The Great Planning for Death Hunt



  • Strapped
    Strapped Posts: 8,158 Forumite
    Mayk02 wrote: »
    If you're unhappy with a religious funeral for someone who wasn't religious, but don't feel up to doing it all yourself, you should try the British Humanist Association who will help you, including providing an officiant who will conduct a funeral to your taste. I've been to three of these, and was very impressed by the trouble taken to find out about the deceased and produce just what the survivors wanted. They do make a charge, but its very modest for the effort put in to find out about the person concerned and speak from knowledge, not a formula. Thery're on the web. (And I don't have anything to gain from your taking this advice!!)

    We used someone from the British Humanist Association to speak at my father's funeral recently, and I can second your recommendation.
    They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth. -- Plato
  • Strapped
    Strapped Posts: 8,158 Forumite
    Toothsmith wrote: »
    Mrs T.S. has instructions to do me as cheaply as humanly possible!

    I beleve it is legal to turn up at a cremtorium with the body wraped in a couple of bin liners - that'll do for me!!!

    If you're serious, have a look at the Natural Death Centre link I posted earlier. They surveyed all the crematoria in the UK, and around 60% said they would accept a body draped with a shroud (with a plank or something under the body to support it). OR - virtually all of them said that they would accept a home-made coffin, as long the relatives confirmed it didn't contain nasty chemicals etc that can't be burnt.
    They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth. -- Plato
  • i have thought a bit about this as we holiday without the daughter these days (with the associate risk of us both dying) and have written down a list of accounts complete with numbers,including,current,savings,isa,insurances,paypal,etc and put it in a envelope marked 'to be opened in the event of our deaths' in the draw hopefully this will make things simpler for her.
    Regarding burial we have a few options locally of burial & cremation,regarding the latter,your ashes could be scattered,buried in the 'woodland garden' which is basically a small hole with a marker for 25 years,but if after that time you dont renew witha fee to match then the 'plot' can be reused- my mum and dad are in this but my father-in-law's ashes was buried in a small casket in his parents grave and the stone renewed accordingly,after some thought i now feel that is the better option but its down to personal taste.howie
  • Spirit_2
    Spirit_2 Posts: 5,546 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    When my daughter was 15 I had an urgent life threatening condition requiring emergency surgery . This was a shock to us all.

    As I was being consented for the op I asked for a few minutes with my daughter and husband. I told them both that if I had no further use for my body I wanted whatever organs were useful to be donated for transplant. I had not previously discussed this with my family and realised "at the last minute" that if I told only my husband then should it be necessary he would have to tell my daughter this, at a time when they were both already distressed. I felt it was my responsibility to relieve him of a burden.

    I had had a flashback to when my own father died suddenly and the initial shock being followed by my own horror and upset because he was to have a post mortem and I did not want him 'disturbed'.

    As the consenting procedure continued, the Junior Doctor told me that few of my organs would be worth having! It cheered me up no end.

    Plainly all went well and all my bits remain in place but wanted to convey that if you want to donate your organs ,carry a donor card, and discuss this wish with your family when you are well, not when you are at deaths door. It really is better for all concerned.

  • crossleydd42
    crossleydd42 Posts: 1,065 Forumite
    Remember that there are usually really cheap funeral arrangements at undertakers: but they often would rather sweep these under the carpet and offer a fancy one - this happened to us when my father-in-law died. His widow had little money and I was shocked at the prices quoted in the fancy book when we went to the Co-op undertakers. When I said there wasn't the money available, a much cheaper option (not in the book) was mentioned and even an Austin Montego would be thrown in if really necessary - it wasn't. Don't be backward in specifying that you want the cheapest funeral possible to your next-of-kin, otherwise they will probably feel guilty and go for an expensive one.
    "Some say the cup is half empty, while others say it is half full. However, this is skirting around the issue. The real problem is that the cup is too big."
  • Strapped
    Strapped Posts: 8,158 Forumite
    Remember also, that you don't HAVE to use an undertaker, or you can ask for some parts of their services only. When someone very close to me died several years back, his family chose to keep him at home until the funeral (they were French, and apparently this is much more common over there), only using the undertakers to supply a coffin and transport to the crematorium. I know some people would be shocked at the thought (fortunately it was winter) but actually it really helped us all to come to terms with his sudden death. Much easier to say goodbye in the familar surroundings of his own home.
    They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth. -- Plato
  • Thankyou for all of this. I have been thinking about it a lot lately and have always maintained that i would like a funeral as simply and cheaply as possible. I read somewhere ( a while ago)that there was a store which sold coffins, headstones etc in the south somewhere- it was a bit like a hypermarket. Does anyone recollect hearing about this?
    Blackadder: Am I jumping the gun, Baldrick, or are the words 'I have a cunning plan' marching with ill-deserved confidence in the direction of this conversation?
    Still lurking around with a hope of some salvation:cool:
  • SuzySF
    SuzySF Posts: 118 Forumite
    i've made my funeral arrangements when i was 30 and facing death- luckily i got the organs i needed donated- so PLEASE SERIOUSLY CONSIDEDR ORGAN DONATION. I have made detailed arrangements for my funeral and had them added to my will as a codicil....cardboard coffin, crem, chuck the ashes over my fave cliff by the seaside lol borrow an estate car to transport me to crem (overpriced hearses !!!)

    on reading another post about purchasing will sheets from a stationer, I have been searching for months for one to change my mum's will (at her request of course ) but keept being told they are no longer available due to people writing numerous versions..and i keep being offered computer based will kit at £20 a throw ( i dont think so ...)

    so if anyone knows of where i can get one of these old style write your own will sheets (last one mum got cost her £1.49) please let me know.....thanks
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always recieve lots
  • margaretclare
    margaretclare Posts: 10,789 Forumite
    This is a really useful thread, and thank you, Martin, for starting it. Like others, I'm surprised that you haven't found a way to take it with you!!! That said....

