1 in 4 adults prepared to challenge Wills.

A quarter of adults are now prepared to dispute a Will

1 in 4 people are willing to challenge against a loved one’s Will if they disagree with the distribution
of the estate, a survey reveals.
(Survey commissioned by Direct Line)

The problem –

The readiness of family members to oppose a relative’s last wishes is reflected in official court
statistics, which show Will disputes are continuously on the rise.
Partner at law firm Nockolds, Daniel Winter, has previously stated that the increased number of
inheritance cases reaching the High Court is only the tip of the iceberg of family disputes which are
either settled or end up in County Court.

He says: “Modern family structures are making inheritance claims increasingly likely. People are more likely
to marry multiple times, or cohabit outside of marriage, and if there are children or stepchildren
involved, the likelihood of someone feeling hard done by is even greater than before.
More people are relying on an inheritance to get on the property ladder or to provide for them in
retirement, or to repay their mortgage. If someone is left out of a Will, or stands to inherit less than
they were expecting, this can trigger a dispute”

The most common legal reasons for contesting a Will are:

  •  Undue influence – where the client was forced to sign a will or unreasonable pressure was
    put on them
  • Lack of knowledge and approval – where the client was not aware of the contents or there
    were suspicious circumstances
  • Testamentary capacity – where the client wasn’t mentally competent or had the legal ability
    to make or alter a Will
  • The reality is that a client’s Will may well be declared invalid if poor notes are kept and the Will is
    later challenged.
  • Unfortunately, a client’s Will only really describes WHAT they wish to do with their estate, and
    doesn’t include any of their deciding factors, circumstances surrounding the Will drafting and
    execution or their mental capacity, which will be questioned if a claim arises.

 

Contact us here to find out how we can help comprehensively minimise inheritance disputes, when writing your Will. 

Lasting Powers of Attorney required for Income Drawdown Pensions

About 1.7 million retirees could be at risk of a later life financial crisis by 2025 becuase they have not set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), a provider has warned.

 

According to Zurich, four in five retirees (79 per cent) in pension income drawdown are without power of attorney, meaning their families could be prevented from helping them manage their finances should they become too ill or incapacitated to do it themselves.

Setting up LPA means giving a family member or friend the legal authority to make decisions on an individuals behalf at the loss of a person’s own ability, for instance when they lose mental capacity.

Zurich interviewed 742 people who have moved into income drawdown since the pension freedoms, between December 2017 and January 2018.

It found more than 345,000 retirees using drawdown to fund their retirement have not set this facility up for themselves, equating to a potential 1.7 million over the next 10 years.

The outcomes could be drastic, with next-of-kin individuals forced to apply to the courts to take charge of a relative’s finances should they fall ill.

Zurich said the problem was exacerbated by the pension freedoms, which meant twice as many people are now choosing income drawdown over annuities, giving them the responsibility of managing their income in retirement.

A spokesman at Zurich commented: “Thousands of people are now making complex decisions on their pension into old age, when the risk of developing a sudden illness or condition such as dementia increases”

“Despite this, many are unprepared for a sudden health shock or a decline in their mental abilities. The time to set up a LPA is well before you need it, and pension providers should be highlighting this to their customers.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK. This could increase to one million by 2025, and potentially double to two million by 2051.

Despite this, Zurich found a mere one in five (21 per cent) people who have moved into income drawdown since the pension reforms were introduced, have registered an LPA.

However, it did find that people with a financial adviser were almost four times more likely to have an LPA than those who had not sought advice (66 per cent vs 17 per cent).

A spokesperson at The Alzheimer’s Society indicated the stigma around the LPA was compounded by its links to mental capacity, as individuals are generally reluctant to consider a future where they may not be able to make their own decisions.

But she said: “In cases where LPAs are not in place, assets and equity may be lost, or those in a vulnerable position may be forced to make decisions they are no longer able to make.”

“We need to get to the stage where a LPA is taken out as a standard practice, with financial services advising people to do this as early as possible.”

There are two types of LPA, one covering health and welfare and the other covering property and financial affairs.

