The Costs of Dying

We talk about the cost of living a lot but few people actually take the time to sit down and discuss the other end…the costs of dying. The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) website contains very comprehensive information on the types of costs (and processes) that a deceased person’s family can expect upon their passing.

Because we don’t want to be a burden on our families, many of us try to make some allowance for these costs should we leave this mortal coil. Whether it is in their will (by the way, we should all have a proper will and as we get older consider setting up enduring Powers of Attorney for someone we trust to look after us if we become incapacitated), taking out Funeral Insurance, setting up a prepaid Funeral Plan with a local undertaker, etc.

The Consumer magazine in its June 2016 issue concluded that Funeral Insurance was by far the most expensive way for covering funeral costs as the premiums significantly exceeded the final pay out if the insured person lived longer than expected. Funeral Plans whereby you are able to set up an account and make payments pre-death to cover the cost of your funeral are available through a number of organisations in New Zealand and it is important to be comfortable with the amount you are putting away and the inevitable administration charges you will have to pay.
If you die with nothing and no allowance made for your funeral costs then your family can still apply to Work and Income or, if eligible, the War Veterans Trust, for most of the costs of the funeral to be met. After that it comes back to family, friends and koha to cover the rest.

My intention is not to be morbid but be realistic and point out that with a bit of planning and selection of the best option(s) you can ensure that paying for your funeral is not something your family and friends have to deal with in their time of grief.

Pakanui Tuhura (Manager – Rotorua Budget Advisory Service Inc)

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