daily mail

Confusing the Cost of a Funeral

References to the funeral costs for a convicted child murderer may appear misleading or exaggerated if today’s Daily Mail is anything to go by. The newspaper is very annoyed today and judging by the many and varied comments, so are most of the readers who have cared or dared to leave a reply to the article written by Steph Cockroft. Here’s the link to the article; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2925479/Child-killer-dubbed-Monster-Cannock-Chase-funeral-paid-Ministry-Justice-taxpayers-cash-used-buy-flowers.html Some facts will probably not be disputed; Raymond Morris, aged 84, died at HMP Preston in May, 2014, after spending 45 years in jail. He was found guilty of a seven-year-old child’s murder and suspected of two others. The taxpayer, the state, has funded the funeral costs of £2686, which includes £15 being spent on flowers, by the prison. The newspaper claims that the cremation fee was £751, £285 for the coffin, and £185 for the hearse. Further down into the article, they claim that the cost includes £1165 for the registration of his death. This figure is incorrect, but it may just be confusion and includes most of the costs for the cremation. The newspaper states that prisons are advised to pay up to £3000 towards reasonable funeral expenses, yet claim that pauper’s funerals are available for just £100. The reason these figures are misleading, are, when you consider that a funeral payment or bereavement payment are available, under certain circumstances. To read the details about funeral payments on the government website, you can click here; https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments/overview The rules suggest that you can receive a funeral payment if you’re on a low income and need help to pay for a funeral that you’re arranging. The amount payable will depend upon individual circumstances and if the person qualifies by claiming in time; currently receives certain benefits or tax credits and meets the official rules connecting the relationship with the deceased The amount of money that may be paid out will help pay burial or cremation fees and exclusive rights to a burial in a particular plot. £700 is allocated for the funeral directors fees, flowers and the coffin. There is also an allowance for moving the body up to 50 miles within the UK. For anyone with a prepaid funeral plan, they may only receive help for items not covered by the plan. Alternately, you can visit this government website; https://www.gov.uk/bereavement which explains that if the husband, wife or civil partner has died...

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Is it Right to Steal from Your Parents?

Many grown up children are given the opportunity to look after their parent’s financial (and perhaps welfare situations) when those parents are getting closer to the time when they may not be able to make those decisions alone. Does this provide the opportunity for children to steal from their parents? A Lasting Power of Attorney is the legal document where an individual gives someone else, or a number of people, access to all of their finances so that actions can be taken for the benefit of the person giving away the power. Unfortunately, some receivers of the power see this as an opportunity to take money from bank accounts and other financial institutions, and use it for their own pleasures. This is morally and legally against the wishes of those giving away the facility to manage the funds, to people they trust. A recent case, reported in the Daily Mail, saw a court to hear how a daughter stole £70,000 of her father’s life savings after he was moved into a care home. The daughter received a suspended jail term, but has claimed all along that her father did not object to how she used his money. Is this the same as giving her the money now? Nevertheless, the £100,000 of life savings should have been spent on care fees (as per the legal agreement) and when the money ran out to pay the fees, the local authorities were involved in an investigation, which led to the court appearance. The judge said that there was a public interest in maintaining the integrity of a power of attorney. When people lose the ability to control their own affairs, others must manage their money for them. This raises a number of questions, which can be seen clearly in the comments left by individuals who have different opinions about the daughter’s actions. Would the father have wished the daughter to have spent the money on herself? Mandy of Birmingham, said; Last year my mother in law went into a home and I had power of attorney. Although my hubby and I were struggling financially not once did we ever take any of her money as it was not our money and even if she said she didn’t mind she was not in the right state of mind to make such a decision. When she passed away nothing was owed to anybody and...

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A Perfect End to a Great Life Story.