Both types of LPAs are extremely important, as whilst it’s possible to get a deputyship after the event, it is impossible to manage a pension income drawdown strategy where the pension holder has lost capacity, without a LPA in place.

 

Contact us here to discuss how we can help set up your Lasting Powers of Attorney

 

 

More than 5 million adults ‘ Perplexed by Wills’

New research by Royal London has revealed that 5.4 million adults without a will in the UK would not know where to begin if they were to write one. 

 

The data also showed that 59% of parents either do not have a will, or currently have one that is out of date.

Royal London says it is “especially important” for parents to have an up to date will so that if the worst were to happen, their children would be brought up by who they choose.

The research also found that since writing a will just under a third (31%) experienced a “significant life event” such as marriage or having a baby, yet more than half (53%) have not updated their will.

Royal London says that many people do not realise that if they were to marry, any previous will is automatically invalidated and is no longer of any value, “so it’s vital that wills are reviewed and kept up to date.”

More than half (54%) of the adult population do not have a will in place.

Of those who do not have a will one in four (24%) admitted they had no intention of making one, compared to a third (34%) who said that an illness would encourage them to do so.

Using the services of a solicitor is the most popular way of writing a will, with two thirds (68%) using legal assistance.

A spokesperson for Royal London commented: “It is incredibly important to have a will, not just to protect your finances but to make sure vital decisions, such as who will look after your children, are noted.”

“Once you have a will you should update it after any significant life events that could affect your financial situation such as getting married, divorced or starting a family”

“Taking these important steps allows you to have peace of mind knowing that when you’re gone your wishes will be met.”

 

Contact us here to discuss how we can help professionally write your Will.

 

How can I protect my children’s inheritance?

Without the correct ‘Bloodline Planning’ :

• Your spouse/partner and children may not inherit your share of a business

• Some or all of your children’s or grandchildren’s (Bloodline’s) inheritance may be lost

• Assets distributed to beneficiaries exposes those assets to risk

 

Assets not protected by a Trust face attack from :

• The divorce or separation settlements of future generations

• Creditors or bankruptcy claims

• Further inheritance tax bills

 

How can I protect my children’s inheritance ?

Or more commonly known as ‘Bloodline Planning’

‘Bloodline Planning’ is ensuring that your assets reach your children, grandchildren and other relatives, rather than ending up in the wrong hands.

When assets are distributed to beneficiaries, (ie they receive cash, property or others assets as a direct lump sum payment) so much can be lost. These assets are then considered to be part of the Beneficiary’s estate and be would be at risk of attack from any future Divorce Settlements, Creditors and Taxation.

U-PLAN can ensure that your children and grandchildren are able to benefit completely from the inheritance you want them to receive and at the same time, protect the family home and other assets from being lost to the costs of long term care.

Consideration should be given to what might happen if your surviving spouse were to remarry. How would this effect your own children if he/she later changed their Will in favour of the new spouse and any subsequent children?

Or, for those of you who already have children from a previous marriage, how do you ensure that they would get their fair share?

What if your children are very young or have special care needs? How can you ensure that they are fully provided for?

There may also be a business you have worked hard to build up. Logic and common sense say you would want to protect this for your family too?

Do you really want to leave it all to chance, when with our professional help to set up the correct type of planning – all these problems could be solved?

Our expertise will ensure that your assets are both fully protected from attack and immediately available to your loved ones after you are gone.

 

Asset Planning in your lifetime

Some estate planning can be made whilst you are alive. Assets could potentially be gifted to Beneficiaries before your death. The could prove extremely tax efficient in terms of Inheritance Tax, as assets gifted away are fully outside of the Donors estate seven years after the gift is made.

However, rather than gifting assets absolutely, as this would mean that these assets will again be potentially at risk from Divorce, Creditors and Long Term Care Costs, as well as adding value to the recipients estate, it would be sensible to consider gifting with the aid of Discretionary Trusts. The Discretionary Gift Trust means that, although you make a Gift to your children and grandchildren, the asset need not enter their own estate; thus protecting these assets from any possible claims on them in the future.

