Author Archives: Prepaid Funeral Adviser

Extra Income / Free Servicing Support for Professional Advisers

This article is aimed at providing extra income for anyone who advises clients on financial or legal matters – typical users would be Will Writers, Solicitors, Financial Advisers, Accountants and Charities. It advises how we can help bring wasted opportunities in-house to boost your bottom line. Paraplanners can pay for themselves!

The idea is that your support staff start asking one or two extra questions when they (ideally) speak to clients each year to see if anything has changed and they need further professional advice. Clearly, the service can be added to letters, checklists, booklets, websites etc.

From our point of view that question is “Has your family considered or taken out a prepaid funeral plan, as we now have access to free independent advice on them?” Clearly, you are more likely to get a beneficial response from older clients, but most of the younger ones have parents!

This approach may mean that you can offer a better service proposition to otherwise less profitable clients who can potentially start producing referrals for both sides of the business.

We can also offer a little help with your Search Engine Optimisation once you have started processing a few applications, by giving you a page on this site to describe your services. It can also link to your main site.

Extra income for professional advisers

A single adviser firm with a good client bank in the right age group who follows the process diligently could add £50,000 income – more than enough to pay for a first class administrator for support and to do the work on funeral plans.

Sounds like a lot of work for the extra income? 

Not a bit of it – the structure of prepaid funeral plans is fairly straightforward, and we have already done all the work analysing the market. That is updated every time we discover any changes in the market, which sometimes is several times in a single week. Sometimes nothing happens for a whole month!

We keep track of all the significant providers in the funeral plan market, even the ones who will not allow third parties to sell their products. All our members are updated automatically, so they have the latest information at their fingertips within minutes.

Is there a contract for professional advisers to sign?

Yes there is, but you will probably never see a fairer agreement. Essentially, the main requirement is that the initial request to add an agency must come through us, so we get our little bit extra. We undertake that that will NOT be to your disadvanage – the sole exception being where that provider refuses to accept you, and we may have to service your cases,

What about the Cost?

We make no charge for our service, and 99% of the time you will receive the full product fee direct to your bank account from the product provider. The only exception is where we are unable to persuade the provider to give you a direct agency.

We do charge for our members training meetings, but only to cover costs and there is no requirement to attend. Initial training is a combination of reading and hand holding over the phone. With larger firms we can set up in house training at cost should it be required. Many providers offer addition free training.

We are also developing another offering which wil shortly be available to those who do not currently offer legal services.

Extra income for professionals – will writers, financial advisers, IFAs, accountants, solicitors

Where to Buy Funeral Plans

Most Middle Aged Consumers prefer to purchase Funeral Planning products away from the Funeral Home!

New research by Funeral Planning firm, Golden Leaves, has revealed that the majority [62%] of middle-aged consumers, aged 50 – 65, and over 46% of consumers over 66 years of age believe funeral plans should be purchased alongside other ‘later-life planning’ products, such as a Will, rather than purchased via a Funeral Home. (Many of Best Funeral Plans independent adviser members provide both options, and where they don’t. they can recommend a trusted professional.)

The survey, which questioned 1,050 consumers between the ages of 50 and 85 on their perceptions of the funeral planning sector, also revealed that over a third [35%] of consumers aged 50 – 65 felt anxious or distressed with the idea of having to visit a funeral parlour in order to purchase a funeral plan.

This behaviour was confirmed by the fact 65% of respondents within this age bracket who had purchased a plan, had done so via a Funeral Planning firm, Will writer, Financial Advisor or Legal Services company.

Conversely, in analysing the responses from consumers aged 66 – 85, both consumer behaviour towards purchasing the product, and perception towards funeral parlours, does change with age.

Results show that over half [54%] of consumers between the ages of 66 – 85 didn’t believe that funeral plans needed to be associated with ‘later life’ planning products, where a massive 84%advised they didn’t feel anxious or concerned with having to purchase a funeral plan directly from a funeral business.

