How to pay for a funeral for a friend

I had a chat today with a Final Flinger about how to pay for a funeral for a friend.

He’s dying. She’s supporting. Both are worrying about how to pay for the funeral. And that’s the last thing they should be worrying about right now when they have just a little time left together.

A friend of mine had his funeral just before Christmas. It’s cost his family £6,500 for a completely standard service. It’s too much. And we know that most people still don’t check prices for fear of looking like they are being mean when all they want to do is honour the person who had died in the biggest way open to them.

So I talked with my Final Fling friend about all sort of funeral ideas that are available that might help avoid a huge funeral bill.

How to pay for a funeral for a friend

Fundamentally, there are two ways of covering the costs of a funeral:

Reduce the costs of the funeral

  • the no-funeral option
  • have a home funeral
  • lead the funeral yourselves rather than use a celebrant
  • opt for direct cremation – when family and friends collect the ashes after a cremation that no-one attends. This can liberate the family who can then organise an ash-scattering or other ceremony at their leisure with as much or little drama as they like
  • using a venue like a favourite pub or club house rather than the crematorium
  • a simple coffin – you can buy these direct from suppliers – see Final Fling’s Marketplace
  • don’t do flowers – make paper flowers or decorate the coffin instead.

Find more money!

  • try crowdfunding – a popular way of fundraising for good causes
  • apply for government benefits. Locally, the Scottish Government Funeral Payment comes in 2 parts. Part 1 is for the actual ‘reasonable’ costs spent on either the burial fees or the cremation fees – around £700 – along with the costs for any death certificates or other documents that are required (this element of the payment can sometimes include specific transport cost as well but this depends on the circumstances of the application. Part 2 of the Funeral Payment is for ‘other’ funeral expenses up to £700 to cover the cost of the funeral director fee, flowers or the coffin.

That shows the huge gap between the actual costs at the moment and the benefits available.

It’s a political choice in my view. We could end funeral poverty by gathering National Insurance payments throughout our working lives, affording a State Funeral at the end. That’s what I was looking at in my Masters last year.

Got other ideas? Please share and we’ll blog to others.


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