By Gifting to a Trust, the Donor retains full control but, can not have access to the funds.
Even if the Donor never received any benefit, but potentially could, the Gift is classed as a ‘Gift With Reservation Of Benefit’ (GWR) and the full value is deemed to be in the Donor’s estate at death for Inheritance Tax purposes, not just the initial Gift. The Gift Trust ensures that a spouse, children, grandchildren and any other named Beneficiaries can benefit at the Trustee’s discretion.

 

Access to protected assets

We recommend a Discretionary Trust called a probate trust which, while still protecting assets from attack from Care Costs, allows the Settlor access to the assets held in the Trust. The trust has a memorandum of wishes where the Settlor is also a Beneficiary. The purpose for utilising this Trust will be for ‘ Bloodline Planning’ and not Inheritance Tax Planning, as a transfer of asset by the Settlor would be a GWR.

The main uses for a Family Probate Trust are the assignment of investment bonds to ensure it will pass to those intended without the need to wait for Probate. In addition, for a single/widowed client, a proportion of the main residence can be conveyed into our Probate Trust, which can protect the house from the costs of care. Individual advice would be required as to whether this is an appropriate course of action.

 

Utilising Trusts for ‘Bloodline Planning’ 

It has been established that your children/grandchildren future inheritance can be at risk from a number of issues. Taxation is one, but inheritances can be impacted from a number of other more emotional issues such as Care Costs, where an estate can be reduced significantly in value to pay for these costs. Family homes may have to be sold, and income and investments drained, seriously reducing any subsequent inheritance.

 

Family circumstances can also be a concern

It my be that there are some family members you would wish to benefit and some that you would not. A classic scenario would be an individual who has married into the family, but who you wouldn’t want to benefit from your estate. Family disputes do occur and Divorce and/or Remarriage can greatly influence who inherits and by how much.

Subsequently, if on inheriting monies, an individual then divorces, that same inheritance is at risk.
Similarly, if an individual inherits assets but then is later subjected to bankruptcy proceedings, or has creditor liabilities, then the whole inheritance is at risk.

The correct Trusts can provide the protection and control of a multitude of assets from those risks noted before. This protection can extend from the family home, to investment products and family businesses.

There are two potential scenarios where planning can be made with Trusts. One is during your lifetime and the other is in preparation for your death. We can utilise a range of Trusts in conjunction with the Will, which will ensure that your hard earned assets are fully protected for your children and grandchildren. By its very nature, this type of planning is wholly dependant on your individual wishes, requirements and the value of your estate.

 

Contact us here to discuss how we can help with Bloodline Planning.

 

U-PLAN has changed office address.

U-PLAN has changed its operational office address. After enjoying our time in Wilmslow, we have moved into brand new offices in the Cheshire town of Poynton. Our clients can come in and meet with us in the new offices, or continue to benefit from free home visit consultations.

Click here to book your free office or home consultation.

Planning ahead – Health & Welfare.

Around one third of people in the UK have made no provision for old age, whether through a pension, writing a will, saving for retirement, making funeral plans or creating a lasting power of attorney, according to new research.

By 2025, more than 13 million people who are at risk of mental incapacity will be unprepared, with no legal or medical plans in place for their future care.

The taboo remains –talking about death and end of life is putting individuals and their families at great risk of a whole range of problems in the future.

It is true that more and more of us are putting wills in place and establishing plans for finances and assets, however far too few of us are planning ahead for our health and care needs and wishes, leaving this to chance.

Planning ahead by talking to family or friends shouldn’t be seen as doom and gloom, it’s about having a positive conversation about welfare, empowering your loved ones and making the decision-making process easier for everyone.

 

Planning ahead

Dementia is the biggest single cause of death in England and Wales and the number given a diagnosis of the condition has risen by 54 per cent in ten years. While three quarters of the population fear dementia or the loss of capacity to make decisions, 97 per cent have not made relevant legal provision.

Planning ahead is surrounded by worrying misconceptions. Some 65 per cent of people incorrectly believe they can leave decisions to their next of kin, without making the decisive legal steps to ensure that happens.

