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How to plan for your funeral

August 2022

Funerals are an important part of every culture. For many people, they’re an opportunity to say a final goodbye and to come to terms with losing a loved one.

Should you start planning your funeral at 50?

While it may feel morbid to plan your own funeral, especially at the early age of 50, it’s an act of kindness for the people who will need to make the arrangements.

Whoever organises your funeral will probably know you better than anyone, but if you’ve not left them a clear plan they’ll need to make decisions while grieving, which is particularly difficult if you die unexpectedly.

For that reason, a common life admin task when you reach the age of 50 is nailing down some of the details you’d like at your own funeral.

Writing down what you want can help take some of the pressure off when the time comes. This could be part of your Will or it could be as simple as a note left in an envelope.

Checklist for planning your funeral

Whether you plan to have a funeral that’s as simple as possible or a grand wake that represents your personality, your funeral is in many ways the final memory of you that you’ll leave your loved ones.

There’s a few things worth thinking about when you’re deciding how you want your funeral to take place:

Who you want to be there

A list of everyone you’d like invited can save your loved ones trawling through your address book and trying to remember the names of your long-lost cousins and school friends.

Whether you want a burial or a cremation

This is a really personal choice and there’s a lot of options to consider, such as if you’d like to be buried near loved ones or what you’d like to happen with your ashes.

If you’d like any religious elements at the ceremony

Some people would like religion to feature in some way at their funeral, even if they don’t practice religion in their everyday lives. Others would prefer an entirely religion-free celebration. If this isn’t a conversation you’ve had with your loved ones, it could be worth writing down your preferences now so there’s no confusion.

The music you’d like played

For some people, this is the most important part of the event! You might like to think about the music you’d like at the start of the ceremony, a song to play during a moment of reflection and music for while everyone is leaving.

Anything you’d like read at the service

Having poems, readings or even a monologue from a film you love read as part of the ceremony can help make your funeral really reflect who you are as a person. It’s also worth thinking about who you’d like to read them and if they’d want to do this.

The food and drink

You don’t have to have food at your wake but many people put on a buffet and provide some drinks.

The personal touches

Whether this is having your favourite flowers, providing limousines for guests, asking for contributions to a charity or even having an egg and spoon race in your memory, whatever makes your funeral personal to you.

How the funeral will be paid for

Funerals aren’t cheap and your loved ones will need to pay for your funeral promptly. They’re likely to be faced with the bill before any money you’ve left in your Will has reached them so you need to consider how your funeral will be paid for.

You can use our funeral cost calculator to get an idea of how much it might cost.

Paying for your funeral in advance

According to analysis by OneFamily and data from MoneyHelper, two out of every five (42%) funeral plans and life cover policies won’t pay enough for even a basic cremation. Even more worryingly, 68% of people over 50 in the UK don’t have any life cover or a paid funeral plan at all.

While many people expect to pay for their funeral out of their savings, some have no plan in place. It’s also worth bearing in mind that all of your accounts will be frozen when you die until your Will is sorted out, so whoever is organising your funeral might not be able to access any savings you’ve put aside for some time.

You could consider taking out a funeral plan or over-50s life insurance policy to cover the cost.

Over-50s Life Cover

Taking out an over-50s life cover insurance policy could mean at least some of the cost of your funeral is taken care of.

You pay an agreed amount every month and your loved ones will be given a lump sum when you die. Unlike a funeral plan, this gives them the option to decide how best to spend the money, such as to pay off debts.

Some policies, including OneFamily's Over 50s Life Cover, give the option to add a funeral funding feature. This means payment can be made directly from the policy to your chosen funeral director when the bill is settled, so there's no need for the cost of the funeral to be found up front.

OneFamily’s Over-50s Life Cover also pays out if you’re diagnosed as being terminally ill.

Please be aware that the amount that your policy pays out after you die may not be enough to cover the full cost of your funeral, depending on the details of the ceremony.

Funeral plans

A funeral plan is designed to pay the full amount of your funeral as you’ll make a detailed plan when you set it up.

Like a life insurance policy, you pay an agreed amount into the funeral plan every month and when you die the policy pays for your funeral. The money that is released when you die goes straight to the funeral director.

OneFamily’s Over-50s Life Cover

Our award-winning Over-50s Life Cover is a guaranteed acceptance policy, which means everyone can take out this insurance as long as they’re aged between 50 and 80. You don’t need a medical check and the only thing we’ll ask you about your lifestyle is whether or not you smoke.

It also includes terminal illness cover, so as long as you’ve had the policy for at least two years you’ll receive the pay-out if you’re diagnosed as being terminally ill.

This type of insurance isn’t guaranteed to cover the whole cost of your funeral. Your loved ones will receive a set amount of money so it depends on how expensive your funeral is.

As the policy has no cash value, it’s really important that you keep paying the agreed amount every month – if you miss payments then your policy could be cancelled.

Find out more about our Over-50s Life Cover.

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