The Great Planning for Death Hunt

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  • sandy2_2
    sandy2_2 Posts: 1,931 Forumite
    organ donation, organ donation, organ donation
    Please give generously and make sure everyone knows this is what you want
  • Having just organised three funerals of immediate family members in the last year I do agree with Martin that this is so important, especially the financial aspects. However I do know first hand that organising some of the funeral has a tremendously theraputic effect and can be the start of the healing process. Personally I would always leave some areas of the funeral to family discretion,I know they can always do the address but somehow choosing one of the hymns maybe the coffin etc focuses rellies minds and gives a chance for some individual reflection and expression of feelings by family discussion; they can release some of their own grief through doing something proactive with scope for choice. Dad chose a hymn and left an amount for his burial, the opportunity to express our grief through making the remaining funeral choices started to give my teenage children and myself a sense of purpose, expression and peace which then continued to develop over time.We put a lot of ourselves into those family funerals and it helped so much. We also knew that we were carrying out the individuals wishes for part of it which was also good. I must do mine too, so thanks for the wake up call Martin, but I won't be tying mine up too closely-only removing the financial burden of course.
  • A few thoughts from another minister

    1. As a lot have said already - plan ahead. Financially and wish wise it makes sense. Put it all in a ring back folder - will, funeral wishes, policies.

    2. For the funeral itself - shop around like anything else. Remove the extras - do the work yourself. Do you really need flash undertakers cars or is there a family member or mate who can drive you? How about a no flower funeral? Do you really need a big wake draining your bank account or just time alone together?

    3. Cremations are usually cheaper than burials and there's no need to have an organist or minister if you don't want that kind of thing.

    4. Make sure someone knows what your wishes are -- I've seen too mnay arguments over funerals and what is to happen

    5. Involve everyone - even the smallest. It helps them to come to terms with one of the 3 biggies in life - life, death and income tax (thanks Mark Twain).

    6. Shop around if you need a minister: some like me don't charge - I see it as part of a community provision on my church's behalf. It certainly raises a few eyebrows in this day and age as I think to fully accede to the family's reasonable wishes you have to spend a lot of time putting it together: most people expect a charge and in the long run if they feel the church has helped they pass on their thanks or a donation (which is never the object). If you don't know a minister the undertaker will usually know who is or who isn't on the ball and will direct you to someone suitable for your needs.

    7. I am told, although I dont know for sure, that the cheapest funeral is where you donate your body for medical research. It would mean that a medical or nursing student will use the body in training. The whole idea would understandably concern some but please others (in the sense that soem are happy for organ donation). The cost of burial or cremation is borne, I believe by the University or institution concerned.

    Hope this helps

    Stevetherev
  • On ething I forgot: you can get will forms from most stationers for a few pounds. They do have some instructions with them to help you avoid the most glaring problems. If your estate is likely to be a bit complicated then a Solicitor is adviseable - usually I am loathe to recommend extra expense - but in this case, the expense of tens not hundreds of pounds is worth the potential problems later. Believe me, a badly written will can cause monetary chaos!

    Who's in the house? The Rev's in the house --- in the office

    Stevetherev
  • vics_1982
    vics_1982 Posts: 194 Forumite
    My grandmother donated her body to medical science, unfortunatly they couldn't take her in the end due to her illness. She had to register before hand with them)cambridge university i think, and they have to accept you.
    They wil then take you once you have passed away and i think that you do actually get some ashes back after about 3 years or so. They do ask for a small contribution.
    Grandma done this as she wanted to help and also didn't want to pay rediculous funeral fees. In the end we had a private familly crematation, i rose and that was all, it was lovely.

    I want the same,non of this faffing about.

    HTH
    Vics
    Sainsbury CC - £1597.25 0% 18 mths left £37.57 Per month DD

    Savings Goals 6500K / 10000K
  • I know it's a fairly obvious one, but it's amazing how many people haven't yet got around to the basics of making a will. I understand that people don't want to think about death and avoid doing so by not making a will but having been through hell for several years now following the sudden death of a family member who didn't make a will, i can tell everyone that you're never too young to write a will and doing so will save many months of angony and heartache for those you leave behind, as well as ensure that your wishes are carried out.
    so even if you're young, healthy or feel like you don't have much, PLEASE get round to writing a will - everyone should have one! And remember that if you're circumstances change - like you (re)marry - this will affect your will so you may need to write a new one. also don't forget to change things like who yout want named as your beneficiary on your pension/ life insurance etc. if you marry, remarry or divorce - my uncle's ex-wife of 10 years ago just received a huge payout from his private pension because he'd never gotten around to changing the beneficiary!
  • Whilst donating your body to science is a great idea in principle, a word of caution: Think how it will affect the ones who stay behind. I once took a lady to pick up her husband who had donated his body, and it had taken over 3 years before it was released to her, and in the meantime, she felt that she hadn't been able to get that all important "closure", hadn't been able to say goodbye properly, had all that on hold so to speak.