There are currently 928,000 health and welfare lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) across England and Wales, compared to the 12 million people over the age of 65 who run the risk of developing dementia – a difference of nearly 93 per cent.

This disparity will continue, leaving millions in limbo. By 2025, it’s estimated that more than 15 million people will be at risk of mental incapacity and only an estimated two million health and welfare LPAs will be in place.

Jeremy Hughes, the chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, recently commented on this issue: “Lasting powers of attorney for health and welfare too often get overlooked. People with dementia have the right to make choices about their care, just like anyone else. Making someone they trust their attorney for health and welfare is one of the ways people can do this ”

“A health and welfare LPA provides reassurance to them and the act of creating one can start useful conversations about the future with family and friends.”

Contact us here to find out how we can help you with a Health & Welfare LPA

 

 

Top 10 Funeral Plan Choices

Funeral plans are an ever more popular way to cut costs and ensure peace of mind. They can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose – and your choices are the most important part of any plan. Here, then, are the top 10 funeral plan decisions that millions of people have already made and will continue to make in the years ahead.

Our Clients Top Ten Funeral Plan Choices

1. Burial or cremation?
A hundred years ago, most people would have automatically opted for burial, but today we recognize that it’s good to have a choice. Burial is the traditional route, allowing you to have a permanent grave that your family and friends can visit whenever they wish with flowers and other tokens of remembrance. You can choose a headstone and other forms of decoration, and if your family has lived in an area for a long time, your grave may be surrounded by those of relatives stretching back for many generations. Cremation, on the other hand, can seem a quicker and more convenient option, allowing you to have your ashes to be scattered at a location that was important to you during life or placed in an urn and stored permanently in a special location at a church or other religious site. Or would you prefer your ashes to be kept by your loved ones? Our modern willingness to travel and re-locate means that a grave may become difficult to visit, but an urn can move with your loved ones wherever they may decide to live in future.

2. Who do you want to attend the funeral? 
After a long life, many people will have different circles of friends, some of whom may not know each other or even be aware of each other’s existence. And of course we sometimes become estranged from people who were formerly close to us or have friends who don’t get along with each other. By drawing up a list of those you want to attend your funeral, with full contact details, you can ensure that there will be no difficulties when the time comes. You can talk over your choices with your nearest and dearest, making sure that there will be no surprises and that your funeral is conducted in a harmonious and friendly spirit. You can also decide whether you want to inform people in advance that you would like them to attend, or whether you want to reach out after passing, perhaps allowing those who have slipped from your life to say a final farewell.

3. Do you want a religious or non-religious service? 
This again is something that, a hundred years ago, would once have been an automatic decision. People would have chosen a religious service within their particular faith, knowing that they were following in a long tradition and that they might have upset or puzzled family and friends by making any other choice. Today there isn’t an automatic expectation of a religious service and there is much more room for individual preferences to be exercised. Where once there was a firm belief in an afterlife, nowadays many people think that nothing survives death. Our feelings on these matters will obviously affect our decisions about our funeral. Will our service celebrate the life that has ended without any mention of religion and spiritual survival? Or will it place the departed person in the care of God and look forward to a time when those attending the funeral will be re-united with that departed person? 

4. What music do you want played at the service? 
Music and singing have always been an important part of funerals, but while in the past these things would have been religious in form and sentiment, today it’s increasingly common for secular alternatives. But of course there’s no reason why you can’t mix hymns and popular music, allowing your family and friends to unite in the singing of a hymn like “Abide With Me” before they fall silent to listen to your favourite piece of popular music. Because music is so varied in styles, genres, and the emotions it expresses, it’s an ideal way to make individual choices and ensure that your funeral is a unique and memorable occasion. Or perhaps you’d prefer something traditional, with music that resonates with history and that your ancestors would have recognized and appreciated.

