Oh God, this is possibly going to get me the biggest flaming ever but I really don't know if I am BU or not...

(143 Posts)
MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 10:50:06

Last year, I started paying in to a life insurance policy that will pay out a lump sum to DH/DS in the event of my death. My mum was asking what had prompted me to take out such a thing (she thinks that planning for when you are not here is morbid, especially at my age) and I said the normal things... to leave DH/DS with some money to to with whatever they choose, to pay for my funeral...

My mum goes "I've got nothing to leave for my funeral" I said "Well maybe you should think about setting one up too? It only needs to be about a tenner a month, maybe even less" She went "Mmmmm... nah."

Obviously, I really, really don't want to think about my mum dying but it IS going to happen at some point sad If the absolute worst were to happen in the near future, I would have no money to pay for her funeral costs. I really thought that most normal people paid for their funeral costs via life insurance/savings etc? I know all of my grandparents did, MIL has cover set up. I don't know what my mum is expecting of me, though. I made a vague noise of concern about it and she went "Ha ha just roll me in a rug and chuck me in a river! That'll be fine with me" I really think that she thinks that there will be some kind of budget option of funeral that will cost me £50. I really don't want to press her on this as it's grim.


VanitasVanitatum Mon 25-Mar-13 10:52:20

Her funeral costs can be paid for from her bank accounts after her death if she has any money. There is a form the bank provide for this.

kinkyfuckery Mon 25-Mar-13 10:52:35

I'm not sure what your question is.

AYBU to have an insurance policy?
AYBU to suggest your mum does?
AYBU to wonder if there is a budget option?

GirlWiththeLionHeart Mon 25-Mar-13 10:53:29

Yanbu. She is being selfish, sorry. Funerals are bloody expensive and parents shouldn't leave their children to fork out for it if they can afford it.

edwardsmum11 Mon 25-Mar-13 10:53:45

Nope not at all. Taxes and death are our only certainties in life. My inlaws have theirs set up as do my parents.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 25-Mar-13 10:54:45

I can see why you are upset with the situation but I think your mum is entirely entitled to chose to enjoy spending her money whilst she is alive rather than save it for when she is dead.

emsyj Mon 25-Mar-13 10:55:22

Funeral costs have the first claim on the estate, before any debts or other payments - so as long as she has something, that will go to her funeral. As Vanitas says, banks and building societies will normally release funds to settle the undertaker's bill (I used to just forward the bill to them - ex probate lawyer) as there is nothing that takes priority over funeral expenses.

Is she totally penniless? Average funeral costs have increased dramatically over the last few years - back in the day, I used to see bills for around the £1200/£1500 mark as being about average, now it's closer to £2.5/£3k shock.

sleepyhead Mon 25-Mar-13 10:55:31

If you're really worried about it and don't think she'd have any savings to cover it, and know that it'll eventually be down to you, I think you might be able to take out a policy on her behalf (possibly wrong about that though).

YANBU to inquire as to her financial arrangements re a funeral. Funerals can cost thousands. Perhaps ask her if she knows what a simple funeral costs? I don't think it's morbid, btw. It's one of the few ways you can help your loved ones after your death.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 25-Mar-13 10:56:08

I think people should not leave their children to pay for their funerals.

Tailtwister Mon 25-Mar-13 10:56:46

YANBU. It's very sensible to plan for the costs of your funeral. I would hate my family to come under extra pressure whilst grieving by having to find a large sum of money to deal with me.

WizardofOs Mon 25-Mar-13 10:57:25

I don't think most people think much about paying for their funeral. The cost can be claimed from the estate though (if their is enough of one). There is no budget funeral option really. I arranged one with no service and a cardboard coffin and it still cost the best part of 2K with all the disbursements like transportation of the body and the crem fees etc. I didn't do it to save money at all ( it would have been what the person in question wanted) but it was a shock how it added up.

UnChartered Mon 25-Mar-13 10:57:34


it's fine for her to spend her cash and enjoy it, but by NOT setting up a fund for her funeral expenses, she's actually dictating how you spend yours

maybe talk to her again about having a no-frills plan that will cover the costs

escape Mon 25-Mar-13 10:57:36

What her Mother is not 'entitled to do is expect someone to shell out 2.5k on an 'average' funeral ( cremation) which is what they cost in my area... . The Government will not 'help out' if any member of immediate family are in any kind of employment. So someone , somewhere has to find it.

sleepyhead Mon 25-Mar-13 10:58:09

She's entitled to do as she likes property, but the fact is that Marmalade can't chuck her mother's dead body in the river, so there is an inevitable cost that will have to be met. I think the council may cover a very basic cremation if there's literally nothing in the estate though.

My Dad took out a policy that was advertised on the tv that will cover his funeral expenses.

There was a thread not long ago about funeral costs or something along those lines and the total ran into thousands! shock I had no idea they were so expensive.

Yanbu to want her to get a policy sorted will she if you ask her?

ProphetOfDoom Mon 25-Mar-13 10:59:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheBigJessie Mon 25-Mar-13 11:01:24

Casually inform her what they actually cost, and that there is no cheap fly-tipping-at-the-canal funeral option!

WishIdbeenatigermum Mon 25-Mar-13 11:01:27

It's tricky! Yanbu to hope she'd prepared, but can't/ shouldnt make her.Is she of an age where her peers are dying? Is she normally feckless? It can really take the pressure off emotionally as well as financially of she's already chosen a director, style of funeral etc.
But you can't make her plan it!

fedupofnamechanging Mon 25-Mar-13 11:01:36

I think it's selfish to just let your kids worry about it when you are dead. What if you have no money to pay for it and there is nothing left in the estate to cover it?

Can next of kin refuse to pay for a funeral, if there are no funds in the deceased's estate?

Unless your mum has rolls of cash under her bed she is bu to expect you to find the money for her funeral. When fil died, we would have been stuffed to pay for the funeral if MIl didn't qualify for the grant you get if on certain benefits. We now know when mil goes we would have to find that knew ourselves as we aren't on any benefits so SIL has taken out a small plan of abut £5 a month that will give us around £5000 in the event of mil death. Mil has nothing to leave us at all and SIL is single and supporting her, so the bulk of cost would probably fall to DH and I. So I find a degree of comfort that there are plans in place.

