Additional funeral costs for war hero
You may never have considered that moving house may mean additional funeral costs, if you know where you want to be laid to rest.
Such was the case for 91 year old war hero James Graham, who has always expressed a wish to be buried alongside his parents, having never married or had children.
Being an organised planner, James paid for his burial plot 20 years ago, when he lived in Cantril Farm, Liverpool. Unfortunately, Cantril Farm was later demolished, with all residents being relocated. James went to live in Knowsley but was still happy in the knowledge that his last resting place would be in West Derby Cemetery in Croxteth, next to his parents.
It was only when he attempted to responsibly prepay for his funeral, that James was given the devastating news that because he had moved out of the Liverpool area over five years ago, his funeral costs would in fact come to £1,300, rather than the £695 he had been led to believe. This additional money, Liverpool council explained, was to cover employing contractors to open the plot, administration costs and maintenance of the cemetery.
Unfortunately, this now means that James will be unable to entirely fund his own burial costs – a sad and bitter result for this man who was awarded a medal for his actions during the war, in Italy and Egypt.
For years we’ve heard that graveyards are running out of space, but now it seems that calls are being made to actually re-use graves.
The BBC has undertaken research which suggests that almost half of the UK’s cemeteries could find themselves completely full within the next 20 years, with a quarter of them reaching capacity within ten years.
Some local councils are already having to deal with the problem on an individual basis, as their plots are completely full.
The latest solution, which was suggested by an academic, would see graves older than 75 years old, being “re-used”. How this would actually be carried out is not certain – whether the person’s remains if any, would be removed and/or reinterred elsewhere, or whether the next burial would take place on top of the last.
Finding an appropriate solution to such an emotive problem will obviously not be easy. However, the considerable price difference between a cremation and a burial may well encourage more people to opt for the latter – particularly with the average burial now costing around £4000.
I watched an interesting item the other day, featured on the Daybreak programme, which discussed how many people felt the charges for organising a funeral were excessive and how some companies in the industry were taking advantage of these people at a vulnerable time.
The feature went on to talk about how although on average, funerals tend to cost around anywhere up to £7000, there are ways to reduce this cost considerably, if you’re prepared to plan most of it yourself.
It may surprise you to know that hiring a funeral director to arrange everything is not a requirement, although at such a difficult time, most of us choose to hand over the funeral planning details to someone with experience.
We all have differing views on burial and cremation which may not even necessarily depend on our religion. It’s worth having the conversation now with your spouse, siblings and parents, to see whether they have any strong views, one way or the other. What should be bourne in mind is that a burial can cost substantially more than a cremation.
Whilst you’re having that conversation, why not also find out if they have any preferences with regards to a coffin? If they want to be cremated when the time comes, then buying an expensive coffin may not be a sensible choice if the budget is tight. Costs can vary widely, depending on choice of wood and accessories. If your loved one cares about the environment, they may even opt for a bio-degradable coffin, rather than an expensive wooden one.
Items such as flowers and stationery can also be bought quite reasonably, if you take the time to shop around.
Although it’s traditional to hold a reception of some kind after the funeral, so that friends and family can socialise, share their memories and pay their respects; remember that this doesn’t have to be held in a pub or other venue. Why not hold it in the deceased’s home or your home instead and ask close relatives to help out with the catering? In many cases, they’ll be glad that they can play an active part and it will give them something else on which to focus.
Finally, the last thing you want is to cause your family financial hardship and additional stress, to add to their grief when you’re gone. Why not do one last thing for them and plan in advance by paying small amounts into a funeral plan, so they don’t have to worry so much about budgeting for your funeral? For help with funeral planning please call us