5. What poems and other texts do you want to be read at the service? 
One of the most memorable parts of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral was the reading of “Stop All the Clocks”, a beautiful and moving poem by the poet W.H. Auden. It was a perfect example of how the right choice of reading can both express and channel the emotions of those who are attending the funeral. And it undoubtedly influenced the way funerals are conducted in real life. Just like music, the choices that people feel able to make today are much wider than they were in the past. Once all readings would have been religious in character, drawn from traditional texts like the Bible and books of prayer. Now we can replace those entirely with secular readings, or choose a careful mix of the two, depending on how we want to shape and pace the funeral service. Poetry will always be a popular choice, but many people have favourite passages in novels or short stories that they may wish to have read. And there is, of course, nothing to stop us or our loved ones from composing words of our own.

6. What flowers and other symbols do you want at the service? 
Someone who has been a keen gardener during life may think that this is the most important choice to be made about a funeral. Flowers are certainly central to most people’s ideas about how a funeral should look. Do you want bright and cheerful blooms, or something darker and more dignified? Do we want flowers on our coffin or dropped into the grave before it is filled in? There are many other symbols to consider too. Like music and readings, our choices might once have been automatically religious, but today we can choose to celebrate other aspects of our lives. A passionate football fan might want to go to rest surrounded by reminders of their favourite team; a life-long devotee of Star Wars or of super-heroes like Batman might want pictures to celebrate their fandom. They might even want those attending to wear suitable costumes. Themed funerals are becoming ever more popular, allowing your family and friends to participate even more directly and memorably in the occasion.

7. Funeral service before or afterwards? 
The timing of the service can have an important influence on the form of the service. Do you want it to take place before burial or cremation? Or would you prefer it to take place afterwards? If it takes place before, it’s preparing your family and friends for the emotions and heart-ache of finally saying goodbye. If it takes place afterwards, it’s helping them to cope with those emotions and giving them a space to recover. In the two cases, your choice of music and readings may be different. Of course, you can choose to have services of varying length both before and after – as always, the choices are yours and you can re-visit them at any time you choose.

8. What kind of food and drink do you want to be served? 
Choices about food and drink are another way for someone drawing up a funeral plan to express their individuality and to create a memorable occasion for those will be attending the funeral. Perhaps you’ll want your favourite wine or beer to be served; perhaps you’ll have a favourite recipe for the food. You might even decide to prepare some of the food yourself in advance, if it can be stored or frozen until the time comes. Food can be both a delicious reality and a powerful symbol, reminding us in the midst of grief that the world has not become wholly bleak and that life will continue, slowly returning us to acceptance and peace.

9. What do you want on your gravestone? Where do you want your ashes to be scattered or a memorial plaque to be fixed? What kind of online memorial would you like? 
It’s always fascinating to read the inscriptions on gravestones in an old church, seeing what messages people chose to send down the decades. At one time, the messages were usually religious, taken from the Bible and other sacred texts and speaking of final rest and peace in the afterlife. More recently, messages of other kinds have become more common. If you choose to be buried, you may have strong feelings about the kind of message you want placed on your gravestone. Or you may choose something very simple, like a name and date of passing. It’s entirely up to you. If you choose to be cremated instead, you may have strong feelings about where you want your ashes to be scattered or stored. A fisherman might want their ashes poured into the water at a favourite fishing spot; a sports fan might request that their ashes are scattered at the ground of their favourite team. Or would you prefer permanent storage in an urn placed in a niche at your local church or other site of worship? Whether you choose burial or cremation, you can also be remembered on-line at a specialist memorial site or at the private pages you maintained at your favourite social media site. You can design something yourself, making it as elaborate or simple as you please. On-line interactivity means that family and friends based anywhere in the world can continue to visit and commemorate you at any time they choose in the future.

10. Do you want donations in your name to charity? 
A funeral is inevitably a time when the departed person becomes central to the thoughts and feelings of those who are in attendance. It’s therefore also an excellent time to honour that person’s memory by making a donation to a charity that was important to them during life. When you’re drawing up your funeral plan, you can choose what charities you would like people to donate to. When the funeral is conducted, the names and details of charities can be included on an order of service, which sets out how the service will be conducted. After the funeral, the same names and details can be permanently displayed at your on-line memorial, with links for quick and convenient donating in the name of the departed person. 

