Earlier this year (January 2020) we read a very interesting article published in the Daily Mail.
Quite a disturbing article which rang true with a member of our team, Kurt who had a very similar experience when his own Mother died suddenly just over 4 years ago.
We like to look at things through real experiences and our company was set up to provide services to ensure that no one should be in a difficult, stressful and undignified position when a loved one passes.
A loved one passing can be life shattering and the last thing anyone wants for their loved ones left behind are the battles that can at many times occur when a loved one passes, legally, financially and emotionally.
Here is Kurt's recollection of his own experience. Light hearted which we are sure many can resonate with.
“Just put me out with the bins on Monday!”
This is what my late Mum used to say. She didn’t want anything fancy or a fuss made of her.
“When you’re gone, you’re gone” that was her attitude and she certainly did not want a lot of money spent on her funeral. (She didn’t really want one at all!)
Everyone is different, some people may want a grand parade, horse drawn carriages, marble coffin, all the luxuries and lavishes. Some people want something more low key and humble.
Regardless of preference, when it is time for a funeral, big or small, lavish or low key, the cost should never have to be a burden on those left behind.
“Be prepared” as the Scouts say and rightly so, because one never knows when the time will come for a funeral to be arranged and paid for.
When my Mum passed away, it was sudden and very unexpected, we had gone from preparing a Sky TV installation for her to arranging a cremation within the space of a few days. We were not prepared in any way whatsoever. (Quite a change of plan also!)
Mum had very few assets, certainly not amounting to much, no savings or estate to leave, she lived a very frugal life and was not thrifty in any way at all. (Yes, I hear you, “She should have had savings then!” I used to say that myself!)
It was quite a shock on a Monday morning to find Mum had died but this was just the start, I’d never had to arrange a funeral, the only burials I’d ever been witness to were for the odd Gerbil, Hamster or Goldfish (We all know those type of burials!) I’d never had to speak to an undertaker or a Coroner, it was another world and after reading horror stories in the newspapers etc... about the costs of funerals and people being unable to bury their loved ones, never did it ever occur to me that I might one day be in that position, but there I was.
Mum did not want a funeral, only a cremation and ashes scattered in the sea or lake.
I explored the option of having no funeral, just a cremation only, the amount of red tape!! It was mindboggling!
The only option left was a budget funeral, basic wooden box, taxi to the crem and cremation, almost £3000! With £700 to be paid upfront.
I did not have that money, I applied to the Social fund, I was refused as I had savings (less than £1000) so it was my bill to sort myself, what were the options, let her rot or book the funeral?
After paying the £700 I had 14 days to pay the balance, the service of the undertaker was good, very nice people. The funeral was short, sweet, (lasted around 10 minutes) and off she went.
14 days later, I didn’t have the money, I paid some towards but could not manage the rest.
I went to the Crematorium to pick up her ashes around a week after the funeral. “They have been picked up already” said the receptionist, “Who by?” I asked, “The Funeral Directors”.
The funeral Directors!
“Yes, we have them, we will return them when the outstanding balance is settled” That was the scattering in the sea on hold!
It took 3 months to settle the balance and Mum did get her scattering at sea eventually.
I do understand debts are debts and goods (even ashes) remain the seller’s property until the balance is paid in full.
But what an indignity at such a difficult time to have to beg for your loved one’s ashes, the difficulty of having to find the funds with no help or support.
The death of a loved one, especially a parent is a horrific time for many and being denied the time to grieve because you are too busy trying to scrape the money together to pay for basic cremation should not happen.
It’s easy to play a blame game, but that’s life, that’s how it goes.
Here at SYLON, we have experienced the difficulties, emotionally and financially and I personally would not like anyone to suffer how I and many, many others have when a loved one suddenly passes with no means to pay for a funeral.
In a sense I was lucky, I had something to put towards and settled up after a while, it wasn’t fair on anyone though, the Funeral Director did their job and did it well and naturally were rightly entitled to their money and promptly. For me, life was put on hold until I could pay the debt.
I’m not trying to make a sales pitch, but I would strongly recommend taking out a Funeral plan, our partners are flexible, understanding and have packages to suit your budget.
Whether you want to go out in style or humbly, please do not leave your loved ones with the headache, heartache and stresses of organising and paying for a Funeral.
Get it sorted today and enjoy the joys of life because no one knows when “that day will come”