Have you thought about planning your funeral?

I was 25 before I went to my first funeral.

It was my Gran’s, and a bit of a steep learning curve, as I was in charge of writing and reading the eulogy. I say reading, what actually happened was that I read about a sentence, and then stood there in front of everyone, sobbing and sniffing, until my mum came up and read it out for me. I stood next to her if that counts.

I had a hand in the funeral planning and although it was a privilege to be involved, I was at a bit of a loss – my Gran hadn’t left any specific wishes or plans, so how did we really know what she would have wanted? When I was little she always said she wanted to be pushed off a cliff at 65 and she quickly changed her mind about that one, so without any explicit instructions, who was I to say what music she’d want played at her funeral?

Funeral planning is a bit of a taboo, something we don’t want to talk about, but it shouldn’t be – we’re all going to die after all, it’s the one thing in life we can be certain of, so why not plan for it? Making a will last month really brought it home to me.

“Do you have any preference over whether you want to be buried or cremated?” the consultant had asked me.

“Not really,” I said, thinking I was being helpful and easy going, “I don’t mind either way.”

“OK,” she said, “but you might want to give it some thought as it’s often much easier for the people you leave behind.”

Do you know, as obvious as that sounds, I had never thought about it like that. If anything, I thought I was being accomodating by not stating a preference, but the more I thought about it, the more obvious it seemed. I thought back to my Gran’s funeral planning, when we were all so overcome by the stress and emotion of her death, and about how much simpler it would have been if she had laid it all out for us and all we’d had to do was say ‘yes, go for it.’

A prepaid funeral plan has massive cost advantages too. Funeral costs have doubled in the last decade, so imagine how much I could save by paying for my funeral now, at today’s prices – it’s definitely worth thinking about even if only from a financial point of view.

To help you think about setting up a prepaid funeral plan, I’m going to be getting busy over the next few weeks with the Co-operative Funeralcare – by the end of my investigations, you should know everything you need to know about prepaid funeral plans, meaning you can save yourself money and save your loved ones hassle. 

prepaid funeral plans

Here’s what I’m going to be doing:

Putting the services to the test

This week I’m visiting my local Co-operative Funeralcare provider to talk through my own funeral plans. I’ll find out first hand what the process involves and tell you all about my experiences.

Interviewing the experts

Next week I’m going up to the Co-operative’s head offices to interview David Collingwood, Operations Director at Co-operative Funeralcare, to find out more about the process and benefits of prepaid funeral plans. I’ll be able to ask him all of those questions that you might think are too silly or obvious – I have no shame! You might simply at this point just be thinking ‘What is a funeral plan?

You’ll be able to watch the film of this, so please let me know what you’d like me to ask.

Holding a Twitter party

Finally, on 13th May at 1pm I will be hosting a Twitter party, alongside experts from the Co-operative Funeralcare, answering your questions and helping you to think about what you might like your funeral to include. Please put the date in your diary and share this tweet – we’d love to help as many people as possible take the stress out of funeral planning.

And in the meantime, why not have a watch of this video to find out more:

Have you thought about a prepaid funeral plan? What questions would you like me to put to the experts?

This project is being run in collaboration with The Co-operative.




  1. Jonet Middleton
    22 April, 2015 / 1:58 pm

    Standing next to me did count and it was written beautifully. Funeral arrangements: Just so you know! Willow coffin Humanist Service and burial not cremation. Plenty of Neil Diamond, Thank you, Love Mummy xx

    • Jo Middleton
      22 April, 2015 / 4:35 pm

      Did you know though that you can get wool coffins??!! I’m definitely getting you one of those :-) They also showed us photos of a funeral that involved a ride on the West Somerset Railway – one for Mitch?

  2. Stevie
    22 April, 2015 / 2:25 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this since we lost mum in December. Although I’m registered to bequest my body, in the circumstances of a post mortem I can’t be accepted. Thanks for the little nudge.

  3. 22 April, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    It’s so important to discuss your wishes before you’re not around to make them known. We lost an adored family member around 3 years ago and everything happened so quickly that we didn’t manage to talk about it. I found it upsetting having to second-guess what she might have wanted and this only added to the grief.

  4. Effy
    23 April, 2015 / 3:07 am

    I’ve thought a lot about funerals. My first one was at 23 – I had no idea what was the photocol etc. Since then sadly I’ve been to many and I have more of an idea about what I want and hope I’ve voiced it to the people that matter. Im trying to urge my partner to think and discuss more about them as well, because I’ll be the one in the dark in terms of what he wants.

  5. 24 April, 2015 / 9:27 am

    We are the UK’s first independent funeral director price comparison service. We are free to use, you do not have to register, we collect NO personal information and the information is unbiased and impartial. We have over 2500 funeral director prices listed nationally. Have a look, you will be surprised and the vast difference in your area.

  6. 17 August, 2015 / 10:02 pm

    That is super hard having been twenty-five when you attended your first funeral. Children and adults process these things differently. Experiencing one as a child could have helped you make this one just a bit easier. No one likes to attend funerals, but we may at some point in life.

  7. 30 September, 2015 / 11:30 pm

    My husband and I have already written out our wishes for our funerals. He wants to be buried and I want to be cremated. I don’t like the idea of my body slowly wasting away in a graveyard. I’d like my ashes to be planted with a tree!

    • Jo Middleton
      1 October, 2015 / 12:09 pm

      I know what you mean Veronika! Cremations have become far more popular over recent years – I was surprised by how so few people are buried nowadays.

  8. 4 November, 2015 / 1:08 am

    This is a great post about funeral planning. It is definitely not something we often think about planning for ourselves. However, it will certainly help our loved ones after our passing. Thank you for sharing.

  9. 18 November, 2015 / 10:15 pm

    I’ve actually never thought about planning my own funeral. I’m only 29, so I feel like it’s such a long way off that I don’t need to worry about it. However, after reading this article, I’m wondering if there are things I should start thinking about even now so that my kids are prepared and taken care of other than creating a will. Thanks for making me think about these things!

  10. 15 April, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    This is something that I have never thought about before. There are so many things that go into planning someone Else’s funeral, I couldn’t imagine trying to plan mine. This is a interesting thought though and I plan on looking into this more and seeing if I can do it.

  11. 8 June, 2016 / 8:46 pm

    I really appreciate this information on planning your funeral. It sounded a little strange when I first read the title, but as I kept reading I realized the many benefits that could come from having things in order before you pass. I like how you point out that it would have been much easier when your grandmother passed away if you knew exactly what she wanted so that you wouldn’t have added stress on top of the already difficult situation. I imagine that it would be important to really look into the benefits of cremation, or any other type of burial, before deciding if that is for sure what you want. Thanks for sharing these insights!

  12. 31 May, 2018 / 11:24 pm

    You make a great point that funeral planning is a bit of a taboo. My grandma is getting pretty old, and she’s been especially sick these last few weeks. Even though it’s something that we don’t want to talk about, it’s probably a good idea to consider different plans for a funeral in case her health takes a turn for the worst.

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