The Cost of Funerals

Muppet81Muppet81 Forumite
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Not sure if this is the right part of the Forum for this subject but as we all tend to touched by death at some stage I felt I wanted to alert you to something I recently discovered regarding funeral costs.

We have just had to arrange the funeral for my MIL. We went to the funeral directors and they explained the costs involved in the funeral and they were several thousand and the sky was the limit if you wanted lots of extras.

My husband used to in charge of Parks and Cemeteries for a Local Authority and he rememebered that, some years ago, ALL local councils had been made to offer a Municipal funeral. This was to be a low cost, standardised but dignified funeral provided by whichever local funeral director won the tendering process. If you look on your Local Authorities website you should be able to find who won the tender in your area or just ask any funeral director you find in the telephone book. Hopefully they would tell you.

The FD we went to initially had won this tender and was offering the Municipal funeral at a fixed fee of £800 but they had not mentioned it as an option until we asked them. They made it sound as though we were wanting to put Mum into a paupers grave the way they used the words "Municipal Funeral".

I asked them what the difference was between the funeral at a few thousand and the one at £800 and they admitted NONE!
Same things, same cars, same people.
Collection of the deceased from within the Borough or a 10 mile radius
Embalming, dressing and a place in the chapel of rest with normal veiwing facilities
All arrangements at cemetery
A hearse and 1 car
The funeral service
a cherry coffin with engraved nameplate, handles and lining
transport of the deceased and immediate family to church or chapel prior to burial or cremation
The only additional fees are doctors fees and burial or cremation fees and the vicar but this was the case with the expensive option too.

We opted for this option and it was a lovely and dignified funeral. The funeral directors staff were lovely and did not do anything in a rush or a disrespectful way. It WAS the same as we would have got if we had paid thousands.

Don't let yourself be bamboozled into thinking you have to spend thousands at a sad time.

They are preying on people's grief and the feeling that you have to do the best for the deceased loved one out of respect. We are delighted that we can now spend the money we did not spend on the funeral on a nice headstone instead. Something the family can visit and appreciate in the future instead of lining the pockets of the Funeral Directors unecessarily.
Thank you for this site :jNow OH and I are both retired, MSE is a Godsend
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Replies

  • I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. This was an excellent post. Unfortunately my boyf's little bro passed away in June and so I wish I had known this sooner. Boyf's Mum has got the funeral bill and she can't pay it. She's refusing any offers of help from me or my Mum :(
  • lollyfinlollyfin Forumite
    299 Posts
    Thank you for your post Muppet and I am sorry for your loss
    this is something I will have to tell my parents about (both retired) as they have spoken about making sure they have money kept for the cost of their funerals. I would rather they spent and enjoyed the money they have while they are here rather than putting money away and doing without
    konMarie and fabbing all the way
    Weight loss challenge starting 11st loss in November 4lb
  • JustamumJustamum Forumite
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    Muppet81 wrote: »

    We have just had to arrange the funeral for my MIL. We went to the funeral directors and they explained the costs involved in the funeral and they were several thousand and the sky was the limit if you wanted lots of extras.

    Sorry to hear of your loss. My MIL died in early June. She was living in South Africa, and I don't think it was astronomical (we have to wait for the executor to deal with all the estate before we find out though).

    Out of interest, how many thousands did they want originally?
  • JustamumJustamum Forumite
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    notatvstar wrote: »
    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. This was an excellent post. Unfortunately my boyf's little bro passed away in June and so I wish I had known this sooner. Boyf's Mum has got the funeral bill and she can't pay it. She's refusing any offers of help from me or my Mum :(

    I'm so sorry to hear that - you shouldn't have to bury your children. It's appalling that funeral directors charge so much that they can end up putting people in poverty. Is there any way your BF's mum could get a hardship grant/loan from the DSS?
  • angukanguk Forumite
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    Sorry to hear of your loss and thanks for the information. I've had a look at my councils website and it says municipal funerals are only for people who have no relatives?

    The price of funerals is scandalous and I think there should be a simple basic funeral package available to all at a fixed price.
    Dum Spiro Spero
  • MrsE_2MrsE_2
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    Muppet81 wrote: »
    If you look on your Local Authorities website you should be able to find who won the tender in your area or just ask any funeral director you find in the telephone book. Hopefully they would tell you..

    I looked on west Sussex LA website (my mums council) & I can't find anything about "municipal funerals" at all.
  • SeakaySeakay Forumite
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    Thank you for this information - I had no idea about it at all. Obviously costs vary, but at least you can find out in advance. This is the Cardiff list, unchanged since 2009:
    Cardiff Councils Bereavement Services Division pride themselves on offering a dignified service at a reasonable cost:
    A standard funeral including burial and the purchase of a new grave costs £1,591
    A standard funeral including a burial in an existing grave costs £1,045
    A burial service at either of the chapels at Thornhill costs £72
    A standard funeral including a cremation and a service in the chapel costs £1,102
    Since its launch in 1992, over 2000 funerals have taken place under this contract
    The costs of floral tributes, clergy, church fees and obituary notices are not included in the above costs but can be included at an additional cost if required.
    Please note that this service is only available where the deceased is a resident of Cardiff and the funeral will take place in a cemetery or crematorium operated by Bereavement Services.
  • edited 9 August 2011 at 2:27PM
    Muppet81Muppet81 Forumite
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    edited 9 August 2011 at 2:27PM
    Justamum wrote: »
    Sorry to hear of your loss. My MIL died in early June. She was living in South Africa, and I don't think it was astronomical (we have to wait for the executor to deal with all the estate before we find out though).

    Out of interest, how many thousands did they want originally?

    We were looking at a start price of £2000 ish but it quickly beagn to rise towards £3000 and there were still the costs to add such as the Crem or burial, the vicar etc.
    Thank you for this site :jNow OH and I are both retired, MSE is a Godsend
  • Muppet81Muppet81 Forumite
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    anguk wrote: »
    Sorry to hear of your loss and thanks for the information. I've had a look at my councils website and it says municipal funerals are only for people who have no relatives?

    The price of funerals is scandalous and I think there should be a simple basic funeral package available to all at a fixed price.

    Unless your Council tendered on a different basis .... I think this may be clever wording. It mentioned on the one for our local council that these were suitable for people with no relatives but not exclusivly so.

    I would say ASK! You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.
    Thank you for this site :jNow OH and I are both retired, MSE is a Godsend
  • Muppet81Muppet81 Forumite
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    It is interesting to see that different Councils are different amounts. Clearly the result of the tendering process.

    I think the thing that you can be sure of is that it will be cheaper than if you don't ask. They sure as heck won't tell you.

    Perhaps some Councils do not actually offer a Municipal Funeral but I would suggest ringing the Cemeteries Dept of your Coucil and asking, even if you can't find mention of it on a website.

    Perhaps an idea to do it now, even though not needed. Believe me, when the actual time comes, it is the last thing you want to be doing.

    I know none of us like thinking about death and funerals but a few phone calls when you are not distraught could make life a lot easier at some time in the future.

    Like the Boy Scouts .... be prepared. :)
    Thank you for this site :jNow OH and I are both retired, MSE is a Godsend
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