My parents have it all sorted, but they are in a much more secure financial situation. And considerably younger and healthier than the inlaws.

Talk to your mum and explain your worries. Offer to pay half if its about the money. If it give you peace of mind.

tazzle22 Mon 25-Mar-13 11:03:49

maybe suggest she dontates her body to research so you wont have to pay for her funeral .......... or suggest she contacts a funeral directors to find out the cost of even the cheapest funeral.

I dont think you are BU if you are asking if you should press her on this .... as NOK you will of course be direcly impacted by her death.

Booyhoo Mon 25-Mar-13 11:04:07

can i ask what happens if someone dies leaving nothing and the family just refuse to pay anything or take out any sort of payment plan thing for a funeral? what happens to the body?

FloatyBeatie Mon 25-Mar-13 11:04:46

Payment of funeral costs is only a small part of the benefit of a life insurance policy. You have taken out a policy because you have a child dependent, and your family will suffer a loss of earnings in the event of your death and/or possibly a load of costs temporarily replacing the home work that you do (childcare, manintaining house, etc.

It looks like funeral costs are the only issue that you think your mother needs to arrange for you to receive: because you aren't any longer her a financial dependent of hers, there isn't any other life insurance benefit that is relevant for you.

So what you seem to think is that she should have a funeral payment plan in place. Why? The money will come from her before her death or it will come from her estate after her death. A funeral payment plan is bound to involve some slice of benefit to the providers at her cost. Why should she arrange this just so you, or her executors don't need to sort it out? A funeral is a last gift of care to a deceased person. Some people pre-arrange the payment, some don't. It has little to do with the kind of life insurance that a mother of dependent children might need.

SarahBumBarer Mon 25-Mar-13 11:07:23

There is still a pauper's funeral - local authorities must conduct a funeral if there is no money and no-one willing to pay.

If it is likely that there will be sufficient funds in the estate to cover the funeral then I would leave the issue for now. My Dad didn't have a funeral plan but the family house was mortgage free and he was able to live at home up to his death so there was always going to be enough to cover his funeral.

If not then you might want to gentle point out the cost to her. It sounds a bit like she doesn't want to consider the possibility of dying so is making a joke rather than taking it seriously.

SarahBumBarer Mon 25-Mar-13 11:08:41

There used to be a funeral benefit too that you could apply for from the Govt if you got certain benefits. Not sure if that still exists.

fedupofnamechanging Mon 25-Mar-13 11:09:40

I think that even if you donate your body to research, once they have finished with it, the remains are returned to the next of kin for a funeral.

FloatyBeatie Mon 25-Mar-13 11:10:18

If that still exists, Sarah, I bet that govt employees routinely assess corpses as "fit to work" so that they don't quality.

CambridgeBlue Mon 25-Mar-13 11:11:13

I don't think you're BU to wonder about this because it will be you who has to find the money when the time comes unless things change. But I can see why it makes you uncomfortable.

Slight hijack but how does leaving a body to research actually work? My DF (who is pretty eccentric) has no property or money to speak of but claims he is planning to do this. Will whoever he is offering himself to actually want his body with no prior consultation? Surely more people would do it if there's no/minimal cost involved? Like the OP I hate thinking about this but possibly better now than when he's not around sad

AmberLeaf Mon 25-Mar-13 11:11:43


You will have enough on your plate when your Mum dies, without having to worry about paying for her funeral.

I know my Mum has some sort of plan in place for hers.

maybe suggest she dontates her body to research so you wont have to pay for her funeral

In theory yes, but sometimes they don't want you in the event of your death!

My Grandmother left her body to medical science, but as she had MRSA and C-dif when she died, they declined!

BlackMaryJanes Mon 25-Mar-13 11:12:45

can i ask what happens if someone dies leaving nothing and the family just refuse to pay anything or take out any sort of payment plan thing for a funeral? what happens to the body?

I too would like to know. I'm NC with my mother and there's no way in hell I'm paying for her funeral when she pops her cloggs.

Very sensible to plan, but I'm not sure a policy is the right way to go (depending on the age of your mum). Many policies pay out very little, often less than is put in once inflation has been taken into account. You may be better encouraging your mum to put a tenner away in a bank account each week/month.

Your mum may be shocked at how much a funeral actually costs. At a push a cheapo version would be around £1,500, but you're more likely to be looking at over £2-£3K.

DorcasDelIcatessen Mon 25-Mar-13 11:16:55

My uncle died suddenly in August last year. He was penniless. My cousin was given a small grant for about £600 from the government, the rest had to be scraped together with donations from his nieces and nephews. It was a very very basic service and we felt so guilty but we are all struggling financially. The thing that really hurt was hearing my own mother sneering at the "paupers send-off" but her and her two surviving brothers didn't contribute a thing towards it. (My mum had just returned from a fortnight in the sun). My uncle was an ex heroin addict and heavy drinker and smoker. The last thing on his mind was saving for his own funeral. Just wish his siblings would have stepped up for their brother. Unless my mum changes her selfish ways then this will be a reality for me in the future too. sad

Awomansworth Mon 25-Mar-13 11:18:29

YANBU - When my mum died suddenly aged 64, there was just about enough money in my parents joint account to cover the funeral (3K). Then there was the headstone at 2K.

My siblings and I decided to leave DF with his money and split the costs between ourselves, however two of my siblings just couldn't afford it so the remaining 3 covered the cost.

The first thing I did when I felt able was to set up a funeral plan to cover the cost of DF funeral, we paid this over 3 years and each sibling contributed the same small amount each month until it was paid.

Not only do we now have peace of mind when the time comes, it only cost each of us £20 per month (5 children) over 3 years, which was not a great hardship for any of us. We have insurances in place for both DH and me.

Losing a parent is hard enough without the added financial strain this brings on the remaining family. I think we owe it those we would be leaving behind to have things in place to ease the burden for them.

LondonNinja Mon 25-Mar-13 11:20:15

She's being a little naive, OP. And YANBU.

It isn't nice to plan wills and funeral costs etc but it's less nice to leave that to grieving family, methinks!

OP, if insurance in the UK works like in Ireland, you have an insurable interest on your mother for the amount of the potential liability (if you are the one definitely going to be paying the expense).

