Exploring Your Options: Financing a Funeral in Challenging Times
Funerals are an emotional and often expensive experience for many people. In times of economic hardship, the costs associated with funerals can be especially difficult to manage.
If you are financially responsible for the cost of a funeral, there are several ways to help fund it in times of financial hardship. Funding options include existing pre-paid funeral plans, utilising existing life insurance policies, personal savings, fundraising campaigns and accessing public assistance programs.
When a simple or unattended (direct cremation) funeral has been considered as an option and things are still difficult, then understanding these additional funding options can help those struggling with the costs of a funeral.
1. A funeral plan owned by the person who has died will provide all or some financial support for the funeral costs. It is important to contact the funeral plan provider as soon as possible, to discuss if there is an existing plan in place and where relevant or appropriate, how the plan can help pay any of the costs.
2. The life insurance policy for the life of the person who has died can be used to help cover funeral costs.
If the person who has passed away had a mortgage, they may also have been required by their mortgage lender to have taken out life insurance for the term of the mortgage loan. Speak to the provider of the policy (or if relevant, the mortgage lender) and find out if there is insurance cover in place and if it can provide assistance with funeral costs and expenses.
3. Pool together monetary contributions from relatives at home and abroad. If there are immediate family members who can contribute towards the funeral costs it is worth approaching them for financial assistance. It’s also advisable to formally agree on a payment plan and set up a payment arrangement with all contributors - in advance of the funeral, so that everyone is clear and everything is agreed and documented from the start.
4. Trade Union and Industry Benevolent Funds may provide assistance. If the person who has died, undertook a particular profession, trade or was a paid up member of a trade union, there may be an organisation/s worth approaching to see if they can offer financial assistance with funeral costs.
If you are a member, it might also be worth enquiring with your own trade union representative or industry benevolent fund about financial aid.
5. Sale of items from the belongings of the person who has died. If the person who has passed away held full and legal ownership of any assets that could be sold, this can be a good option to help fund their funeral.
Where the deceased's estate isn't already being handled by the lawful executor and permission from the legal next of kin has been sought and obtained; items such as jewellery, collectable vinyl record and stamp collections, first edition books, original artwork, antique/collectable ornaments, dinner services, vintage clothes, hand bags, furniture or motor vehicles - when sold, can often help to generate funds which can go toward the cost of the funeral.
6. Your personal savings could help cover some of the costs of the funeral. If the person who has died didn’t have their own personal savings, you may have to consider your own personal savings and explore if there are other personal expenses that can be reduced or eliminated to free up additional funds.
7. Personal loans from your local Credit Union or bank; or other forms of personal finance such as credit cards may be an option to help finance the funeral costs. Be aware of the interest rate, repayment terms and fees before you commit.
Seek advice from a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved financial advisor or from a recognised organisation such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) before committing to personal loans or personal finance.
8. Organise a community fundraiser. A more personal, proportionate and engaging alternative to crowdfunding is community fundraising; particularly when the person who has died was a volunteer, an active, a well-loved or a prominent member of their local community/group.
A fundraiser can be a wonderfully meaningful and dignified way to rally support from the local area and raise funds for funeral costs.
Sponsored fun-runs and walks or fundraiser dinners, BBQs, picnics, fun days, quiz-nights, dances or discos, there are many ways to engage the community and to raise money for someone who was very much a part of it.
Approach local community groups, religious organisations, sports and private members clubs, neighbourhood associations, local pubs, leisure, special interest, social groups and societies about fundraising for the funeral of someone who was a member of their local community.
9. Some Charitable Benevolent Funds offer financial assistance to those who are struggling to pay for a funeral. Research your local area and find out if any of these organisations can help you with the costs.
You can also find a list of benevolent funds here.
10. You may be able to access UK Government assistance, such as DWP Funeral Expenses Payment or Bereavement Support Payment schemes - if you are the recipient of a qualifying social security benefit.
This could be worth exploring if other sources of funding have proved unsuccessful or are not available. Seek advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). They may be able to provide guidance and advice on eligibility and access to government assistance, schemes and charitable organisations who can help.
Understanding these financing options can help families struggling with the costs of a funeral in times of economic hardship. While exploring these solutions can be overwhelming, it is important to take the time to research and consider all options so that you can make an informed decision about how best to cover the cost of a loved one.
If you are struggling with personal debt, you can contact National Debt Line (which is a debt advice service run by the Money Advice Trust) and Step Change (debt charity) for free and trusted guidance, support and advice. Both organisations are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Gooding Funeral Services is not a financial advisor, these suggestions are not to be taken as financial advice.
When considering credit or borrowing, always seek professional financial advice from a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved, registered and regulated financial adviser, charity or organisation - before you commit.
Thank you for reading. We hope you have found these tips helpful. Please feel free to share this page - could help someone else.
For your funeral related enquiries our professional team is always on-hand to help.
Tel: +44 (0) 113 210 7998