Final Thoughts

Your funeral plan allows choose exactly how you want things to be run. By thinking ahead, you can make decisions in the best possible way: without pressure and without any need to hurry. After that, you can relax and enjoy complete peace of mind, knowing that your funeral plan is in place and that your family and friends won’t have the burden of making difficult and delicate decisions right when they’re least able and willing to make them.

Get in touch with us to find out more about U-PLAN’s Funeral Plans and to receive your free quotation.

funeral plans in Cheshire

The Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2017

The annual report is a result of a survey of 1,524 adults in the UK who have been responsible for planning a funeral and administrating an estate in the last 4 years. In addition to this, 100 funeral directors based across 10 regions throughout the UK have also been surveyed.

 

Funeral Costs – another year, another rise.

The Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2017 follows in the footsteps of previous annual reports highlighting that funeral costs have continued to rise for the 14th year in a row, albeit at a slightly lower rate.

With an increase of 4.7%, the average cost of a funeral in the UK stands at £4,078.

These funeral costs focus on a combination of cremation and burial funeral services, individually the average costs are:

  • £3,596 for a Cremation funeral
  • £4,561 for a Burial funeral

When the increase in funeral costs are compared directly with other product and services increases over the last decade, the figures make alarming reading:

  • Funeral Costs – 70.6%
  • Electricity Bills – 42.2%
  • Weekly Wages –  20%
  • House Prices – 19.8%
  • Petrol Prices – 19.6%
  • Bread – 15.7%

 

A post code lottery.

Funeral costs continue to vary enormously by region, even more so when you factor in whether the funeral service is for a cremation or a burial.

London is the most expensive place when it comes to funeral costs at £5,951, 40% more than the national average of £4,078.00. When you further separate these figures by either cremation or burial, the figures are heavily skewed by the costs of a burial in the London area.

Whilst burial costs in London are a significant 60% over the UK average, funeral costs for a cremation funeral in the same area are only 27.7% greater.

This in part perhaps explains why the percentage of people opting for a cremation funeral compared to burial is ever increasing – now standing at 75%. With such high fees, people’s decisions on which type of funeral they opt for, could be swayed by how much it will cost.

For example, the cost of a burial funeral in the East and West Midlands is 10% over the UK average at £5,022 whereas the cost of a cremation funeral in the same area is almost 10% under the UK average at £3,245. A difference of approximately £2,000 between the two funeral types.

The report shows the ongoing increase in funeral costs but there are two exceptions. Funeral costs for both Northern Ireland and Wales have fallen in the last year, with the former now being the cheapest place to die.

 

Basic Funeral Costs. 

The cost of a basic funeral is calculated by adding together the funeral director’s fee and disbursements /3rd party fees which includes the cremation or burial fee, doctor’s fee and minister or celebrants fee.

The funeral directors fee.

The funeral director’s fee, which usually cover the cost of the coffin, hearse, collection and care of the deceased plus, the funeral director’s professional guidance, make up most of the cost of a basic funeral. This cost has risen, but not by as much as the overall cost of a funeral – it is up 3.3% over the past 12 months from £2,411 to £2,491.

Disbursements/3rd Party Fees.

Cremation and burial fees:

After the funeral director’s fee, the second largest cost is the cremation or burial fee, and the 2017 report shows that both these costs have risen more steeply than the overall cost of a funeral

In 2016, the average UK cremation fee was £733.

This has seen the largest increase of all costs – 7.9% to £791 – while the cost of a burial has risen by 5.6% % from £1,950 to £2,059.

Funeral directors suggest that councils putting up their prices is the main reason for the steep rise in crematorium costs.

Doctor’s fees:

This year, doctor’s fees for certification has remained unchanged at £164, but are £0 in Scotland.

Ministers/Celebrants fees:

The average fee paid for a religious minister or secular service celebrant has increased by 2% from £152 in 2016 to £155.

 

Other costs:

Funeral costs do not stop at just the funeral director’s fees and disbursements/3rd party costs. There are also other costs to factor, with more personal items such as flowers, notices and the reception, not to mention fees incurred to administer the deceased’s estate.