So if she refuses to pay for a plan herself, (i.e. if it's the payment she is baulking at) you could take out a policy that you will pay for on her life.
The proceeds would be payable to you (tax free) as it would be a payout from a policy that you own. You would then use the proceeds to pay her funeral expenses.

Or, she can take out a plan on her own life but you could pay the premium. The premium payment might be considered a gift from you to her (but there may be a small gift exemption - I'm not familiar with UK tax law). The proceeds would be payable into her estate, and the executor of the estate could then use them to pay the funeral expenses.

Personally, I have a lot of lifecover because I work in insurance, and as my DF was parish secretary before he retired, I know what funerals can cost.

I'd never dream of leaving DD to pay for it all - but it's easy for me to think about because I come across the concept in my day to day work and it's not very emotive for me.

Your mum may be feeling her mortality and may just not want to deal with it, and that's why she's not considering putting insurance in place.

Perhaps if you go to her with something ready to go, which just needs a couple of signatures, and you present it as something that will give you peace of mind, then she might consider it?

DorcasDelIcatessen Mon 25-Mar-13 11:21:21

can i ask what happens if someone dies leaving nothing and the family just refuse to pay anything or take out any sort of payment plan thing for a funeral? what happens to the body?

Very brief cremation that keeps with the deceased beliefs with a cheap coffin. No service, no flowers, no prayers or hymns, just a few words spoken by the person performing the service. The ashes are put into a plastic lined cardboard box and kept for a year if not claimed.

Floggingmolly Mon 25-Mar-13 11:24:37

Very selfish of her; but unfortunately you now know you'll be handed the bill somewhere down the line, so you'll have to sort some kind of funeral plan yourself sad

EmmelineGoulden Mon 25-Mar-13 11:24:53

I think if people didn't take out insurance policies to cover a big send off there would be more affordable options. Funerals are for the living not the dead. Your mum isn't being unreasonable in not caring what happens to her body after death.

I don't think you deserve flaming - what for? But I think YABU to think she ought to have the same values as you over this.

EggyFucker Mon 25-Mar-13 11:25:56

Average funeral costs for a fairly no-frills cremation is 3k

Usually, funeral directors will wait for payment until an estate is settled

This happened to us this year...the funeral costs were taken off the top before the rest of the estate was shared among the beneficiaries of a will

has she even made a will ?

But the OP and her family will have to pay for the funeral which may be a financial struggle for them. Surely her DM should care about what happens to them after her death?

FakeHotCrossLobsters Mon 25-Mar-13 11:32:55

"The money will come from her before her death or it will come from her estate after her death."

Well it's not going to come from Marmalade's mother before her death, because Marmalade has already told us she won't discuss it and doesn't see the need to plan for it.

And afterwards, what if there is no estate and no equity? What if she has no savings to speak of, no property to sell and a piggy bang that only has 10p and a button in it?

Marmalade will be expected to pay, because she can't chuck her mother in the river and I doubt she's want to turn her mother over to the local authority. She's feel responsible and she shouldn't be.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 25-Mar-13 11:33:18


You beat me to it. Most funeral directors have an interest free period whilst the estate is being settled. They understand this takes time and that relatives don't always have the funds. My Dad was the last of my parents to die, and we paid from his estate. I think his and Mums were around 2k each but this was 5 years ago now.

OP, it sounds like your mum is scared and maybe a bit superstitious in her belief. At least she has expressed wishes for no fuss and frills, which will save her estate some money. It does sound slightly unreasonable, but its obviously the way she is and I think it would be unreasonable to push her on this as it won't make her change her mind.

mrsbungle Mon 25-Mar-13 11:34:39

My mum died 12 weeks after finding out she had cancer aged 54. She had a life insurance policy that went to my brother and me to leave us with a bit of money. She didn't have anything else. About £ 600 in her bank.

My brother and me paid for the funeral (although we have a step dad who has plenty of money but since he was enraged that the only provision she had left was a life insurance policy for us, we paid for it). It cost £5K including the headstone and burial.

Extortionate. If we hadn't had that policy, I am not sure where my brother and me would have magicked up £2.5K each from.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 11:38:09

She has no estate. She is renting her home and has no real savings. She is careful with her money in that she spends wisely what she earns and isn't in any debt but she has not saved any money to leave to anyone in the event of her death (which I don't care about) or to cover her funeral.

It looks like it will be down to me to start saving (how grim!)

LazyMonkeyButler Mon 25-Mar-13 11:38:14

YANBU, I adjusted my own life assurance policy (as did DH) after seeing the cost of my mum's funeral last year. A bereavement is awful enough, the last thing I'd want is my DCs worrying how to pay for my funeral aswell.

If she has no money anywhere & no savings/policies etc. it is not a bad idea for her to have a life assurance plan.

EmmelineGoulden Mon 25-Mar-13 11:40:45

Chazs the OP does not have to pay for her mothers funeral.

Dolallytats Mon 25-Mar-13 11:41:08

This is something me an DH have been thinking abut since his mum passed away just over a year ago. She did have a funeral plan and which was approx £3000. We then had to use some of the money from her account to pay the £500 remaining. There would have been no way we could have paid for it without this plan.

I am currently pregnant with DC3 and as soon as we have all the large baby bits bought, we will be setting up plans so our children don't have to worry. We can not afford life insurance of any kind (which does worry me), but we are hoping this at least will help when the time comes.

Who will then emmeline? A serious question.

my nana paid a few pence every week (old money) towards her funeral, she had absolutely nothing else but this insurance. It didnt cover much at all when she died, it was awful, she spent a great proportion of her income paying it to not put on her

Goldmandra Mon 25-Mar-13 11:48:34

It looks like it will be down to me to start saving (how grim!)

Could you ask her if that's what she would like you to do? This would wake her up to the fact that there seriously isn't currently any money to pay for her funeral and make her tell you explicitly if she definitely expects you to cover any costs.

If she really doesn't want you to pay for a funeral ask her if she would like you to find out how to donate a body to medical science. That sounds really harsh but if she seriously doesn't care perhaps she wouldn't mind and there are then genuinely no funeral costs.

ffs. not put upon her children. it was awfully sad.


