27 July 2007

Making money on a funeral

We have had a long and very sad week here. Early on Sunday morning we lost an old and very dear family friend and while he had been ill for a very long time and we knew that the end was close it has still been a shock and incredibly sad for us, although as it has turned out it has also been a funny and happy week too.

Derek was a very caring and loving husband and father and he made sure that his wife would be well provided for. Just last week he was at his solicitor's office making sure that everything was in order and that Barbara wouldn't have to worry about a thing, even to the point where his funeral was planned down to the hymns and flowers. And it was also paid for.

It's never nice to think about our own mortality but we are mortal and we are going to die sometime and in all fairness I think that we should prepare as much as possible ahead of time to make such a sad time a little easier for our loved ones. This could just be the control freak coming out in me, but I think not.

I'm not being morbid and I'm not saying we should all run out and select a casket and a plot. Just that a few minutes spent in checking insurances, updating wills (you do have a will don't you?) and putting any particular requests in writing won't hurt you.

The events of this week have had me thinking. Wayne's Granny had the right idea. After his Grandad died, Granny sold the farm and bought her unit. She also arranged her funeral. She chose a casket, arranged the plot, chose the hymns and the church and requested no flowers. She was a very frugal lady and couldn't bare the thought of spending money on flowers only to have them sit outside with no-one to enjoy them. Granny also paid for her funeral and the money was put into a trust fund to cover any price increases.

Granny Armstrong came from strong, sturdy stock and lived for 31 years after she made these arrangements. When Dad and his two brothers where settling her affairs after the funeral they were absolutely gobsmacked to receive a cheque from the funeral director – for the balance of the funeral trust fund. Granny's money had been in trust so long that it had not only covered the cost of her funeral but made a profit for her estate! She would have loved knowing that she made money on her own funeral.

With the cost of a bare bones, no frills funeral being around $4,000 putting a little aside each week to cover costs may sound morbid but when you think about it could your family find that much money in just a couple of days? Especially when they are grieving?

Wayne and I are going to sit down this weekend and at least have a talk about this. He won't like it one little bit but I know we'll both feel happier for at least having the talk

1 comment:

  1. As an Anglican priest I couldn't agree more with preparing your funeral ahead. It makes it so much easier for the family at a difficult time if they know what the person who has died wants in the way of burial/cremation, interment of ashes, church, hymns, bible readings, music and so on. In many parishes there is a special garden or wall for the interment of ashes, which is so much nicer (and cheaper) than crematorium parks. Some parishes will also keep on file parishioners' funeral wishes. Could I also encourage people to consider organ donation where appropriate? Australia has a very low rate.

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