How did you cope with funeral costs?

When your partner or loved one died, did you have trouble meeting the costs of the funeral? Did you approach your local authority for financial support? The Work and Pensions Select Committee is holding an inquiry into bereavement benefits and funeral costs. We at Sue Ryder want to make sure the voices of bereaved people are heard at the inquiry.
Reply to this post by 8 May to share your experience. We will use any responses to inform our response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry. We will not share the names of anyone who posts their story with the Committee.

As part of the same inquiry, we’d also like to hear your experiences of bereavement benefits.

Hello Priscilla. As I said in a previous post, I used my lump sum of £2500 towards my husband’s funeral costs. We did have some savings which I’m trying to hang onto simply as a financial buffer. I still work so have not approached anyone for financial support. I think the cost of funerals is extortionate and they should be regulated, but could we trust the government to do that? The service the funeral director provided was first class but was it nigh on £5000 worth of first class?

I just used money from savings but was surprised when the funeral director pointed out that we could have bought a Funeral Plan weeks earlier for much less than the final costs of it being done on a piecemeal basis. I didn’t apply for any grants as I just assumed I wouldn’t be entitled.

My husband bought a funeral plan from AgeUK - it was excellent, allowing me to chose which funeral company I wished.
If I remember correctly they have three standards, so I would suggest anyone thinking of doing it reads the small print carefully so the plan fits with your plans.

I found the process incredibly uncaring. I was technically ‘estranged’ from my Dad for years before he died but when I tried to seek help - he was both an ex serviceman and on benefits I was told that because I wasn’t on benefits I couldn’t receive help. The only time the local authorities would get involved was if I was prepared to write a letter saying I wasn’t prepared to meet these costs and took no responsibility for my Dad. Something I could never have done.
In the end I paid over £3000 for a basic funeral. I would do it again in a heartbeat but the system is not designed to provide support in difficult circumstances

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Following the untimely death of my wife in early April, we searched the internet for Funeral Directors who were not intent on ripping off their clients.
We found a small family run concern called “Affordable Funerals” who offered a package that although basic, ticked all the boxes, and was about 50% cheaper than the more established firms.
Thoroughly recommend them.

My husbands funeral left me in so much debt … his family were so reluctant to help and we had no insurance he had such a knock on effect and now I’m left in debt with two small children … it seems common now to have these go fund me pages to pay for costs … I even heard of one that a young girl set one up asking for donations to scatter her mums ashes in Ibiza and ended up with a holiday and plenty left over makes me so angry …

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That’s horrendous obviously I don’t know the full story but how cruel that people do this these just fund me pages should be vetted my soulmate was just 39 we had no life insurance he had no contact with his so called ‘family’ it’s was up to me for the very first time to have to arrange a funeral service with car flowers everything just paying things off never thought it would be my partners im utterly heartbreakon Adele x

Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences, and I’m sorry to read about the financial struggles some of you have experienced. My colleagues will be doing their best to make sure the government is aware of these issues as part of the inquiry.

For Michelle, and anyone else who is struggling with debt, the charity Step Change is a good place to get advice and support: https://www.stepchange.org/

Citizens Advice also has information on dealing with debt: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/

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