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The cost of mourning the death of a loved one

03 Sep 2019

And a checklist to help the send off

As we move through the year, our attention is focused on working to earn enough money to support our loved ones while spending quality time with our family and friends.  The last thing on our minds is the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, death holds no time schedule; it can happen to anyone at any time, leaving many families unexpectedly having to plan a funeral. 

Dealing with death, particularly the loss of a loved one, is traumatic and agonising. This is probably one of the reasons that discussing death is not a conversation we like to have. The unfortunate reality is that these conversations will have to take place whether we want them to or not.

If someone you love suddenly passes away, would you be prepared for the fall out of arranging a decent send off for them? Would you know exactly what you need to do after you receive the dreaded news? Who would arrange and pay for the funeral?

The Managing Director of Liberty's Emerging Consumer Market division, Lindiwe Monyae says, "The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult things to fathom - planning their funeral not only brings emotional strain, but financial strain too."

The true value of the correct funeral plan becomes relevant in times like these, advises Monyae.

Funeral proceedings that you need to plan and budget for

  1. Family meetings
  2. Before you arrange the actual funeral, the surviving family members will need to meet to discuss the arrangements. These meetings should help everyone to understand their roles and responsibilities in the days leading up to the actual funeral. There's often more than one meeting and providing tea and snacks to all the guests can be expensive.

  3. Death Announcement
  4. Once you've let the immediate family know about the untimely passing of a loved one, it is important to let the greater community know too. In the past, obituary announcements in the newspaper would have been common place - However social media and instant messaging has made this a pragmatic process today. Unfortunately, you'd still need to spend money on airtime and data.

  5. Mourners visit the home
  6. As the week progresses, mourners will descend on the family home to pay their respects. Every visit will require someone in the family to host these guests. Making tea, serving biscuits and trying to hold conversations can be physically and emotionally draining, so it might be a good idea to ensure that more than one individual carries the responsibility of hosting mourners.

  7. Meeting with the priests and community leaders
  8. To arrange the burial, you will need to arrange meetings with the priests and community leaders. This is where you will decide the actual proceedings of the funeral. What hymns will be sung? Who will give the Eulogy? Who will be a Pallbearer? Where and when will the event take place?

Planning the funeral

There are many things to consider when planning a funeral that will put your loved ones to rest with dignity. It is important that you don't allow anything to slip between the cracks. From choosing the cemetery to selecting the coffin, everything comes with high responsibility and a significant cost.

Here is a funeral checklist to guide you through the process:

Funeral Planning Checklist

  • Select the cemetery where the body will be buried
  • Choose a coffin or a casket
  • Find the right tombstone for the deceased
  • Identify the priest that will conduct the ceremony
  • Find the right church for the service
  • Family transport to and from the funeral
  • Clothes for the family to wear to the funeral
  • Catering for the mourners at the deceased home
  • Marquees and chairs and supporting technical equipment to host the mourners at home
  • Accommodation for mourners travelling long distances
  • Electricity to manage the influx of family and friends
  • Gas canisters and fire wood for all the cooking if the funeral is in rural areas
  • Food - a cow for slaughter and cooking

"These costs may differ depending on your culture and religion.  Costs of funerals can leave a significant dent in the financial well-being of the surviving family members. Insurers such as Liberty offer standard and comprehensive funeral cover with benefits that pay out towards covering costs associated with burying a loved one," concludes Monyae.

Speak to a Liberty Sales Adviser, to find the right solution that will ensure that the bulk of the funeral costs are covered.

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Liberty Group Limited (Reg. no 1957/002788/06) is a licensed Insurer and an Authorised Financial Services Provider (no 2409).