Protect your family after you've gone with Your Money Friend
We can't even talk about death in a straightforward way! We skirt around the issue, using phrases like “popped his clogs”, “gone belly up”, “bit the dust”, “breathed her last”, “cashed in his chips”, “pushing up daisies”, “curtains”, “turned up his toes“, the wartime “bought it” and the rather American sounding “passed”. Which is your favourite?
We are all the same. None of us like to think about our own death, which is why so few of us have made a will or discussed funeral arrangements, let alone paid for our funerals in advance. All these things make life after our death easier for those we leave behind, but still we stick our heads in the sand.
Your Money Friend understands where you are coming from, but our mission is to change your mind and start talking about and planning what will happen when you die.
To kick off talking about kicking the bucket, here are some rather scary facts:
Dealing with the death of a loved one is always distressing and traumatic. There are so many difficult things to deal with at such a sad time.
But without advance planning on your part, here’s what your family might face, on top of their grief:
The consequences of your death could be devastating unless you have prepared for it. Do you really want your family to have to deal with these issues when it is too late for you to help them. Just imagine how much easier it would be for everyone if you have arranged all this and more in advance. A little forward planning now will mean everything goes smoothly.
You naturally want to care for your family for the whole of their lives, even if you are no longer alive. And you can — all it takes is a little advance planning.
It is easy to prevent these problems by taking three simple steps:
What is a will?
A will provides instructions regarding the distributions of assets when a death occurs, thereby helping provide for a speedy settlement of the estate and distribution of assets to chosen beneficiaries. But the will must be valid.
What is a valid will?
For a will to be valid, or legally binding, a number of requirements must be met. The requirements are complex and legal advice should always be sought before making a will. If these requirements are not met, your will is likely to be rendered invalid, which could result in your assets being distributed other than in accordance with your wishes.
Briefly, the requirements of a legally binding will are as follows:
The format of the will: In the majority of cases the will must be in writing for it to be valid.
A valid will:
What’s not to like?
What is intestacy?
If you die without a valid will, this is called “intestacy”, and it causes unnecessary stress and anxiety for many families who can wait for years to receive their inheritances, often much reduced by legal costs.
Updating a will
Wills should always reflect current circumstances and be updated whenever significant changes occur, e.g. marriage or divorce (wills are negated by marriage or civil partnership but not by divorce!), birth of children, moving house, cohabiting, leaving the UK and many more. If you already have a will, has it been prepared in the most tax efficient way, so as to mitigate unnecessary taxes?
Questions to ask yourself:
Still don't think you need to make a will or update an existing one? Read these stories…
Several celebrities left serious complications for their loved ones when they died intestate:
The American singer ‘Prince’ died without leaving a Will, even though he had assets of between $100m and $300m. Although nearly 30 claimants initially came forward, none was able to establish a DNA or familial link to Prince. Therefore, his official heirs will almost certainly be his six siblings, led by full sibling Tyka Nelson and half siblings Omarr Baker, Alfred Jackson, Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson and John R. Nelson, as outlined in court documents.
When Jimi Hendrix died without a will in 1970, all his assets passed to his father Al. When Al died in 2002 he left Jimi’s $51million estate to his adopted daughter, prompting a law suit by his biological son.
Rik Mayall, actor and comedian, died unexpectedly aged 56 in 2014. He left no will, which left his family with a huge tax bill on his £1.3m estate. The intestacy rules changed shortly after his death.
Other celebrities who died without leaving a will include Bob Marley, Salvatore Phillip "Sonny" Bono, Stieg Larsson, Pablo Picasso, Howard Hughes … and Abraham Lincoln.
Sources: (i) The Telegraph 25 May 2016 and (ii) Heleigh Bostwick, Marketing Communications Specialist
And it is not only famous people who suffer from a lack of planning:
Following divorce proceedings, mother of two Emily moved her family into the house owned and occupied by her new boyfriend Ray. After he died, she and her children were evicted when the property passed to Ray’s previous wife Celia under the terms of a forgotten will.
Even worse, had it been the woman who died, guardianship of the children would have been decided by the courts, which would have appointed a guardian for her children – this may not have been Emily’s partner.
We suggest you discuss your intentions regarding your instructions and bequests with your family. This will reassure them that you are planning for their future and sparing them uncertainty and stress, not to mention financial hardship.
Relying on your children
It remains common practice in some families to depend totally on their adult children to pay funeral costs. This is a situation that can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress as well as financial hardship for many.
