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Can you afford to die?

Although not traditionally associated with jollity, for those who like to have the last laugh, a funeral may offer the perfect opportunity.


It’s becoming increasingly popular to use humour during services to reflect the personality of the individual being celebrated. A survey by Co-op Funeralcare on the music people would like at their final goodbye found Another One Bites the Dust by Queen, Going Underground by the Jam and Highway to Hell by ACDC were among the chosen tunes.


After the music’s faded, gravestones offer another opportunity to raise a smile long after you’ve gone. One of the most famous examples of a humorous epitaph is Spike Milligan’s ‘I told you I was ill’. Meanwhile, Mel Blanc - the man behind the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and many others – opted for the famous Looney Tunes sign-off ‘That’s all folks!’ In a similar vein, gameshow host Merv Griffin, who presented Wheel of Fortune in the USA, went with ‘I will not be right back after this message’.


A funeral that captures the essence of the person being remembered can provide some level of comfort to loved ones during an incredibly difficult time. Another way to make things as easy as possible is to have your financial affairs in order.


Whole of life plans


A whole of life plan provides your loved ones with a lump sum when you die. With some policies, you pay monthly or annual premiums until your death, while others allow you to stop paying at a certain age - although this may impact the amount of money your loved ones receive.


Create or review your will


A will allows you to specify how your property, money and possessions will be distributed when you die. If you pass away without a will, the rules of intestacy will determine this for you and may not reflect your wishes. A will can also be used to set out plans for the guardianship and any future financial support of your children.


Accounts, bills and policies


Make a list of your accounts, bills and policies to help those left behind. This is important in case there are outstanding debts attracting interest that could be settled. Remember to include:


Current/savings accounts

Investments/pensions

Credit cards/loans

Mortgages

Insurance policies

Paying for your funeral and other expenses


Dying is costly! According to the SunLife (2022) Cost of Dying Report, you’re looking at an average bill of £8,865. This includes:


£4,056 – the average cost of a basic funeral


£2,484 – the average amount spent on extras such as the memorial, death and funeral notices, flowers, order of service sheets, limousines, venue and wake


£2,325 – the average amount spent on legal professionals


A pre-paid funeral plan allows you to set aside money to pay for your funeral. However, these plans aren’t currently regulated. If you’re taking out a policy before 29 July 2022, when they will be regulated, make sure you check the provider’s status on the FCA website. Don’t buy a plan if its status is 'not applying for authorisation', 'application refused' or 'application withdrawn’.


If you’d like more information on estate planning, we’re here to help.


Key takeaways:


A whole of life plan can provide your loved ones with a lump sum payment on your death.

An up-to-date, valid will helps to ensure your property, money and possessions are distributed according to your wishes after you die.

Keep an up-to-date list of your financial assets and debts to help loved ones in the event of your death.



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