Some life stories are just so good, they should be shared among the greater population. This is the story of Bert and Mary Barnsley who were married on Christmas Day in 1943; they remained married for 70 years, and died within a week of each other, the latter, probably because of the first death. Hollywood would be proud of professional screenwriting techniques to clarify that the couple’s funeral was held at the same church in which they married, 70 years ago. The story was recently reported by the Daily Mail. We have no idea if the couple had organised funeral plans in advance, but this does offer a perfect set of circumstances where organising a funeral plan in advance would have ensured that their wishes would have been carried out exactly as they would have wanted. Their family may have known and understood exactly what was required and we hope this was so, but many couples do not have the opportunity to understand how important it is to organise a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan, as, in this example, the person who lived the longest would not have had the opportunity to arrange the funeral for their dearly departed. We can have no way of knowing or understanding what was right or wrong for this couple, but it would appear that a joint funeral would be perfect for these...

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Why Do People Treat the Elderly so Poorly?

On 21st February, 2014, the Daily Mail, in England, printed several stories that highlighted the terrible way that several elderly people had been treated by friends and family. As these stories include several legal cases with some still running in court on this day of writing, you should note that not all of the people may be guilty of the offences they have been charged with, so it is up to the reader to check the outcome of each court case that they wish to pass comment on. This article is more about the problems that exist in society rather than discussing the  circumstances of a particular court case. Some of these people involved may be innocent or guilty and it is up to the courts to decide. Case one A person constantly told their boss that their father had died to try and obtain three weeks off work. They also produced a fake death certificate to help ensure a period of compassionate leave which they wanted to start on New Year’s Eve. Details here Case two A pensioner owned a property worth around £1.8 million, but was talked into selling it for just over half the price to the estate agent’s property developer brother-in-law. Details here Case three One lady didn’t try to find work, it was suggested, because she was waiting for her mother’s inheritance. The mother in question, changed her will on her deathbed and cut out the daughter who hadn’t worked for several years. The daughter is now asking the judge to change that will because she claims it was updated in a manner that suggested the will was invalid. Details here Case four One businessman read a eulogy at a close friend’s funeral, before he stole the entire pension fund from the widow. This fraudster admitted to 22 charges of obtaining a money transfer by deception with up to 50 people being fleeced across 12 years. Details here In all of these cases hundreds of thousands of pounds were involved and even in the final case where the man admitted to fraud totalling £1.6 million, the police believe the scam was worth more than £3 million. These court cases prove that it is essential for individuals to have their wills written, signed and witnessed correctly and where there is any doubt of the state of mind of the person completing their will, medical evidence is required to confirm the...

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What If You Can’t Afford a Funeral?

An article, from the Mail on Sunday’s ‘This is Money’ section, questions how you can afford to cremate a loved one if you don’t have the money available. They offer advice about the current costs of burying or cremating someone, how the funds can be relocated from the deceased’s estate and what happens if you have no money at all. A link to the article can be found on this webpage. They’re part of the Daily Mail newspapers in the UK. Although the cost of funerals is rapidly increasing by what appears to be more than the rate of inflation each year, particularly as councils have found that this is a way to increase their revenue without increasing local council tax, where you don’t plan for the inevitable cost, the expense can be quite a shock to the system of those you leave behind. For those who cannot easily find £2,000-£6,000 from their own funds, or the estate of the deceased, you could consider a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan and pay just under £14 a week (around £60 a month ) over five years, to set the funeral director’s costs so that you never have to pay any more whatever the rate of inflation. A high-quality Pre-Paid Funeral Plan will cover all of the variable costs which are associated to a cremation, such as the doctor’s fee, the clergy or humanist fee and the local authority’s charge for the cremation. With an annual funeral costing around £3,500 and present, the total charge may be far higher when you add the cost of flowers, newspaper advertisements, a printed order of service and the catering for a wake afterwards. The Halifax issued figures recently that claims that the average person in the UK has £7,780 in savings. Banks and funeral directors will do all that they can to ensure that funds are available at the right time and to reduce the burden of finance at a time when your life may be in turmoil already. Nevertheless, funeral directors are running a business and expect to be paid and banks can only release money if they are sure there is sufficient within the deceased’s estate to be able to clear debts. A last Testament and will is a good legal document that will help an executor of a will to collect funds from bank accounts and pay debts, but perhaps a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan...

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