EmmelineGoulden Mon 25-Mar-13 11:51:34

If the OP's DM has no money the State will pay.

If a person has a desire for a certain type of burial, or any requirements for ritual, care of the body, wake, etc. then I think it behoves them to ensure there is money to pay for that. But I really don't think people should be required to pay for the hygenic disposal of their bodies after death - it isn't for their benefit.

ginmakesitallok Mon 25-Mar-13 11:52:03

If your DM wants a funeral then she needs to sort out how pay for it. If she doesn't then you are not obliged to pay for a funeral, as said above the local authority would arrange a very basic funeral for her.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 11:55:55

I realise what people are saying about the state paying for a very basic funeral for her but as a surviving child, I am not really likely to let that happen. sad

EggyFucker Mon 25-Mar-13 12:00:45

Does your mum own her own house ?

FloatyBeatie Mon 25-Mar-13 12:03:06

How old is your mum, op? I'm not sure that I would like to give a couple of thousand pounds to a company too far in advance, when the company might go bust, and when I could be earning interest from it in a saving account. Wouldn't it be better if she stuck a tenner every week or so into a savings account?

At what age does it become prudent or normal to contact a pre-pay funeral provider?

MrsHoarder Mon 25-Mar-13 12:03:55

I have life insurance but not for my funeral: its so that should DH or worse just DS be left behind they will have sufficient funds to not need worry about affording life.

As for funeral costs, a funeral plan won't save any money really because they know she will want one at some stage. Should she die before you then you will have access to her money to pay for her funeral so it shouldn't be a worry. If she genuinely has no money to save then putting pressure on her to put it in a funeral plan isn't going to change that.

EggsitPursuedByAChocolateBunny Mon 25-Mar-13 12:05:58

Bloody hell - I never realised funerals were so expensive!

sashh Mon 25-Mar-13 12:06:29

Tell her you can't afford her funeral and you will have to donate her to medical science.


My grandmother died a couple of years ago. Twenty years before she had bought her own funeral.

Not only did it mean that the money side was taken care of but that there were no decisions to be made re burial / cremation, cars, etc.

It was so stress free my mother then bought one for her and one for my dad.

I'm only in my 40's and I worry about this because I am leaving my body to be cut up by medical students, but if that can't happen (if you die over a weekend you have to be stored properly) then there will have to be a funeral of some sort.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:06:48

Eggy, no she rents.

Beatie, she is 56 in May.

I think it's "normal" at any age to consider your funeral. I lost my aunt last year who was only 46. It isn't something you should put off until you get to 70, IMO.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 25-Mar-13 12:07:49

And how does one to about refusing without being cause issues?

EggsitPursuedByAChocolateBunny Mon 25-Mar-13 12:12:04

56 shock

She is very young.......

FloatyBeatie Mon 25-Mar-13 12:12:05

Blimey. Only 56! I can see the value of life insurance at any time, if you have dependents, or a mortgae, etc. But a funeral pre-payment plan in middle age seems completely bizarre. That's possibly forty years or so during which some company that might go bust has use of your money for a product you haven't used yet. It is completely different from insurance. It is payment in advance, possibly by decades. I wouldn't dream of doing that.

TheRealFellatio Mon 25-Mar-13 12:12:33

YANBU. I don't think people should be compelled to save for a lavish funeral, if that is genuinely not what they would choose for themselves, but I do think they should make some provision (assuming they are not living hand to mouth as it is) and should have something in writing letting their next of kin know what their wishes are re: expenditure. It's unfair to leave your children out of pocket and struggling to pay when they will feel pressured into giving you a decent send-off.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:13:37

I haven't suggested that she buys into one of these pre-payment plans. I didn't even know about them until this thread, tbh.

And you say "only" 56. There isn't a designated age that we all die at...

EmmelineGoulden Mon 25-Mar-13 12:16:11

Marmalade - what you're are saying is that you think your DM should direct her own resources now into something that she has no interest in and which does not benefit her so that, when she dies, you can give her the funeral that you want. I can see why it would be nice for you to feel you'd be able to celebrate her life in the way you think is fitting - but I don't think you really have the right to dictate how she spends her money.

FloatyBeatie Mon 25-Mar-13 12:18:03

So you are saying she should start a life insurance policy? Just for funeral costs? Do people actually do that? Can it make financial sense?

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:18:50

No, Emmeline. So that I can give her a funeral.

She has to have one. We all do. There is no way around it.

And FWIW, I don't think that she has the righ to dictate how I spend mine, which is what she will be doing, indirectly.

EmmelineGoulden Mon 25-Mar-13 12:19:45

You don't have to pay for that funeral. She is not dictating that you should spend your money that way.

MrsHoarder Mon 25-Mar-13 12:21:32

The thing about "only 56" is that tying up a few thousand pounds when she's already living from paycheque to paycheque probably isn't sound financial planning. She presumably no longer has dependants whose security she has to consider (including keeping their home) and life insurance gets very expensive by that age. if she was to buy a 20 year plan there'd be something like a 50% probability that she would die during the plan, its not like being in your twenties and being able to insure for a 6 figure sum against the chance that you die for £15/month because 95% of people paying into those insurances will survive the policy.

Could you talk to her about trying to save up whilst she is still working age so she has a fallback account in her retirement? Rather than sell it as her funeral policy, suggest that it would be wise to have a few thousand stashed in case of some kind of disaster.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Mon 25-Mar-13 12:21:52

It's worth considering if you want save money in an insurance type plan or go direct to the funeral directors as they all have a prepayment type plan. With the plans I think you basically can secure prices when you pay rather than when it happens iyswim

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:22:59

I'm pretty sure that that's what my grandparents did, Beatie. I think it paid out about £10,000 each one. There was some left over to be divided between the family but I wouldn't even want her to leave any for us.

CocktailQueen Mon 25-Mar-13 12:23:56

DH and I are organising his brother's funeral at the moment and it is costing £3,300. It is pretty basic too. It covers the cheapest coffin (£375), funeral disbursements, minister, cremation charge, organist, hearse to crematorium. It does not include any limos.

I think your mum is being really selfish in not making sure she has enough money to pay for her own funeral. AT a stressful time like that, the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about who's going to pay for it all. You can't just chuck her in a river hmm

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:24:35

TBH, I'm not even asking her to pay into anything. She could save up the money herself a few quid a month!

