Prepare for escalating costs of a funeral

Death is a taboo topic in most cultures and understandably so. The passing of a loved one is very upsetting but equally distressing is the cost of arranging a funeral.

With fewer lands in the city being allocated for cemetery plots and an increased reliance on private undertaker services; death is fast becoming a lucrative business. As morbid as the subject sounds, it makes financial sense to carefully plan and budget for the inevitable.

The following are examples of the current costs of a funeral:

Funeral Services

Depending on your religion, costs of funeral services can range from RM2,000 up to RM35,000. Many religious associations provide prayer services voluntarily but donations to their organisations are usually encouraged.

Funeral packages range

from RM10,000 to RM35,000. These include the cost of a casket, hearse, death certificate, embalming and arrangements for the wake. Obituary announcements are not included, however, and would cost between RM300 to RM600 to run a modest size announcement in a newspaper for a day.

The Final Resting Place A burial plot in a Christian or Buddhist cemetery costs an average of RM6,000 while a plot in the columbarium is more affordable at RM1,500.

Burial plots in private cemeteries are even more expensive and depending on the area may be as high as RM90,000, while prices in a private columbarium fall within the range of RM7,000 to RM21,000.

Pre-funeral Arrangements

Making arrangements for your funeral ensures that your loved ones are not burdened by the cost of inflation in the future. You can even pre-order the plot and service package; paying it off on an installment basis. This service is only provided by privately owned cemeteries as most churches and Buddhist cemeteries will only allow the purchase of a plot upon death.

Assets and Wealth Management

Ensuring that your assets and wealth are properly managed is important as any property that is not properly documented can be handed over to the bank or state.

Enlisting the services of a lawyer to draft a will can rack up five-digit legal fees depending on the value of your assets.

The standard rate to appoint a legal trustee is about 1% to 2% of the estate value. Which means a RM5 million property will cost nearly RM100,000 in will writing fees.

Early Planning

Whether the estimated cost is RM10,000 or RM40,000; it pays to get your affairs in order now as inflation will bloat these numbers as the years go by. Here are a few things to look out for before making your decisions:

• Consider a life insurance policy that will cover funeral expenses;

• put aside an emergency fund if you are not emotionally ready to deal with the matter now;

• ensure that your will is updated and detailed;

• make pre-purchased arrangements.

It may feel unsettling but at least you are assured that your loved ones are taken care even after you’re no longer with them. It is not the kind of topic one likes to discuss but the planning will save you and your loved ones much hassle when the time comes.

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