October 2015 Blog

I was very disappointed when I listened to Money Box Live this week on Radio 4.  They were initially talking about funeral costs and the first listener who called in told the story of her daughter dying unexpectedly and having been quoted for a funeral at an unexpectedly high rate she decided to do it all herself which cost her £644 in the end and was exactly what she wanted .  She described it as very beautiful and spiritual.  The response from Adam Hickey, the representative from the National Association of Funeral Directors was to say that most people could not do what she did.  That may be true but what it reveals is a very large gap between the average costs of current funerals at £3,702 and the do it yourself version.  He then implied it was quite complicated with the paperwork and finished by saying rather dismissively well if you are happy with a van..........the judgement was palpable. Not right for everyone of course but very right for a lot of people.  Then someone rang in about shrouds and he said he not know of many places at all that would take them.  I know for a start that all green burial grounds do and so do crematoria as long as they are supplied with a wooden base.   In addition, this year I know a group of Church of England vicars were very interested in the shrouds produced by Respect Funerals and of course in other faith groups they are a requirement.   For example Muslims generally do not allow coffins. If he does not know this then he is not very well informed.  If he does in fact know this he is being misleading.  He also implied that all the high costs in funerals were due to disbursements which are beyond the funeral director’s control.  But the fact is there are many core costs that vary enormously from one funeral director to another and a lot of the disbursements are not needed or can be done more economically than is often recommended.  I work with many very good, hardworking and sensitive funeral directors so it was really unfortunate to hear this much less direct and honest approach getting an airing on national radio.