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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.


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

This is quite useful information.

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

oh. found some info

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!

TigOldBitties Mon 25-Mar-13 13:15:18

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

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