We are often asked how to broach the subject of funeral plans, either by children of ageing parents or concerned elderly individuals wanting to make their choices clear to their family.
Whatever your approach, perhaps an inclusive family conference or casually dropping the topic into a conversation – be prepared for the response and what course of action (if any) to take next:
- You may need to investigate the family burial plot; the location (in New Zealand or overseas), the condition and whether there is room for more family members to be interred, either full burial or as ashes. Contact the cemetery with any information you may have and they will provide you with a report and advice. Many cemeteries in New Zealand have comprehensive on-line databases you can search, sometimes with images of headstones and plaques.
- Choosing a funeral company – most funeral companies have a website, outlining the company’s philosophy, staff profiles, their facilities and services they offer.
- Contact a local funeral company for an obligation-free discussion of your options.
- Evaluate the benefits of pre-payment, funeral insurance or setting money aside in a separate bank account.
- Easy Peasy Funeral Plan – print this off, fill it in and send to your solicitor or give to a responsible family member or friend.
We advise researching your options when you can make rational and informed decisions. Families with clear instructions for the funeral are noticeably more relaxed. They are able to concentrate their time and energies on creating an event that is more inclusive and personal.
Broadbent & May has met with individuals who have had a terminal diagnosis and were keen to discuss their funeral arrangements. Some had very detailed plans which utilised the various talents of family members and friends.
The graphically skilled were asked to design the service sheet, the ‘techies’ produced the photoshow and compiled selected music, the artists and children decorated the coffin, photographers captured the day’s events, gardeners organised the floral tributes and the ‘foodies’ provided a delicious and generous spread.
Let’s have that conversation, make an appointment to come to our offices in Palmer Street or we are only too happy to visit you, to offer advice, options and an obligation free estimate.
Planning your funeral
Start with our Easy Peasy Funeral Plan. If it seems initially daunting, perhaps begin with the easiest choices or write down the things you definitely don’t want, which will help to shape the things you do.
The most significant decision is either cremation (and what is to happen to your ashes) or burial (natural or conventional and at which cemetery).
Consult with family and friends, those most likely to be responsible for your arrangements on your behalf.
Your farewell could be simple & low key or a convivial lavish gathering.
Pre-payment plans and Funeral insurance
Consumer NZ investigated pre-payment funeral plans and funeral insurance at the end of October 2010. This report makes comparisons and highlights the benefits and disadvantages of the plans on offer.
One benefit of a pre-paid funeral plan is the funds (limit of $10,000) are exempt from asset testing requirements for a long-term residential care subsidy.
The report suggests that you can set up your own savings scheme in a bank account. This avoids paying the set-up and other fees required by pre-paid plans and trusts and ensures you have complete control over your money. To prevent the funds being tied up in probate they suggest putting the account in joint names with a trusted family member or friend.
Some banks in New Zealand have a policy to pay the funeral account direct to the funeral company from the deceased’s bank account if there are sufficient funds. Check if your bank has this policy.