2018-07-16

Funeral plans

It seems I am of an age where I get adverts for funeral plans.

They are missing the point!

A funeral is an odd thing, and at my age I have been to a few. They are a formalised way to say goodbye and have some closure, with or without religious aspects.

To be honest I was really ready to shout out some annoyance at one where they are saying "you can be certain that [the deceased] is now in heaven with [a] God and Jesus". FFS, whatever you choose to believe, there is no such certainty and I spent the whole service thinking how any business doing this would fall foul of so many trades descriptions and mis-selling laws, it was scary.

I have been to non religious funerals, and they seem far more sensible, they are emotional times for all concerned but they allow the psychological closure we all need. They make sense, and are important ceremonies. Some times we need things to be marked with a ceremony.

But there is no point selling me a funeral! I don't need one! Once I am dead (and I plan not to ever be so) I need no sense of closure or formal send off. I will be dead and will not care. I will not exist any more than the 13.772 billion years before I was born, none of which I experienced.

If you want to sell a funeral plan you need to target those left behind, my kids, maybe my wife, but not me. Why would I buy a funeral FFS? I have no interest in what happens to be after I die. My family can decide what they want, if anything, and what is good value for money, or not. It is not my choice, and should not be - it is not for my benefit in any way.

14 comments:

  1. >>>If you want to sell a funeral plan you need to target those left behind, my kids, maybe my wife, but not me. Why would I buy a funeral FFS? I have no interest in what happens to be after I die

    If I may play devils advocate for a moment. Do you have interest in what happens to your family after you die? A lot of families (and given you're apparently affluence as we see in this blog, not yourself) do struggle when there is an unexpected death to cover the costs of a funeral.

    If I may sound like a salesdroid for a moment, I'm sure you wouldn't want your family, at that time, to have to worry about the additional costs (and if there's any doubt if I do work in the funeral industry, I don't - they're a bunch of unethical rippoff merchants only approached in scum level by the wedding industry).

    Do you have something away somewhere that your family can access easily so they don't have to worry? Obviously not expecting you to answer, your arrangements are private.

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    1. Well I pondered this - I will be dead for a very long time, so why would I focus my attention on my immediate family and their needs and not their children or theirs, or the million generations to follow. The tiny span of time just after I am dead is easy to conceive but I fail to see why it is more important than any other span of time in the billions of years left for the universe to run after I am dead. As for my funeral, if my family wish not to pay, or cannot pay, then don't! Simple as that. Leave it to the council, or whatever, I need no special treatment beyond what that in which they feel they need to invest for their own benefit and sense of closure.

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    2. i think funeral costs are one of the first things to come out of the estate assets and if the estate has no assets then the council would pay for it so there should never be any need for a family to pay

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  2. "you can be certain that [the deceased] is now in heaven with [a] God and Jesus" - no false advertising as far as I can see... Some people are certain that the world is flat! Others are certain that it shouldn't have been a penalty (or whatever else people are certain of these days. I don't understand this sportsball lingo!)

    On a serious note, the price of funerals is only going to go up (inflation if nothing else) so it may well be an investment to buy it now! Could have saved your family a reasonable amount of money by the time you do need it...!

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    1. How is that an "investment" for "me" ?

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    2. Not really anything to add that Lawbringer and others haven't already said, but let's work on the assumption that you care about your family and that you're successful enough that inheritance tax is going to affect what you leave them. If you pay for a funeral now, then that's a) a cost they will no longer have and b) reduces the amount you leave them, thereby reducing the tax liability.

      Financial incentives aside, the emotional relief of not having to shop around and make decisions shortly after you're gone.

      Granted they're not for everyone, but I don't think that means they're for no one

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  3. It's a feature of insurance.

    A wise piece of advice which I was given very many years ago is, "If you can afford not to be insured, you can't afford to be insured." Or in other words, insurance is for things which you couldn't otherwise afford to pay for.

    The Royal Mail (or whatever they're calling themselves this week) don't insure their vans. There's absolutely no point. A relatively predictable number of them will be involved in minor or major prangs each year, and if they were to insure them then the insurers would simply add 10% (or whatever) to the predicted annual cost and charge that as a premium. The extra added by the insurer would be pure loss for the Royal Mail. (Likewise British Telecom, or any operator of a large fleet.)

    Funeral schemes are for those who would struggle (or whose families would struggle) to find £5000 or whatever to pay all the sudden costs. If you're in the league at whom the "Oh no, the boiler's broken again - I know, I'll use <loan shark of choice>" adverts are aimed then funeral insurance might make sense. If you're not, then it definitely doesn't.

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    1. I follow this advice too, given to me many years ago. I have less insurance now than ever before, simply because as my assets grow I can afford more things myself on the rare occasions they happen.

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  4. Funeral plans are basically specialist life insurance policies.

    You don't buy life insurance for yourself. You buy it for your loved ones, so that in the event you die you can ensure your wife/husband/kid's needs are met.

    E.g. if you are the major earner, and you have a house with a mortgage, and you die, then your partner & kids would have no money, would be unable to pay the mortgage and would be evicted. So you buy life insurance that ensures that the mortgage gets paid off in that case, pays for the funeral, and gives them a lump sum so they don't have immediate financial problems. This gets them over the immediate financial problems caused by your death, and gives them time to get over your death and then to sort out their finances / get a job / move somewhere cheaper / etc so that they can get their life sorted out for the long term.

    Note that if your family don't pay for the funeral, then those expenses come from your assets. If you and your wife/husband have joint assets, then executor of the estate may have to sell the assets to pay for the funeral expenses.

    There's two other advantages of funeral plans:

    (1) If a person dies, their wife/husband/partner will be upset, and they have to deal with the stress and complexity of arranging a funeral while they're grieving. Having a mostly pre-planned funeral can make things much simpler for them.

    (2) In many cases the person arranging a funeral will stress out about "is this what would have wanted". Having a plan decided by the deceased person in advance means they don't have to worry about that. (Although it sound like RevK doesn't mind whatever kind of funeral he gets).

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    1. Quite, whatever you feel you want to afford, for your benefit - why would I care?

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  5. Might be because most people don't want to leave a multi thousand pound bill that urgently needs to be paid to people they love at the time when they are trying to cope with the grief of losing someone.

    Of course you have no need to care about those close to you at that time, after all your dead, but the living you can care what happens to your kids in the future and that may encompass making this period easier for them.

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    1. To be honest I think life assurance is sold to the wrong people too...

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    2. You don't buy because future you is dead and doesn't care, you buy because current you isn't dead and does care about your families future after you are dead.

      Unless of course current you doesn't care about your families future?

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  6. A number of my relatives seem to have gotten to that age where pondering one's own mortality becomes a bit of a hobby.

    I don't know enough about them to say if they are beneficial or exploitative, but, at the very least, these funeral schemes provide a practical outlet for that hobby.



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