The research, therefore, demonstrates that although middle-aged consumers understand the important role of a funeral plan, they would feel more comfortable in purchasing it as part of the ‘later-life’ planning process via a dedicated firm or financial advisor; where the vast majority of more elderly consumers expressed no concern at having to enter a funeral parlour, confirmed by the fact 55% of 66 – 85 year old’s advised they had or would purchase a funeral plan from a Funeral Director.

On discussing the research, Barry Floyd, Managing Director of Golden Leaves, said:

“This latest research is extremely telling and very much aligns with Golden Leaves’ experience of consumer behaviour associated with the purchase of funeral plans spanning the last decade at least.”

“For many people, entering a Funeral Parlour can seem a finite and scary experience, yet they understand the importance of having a Funeral Plan in place to avoid burdening their loved ones with associated costs. Ultimately, for consumers in the 50 – 65 age demographic, aligning funeral plans with other ‘later-life’ planning products, such as will writing, is a natural association that focuses on the importance of maintaining control, whilst removing it from a morbid funeral parlour environment.”

Other key take outs from the survey include:

  • Despite the age bracket of consumers surveyed, just 65% confirmed they had written a will, with just 24% advising they had purchased Life Insurance.
  • 46% of respondents believe that the average funeral costs between £2,000 – £4,000, with 44% of respondents believing the average funeral to cost between £4,000 – £6,00
  • 51% of respondents thought the average Funeral Plan costs between £10 – £25 per month, with 37% believing plans to cost between £25 – £50 per month.

Barry continued:

“Considering the current political appetite to potentially reform the regulation around the funeral planning product, it is important that HM Treasury and policy makers understand that careful consideration needs to be applied when constructing any new regulatory framework.”

“The majority of middle-aged consumers and even 46% of consumers aged 66 – 85 would rather associate funeral plans with later-life planning, as opposed to the somewhat scary environment of a funeral parlour, which means funeral plan providers and other estate planning, will-writing,   financial or legal representatives need to be able to offer these products to fulfil the clear and considerable consumer demand.”

“The growth witnessed by the sector over the last decade, has been largely delivered by consumers buying from funeral planning companies and their reselling agent networks amongst other non-funeral-based distributers. This has actually led to increased market competition, effectively driving costs down whilst keeping operational standards high in order to attract and benefit consumers.”

As one of the first to introduce the funeral plan product to the UK market, Golden Leaves are widely recognised as being one of the UK’s oldest and most reputable Funeral Planning companies.

Chairman of Golden Leaves, Steve Rowland added: “Golden Leaves are supportive of increased regulation but we firmly believe that it should not reduce consumer choice, increase costs for the consumer, or distort the market in such a way that delivers poor consumer outcomes.”

How to Avoid Funeral Upselling at the Undertakers

Avoid Funeral Upselling at the Undertakers.

In an interview with Funeral Service Times Co-op CEO Steve Murrells has claimed funeral firms “took advantage of grief” during a period in which price wasn’t an issue for those booking a funeral, creating ‘the wrong behaviour in the industry’.

Here at Best Funeral Plans, we know how to solve that problem, which can lead many grieving families into serious debt.  Did you know that the biggest average debts on credit cards are for funerals where there was no prepaid funeral plan?

Debt isn’t a legacy most people wish to leave to their families, no are arguments over what arrangements you wanted.  Getting it all set up in a funeral plan avoids arguments, makes your wishes clear and makes it much harder for the undertaker to upsell to a gold-plated coffin with brass knobs on, or whatever they make the biggest profit out of!

Like many providers, the Coop has introduced a range of economy plans.  These can be very dangerous unless you read the small print very carefully.  The worst one we have seen (and it wasn’t the Coops) could mean a funeral 50 miles away from home at 8.30 in the morning.  So the family would need to book in at hotels, probably costing far more than the couple of hundred pounds you might have saved by not taking (our) Independent Advice when buying.

Competition and Markets AuthorityThe Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) proposed a further probe into the sector as part of its investigation following the recent discovery of “serious concerns” it had regarding above-inflation price rises.  Taking out a prepaid funeral plan in advance will take away most or even all of these concerns. Bear in mind that funeral plans specify what they cover which should be the basic costs – they don’t cover wakes, memorials etc.  Though we can usually build in an extra amount for those if you wish.

