The term ‘funeral poverty’ is something which is being mentioned in the press more and more in recent times. To put it simply, funeral poverty describes the situation many families find themselves in when a loved one dies and the family are unable to meet the financial burden of funeral costs. As we all know funeral costs are increasing and much faster than anyone would have expected with a rise of 112% since 2004* (*source – Sunlife cost of dying report 2017). At a time of bereavement too many families are worrying about debt and finances, causing further stress at a time when grief is the only thing they should be dealing with.
The funeral industry is a strange one and the trouble is it is shrouded in too much secrecy. Many funeral directors are still very old fashioned in how they do business and don’t openly discuss their prices until people are actually at the point of making funeral arrangements with them, making their clients much more likely to accept the costs and not consider alternative options. Fees are often made difficult to understand so people may find it hard to compare the prices of similar services. All too often we see the terms *excluding third party fees or *not including disbursements. For those that don’t know, these seemingly small ‘extra’ fees are actually a pretty big part of the funeral expenses, (often costing over £1000) and not just something to be tagged on at the end like the postage charge you would add-on when ordering a parcel. People need to know all of the fees for a full funeral and not be confused by different amounts and figures here and there. Of course with increased wages, rising vehicle fuel costs and larger running costs for all, this has inevitably had a knock on effect of some aspects of funeral prices. However, somewhere along the lines this seems to have gotten out of hand.
So how is Evergreen Funeral Services trying to tackle funeral poverty?
- We are proud to display our prices on our website allowing families to research our costs before they get in touch.
- We offer a lower priced funeral package that includes a service, for those that need a more affordable option.
- We aim to explain the funeral costs clearly and without all of the jargon.
- We don’t push families into having unnecessary upgrades or extras.
- We always aim to give a price for any funeral service as a whole and inform of possible future costs that may arise such as; headstones or costs for the burial of ashes. We don’t ever want any family to receive a bill later on that they weren’t expecting.
At Evergreen Funeral Services we believe that people should be given information that is clear and simple regarding funeral
costs. Funeral Director’s need to be more open about their most affordable funeral options and not pressure people into having lots of the add-ons and extras that they might not need nor be able to fund. We are proud to say that our funeral prices are less than the national and also regional averages. An average funeral with us typically costs around £2500 – £3000 for a cremation, £3000 – £4000 for a burial, and we never push people into anything they haven’t asked for.
We also recognise that many families do in fact struggle with funeral costs and because of this we have created our ‘simple’ cremation as a more affordable option for those that still want a full funeral service for their loved one but at a lower cost. By keeping it ‘simple’ we can offer this at a reduced price of £1895 – saving these families over 23% on our regular fees. The reason we are able to do this is by keeping certain aspects of the funeral ‘simpler’ such as; travelling to the funeral service direct from our branch, only conducting viewings during office hours or saving administrative time by not creating non-essentials such as orders of service. As we are cutting down on our costs, we are therefore able to offer a saving on the price of our services to the client. Everything required for a simple, dignified funeral is included within our price which also includes those third party fees. The one thing that will not be reduced is the care and commitment that we offer all of our clients regardless of the preference for a simple or lavish funeral service.
Tackling funeral poverty is not just an issue for funeral director’s but for every single person. One day we will all face death and yet strangely in today’s society it is still very much a taboo subject. We need to change this and we need people to feel comfortable accepting death as a part of the life process and promote everyone to speak of what will happen when that time comes. By promoting comparison and clarity in the funeral industry, we hope this will be one step of many to help shape how the industry moves forward and helps families to benefit from greater transparency by all.