Death

Will Your Funeral Thrust Your Family into Poverty?

Should you choose not to plan your funeral and pay for it in advance, you risk plunging your family into poverty after you have died. Your bank account or ISA investment is probably producing a return less than inflation, or 0% for many bank accounts. Transferring your money and paying for your funeral now, locks in the price today, for whenever your plan is used in the future. Surveys suggest that the average price of a funeral is around £4,000. When you add a few drinks and sandwiches and room hire after the burial or cremation, individuals are facing total funeral bills of around £8,000. When you have less than £100 in your bank account and know that your salary or pension will only clear your mortgage, food and utility bills each month, where are you likely to find several thousand pounds at short notice, without calling in your preferred loan shark? Funeral inflation moves annually between 7% and 10%, depending upon where you live or die, across the UK. As the cost of burial ground increases rapidly, purchasing a plot in advance may be a sensible decision. Cremations are also increasing annually as rules are tightened about the environmental outcome connected to the emissions from these establishments. Discussing Death and Debt Is Awkward, But for Who? When elderly relatives claim that they won’t be around for much longer, it is easier to avoid the conversation about their demise and their funeral wishes, than ask them how much money they have set aside for the grand event. We should be able to discuss these matters, however uncomfortable. Conversations deliberating death and choosing your favourite funeral music are often left to those who must make educated guesses after the guest of honour has passed away. A funeral director will expect their bill to be paid shortly after the funeral. For the funeral to have been given the go-ahead, a signed contract will have been agreed and completed, stating who is to pay for the funeral. Where the funds are not available, there are several options available: Is there enough money in the deceased’s bank accounts, investments or savings? Can family members contribute towards the total required? Have you a large enough limit on your credit card? What can be sold to raise the funds? Whatever final choices are made, the bill must be settled by the responsible individual. Will the...

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Do You Always Say Yes to A Funeral Invite?

When you’re invited to a funeral, is it bad form to immediately suggest that you will be hundreds of miles away on the day to avoid going? Conversely, should you say ‘yes’ to every funeral you are invited to? The answer may depend upon whether you are going to the funeral because you knew the individual or are attending because you want to show support to those left behind. Some people believe you should attend every funeral you are asked to and if this means missing work for a couple of hours or an entire day, then so be it. Is Your Decision Based Upon Age? Are you too young to be attending funerals of elderly relations? Some parents believe that children of all ages should attend a funeral as a mark of respect. Others believe young children and perhaps early teenagers should avoid funerals for as long as possible. Attendance may leave a lasting impression when they are too young to cope with the outpouring of grief and emotion. Others will suggest a funeral is a good life training and education skill. Not all funerals involve someone of your own age or much older. On occasions, it may be a younger person who has died. These are often the most difficult funerals to attend. Do You Need to Consider Your Responsibilities? Is this all about you and how you feel about funerals, as you may not wish to attend, but moral responsibilities remind you that you should? For some individuals, a funeral will be inconvenient to where you needed to be on the day and the appointments you should maybe consider cancelling. For the deceased, they almost certainly couldn’t time their death according to your calendar. Will you even be noticed if you do not attend the funeral, particularly when you were not particularly close to the individual being buried or cremated? Does this help sway your decision about whether to attend or not or are you more worried that you may be seen to miss the funeral and be talked about for years to come? There is, perhaps, no right or wrong answer to the questions posed. Perhaps the final decision may come down to how you feel about the person who has died. You will have to live with your decision, either to attend the funeral, or avoid it. You cannot undo not going to a...

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Will Writing & Law Changes to Intestacy Rules

Those kind people over at the Estate Planner’s Network have updated us on changes to intestacy rules, from October 1st, 2014. The Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 comes into effect on the 1st October 2014. Listed below are a few key points that will be of interest to Will Writers & Estate Planners. To see the full legislation please visit http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/16/contents. Changes to the intestacy rules – Currently the surviving spouse or civil partner of the deceased where there are no children has to share the estate with surviving relatives of the deceased if the estate is greater than £450,000. Under the new rules the spouse or civil partner will inherit the entire estate. Where the deceased has children and the estate is worth more than £250,000 the surviving spouse/civil partner will now receive one half of the residue in full, rather than a life interest. The statutory legacy for spouses and civil partners will now rise, at least every five years, in line with the consumer prices index. Adopted children – The new laws alter the position of adopted children on the death of intestate parents to rectify an issue where adoption of a child after the death of the parent could affect a claim to their inheritance. Definition of chattels – The definition of chattels has been simplified and now reads “means tangible movable property, other than any such property which consists of money or securities for money, or was used at the death of the intestate solely or mainly for business purposes or was held at the death of the intestate solely as an investment”. Claims for dependants – Amendments are also made to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and, for example, expand the definition of who can make a claim to an estate to include a person ‘treated as a child of the family’ Where you require any help or assistance in updating or writing your will, please contact us. Related articles What Downton Abbey can teach us about dying without a...

