Last Will and Testament. Your funeral wishes are exactly that --- an expression of your wishes that you pass onto your loved ones. There is no legal requirement for your family and loved ones to honour these wishes. Ultimately, the Executor of your estate has the final say in the style of your funeral service, the amount of money spent, and even the disposition of your body.

At LegalWills.co.uk, we have separated the expression of your funeral wishes and the creation of your Last Will and Testament into two separate services.

You can create your Last Will and Testament using our MyWill™ service. Your Will includes key appointments, such as your Executor and guardians for your children. It also includes a description of the distribution of your possessions and other assets. This includes any charitable bequests.

Separately, we have our MyFuneral™ service. You are able to step through the MyFuneral™ service to describe:

  • Whether or not you have an Existing Will and the location
  • Your preferences for Body or Organ Donation
  • How you wish to have your body handled
  • Final Disposition (buried, cremated or other)
  • Whether or not you have an existing Funeral Plan in place
  • If you have an existing arrangement, or a preferred Mortuary contact
  • A section for a detailed list of Family and Friends to be notified
  • You can write your own Obituary to be published or read at the service
  • If you wish, you can describe your Armed Services Record
  • You can express your preferences for donations to be made by Family and Friends and the target organisation
  • You are able to express your preference for the style and cost of a coffin
  • Any Pre-disposition Ceremonies (visitations, funeral services, religious ceremonies, etc.)
  • Any Final Disposition Ceremony (graveside, burial, interment, ash scattering, etc.)
  • You can write a final Message for loved ones
  • Describe your preferences for a Monument/Marker
  • Express your wishes for what happens after the Funeral

The final document should be a 3-4 page detailed description of your wishes that can be worked on and updated as often as you wish over time.

Pre-plan your funeral

The cost of funerals is rising faster than the rate of inflation. According to the Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2017, the average cost of a basic funeral rose from £3,897 in 2016, to £4,078 in 2017 - an increase of 4.7%.

We have partnered with one of the leading UK funeral pre-planning and pre-payment providers - Unique funeral plans.

We have exclusive pricing available to LegalWills.co.uk members, available at https://uniquefuneralplans.co.uk.

In total, there are four different packages.

These start at The Purity plan - the most affordable plan option. It is a direct cremation plan and includes all the funeral director's fees and services, a simple coffin, and your plan refunded and funeral paid for after 15 years.

What's included in The Purity Funeral Plan?

  • Your choice of funeral director and provision of all of their services
  • 24-hour transfer of the deceased to the funeral parlour
  • A simple coffin
  • Return of ashes
  • Any and all staff fees required in order to conduct the service
  • Peace of mind knowing that if you have not called upon your plan within 15 years, your money will be refunded and your funeral will be paid for. Your funeral could be free!
  • Transfers from the funeral parlour to the cemetery or crematorium
  • Funds protected by the Sterling Trust
  • A Standard Will included
  • 25% of your Plan money refunded between years 6 and 15
  • Monthly money-back draw
  • 2 year subscription to Once I’ve Gone
This plan is available from £995 Check it out: https://uniquefuneralplans.co.uk.

At the other end of the spectrum is The Prestige Plus funeral plan. This provides a comprehensive package, and is particularly suited to those with larger families, or who expect many mourners to attend. The plan covers 2 limousines, open visiting hours to the chapel of rest, and a quality wooden coffin.

What's included in The Prestige Plus Funeral Plan?

  • Your choice of funeral director and provision of all of their services
  • 24-hour transfer of the deceased to the funeral parlour
  • A quality, wooden coffin
  • Chapel of rest viewing during working hours
  • Two Limousines
  • Doctor’s Fees
  • A contribution to catering costs
  • A hearse and pallbearers
  • Careful preparation of the deceased
  • Any and all staff fees required in order to conduct the service
  • Peace of mind knowing that if you have not called upon your plan within 15 years, your money will be refunded and your funeral will be paid for. Your funeral could be free!
  • Transfers from the funeral parlour to the cemetery or crematorium
  • Funds protected by the Sterling Trust
  • A contribution to floral arrangements
  • A Standard Will included
  • 25% of your Plan money refunded between years 6 and 15
  • Monthly money-back draw
  • 2 year subscription to Once I’ve Gone
  • Clergy Fee
  • Up to £1,500 towards 3rd party disbursements
This plan is available from £3,475 Check it out: https://uniquefuneralplans.co.uk.

Put the decisions in your own hands

There are four steps to protecting your family at an emotionally vulnerable time.

Step 1: You should prepare your Will. This takes about 20 minutes and costs £39.95. There is really no excuse for dying without a Will. You should prepare one today, and then update it throughout your life as your circumstances change.

Step 2: You should describe your funeral wishes. Again, this takes about 20 minutes, but using our MyFuneral™ service. Just step through the series of questions, and then sign your final printed document. Store this document with your Will.

Step 3: Take advantage of our other services like MyKeyholders™, MyMessages™, MyVault™ and MyLifeLocker™ to make sure that you get the right information to the right people at the right time, and not before.

Step 4: Explore the pre-paid funeral options offered by LegalWills.co.uk in conjunction with Unique Funeral Plans. Our rates are exceptional in the industry, and it removes a significant burden from your family.

In The News:

"Online services, like the one provided by LegalWills.co.uk are becoming more sophisticated, but are built from the same software used by estate planning solicitors."

The Money Whisperer
Emma Maslin, The Money Whisperer, PARENTING & MONEY, PERSONAL FINANCE
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