Although the fees for more personal items and services have dropped slightly, suggesting families are trying to cut costs where possible, the overall cost of these services including the average cost of a funeral has risen to a total cost of dying of £8,905 – a 50% increase in the last 10 years.

 

Trends & Traditions.

When it comes to the types of services that are popular, traditional services are falling further and further out of favour, with 68% of funeral directors saying they have seen a decrease in the number of religious funerals, and just 11% of those who organised a funeral for a loved one described the tone of the service as ‘religious’.

Eight in ten (82%) of funeral directors said they have seen an increase in the number of funerals that they would describe as a ‘celebration of life’ rather than mourning, and of those who organised a funeral, 31% described the funeral as a celebration of life.

Half of all funerals now include modern songs, music or anthems. There has also been an increase in the number of eco, environmental and woodland funerals; in 2016, just one in 14 (7.2%) funerals were eco, environmental or woodland funerals; this year, the number has increased to one in 11 (9.1%).

This year, 77% of funeral directors said they have access to a woodland burial site, down from 82% last year and 90% in 2015, but up considerably from 60% in 2014. Though it’s not clear why availability has risen and then fallen again, it could show that the increasing popularity of woodland burials is putting pressure on the limited number of sites.

 

Conclusion: A Prepaid Funeral Plan – a sensible and financially effective way to protect against rising funeral costs.

Considering all the above figures and facts in this report, it is clear again that due to continual rising funeral costs, a sensible strategy for every adult individual, is to secure a Prepaid Funeral Plan.

Far too many individuals do not talk about planning for their own end of life and,  in many instances, believe that the methods of putting money aside in a bank account or using investments or purchasing life insurance, will take care of these costs sensibly when the time of need arises.

True they may cover the cost, but these methods do not address the underlying problem of rising funeral costs. These methods will still have to pay out at significantly inflated prices at the actual time of death which could be decades into the future. The cost of this poor planning could be potentially, in the tens of thousands of pounds – and that’s just for a single adult.

A funeral plan will fix and freeze the price at the outset – at today’s prices. What you agree to pay now will not change at all in 10, 20 or 30 years time. With a funeral plan you can also plan and tailor your individual funeral preferences in more detail, ensuring you leave as little uncertainty and stress possible for your family and loved ones, when the time of need arises.

Get in touch with us and we will help you find a high quality prepaid funeral plan, with a leading UK provider, at the best comparable prices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Eulogy Questions