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No Will? Rules Changes From October 2014

Intestacy laws, those that govern where your estate will go if you die without a will, are being updated and come into force on the 1st October, 2014. Depending upon your circumstances, they will either have a dramatic affect on your estate (the money and property you leave behind) or will make almost no difference to you, but which? The new rules are from the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 (ITPA 2014) and include details of how your intestate (no valid last will and testament) estate is to be distributed and how Trustees will be able to distribute income and capital to the appropriate beneficiaries. The changes apply only to individuals who are domiciled in England and Wales, when they die, and do not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland at this time. First; the intestacy rules Deceased, married, but without issue (children, grandchildren etc.) Current rules: spouse, civil partner, parents and siblings may all share New rules: spouse or civil partner inherit all absolutely Deceased, married, with children Current rules: spouse inherits all chattels absolutely, plus a life interest in possession in half of the statutory legacy (£250k) New rules: spouse inherits all of the personal movable property plus half of the statutory legacy (£250k) absolutely A life interest means that you get use of it during your lifetime, but are expected to pass it on when you die. Absolutely means you get it all now -without exception; completely; wholly; entirely. How ‘chattels’ will now be defined Personal items which are called personal property in law, replace the word ‘chattels’ and the old Administration of Estates Act, 1925. Here is the way in which the description will change: Current definition of ‘chattels’ carriages, horses, stable furniture and effects (not used for business purposes), motor cars and accessories (not used for business purposes), garden effects, domestic animals, plate, plated articles, linen, china, glass, books, pictures, prints, furniture, jewellery, articles of household or personal use or ornament, musical and scientific instruments and apparatus, wines, liquors and consumable stores, but do not include any chattels used at the death of the intestate for business purposes nor money or securities New definition of ‘chattels’ Tangible movable property, other than any such property which—consists of money or securities for money, or was used at the death of the intestate solely or mainly for business purposes, or was held at the death of the intestate solely as an...

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Would You Rent A Coffin For Your Funeral?

Choosing the right coffin is an important element of organising a funeral for you, or someone else. The make, style and cost are all important elements to the person making the decision and how it reflects upon others. Nevertheless, the coffin is going to be burnt or buried under the ground and only available, visually, for a short period of time; so what choices should you make? The range of caskets and coffins available is considerable, with prices from less than £100 to a top of the range model, costing several thousand pounds. Choose From An Undertakers Selection? You do not have to choose a coffin or casket from a selection shown by your undertaker or funeral director. Although you may be completing an emotional purchase at the time of high stress, you still need to consider your budget for the funeral among all the other associated costs at this stage of your life. While carrying out your research, you will need to know the difference between caskets and coffins. A casket is constructed with four sides and the top and the bottom; whereas a coffin is made with six sides and the top and the bottom. A coffin is wider at the shoulder space for the deceased person and slimmer along the leg length. Although the majority of selections are caskets, they are usually known as coffins. Confusing: yes? Worried about appearances? Most people would not wish to be known as cutting corners on the finances, when you choose a coffin. Also, you would not want to be disrespectful to the dead by choosing the cheapest possible model, but would they have minded and are you wasting money by spending more? In the varying price ranges, there is little distinction in the appearances between a rather cheap veneered MDF oak look coffin and the solid oak version which will cost you at least six times as much. By spending less money on the coffin, most people won’t be able to tell the difference. Going green? Rather than contributing to the cutting down of a forest, you can choose wood that has been carefully selected from a managed forest, where the wood content is constantly assessed and new trees grown in the area. Alternatively, you can choose bamboo, willow or a cardboard coffin. Not all of these will necessarily be the cheapest coffin that you can purchase, but you...

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