CocktailQueen Mon 25-Mar-13 12:24:56

PS my BIL was 60. Only four years older than the OP's mother.

stressyBessy22 Mon 25-Mar-13 12:26:00

I realise what people are saying about the state paying for a very basic funeral for her but as a surviving child, I am not really likely to let that happen

but that is the crux of it.Your mum doesn't care if she has a 'paupers funeral'.It's you who doesn't want it , therefore it's unreasonable to expect your mum to pay.
Also she is only 56!! I would be a bit pissed at my DC harping on about my funeral if I was still in my 50s!!!

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:26:16

I have lost two relatives in the last two years, both under 55. sad

firesidechat Mon 25-Mar-13 12:26:26

can i ask what happens if someone dies leaving nothing and the family just refuse to pay anything or take out any sort of payment plan thing for a funeral? what happens to the body

Sorry if this has already been answered. As I understand it, the government has a funeral fund for circumstances like this and this will pay for a very basic funeral.

My parents have a funeral plan with a well known company. Knowing them they've probably chosen their coffins etc too. I will probably do the same at some point, but in the meantime there is plenty in the bank account to pay for a funeral. I wouldn't leave my children to pay, as even a no frills funeral is very expensive.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:26:57

I haven't "harped on" confused Where have I said that I have harped on? I mentioned it once.

All it is is putting a little away each month say £10

10x12=£120 x 10 years £1200 won't cover the whole lot, but is a step in the right direction.

The thing abut the plans like sunlife etc is you have to keep paying or you get nothing back. You mum could realistically live for another 30 years. A plan like that wouldn't be advisable in all seriousness here for your mother. I would suggest a savings scheme, isa or similar tbh.

And emmeline, stated funded funerals are for those with no known next of kin. There would be no mourners, no hymns, no frills at all. a mass cremation and ashes put in a pot, may aswell be a marg tub.
There is a grant you can get of you are the family of someone who has died and you are in receipt of certain benefits, but if the NOK is working you get nothing at all. T suggest the op leave her mother, in the event of her death, to be cremated by the state, I find that quite disgusting.

ElsieMc Mon 25-Mar-13 12:30:44

This is always a difficult subject but I have just gone through it. My DM left £10,000 in her bank account, out of which my brother and I received £1,000 each. The rest went to her last month's care home bill, legal fees and miscellaneous, the dearest of which by far was the funeral directors at in excess of £3,200. So no, you are absoloutely NBU to be a bit put out by this.

It is correct that funeral expenses come top of the list but you are not going to get anything under £1,000. My friend's partner, from whom she was separated, died last year and he specified the cheapest funeral possible and for everyone to have a happy wake (if that's possible). It still came in at over £1,000.

There is certainly money to be made from death, but it is a shame it should be a burden to those left behind.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:30:48

Emmeline, whilst there are still other living relatives you think that I would allow my mother to be mass-cremated? hmm Perhaps you don't care what your relatives think of you, but I do.

FloatyBeatie Mon 25-Mar-13 12:35:10

It seems like it would be worth suggesting that she open a savings account, not primarily for her funeral expenses of course but for anything that might crop up during her life that she needs a lump sum for. But life insurance would almost certainly be a very expensive and over-elaborate way of generating a small lump sum on death. You aren't her dependent anymore -- she has no reason to generate any lump sum at death other than for funeral, so the fact that you have life insurance doesn't at all translate into thinking it would be a good idea for her.

I'm 50, and TBH I would feel offended if an adult child of mine thought it would make more sense to suggest that I start saving for my death than suggest that I saving flexibly, for all of the uncertainties of the decades more life I might have, generating a sum that would help in the event of my death but was not earmarked for my death.

firesidechat Mon 25-Mar-13 12:35:27

We live in the same road as a large cemetery/crem and have hearses passing several times a day. Can't help but think about what I would want when I die. My family already know what coffin (wicker) and flowers I would like and it doesn't feel at all morbid. I want a cheerful sendoff.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:39:04

Jeez, why would anyone be offended that their child cares about what happens to their parent's body when they die?! We can't both be flippant about this, one of us needs to think about it.

Yes, 50 is young. So is 43. Tell that to my colleague's bereaved husband who lost her at such a young age. Why do people think that they are years from death?! We just don't know when it will happen. It's stupid to think that you don't need to think about it because you're "only" 50.

But if that's what your mother would want to happen, why should she save up thousands out of her money to pay for the option that you'd prefer?

Now, it's entirely possible (probable, even) that she wouldn't, actually, want a pauper's cremation with no one present. And that is something to clarify very carefully with her when she's in a less flippant mood. But if she does, after full and sober consideration, want that, then it's hard to justify that she should instead pay out for something she doesn't want.

SoMuchToBits Mon 25-Mar-13 12:42:09

I can understand your concerns, OP. My mum died recently, and although we had a very basic funeral, it was still not cheap! Fortunately she had left more than enough money to cover it. My friend and her dh weren't so lucky though. The dh's brother died, leaving practically no money at all and no property. The dh had to pay for the funeral (he was the only surviving relative), money they can ill afford at the moment. The deceased brother was in his 50s.

Ashoething Mon 25-Mar-13 12:42:39

Funerls cost a bomb-my family had to take out a bank loan when my gf died as he didnt have any sort of life insurance or savings-just couldnt afford it even though he had worked hard all his lifesad

When we lost our first dc the hospital advised us that some funeral directors will cover some of the costs of a childs funeral. We still had to pay about £800 though-10 years ago-this covered the burial plot,flowers and 2 cars for the family to travel in.We went on to lose 2 other dcs so they share the plot but cant afford a headstone which breaks my heart.

My mum is very sorted when it comes to this stuff and I know she has her funeral costs covered plus some left over to be split between her 3 dcs.

I ofte ask dh about sorting out life insurance-he is older than me-but he says we cant afford it and I do worry as only have cb in my name.

BlackMaryJanes Mon 25-Mar-13 12:44:02

Very brief cremation that keeps with the deceased beliefs with a cheap coffin. No service, no flowers, no prayers or hymns, just a few words spoken by the person performing the service. The ashes are put into a plastic lined cardboard box and kept for a year if not claimed.