Paying for your funeral is not, as many people may think the responsibility of your children, but your own individual responsibility. One of the first duties of the executors of your estate is "pay any debts funeral and testamentary expenses". Therefore, unless your funeral has already been paid for, the value of any inheritances will be dramatically reduced.
Your children can be reassured by the fact that that they won't be required to make difficult decisions and bear the expense of paying for your funeral.
Did you know a carefully selected funeral plan will guarantee to pay funeral director's fees and services, whenever required and regardless of the amount?
Remember, funerals are never likely to cost less than they do today!
Arranging a pre-paid funeral plan that guarantees to take care of the costs, no matter how much they have increased, is something everyone should consider, especially when costs are escalating so rapidly.
(A pre-paid funeral plan is not to be confused with a life assurance plan, which simply pays a set amount on death regardless of the actual funeral costs – there may well be a considerable shortfall that has to be paid for out of your estate.)
A pre-paid funeral plan is a simple, cost effective way of paying for your funeral. There is a wide choice of plans and payment options including the ability to spread the cost over between one and ten years. Your money is securely held in an independently managed trust.
Still don't think you need to pay for your funeral in advance? Read these stories…
Alan died in a traffic accident in his mid-40s leaving four daughters aged 16–24. He had made no provision for his funeral and the family did not have enough money to pay for it. His daughters had to spend evenings and weekends washing cars to pay for their father’s cremation.
Joanne was concerned about her funeral costs so she took out an “Over 50s Funeral Plan” prepared by an insurance company. The plan guaranteed payment on death after two years to pay for funeral expenses, but paid nothing when she died from a massive stroke after only 20 months.
Stephen also took out an “Over 50s Funeral Plan” life insurance plan in his sixties. He was fortunate enough to have a long life until his death in his early nineties. Unfortunately, the death benefit from his “funeral plan” paid out less than his total premiums paid and bore no resemblance to the actual cost of his funeral.
We suggest you discuss with your family how and when your funeral and associated activities are to be paid for and tell them who will be responsible for this. They will be reassured that you have planned ahead.
Recording your funeral wishes in advance provides an excellent opportunity to personalise your funeral by choosing your favourite music and readings to ensure the occasion itself provides a positive lasting memory for those you leave behind.
Many people select colourful coffins that might reflect their favourite football club or band, and those attending the funeral are often requested to wear bright clothes. Hearses can also be customised, and coffins can be seen being brought to the funeral on motorcycles, tractors or in camper vans.
In addition to who to invite, there are lots of decisions to be made about the conduct and format of the funeral ceremony. Here are the main ones:
Questions to ask yourself:
Still don't think you need to plan your funeral? Read these stories…
Sarah (known to all as Sally) died in her mid-60s from cancer. She had been brought up in the care of nuns in Ireland until she came to England in her mid-teens to join her family. Whilst living in England, she never attended church nor did she support any religion.
Her family, who were all staunch Catholics, arranged a traditional Catholic service in church with senior church dignitaries conducting the service. Throughout the service she was referred to as Sarah, a name she hated, instead of Sally. She was then buried, despite the fact that everyone close to her knew that she wanted to be cremated. Unfortunately, she never recorded anything in writing, so her immediate family were able to choose what they wanted without considering her wishes.
Kevin was a married man in his early 50s who contracted pancreatic cancer which, despite the best efforts of the medical profession and personal home care from his wife Jane, led to his early death. During the latter part of his illness he became very close to his sister May, who suddenly began visiting him regularly at home and she sat talking with him for many hours. Jane found this very comforting and thought little of the fact that here had previously been only occasional contact, despite the fact that they only lived a few miles away.
When Kevin died at home Jane was totally distraught and found it extremely difficult to cope on her own with two young teenage boys to look after. They lived in a large house in a very rural setting (no street lights, no public transport and 300 yards from a large crematorium). For Jane, the thought of having to make all the necessary arrangements for Kevin’s funeral was simply too difficult to contemplate and she was initially relieved when her sister in law offered to step in.
In the weeks prior to the funeral service May organised everything without any real discussion or agreement from Jane. There were visits to the house from senior Catholic clergy, a requiem mass was organised and the funeral arranged at the most prestigious church in the city with all the bells and whistles of a highly religious service. None of this would have ever been considered appropriate by Jane or her sons, but it was what May wanted.
Although Kevin had been an astute business owner who ensured his wife and children were financially taken care of after his death, he didn’t make any provision for how his funeral should be conducted.
We suggest you discuss your funeral wishes with your family and record them in writing. This simple act can remove some of the stress and anxiety associated with making difficult decisions at a time when they are grieving. Losing a loved one can be a very tough time for everyone but being able to arrange a funeral that matches your wishes can provide a lot of comfort.
