Funeral cost advice please

Hi All,

Forgive me if I sound like I am jumping the gun here, but MIL is currently in hospital and awaiting transfer to a palliative care bed. She is unlikely to ever return home, although there is no timescale given, so she may go on for months, although Dr has said more likely to be weeks …

We have been trying to get her affairs in order and we have LPA already. Found a file with details of solicitor where her Will is lodged, notes on what she wants for her funeral and that my Hubby (her son) is her executor. We also found an envelope with “funeral paid for” handwritten on it. She has always said she made provision for her funeral so we wouldn’t need to worry, and we naturally assumed she had taken out a pre-paid funeral plan (hubby and I did ours last year so our son doesn’t have to worry when our time comes). However, when we looked in the envelope, its a Scottish Widows life insurance, with a guaranteed pay-out of only £3K, which she has been paying for the last 20 years (actually paid more than the policy is worth but nothing we can do about that).

Having compared her funeral wishes … full church service, minister, hearse, re-opening family plot in cemetery for burial and obviously we will need some sort of wake on top, we don’t think £3K is going to cover it. In the accompanying notes on the policy when she took financial advice before starting the policy, it says “she wants to avoid her family having the burden of funeral expenses” so this policy was intended to cover the cost … 20 years ago maybe, but we are thinking there is likely to be a short-fall now.

We don’t really want to be stuck finding £1K+ on top of the £3K to cover any extras. As we have financial LPA and access to her accounts, would anyone think we are within our rights to transfer £1K’ish into our account now? We assume that as soon as she passes and her death is registered, her accounts will be frozen and not accessible until probate is granted and the Will is verified and read to see where she wants her remaining estate to go …

Sorry if I sound like I am getting ahead of myself, but I have only ever arranged one funeral … my own mother’s and Dad is still going so he paid for it all … Any advice (or criticism) is welcome … thanks :frowning:

Hi witch Hazel, what a time to have problem with arrangements for a funeral. You could have it as a cremation as they are cheaper, sometimes the government offer grants but not sure how much, others might know speak to citizens advice or speak to the funeral directors for some help and advice. Hope you have some luck in finding a answer. You could do one with no one going to the funeral, having the ashes then have a meal or wake in her honour at a later date. Sometimes fiends and family might rally around and help in some way.

Sadly, I have arranged many funerals now. There is no need for you to worry about this at all. If she has money in her bank accounts, all you have to do is to send the funeral directors bill to the bank and they will pay it immediately, without worrying about probate etc. Have you spoken to Scottish Widows? I would suggest you did asap, so that you know in advance what to do etc. Talk to funeral directors now and see which you can afford and which is nicest. Explain the situation to them, get costs etc. and make provisional arrangements. Tell the hospital or home where she is living, and then they will help you, when her time comes. My mum was poorly for a long time, I arranged everything in advance, having accepted the inevitable. So much easier than arranging things through tears, as I had to do when I found my husband dead in bed.

1 Like

Hi Michael … thanks for reply, but if you read my original post, she has specified what she wants for a funeral and church service, burial etc is all there … no “cheapie” option, its the full works. Granted, she will be gone, but we cannot go against what she has documented just to keep the costs down :frowning:

Hi Bowlingbun, thanks for reply. I had no idea you could present the bill to the bank. She has also specified which funeral director (a family friend) to use, but I am sure he will do his best price-wise … however, I know the church, minister, cemetery etc, will have fixed fees so we will need to cover these. We will contact and start getting a heads up this week as always good to have a plan in place rather than a last minute rush … thanks and happy new year :slight_smile:

I only found out by chance, that’s why I like to spread the word. Whilst my post was for you, others will read it too. I only arranged cremation services, hadn’t thought of extra church fees for you. It’s such a sad time. Mum lingered for a year, it was so sad to watch her as she had a series of strokes, gradually losing her sight - she loved reading. Then her hearing started to go, which was so sad for both of us.


When my husband died the funeral director offered to send the bill to my husband’s bank. That is one of the things banks will allow to be paid.
Fortunately I could cover it then claim the insurance he had taken out. It is a relief to relatives though. I’m sure you can go to the bank with all bills to do with a funeral. Providing funds are in the deceased persons account of course


My Mum’s funeral cost about £5,000 including headstone. It was during covid so we were only able to have a graveside service and 10 mourners. We didn’t have hearses only for Mum’s coffin.

Pretty sure that even if the deceased says what they want an executor is not obliged to carry it out.

It is correct that you can just give the bill to the Bank to pay. I paid it myself though and claimed it back later.

With the Scottish Widows plan, which guarantees a certain sum, it may be that there are additional bonuses, be sure to check. My late husband had a policy that didn’t appear to be worth much, but we were surprised at the amount we received from it.