Being asked to provide the Eulogy at a funeral is both a big honour and a big responsibility. Here are some of the questions you might want to ask yourself if the honour and responsibility come your way.
1. Will you be able to do it?
Preparing a eulogy requires careful thought and attention to detail. These things may become difficult or impossible when we’re caught up in the whirlwind of emotions that accompany the passing of a loved one. Can you be sure that you’ll be able to deliver a eulogy before the many people who will be present at the funeral? It’s a public performance and you’ll want to give your best in honour of the departed. If you don’t feel that you will be able to do that, honesty is the best option.
2. Will you have help if you need it?
Every funeral, like every life, is unique, but if you’ve been through a funeral before you’ll know some of the things to expect. There can be a lot of work and taking on an additional responsibility may mean that you find yourself with too many things to do and too little time to do that. Will you be able to get help if that happens? It’s important not to take on too much, because you may find yourself not able to do a good job on anything, least of all the eulogy. By sharing the burdens, you can give the eulogy the attention it deserves and ensure that you deliver your best for the person you’re honouring.
3. What theme or themes will you use?
The life of the departed person may have lasted eighty or even a hundred years. How can you sum up all of that in the few minutes of a euology? You can’t, so it’s good to choose one or more aspects of their life as a theme for the eulogy. What was most important to the departed person during their life? Was it their military service or the company they founded? Were they passionate about a hobby or a sport? Did they live for their family or work tirelessly for charity? You don’t have to make the choice on your own: everyone will have an opinion and the departed person may even have left notes or other forms of guidance.
4. Can you find the time and space to plan and practise?
A eulogy is a public performance, but its success may depend on the work you do in private. Once you’ve chosen the theme, you’re ready to start planning the for your eulogy. Jot down some ideas, think them over and discuss them with other relatives and friends of the departed. Then you can write a first draft of the eulogy. You’ll almost inevitably want to make changes, but a first draft allows you to begin practising the eulogy. You might want to read it alone in front of a mirror at first, then practise it before a small audience of those who knew the departed. This will be a good test of something that may prove very important: your own emotions. A eulogy isn’t like an ordinary speech: it will be talking about someone who mattered very much to you and whose earthly life is now over. You may feel overwhelmed or even too upset to continue. By practising carefully beforehand, you can be ready for those emotions. You might even decide that, while you’re able to write the eulogy, it might be better for someone else to deliver it.
5. Do you want to use humour?
Like the funeral as a whole, the eulogy doesn’t have to be completely sombre and serious. If the departed person liked a joke, then the eulogy should reflect that. They would want to be remembered with a smile, as someone who brought happiness and laughter into the world, and the eulogy can honour them for their lighter side. But it’s important to judge your audience and strike a balance. Some of those attending the funeral might not be ready for humour or find it inappropriate while they are still in mourning.
6. Have you got your facts right?
You’ll only have one chance to deliver the eulogy, so you’ll only have one chance to get it right. After a long life, there may be a lot of details to check and a lot of questions to ask. You might be telling stories or discussing achievements from many years in the past, and you might have no personal knowledge of what happened. This is another time to ask questions and make sure that you’re getting the facts right. If there are disagreements, you’ll know what not to say; if you hear something new, you may be able to make the eulogy even better.
7. Do you want to use photographs, film or music?
In these hi-tech days, our daily lives are being recorded in ever more detail as photographs and video. It’s also ever easier to incorporate audio-visual aids into speeches and other forms of public presentation. Is this something you want to use in your eulogy? There might be photographs of the departed person landing a prize fish or celebrating the birth of a grandchild. They might even have prepared a small speech of their own for use during the eulogy. But the more things you include, the more chances there are for things to go wrong. You may decide that keeping things simple is best and that may be the best way of honouring the departed person. Not everyone likes technology and people who were born before the internet age may prefer the old ways of doing things.
8. Do you want to provide copies of the eulogy?
Another aspect of advancing technology is the ease with which we can design and print our own material. If you type the eulogy on a computer, the text will be ready for you to print as many copies as you please. You could even design it as a booklet with accompanying photographs and hand copies out to the audience before or after the eulogy, so that they can follow it as you speak or take away a permanent memorial of the departed person. On the other hand, you may prefer to write the eulogy by hand. That way you can easily add notes and reminders, and a handwritten eulogy may be what the departed peson would have preferred. But even in that case it’s to make a recording of the eulogy, either when you’re practising it or when you actually deliver it at the funeral service. You might want to provide copies of the recording to the audience or make it available on a memorial website for the departed.
9. Do you want to share the task of delivering the eulogy?
At some funerals there will be a single person delivering the eulogy. At other funerals, there may be several. The choices will depend on how much time there is and how much work people are able to do. Perhaps a series of speakers will stand before the audience, or perhaps they’ll simply rise in their seats to deliver a few words during the course of a main eulogy delivered by someone else. There are no strict rules, but the more complicated you make things, the more chance there is that something may go wrong. If it’s your first eulogy, or even your first funeral, keeping it simple may be the wisest choice.
10. Finally, will you have back-up if you’re unable to continue?
No matter how much you practice and how good your eulogy is, when the time comes to deliver it you may find that your emotions become overwhelming. A eulogy is not an ordinary speech: you’re talking about someone you loved and respected before an audience who feel exactly the same way. They won’t expect you to be calm and collected – a polished eulogy may be a contradiction in terms. But what if you find yourself unable to continue? It might be only for a few seconds or stop you speaking altogether That’s why it’s wise to have help on hand. Someone can bring you a glass of water or be ready to take over the eulogy. Just knowing that they’re there can be a big help and as with so many other things in life, forewarned is forearmed.