We rather suspect that the Competitions and Markets Authority Reviews will actually end up increasing costs rather than reducing them, but we may be wrong.


Safe Hands Apply To Funeral Planning Authority

We are pleased to publish this news from Safe Hands Funeral Plans. We have long recommended that all firms voluntarily join the Funeral Planning Authority to avoid the market being destabilised as the Financial Services market has been by short-sighted Regulators. At least the Funeral Planning Authority understand funeral plans!  Their article also details the other substantial protections available.  Ed.

In late May 2018, Safe Hands Funeral Plans submitted its formal application for registration with the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) and whilst the approval process can take several months, we here at Safe Hands Funeral Plans are determined that we will, soon, achieve registration.

Though there is no statutory regulation/governance of the funeral plan industry at the present time (meaning there is no official set of standards that funeral plan companies must, by law, conform to), here at Safe Hands Funeral Plans – as a company committed to ensuring customers’ best interests are served at all times – we fully advocate and support the idea of there being statutory regulation of the industry and we feel that the FPA, with its industry knowledge, experience and expertise should be given statutory regulatory status by the government (which would mean that all funeral plan providers would, by law, have to be registered with the FPA).

Customers should take great comfort from the fact that legislation exists, under the Regulated Activities Order (Financial Services and Markets Act 2000), that all funeral plan companies must, by law, abide by to ensure that their customers’ monies are invested in trust funds that are independent (meaning the customer, not the company, is the beneficiary of the trust fund), that the investment of the trust fund is independently managed, that the assets of the trust and independently analysed every 3 years to assess whether they are sufficient to cover the company’s liabilities (customers’ funerals, in other words), and that the company itself is independently audited.

In all respects, Safe Hands Funeral Plans complies with this legislation:

The Safe Hands Plans Trust is fully independent – none of Safe Hands Funeral Plans’ directors or staff are in any way connected with the board of trustees. The Trust is operated entirely independently, by Pitmans Trustees Limited
The Safe Hands Plans Trust is independently managed by UBS – multinational investment management specialists voted ‘Global Best Investment Bank’ at the Global Finance World’s Best Investment Banks Award 2016
The company accounts of Safe Hands Plans Funeral Plans – which is the trading name of Safe Hands Plans Limited (Registered No. 08869875) – are audited by chartered accountants, JW Hinks
Mazars LLP, one the UK’s largest accounting, auditing and actuarial firms, are actuaries to the Safe Hands Plans Trust
Furthermore, here at Safe Hands Funeral Plans we like to think we are one of the industry’s leaders in terms of ensuring that customers understand the plan they are buying in respect of what it covers, what it doesn’t cover and any risk that there may be further fees to pay at the time of need. Entirely voluntarily, we ensure our sales process is subject to various controls and checks, including:

Plan Purchaser Satisfaction Confirmation Forms (introduced 1st Aug 2017): A stand-alone form (separate to the standard plan application form) setting out in explicit detail the key terms of a plan, that customers buying in a face-to-face setting must sign, which acts as a secondary check (supplementary to the standard plan application form and Terms and conditions) that the customer has been properly informed about their purchase and that the person who sold the plan acted in a suitably sensitive and responsible manner
Customer Welcome Calls (introduced 1st August 2017): Within 2 days of a customer purchasing their plan they receive a Customer Welcome Call, during which we check that they are satisfied with and understand their purchase (and in the case of the Topaz plan, that they understand it does not include any allowance for disbursements/3rd party fees)
Explicit easy to understand funeral plan documentation: Within the Customer Welcome Pack that our customers receive post-sale, are info-sheets confirming in explicit detail what a plan covers and does not cover – and how the disbursements allowance included in the Pearl, Sapphire and Ruby plans is utilised at the time of need (or in the case of the Topaz plan, that it does not include any disbursements allowance.)

Also, when our plan holders pass away, our Bereavement Response Team take great care to ensure that families and loved ones are thoroughly briefed about the deceased’s plan and the extent/limits of its provisions.

Pros and Cons of Funeral Plans v Insurance v Savings

\Pros and Cons of Funeral PlansThe pros and cons of funeral plans revolve around two things: which is the best plan for you (and independent advice is needed to find out) and secondly, what are the alternatives, and are they better for you?

