Vivian (54) had her life turned upside down when her father, Joseph (84), passed away suddenly in November last year. Vivian’s mother, Juliet (82), had been housebound for some years due to dementia and Joseph was her carer. Joseph was very fit and well for a man of his age and his death was totally unexpected, leaving everyone in the family somewhat shell-shocked.
Due to her mother’s ill health Vivian was faced with the prospect of having to administer her late father’s estate on her own. Whilst her brother, Neil (58), was also an executor of Joseph’s estate he lived at the other end of the country to his sister and would not be able to readily assist her. Joseph left a valid Will but the Will did not contain any funeral wishes. Vivian was unable to get any guidance from her mother in this regard and so had to make all of the pertinent decisions herself.
When I discussed the administration of her late father’s estate with her, Vivian advised that the most difficult aspects of the role were all funeral related. She confessed to being in a “daze” most of the time and being upset about the sudden loss of her father and having to deal with such things straightaway was very difficult for her. Firstly, she had the task of deciding what type of funeral her late father wanted. Perhaps understandably, it had never come up in conversation during his lifetime and Vivian had no idea what her late father’s preference was between burial and cremation. Having decided upon a cremation for her late father, Vivian then had to visit an undertaker to choose a coffin and the type of service required. Vivian found this particularly upsetting as it was a constant reminder to her of the loss of her father, coupled with the uncertainty that she was perhaps choosing something that he would not have wanted.
The cost of the funeral was close to £6000. This was money that Vivian simply did not have. On top of everything else she had to contend with, she was now under added pressure to somehow come up with the money to pay for her late father’s funeral. Thanks to a benevolent neighbour who lent Vivian the money, the funeral was eventually paid for but she is now paying the neighbour back in instalments which is not ideal. “In hindsight I wish my father had put a pre-paid funeral plan in place. If he had done so, it would not only have saved me the upset of having to arrange everything at a time when I was very upset indeed, but I would also not have had to get in to debt in order to cover the cost. Above all else, I would have had the peace of mind to know my father was getting exactly the funeral he wanted. As soon as I am able, I will definitely be purchasing a funeral plan for my mother. I can’t go through all of that again.”
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