Your Money Friend is a well-established will writing and funeral planning specialist company, affiliated to the Society of Will Writers. It is owned and managed by Ted Yeates, who has spent decades caring for people needing advice or assistance in regard to medical, financial, legal or tax planning matters.
As a totally independent company, Your Money Friend provides unbiased professional assistance to clients of all ages who are looking to protect their families and potential heirs throughout life and beyond.
Based in Oxford, Your Money Friend provides a personal service to clients throughout Oxfordshire and further afield. Dedicated to increasing customer choice, transparency and pricing fairness within the funeral planning industry, we only provide advice at a face to face meeting with our clients, by appointment (we will never provide advice or arrange plans over the telephone).
We will visit you in your own home to discuss the finer details of individual planning, in three straightforward steps:
Wills present legal opportunities for you to provide certainty for those you leave behind with regard to occupation or ownership of the family home, guardianship of minors, settlement of debts, transfer of corporate assets and arrangement of specific trusts on death.
Your Money Friend has a personal service, conducting home visits in order to take client instructions for the preparation of wills and other legal transactions required to help ensure the transfer of your assets to your chosen beneficiaries in a timely and cost effective manner and with no unnecessary liability to tax.
Once your will has been legally drafted and is ready for attestation (signing), our representative will always deliver it personally and be on hand to witness your signature. Your wills can then be taken away for Safe Storage, if you have agreed to use this option.
Making a will can seem daunting. Let us give you further peace of mind:
Warning: DO NOT store your Will in your bank safety deposit box. The box cannot be opened until Probate is granted and Probate can’t be granted without the original Will. (Message from Ministry of Justice gov.uk)
Pay for your funeral – at today’s prices – guaranteed
Arranging a pre-paid funeral is the most affordable and effective means by which to protect your loved ones from rising funeral costs. There is a wide choice of plans available to suit all tastes and budgets.
Our preferred funeral plan provider GUARANTEES that however long you live, and however expensive your funeral is when you pass away, all the funeral director's fees and services will already have been paid.
The funeral plans we recommend are among the most cost-efficient plans in the UK and they can be paid for in full with a single lump sum payment or by instalments spread over periods of 12, 24, 36, 60 or 120 months. Payment plans for 12 and 24 months have no handling charge.
You may not be in a position financially to start payments on your plan immediately but this is not a problem. You can commence payments when you are able.
In common with all funeral plan companies, the money you pay towards your funeral plan is held in a secure trust fund. The purpose of the trust fund is to maximise the protection and growth over the course of your lifetime.
As an integral part of your funeral plan, Your Money Friend can help you prepare a record of your funeral wishes, totally free of charge. This will remove any uncertainties in the future, and provide you and your family with the reassurance that they will not have to make difficult decisions about the organisation of your funeral when you pass away.
Your plan can be individually tailored to suit particular preferences … from the big things, like whether you want a cremation or a burial ... to the smaller things, like your choice of music and flowers. We also give advice and assistance in establishing your wishes with regard to the treatment and final arrangements of your body.
If you want to plan for your funeral but are unable to start paying for your funeral plan straight away, we will issue you with a FREE Funeral Plan document, which is a complete record of your wishes. A copy of your plan will be kept at the offices of Safe Hands Funeral Plans Ltd.
A major advantage of arranging a Free Funeral Plan is that, in the event you pass away before you have had the opportunity to pay for your funeral, your wishes can still be fully implemented. Your family simply needs to contact Safe Hands to arrange payment in full for your funeral to be carried out in accordance with your wishes.
There are four advantages to the Free Funeral Plan:
So, to sum up...
Talking about death is still a taboo in Britain but we’d all benefit from being a little bit more up-front and accepting the inevitable. Your Money Friend is here to help you. With our three-step process, and following no-pressure discussions in your own home, Your Money Friend will:
Follow Your Money Friend’s three simple steps and share them with your family so they know your plans. They will appreciate the fact that you care enough to protect them from unnecessary distress, expense and difficulty, and that you have planned ahead so they can follow your wishes.
Contact Your Money Friend now, to give peace of mind for all the family.
If you require further information or assistance, please contact Your Money Friend to arrange a telephone/Skype/online discussion or a face to face meeting. I'm happy to talk through how to help you plan ahead.
Please get in touch:
Your Money Friend® is the trading name of Safe Funeral Plans Ltd. Company no. 09632652; registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 5 Mandeville Close, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 2BD.