Bill picked up by the tax payer?

SarahBumBarer Mon 25-Mar-13 12:46:08

Well then Marmalade - your last few posts have made clear that your desires for your DM's funeral are all about you - what you feel is appropriate, what you want/don't want for her what you feel people will think about you if you allow the state to pay so then yes - it should be you who pays for this.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:47:09

That is the thing, Tolliver. I KNOW she won't want a funeral with no-one present. I know her well enough to know this. She is a proud woman and would be embarrassed if that was what she had. And as others have said, a state-funded funeral is only for those with no next of kin. My mum has me and my brother.

Sorry for the loss of your mum and BIL, SoMuch thanks

Ashoething, that is terrible. So sorry for your losses. sad thanks What an awful time you must have had.

SarahBumBarer Mon 25-Mar-13 12:49:02

Yes BlackMary - on the basis that in such circumstances it is a public health issue not a humanist/religious issue.

Xmasbaby11 Mon 25-Mar-13 12:50:20

I think you are being responsible to speak to your mum about this. Death is upsetting at any time, and lack of money/will/insurance can only make matters worse. Of course you would end up paying for a nice funeral out of your own pocket, but this would stretch you financially and I'm sure your DM would not want this.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:50:40

Well, yes, Sarah.

I am assuming that to get the state to pay for a funeral, I would have to relinquish myself as next of kin. Why would I do that? confused Wouldno-one else be concerned about familial relations deteriorating if you relinquished yourself of all responsibility for a deceased parent? I wish I had your thick skin, Sarah...

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 25-Mar-13 12:52:13

I'm not saying that I want her to have a big fuck-off Eastenders style shindig with horses and a glass carriage.

Just to have some mourners, songs that she likes and a headstone.

KobayashiMaru Mon 25-Mar-13 12:52:20

My mother was 3 years younger than OP's mother when she died suddenly. I had to take out a loan to pay for the funeral that took me two years to pay off, while I had a young baby and very little money.

no way is OP being unreasonable.

HintofBream Mon 25-Mar-13 12:53:04

The state won't pay if there are family members who can 'reasonably be expected' to cough up, children, siblings etc.

Viviennemary Mon 25-Mar-13 12:53:42

I don't think it's very sensitive to ask your Mum to set up a funeral plan fund even though it's not unreasonable to think she should have one.

Ashoething Mon 25-Mar-13 12:56:48

Just remembered-my dh's uncle had a funeral paid for by the state. He was a life long alcoholic and noone had seen him in years. Family found out he had died after the police put an appeal in the newspapersad Mil refused to let fil pays for funeral-even though they could afford it-and his other sister said she had no cash.

He got a very basic cremation-his sister brought her priest so he said a few word and fil went against mil wishes and held a small wake in a local hotel. It was all very sad.

I dont blame you for worring marmalade.

SarahBumBarer Mon 25-Mar-13 13:00:03

I don't have thick skin, the opposite probably. My mum has paid in advance for her funeral as did my Gran who died last year. I have not done so but am fortunate enough that it won't be an issue when I die - lots of insurances/death in service benefits etc but ironically I could not care less about a funeral - I very much see the disposal of my earthly remains as a public health issue and nothing more. I suppose that is where I am coming from.

I don't think relinquishing yourself as next of kin comes in to it. The cost of a funeral is a burden on the estate of the deceased - not anyone else. If there is no estate, there should be no burden.

Meglet Mon 25-Mar-13 13:00:24

Dying at 56 isn't that unlikely. Yes, a 56yr old might still able to climb Everest but it's not out of the question that something might go wrong with their health in the next 10yrs. Mym dad survived a heart attack at 56 (fairly healthy non-smoking vegetarian), but died of prostate cancer 10yrs later.


I'm only 38 and haven't thought about a funeral plan, although I have a will, insurance etc and fully intend to make it to at least 100. I might look into it.

olgaga Mon 25-Mar-13 13:04:44
ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 25-Mar-13 13:06:50

Perhaps you should have a very frank and extremely blunt discussion with her.

Mum, I know you don't want to think about this, neither do I, but it comes to us all. Even a basic funeral costs £X. You don't have savings so where is the money going to come from? Are you saying that you want me to save up £X to pay for your funeral? I can't do that. If there is no money, then the state will bury you if I refuse. If you're ok with that, then fine. If you want a funeral then I'm sorry, but it's down to you to do it.

It's a bloody hard conversation to have but how many people just do not appreciate that someone has to pay thousands for a funeral and if it's not them, then who?

And saying oh, don't bother - well, who does that? How many times do relatives actually do that? They don't. They struggle to find the money. It's not fair to make no provision if you know or suspect that that means that other people will try to find the money.

People talk about first dibs on the estate but there are actually people who die with not a penny to their name. All talk of three grand or so coming out of the estate. Well, if your estate consists of a few sticks of furniture, how's that going to happen, exactly?

I think people should be made to think about what will happen after they die.

Either that, or we all pay a bit more in tax over our lifetime and our eventual funeral will be covered. Anyone who wants more than the basic one has to pay for it.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 25-Mar-13 13:08:17
fromeggheadtopreghead Mon 25-Mar-13 13:08:30

I don't think you're being unreasonable. Could you look into what he cheapest options are and check with her that she has enough money in an account somewhere to cover it, explaining that if she hasn't she will be putting you in a tricky financial situation? On the bright side she could be like my Mum and completely obsessed with her funeral. According to the current plan she wants me to lead the congregation in a rousing rendition of How Can I Keep From Singing!

I don't know what your relationship is like with her but I think you need to insist on having a conversation about this. You need to ascertain certain things:

1. Does she have a will? (Plus who are the executors?)
2. What is her expected plan for her funeral/What would she like?
3. How will this be funded?

I don't think yabu, she's no longer in her youth, you are her next of kin or surviving child, you will be responsible and you need to know.

My parents have both set up life insurance policies as well as prepaying for their funerals and providing specific arrangements such as choice of music, I think for both of these for the 2 of them they paid £50 a month or a number of years. Their wills are sorted, I along with one of my siblings am an executor and all of he children and those involved have read the will. DH and I did the same hotly after having children. It's the sensible, responsible and selfless choice.