    No one gets to my age without having seen several funerals at close hand and having had to organise some of them. I would agree most strongly with everyone who has said 'leave your affairs in order, leave a list of your wishes, a list of important addresses and phone numbers, important documents in a safe place and tell someone where that is'. I have seen and heard of some things in my time, I can tell you - wills that couldn't be found, people who died with no one knowing what their wishes were, you name it.

    I agree with those awful flowers spelling out 'Dad, Mum, Vera' or whatever. And about limousines - very costly, and not essential. Most folk will have a car, or access to one - why not use own cars?

    In response to Strapped above, it used to be common for the deceased to be kept at home until the funeral. I can (just) remember this happening in the village where I grew up. It also used to be the case that funerals were held much sooner after a death - you can see this if you do family history, the date of death and date of burial.

    In our case, DH and me, this is the idea that we've latched on to:

    This is what we've planned for ourselves:

    I can't imagine anything better than to lie for ever in a bluebell wood. Ever since childhood, whenever faced with a stressful situation, in the dentist's chair for instance, I always conjure up thoughts of a bluebell wood.

    Most of my relations lie in quiet country churchyards in the Yorkshire countryside with birds in the trees and bees and butterflies in the flowers. I know of one graveyard which is one sheet of snowdrops in February. In contrast, for the last few days we have been visiting DH's forebears in Jewish cemeteries in London. We've now visited both sets of grandparents and his parents. He just felt he had to do it once more, but he hates it. They are just full of stone, gravel and marble, not a blade of grass is allowed to grow. His brother said 'Why do you think I had my son cremated' (his son died aged 30) - apparently he also hates them. The one we visited at Bushey actually has a place where you can inter cremated ashes and plant a rose-bush, but that's just one little corner. We visited an old London cemetery in Tower Hamlets and that is now a wildlife haven, full of trees and birds, and people go walking jogging or cycling there - it's still in touch with life! Yesterday we went to Plashet Jewish cemetery and although that's a very old one, it's just stone, marble and gravel. You're supposed to pray for the dead - I didn't feel like praying. I pray more spontaneously in a wildlife haven!

    For a woodland burial, because no embalming fluids are allowed (they could leach into the soil) burials have to happen more quickly than most do nowadays, so you're not stuck in a fridge for a couple of weeks (it's one thing I do agree with the Jews about). There's a hall where you can have a service with the minister of your choice, or none at all, and it's possible to organise refreshments there. I think this will feel much more natural and maybe people will feel more at ease than they would in a church that they weren't used to attending.

    The Victorian poet, Christina Rossetti, wrote this:

    "When I am dead, my dearest,
    Sing no sad songs for me.
    Plant thou no roses at my head,
    Nor shady cypress tree.
    Be the green grass above me
    With showers and dewdrops wet,
    And if thou wilt, remember,
    And if thou wilt, forget.

    I shall not see the shadows,
    I shall not feel the rain;
    I shall not hear the nightingale
    Sing on, as if in pain;
    And, dreaming through the twilight
    That doth not rise nor set,
    Haply I may remember,
    And haply, may forget."

    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Æ[/FONT]r ic wisdom funde, [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]æ[/FONT]r wear[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ð[/FONT] ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • I unfortunatly can speak from experience (not of dying rofl) but from being an Executor of quite a complex estate ... It was an experience I would not like to ever repeat and it was truly harrowing. However I did learn a few lessons (mostly by the problems of others).

    a) Prepare for it (It will happen one day to all), take steps to avoid Inheritance tax, it is said it's the most avoidable tax of the lot and there are many legal ways around it, .. take advice.

    b) Most people dont just "pass away", they have a period of incapacity before they go in various ways, make sure a trusted somebody can take care of your affairs by Power of Attorney.

    c) Keep your affairs in order, I had to deal with many unpaid cheques, tax issues, a house sale, shares, etc etc it was a nightmare when the original documents were lost .. and very costly to get replacements.

    c) Make a will. Make a Will, MAKE A WILL .. do it today.

    d) Not all solicitors are equal .. where possible do the donkey work yourself, these guys will do all of it, part of it, or only the bare essentials which are actually quite small .. and charge a complete fortune for many things you can do yourself. Make sure you have good one.

    e) Inheritance tax again .. this is payable up front, the estate cannot be wound up without it, and it might mean you have to take a loan (the Executors) until the rest of the estate is cleared.

    f) The funeral, dont worry too much about it, the estate pays, the bills take a long while to come in, just do it in the way the deceased person would wish, (my view) .. You will be dead anyway.

    g) Allow lots of time ... it took around 18 months, nothing happens quickly, some people were very helpful, others useless, dont get stressed.
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