The main alternatives to prepaid funeral plans are:

  1. Saving up for a funeral in a savings account.

The problem with this one is two-fold: firstly, funeral cost inflation is FAR higher than even the best interest rates available over the last few years. Also, there is always the temptation to spend it if things go wrong and the car needs repairs or the central heating dies!

2. Nasty Non Profit whole of life.

We understand that not everyone can afford a normal funeral plan, but if folk read the small print on these (and half a million people a year buy them) they would not go ahead.  A typical plan has no inflation protection and will pay the same out on death after 2 years or 40 years when it will be next to useless.  Worse, there is no cash value if the policy is canceled at any time – and in most cases, missing a couple of payments in old age is enough to lose the benefits.

The Pros and Cons of Funeral Plans

I know from personal experience of the pros and cons of prepaid funeral plans that they are not perfect. Such a plan will cover precisely what it says it does, in the way it says it does, and no more or less.  That is why it is important to read the brochures and terms and conditions, or you could end up with a plan which just doesn’t fit in with your wishes.

A “standard” prepaid funeral plan guarantees the funeral directors fees for services set out in the plan and makes an allowance towards specific third-party costs such as the crematorium and a service at the crematorium (not a church – they will normally be more).  All sorts of other things which your family might want are probably NOT covered, though you can add extra funds to most plans or go for the next plan up.

The next level plan typically adds a posher coffin and a limousine for the family.  Up a level again, and you get two limousines, a posher coffin and maybe a sprig of flowers.

It really is important to get professional advice in sorting out the pros and cons of the hundreds of variations of funeral plans on the market.  Lots of people end up buying products which never had the intention of paying for the funeral at all.  They just provide a fixed lump sum (generally not inflation-linked) which can be used to pay a part of the funeral provided payments have not been missed.

Over 300,000 people a year decide to invest in a funeral plan these days, and most of them don’t get professional advice – which remains free to the consumer.  Even more, people buy what we would consider unsuitable insurance products.

Whichever plan is right for you, whatever its pros and cons, with sensible advice, will go a long way towards easing the financial and emotional burden on others when you go.  So why not use the links at the top of the page to have a chat with one of the advisers who care enough to subscribe to our Independent Research?   If there isn’t one yet, but give the Research Team a call, they will be pleased to help.

Cost of Burial In Scotland Soars

Scottish Burial charges up 27% on average in Just THREE years.

Citizens Advice Scotland has published its annual league table of Local Authority burial charges in Scotland.  Remember that the cost of the lair or plot is only a proportion of the whole cost, and is in addition to the funeral directors and other costs.  As we advise on prepaid funeral plans, we should also confirm that prepaid funeral plans do NOT normally cover the cost of the burial plot.  An extra allowance can be added in should you wish it.

The cost of Local Authority burial plots across Scotland has increased on average by over £250 since 2014 – that’s three and a half times the rate of inflation.

(If you were looking for advice on prepaid funeral plans in Scotland, go here.)

Citizens Advice Scotland annual league table  is available to download.  Key findings include:

• The average burial plot in Scotland costs £1,428 in 2017, an increase of 5.5%.
• Since 2014, the average increase is 27% (just over £250).
• Cremation charges have also increased in Scotland this year, with the average rising by £25, to £743. (Note fr

CAS consumer spokesperson Ruth Mendel said:

“This year we again see an increase in burial costs across most areas, though it is notable that a quarter of Scottish Councils froze their charges from last year.

“What is striking is that the average charge has increased by 27% since 2014, which is 3.5 times the rate of inflation. That is a substantial increase at a time when many families will have seen their incomes fall.

“Our data also shows that there remains a postcode lottery in burial costs in Scotland, with some Councils charging significantly higher fees than others just a few miles away.

“Bereavement is a difficult time for any family, and the financial side of planning and paying for a funeral or cremation can of course compound the emotional difficulties, particularly for those who are on lower incomes or where the bereavement is unexpected.