CocktailQueen Mon 25-Mar-13 13:20:08

And it's much more expensive if you go for burial over cremation - we were quoted £2,400 for the plot and burial service, without headstone, over and above the funeral costs. So if you're having a big chat with your mum, you may need to ask if she'd prefer burial or cremation.

ThingummyBob Mon 25-Mar-13 13:25:34

My dad ended up paying for his brothers funeral two years ago.

Ddad hadn't had anything to do with him for over 30 years and also has another 6 surviving siblings. My dad lived abroad at the time but was declared an interested party as he and my step mum kept their UK home and a UK bank account when living abroad.

The personal relationships involved didn't come into it. The council went through his living relatives one by one until they found one that they deemed could affored to pay.

It is a shit system.

ThingummyBob Mon 25-Mar-13 13:26:17

afford blush

MooncupGoddess Mon 25-Mar-13 13:32:59

In your position I would be less worried about the funeral expenses than the fact she has no savings/assets at all. Dying at 56 is relatively unlikely, but lots of people suffer from declining health in their later years, and being ill/disabled often incurs extra costs. What would she do if she got ill and couldn't work any more? What's her pension provision like?

Can you have a wider conversation about the future with her?

MajaBiene Mon 25-Mar-13 13:36:26

She won't be embarassed about having a cheap funeral if she's dead confused

I think it's a bit much to expect someone to save money that they could enjoy while they are alive to have their body disposed of after they die.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 25-Mar-13 13:37:25

Great! When u need a new patio, grab a shovel....

U need to know what she actually wants or has in her will. Or stay out of it and hope there's money left at her end... Morbid and guilt ridden for u. I sympathise.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 25-Mar-13 13:44:07

I think it's a bit much to expect someone to pay money for someone else's funeral that they could enjoy while they are still alive instead of it going on disposing of someone else's body after they're dead.

So who's left to pay?

shewhowines Mon 25-Mar-13 13:50:03


It is very selfish for someone to say " It's your problem. You deal and pay for it" which is what someone is basically saying if they refuse to consider the problem - especially if the problem is pointed out to them by the person who will be left picking up the pieces bill .

Trazzletoes Mon 25-Mar-13 14:47:56

It's all very well for your DM to bury her head in the sand and pretend its not going to happen but it WILL happen and that attitude doesn't help those who are left behind.

She's an adult and needs to take some responsibility for financial planning for her future, whatever it holds, whether she dies next week or lives to 120.

I agree you need to sit her down and find out exactly what she wants and explain that if she wants something decent she either needs to make provision for it or understand that you might not be able to afford what she wants.

Orianne Mon 25-Mar-13 17:59:11

I think you have two options,

1. Tell her, "I won't have enough money to bury you and you will not have the glorious send off you're planning in your head".
2. Start a policy without telling her.

Sorry OP it sounds so callous, after all she's your Mum but this is not your fault. Yanbu

WishIdbeenatigermum Mon 25-Mar-13 18:30:20

Is there definitely no money?
It could be that she will have money to leave and she doesn't want to have the 'when I die' conversation

RalphGnu Mon 25-Mar-13 18:40:14


When my alcoholic, penniless father died he didn't have any money. He was separated from my step-mother but as his legal next of kin she had to pay for his funeral, she could've refused but for the sake of his family she didn't. (Not that any of the family offered to help with costs).She'd just been made redundant and the majority of her redundancy settlement went into the funeral, leaving her with no job and no savings. She was screwed, basically, and it made what was an already horrendous time for her even worse.

So no, YANBU at all. I would hate to think my family would have to go into debt or be put into financial difficulty because of my funeral costs.

Maybe she'll start thinking about it a bit more now you've mentioned it, Twatters. I know it's something I hadn't really considered before this thread.

mum47 Mon 25-Mar-13 18:46:28

OP, your mum may have no idea what a funeral costs, and it may not have actually occurred to her that it could fall to you to pay it.It might be that she does not want to contemplate her own demise - who does? - which is why she was almost flippant when you spoke about it.

It looks as though you will have to have a conversation with her - even if you end up taking out and paying for the policy. Her age at the moment is irrelevant. We could all go at any time.

Jux Mon 25-Mar-13 18:50:51

Hate to be awful, but she'd be dead so what sort of funeral she wants is irrelevant, as she won't be there. If her 'estate' won't cover the costs of a basic one, you can get help to pay; when the time comes - I hope it's a long way away - ask the funeral director.

Or you could tell your mum that there'd be no party, no guests, etc and she should think about it seriously.

thegreylady Mon 25-Mar-13 19:13:12

I must upgrade mine blush it is only for £1500 and I set it up years ago.Thanks op I'll get onto it tomorrow. Dh's is even less-he has had it loner and we haven't thought about it for years.I am 69 and dh will be 77 in May!
We have no mortgage but not much in savings-oh heck!

Christelle2207 Mon 25-Mar-13 19:24:51

OP, YANBU, you should not have to save up though I'm sure you will if there's no other option. You need to explain to your mother abut the cost of funerals and when she realises you will be massively out of pocket hopefully she can start saving.

chibi Mon 25-Mar-13 19:40:34

my pil died last year within a month of each other. though they had sold their house a few years previous, and had no debts, they had no money at all. it was a bit of a shock - we assumed that they would gave even a couple of thousand put by. there was £200ish in a post office account. shock

we paid for everything, it was not lavish by any means, and it wiped out our savings.

as a result, i very timidly asked my mother if she had made any plans, she got very angry. it is not an easy subject for some people i guess.

dh and i have taken out extensive insurance so that our children/surviving spouse are not left shafted when one of us dies

cocolepew Mon 25-Mar-13 19:43:22

YANBU. My mum and dad have pre paid their funerals. The ILs are divorced, DH asked his dad if he had anything set in place,and where would we find his important paper etc when he died. His dad replied "it won't be my problem, why should I care?"

His mum is very religious and gives most of her money to the church, she also has nothing set in place. Neither have savings or own their own property. How the hell me and DH are supposed to pay for their funerals is anyones guess.

Roseformeplease Mon 25-Mar-13 19:48:14

My FiL's funeral cost £2500 for the most basic of cremations. YANBU

somethingwillturnup Mon 25-Mar-13 21:22:57

Not sure if anyone has mentioned this re. donating your body.