    For a lot of people, the funeral itself is the turning point where they come to accept the reality of the person's death and is an essential part of the grieving process, so think carefully and think of your loved ones before taking that step.

    Also, it may come as a wake-up call to some, but maybe the plans you are making for your own departure are going to financially cripple the ones staying behind, so think twice: Do you REALLY care whether you're buried or cremated? (cremation is a lot cheaper!) Do you really care whether your coffin is reinforced cardboard or the finest oak? Whether you have brass handles on it? Is it going to help you having giant floral tributes being left to rot next to your grave?

    To me, this is where I can really be a moneysaver to the end and beyond: Keep it simple, keep it cheap. I have already told the family: Cardboard coffin, cremation, no flowers, no minister, no convoy, no organist, just a party to celebrate my life rather than mourn my death, if I believed in an afterlife, I'd rather hear laughter associated with my name than tears, thank you very much, and I'd rather that they went on a nice holiday or break with the money saved. The thought that my last act on Earth would be to put them in financial jeopardy is unbearable, frankly.

    (Incidentally, my daughter knows how much I LOATHE those flowers arrangements which spell out a name or "Nan" "Father" or the worse of all "Mom" [spelt the American way, grrr], and her biggest "threat" in an argument is to tell me that's what she'll get for me to put on my grave as a punishment, LOL)
  • OliveOyl_2
    OliveOyl_2 Posts: 3,506 Forumite
    We have a complicated 21st century family with step children etc. Not unusual nowadays.
    Our solicitor advised us to buy whole life policies on our lives, one in the name of each child.
    When the first of us dies the policies pay out to each policy holder (offspring) £100,000.
    This is not liable for inheritance tax (not part of the estate, as it is owned by offspring) and will take off ANY pressure from the surviving spouse to share out the estate; possibly at their own expense.

    We bought our house from a reluctant elderly woman who had been bullied by her children to sell and move into sheltered flats. They didn't want the burden of looking after her, and they did want their slice of the pie. We didn't want that for each other.

    The policies are cheap (we're young ;) and healthy) and we really are going to do it one day.....
  • To me, this is where I can really be a moneysaver to the end and beyond: Keep it simple, keep it cheap. I have already told the family: Cardboard coffin, cremation, no flowers, no minister, no convoy, no organist, just a party to celebrate my life rather than mourn my death, if I believed in an afterlife, I'd rather hear laughter associated with my name than tears, thank you very much, and I'd rather that they went on a nice holiday or break with the money saved. The thought that my last act on Earth would be to put them in financial jeopardy is unbearable, frankly.

    (Incidentally, my daughter knows how much I LOATHE those flowers arrangements which spell out a name or "Nan" "Father" or the worse of all "Mom" [spelt the American way, grrr], and her biggest "threat" in an argument is to tell me that's what she'll get for me to put on my grave as a punishment, LOL)
    I could have written that! It is exactly how I feel about it, and I have also warned my kids about those flower arrangements! (except that my kids call me Mom - from the Irish, Mham...)
    I'm an adult and I can eat whatever I want whenever I want and I wish someone would take this power from me.
    -Mike Primavera
    .
  • This is my first post so hope I get it right and it saves you money!

    When Dad died 2 years ago Mum paid for the funeral, it came to about £4200 and that was on a budget, the cheapest coffin was £700 I was mortified (excuse the pun!), anyway Mum was on benefits and I found out you could reclaim the funeral expenses with 3 months of the death. Unfortunately we found this out one day before the 3 months was up,
    no-one ever volunteers this information to you, so there was a mass panic driving round the country, picking up forms, filling them in, driving to Mums getting her to sign them and dropping them off again. Anyway we did it and 3 weeks later Mum got 3 cheques which all amounted to £4200, we rang up and checked it and it was all okay and correct. So Mum now has the money in a bond for her funeral, bless her. I think the paying in advance is a great idea though I'm still shocked at the price of a mdf, wood veneered box at £700, someone somewhere is making lots of money out of people's death!

    This form tells you all about it....

    http://www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk/JCP/stellent/groups/jcp/documents/websitecontent/dev_012144.pdf
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