“In publishing this data we hope to sensitively encourage people to think ahead and plan for funeral and cremation fees. And while we understand the financial pressures that Local Authorities face, we urge them to consider the impact that high burial charges can have on people at what can be one of the most difficult times in their lives.”  

NB The burial charge tables in our report include only the costs charged by the Local Authority for the lair (grave) and internment fees. This data does not include fees charged by Funeral Directors, florists, churches, receptions etc. These would be additional. 

Wanted Funeral Plan Sales Agents Kent

Funeral Plan Sales Agents Kent

Funeral plan sales jobs

If your relatives were interested in funeral plans, would you want to ensure they got good independent advice?  It is rare as hens teeth.  That is the gap in the market we aim to fill. Are you honest and looking for a new challenge, or even a part time way of doubling your income? NO AGENCIES.

To be successful you need to be ethical and to make a large number of contacts, because not everyone is willing or able to buy a funeral plan, despite the inevitable need for one!  Some members have stalls in shopping centres, some (the lucky ones) are already meeting ideal clients perhaps through financial services or legal services, others just talk to people they know or distribute leaflets.  At the end of the day, if you are too shy, this is unlikely to be suitable for you!  The working hours are entirely your decision as is how hard you work – we are just here to support our members in their own businesses.

Looking for a funeral plan, not a job? Please call 01323 740847 anyway!

Would you like to be an independent part of our team offering good honest advice from across the market?   If you don’t meet people on a regular basis, you may have to work a bit harder.  Bear in mind that pretty much everyone has older relatives!!  And most people who are interested will buy, usually just transferring funds from a savings account. Ideally you have lots of contacts over 60 – especially solvent ones who your contact or mail regularly, then getting the enquiries should be a doddle. Sometimes people take a while, and we keep up contact for a couple of years with our enquiries.  But most buy very quickly. And once you have planted the seed….lots of them have friends.

We are always on the look-out for ethical advisers who understand the hardships and opportunities of self-employment.  If you don’t have existing contacts, it is harder, and you will need to find people who do have those contacts if you are to earn a good living quickly. Especially if you live in one of the following areas.

Funeral Plan Agents needed in to cover these areas:



Herne Bay.
New Romney.
Paddock Wood
Royal Tunbridge Wells‎
West Malling

Funeral debt soars

2017: Funeral debt soars to an all-time high as funeral costs increase

  • Average cost of a funeral in the UK rises to £3,784, an increase of 3% from 2016
  • Funeral poverty reaches an all-time high of £160 million with those struggling to pay funeral costs taking on an average debt of £1,680
  • Postcode lottery for funeral costs continues with prices ranging from £3,036 to £6,516 (Best Funeral Plans did some research and found that funeral directors in the same area could charge almost twice as much from the big conglomerate with all its overheads down to the local firm.  But advance planning is always best – our local member can help.)

The Only Way is UP

The Royal London National Funeral Cost Index 2017 reveals the average cost of a funeral has increased to £3,784. Funeral debt has also risen to £160 million.

One in six (16%) said they struggled with funeral costs, with people taking on an average debt of £1,680. Amongst those who struggled, one in four said they borrowed money from family and friends (26%) and a further one in four (23%) went into debt by taking out a loan or going into their overdraft to pay funeral costs. A record number of people were also selling their possessions to repay funeral debt, with one in ten (10%) of those struggling with funeral payments taking this approach.

For a second year, Kensal Green in London is the most expensive location in the UK for a funeral with an average cost of £6,516, an increase of 1% from 2016. Belfast retains its place as the cheapest location with the average cost of a funeral at £3,036.

The research also found lower cost funeral options such as direct cremations – a no frills funeral – continue to be popular. Of all the cremation funerals held, 10% did not include a ceremony or service. However, those who choose to have a ceremony or service saw an increase in costs, with the amount spent on discretionary funeral items such as catering and venue hire rising. The combined spending on venue and catering has increased by 10% from £765 in 2014 to £840 in 2017.

Commenting on the findings, Royal London’s funeral cost expert, Louise Eaton-Terry, said:

“The decline in funeral inflation we identified last year was a temporary respite, as our latest research shows funeral costs are on the rise again. With thousands of bereaved people struggling to pay funeral costs and taking on nearly £1,700 in debt to ensure their loved one has a decent send-off, it is clear that Government action to tackle funeral poverty is long overdue.”