I am doing this. I have to sign forms saying I want to do this now - it can't be done by my next of kin after I die. IF my body is used, the remains are not returned to my family, but the University has a service each year for the people who donated. However, it could be that my body will not be able to be used, so my family will still have to have a funeral. They won't know whether or not this is the case until I die and the medical school has inspected the body, so there will have to be funds available - be that an insurance policy (which I do have) or from the estate (which I don't at the moment).

It's not grim to think about these things, it's practical. Hope you manage to sort it out.

I must admit I do think there ought to be a state-funded No Funeral option as standard ie bulk cremation, because, as someone said upthread, the disposal of dead bodies is a public health issue. You can't stick Granny in the back garden or put her out with the bins. The whole business of flowers and cars and officiants (and I say this as someone who has officiated at a funeral) is not compulsory. And there are an awful lot of people - more all the time - who really don't have a spare few grand and never will have, either to pay for the disposal of a relative's body or to put aside for their own.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 26-Mar-13 08:22:07

Actually, you can stick Granny in the back garden. In England it isn't illegal to bury people on private land - with the permission of the land owner and subject to a few restrictions regarding water sources. But most people won't want to.

BuggerLumpsAnnoyed Tue 26-Mar-13 08:28:55

I'm 25 and have been paying into one since i became pregnant at 22. I wouldn't want to add any extra stress to my family.

Hullygully Tue 26-Mar-13 08:39:26

Take an evening class in embalming and embalm her and keep her in a cupboard. Bring her out for special occasions.

CocktailQueen Tue 26-Mar-13 10:00:38

Hully! grin

SolidGold - 'I must admit I do think there ought to be a state-funded No Funeral option as standard ie bulk cremation' - I don't think the state is in any position to start funding new ideas! there is no money left... Plus, surely the vast majority of people have some sort of family who would want a proper funeral send off?

Emmeline: Really? I thought it was definitely illegal to plant a corpse anywhere other than in an official cemetary.

Mind you, what about home cremation, anyone know? I have a vague feeling that a normal garden-size bonfire wouldn't do the trick and also that there may be health hazards...

MummytoMog Tue 26-Mar-13 17:06:23

She is BU. Mind you, my dad took out an insurance policy to pay for his funeral, and it only provided about a grand. Then some other people helped pay for it, and the bank provided a bit (there was a life insurance policy attached to his bank account) and it did all get covered. Somehow, that didn't translate into my mum paying me back the £800 I had to give the undertakers up front though. Oh no. I am an endless source of cash apparently.

GetOeuf Tue 26-Mar-13 17:12:05

SGB you can bury people in your back garden, but you need permission from the council to do so, and a lot of land presumably with no contamination of water sources etc.

I only know this because I have just read Alan Clark's diaries and he was buried in his back garden and it said about the council permission. Mind you he lived in a castle.

marmalade you are not unreasonable to worry but I have read enough posts about your mum to think that there is no way she would respond well to you suggesting that she puts something aside for her burial. Wouldn't she do a whole 'shaking and crying' performance like a twatty mumsnetter on a thread about birthday cakes or summat.

My FIL died just before Christmas and the cost (he was embalmed as well as his coffin was at home before the funeral) was just shy of 5 grand. And it wasn't at all a grandiose funeral. I was surprised at the expense.

Mind you, burying Granny in your back garden will generally knock more off the resale value of your home than it would cost to perform a more conventional funeral, so the cost savings are probably illusory (unless you expect the house to be in your family for the foreseeable future).

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 17:18:55

I agree with others - regardless of what you say I think she is not going to see it as her issue at all. Something for others to sort out.

Personally I wouldnt speak to her. She wont take out a policy so unless you want lots of upset....

However if she God forbids goes, will there really be NOTHING in her estate. Nothing at all in any bank accounts, savings, property, contents of the house etc?

FakeHotCrossLobsters Tue 26-Mar-13 18:12:54

I'm sure I remember hearing a story about a man who wanted to bury his wife in the back garden but his neighbours objected so permission was denied.

His wife was dead by the way.

And so he had her embalmed or stuffed or something and sat her in the window that looked out over the neighbours garden.

I would swear on my life that's a true story I heard, but if it's not it should be.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Tue 26-Mar-13 18:38:31

Have read the first 4 pages.

Both my parents died before their 56th birthday - one after long illness and one very suddenly and unexpectedly.

I think you need to talk to your mum about this. Tell her that it's really worrying you and that you know it's upsetting to think about. Tell her that you want to respect her wishes and that she needs to tell you what those wishes are.

When she talks about being rolled in a carpet etc just come back with the fact that you can't do that and you need to plan an alternative. If she suggests medical donation, tell her that there may have to be alternative arrangements regarding disposal afterwards or her body being rejected (put it nicely). So what alternative does she want?

If she says a pauper's funeral, explain what that would really mean and what costs would be involved etc etc

Use the 'relentlessly reasonable' approach along with telling her that you will be grieving and it would be comforting to know that you had made these decisions together.

Now you know what funerals cost, you can brinng this into the discussion and tell her that you could both start paying into a savings account together.

If/when the account exceeds the amount needed - you could use the extra to have some mother-daughter treats.

If she sees how it's worrying you, surely you can work it out together (or I have a very warped idea of what the relationship between parent-child is when the child is an adult - see my second sentence for details smile)

I am 48 and have no money, no savings, fuck all to leave. I will not be putting cash into a funeral plan as I can't afford to, so I think I will write a will telling whoever else is left to disown me and refuse to pay - I don't see why they should lose several thousand pounds.

myBOYSareBONKERS Tue 26-Mar-13 21:16:07

My Dad recently died and he had a burial.

It cost nearly £6000. Just to dig the hole was £1000 !! The reception after was £1000.

There were things we could of cut down on (no car/flowers/reception/obituary/embalming etc) but we were NOT extravagant in any way

MarmaladeTwatkins Tue 26-Mar-13 21:17:51

"Wouldn't she do a whole 'shaking and crying' performance like a twatty mumsnetter on a thread about birthday cakes or summat."


Yes. Yes she would grin

Also LOL at Hully's suggestion of a Twatter's mum Thriller reconstruction.

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