“The Scottish Government is leading the way with its commitment to providing help and guidance on funeral costs for consumers. We want Westminster to follow Scotland’s lead and do more to address the issue of rising funeral debt.”

Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management’s chief executive, Tim Morris, said:

“Increases in funeral costs are evident by the increases in Local authority arranged Public Health Funerals, number of new breed funeral directors providing a direct option and crowd-funding appeals on social media.

“The Scottish Government’s Ten Point Plan designed to alleviate funeral poverty, the Department of Work & Pensions consultation on reform of the Social Fund and the introduction of an Inspector of Funeral Directors in Scotland indicate that a crisis has been identified.

“Unfortunately only the Scottish Government has acted in respect of the shortage of burial space crisis that affects circa 25% of the population. This additional driver of funeral poverty requires urgent attention in England & Wales.”

Royal London is calling for:

  • Policymakers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow Scotland’s lead and do away with the fees charged by doctors to bereaved families for certifying a death, currently at £164; (Many funeral plan providers have already stopped covering doctors fees in anticipation – we hope they are right – Best Funeral Plans.)
  • Department for Work and Pensions to widen its review of the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment to include the inadequate level of the payment and the length of time it takes to process claims; and
  • The funeral sector to respond to the latent demand from consumers for simpler and cheaper funeral options, by providing more access to direct cremation type services. (All of which are available through Best Funeral Plan members.)


Most expensive locations for funerals

2017 location  Burial  Cremation Average
Kensal Green £9,809 £3,223 £6,516
Enfield £8,859 £3,423 £6,141
Beckenham £7,529 £3,572 £5,551
Southgate £7,294 £3,398 £5,346
Golders Green £7,275 £3,244 £5,260
Wandsworth £7,106 £3,172 £5,139
Islington £6,827 £3,173 £5,000
East Finchley £6,827 £3,163 £4,995
Manor Park (London) £6,577 £3,333 £4,955
Leatherhead £6,232 £3,572 £4,902


Least expensive locations for funerals

2017 location Burial Cremation Average
Belfast £3,128 £2,943 £3,036
Paisley £3,326 £3,034 £3,180
Glasgow West £3,326 £3,061 £3,194
Greenock £3,437 £2,995 £3,216
Amersham £3,284 £3,148 £3,216
Bridgwater £3,104 £3,338 £3,221
Swindon £3,155 £3,353 £3,254
Burton on Trent £3,288 £3,223 £3,256
Yeovil £3,294 £3,263 £3,279
Alford £3,382 £3,183 £3,283

– ENDS –

Student Pays For Mothers Funeral

Your Mother is Dead – Here Is The Bill For Her Funeral.

When Jades mother died, she was forced to pay for the funeral.  To be fair, it wasn’t quite as brutal as that, but the effect was the same.

The 18 year old Blackpool lass has a £2,200 funeral bill to pay.  At least it is well below the UK average. Jades’s mother Kym Jones, died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack.  Jade was only living relative, so she had to organise the funeral and pay the bill.  Like most 18 year olds, working part time, she hasn’t got it.

Jade used her life savings to pay for her mum’s funeral,  but they were only enough to pay £1,244 of the £2,294 bill. As is usual, the funeral directors will not release her mothers ashes until the bill.  So poor Jade can’t even start the full mourning process.  Not until she finds another £1,050 from her £6.10 an hour part time job.  Remember, she is a full time student.

As a full-time student, Jade is not able to claim financial help from the government’s funeral payment scheme.  It is only available to people on a low income who are receiving certain benefits.

Paul Maynard, the Tory MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said: “The cost of funerals is becoming an increased burden for those families who unexpectedly find themselves bereaved and don’t have the money to pay for them.”

Read more at:

The Queens Funeral Plan

The Queens Funeral Plan.

The Queens funeral

Queen Elizabeths Funeral Plan

Queen Elizabeths funeral plan is not quite the same as one that your or I might have. Our Research Team can’t find a funeral plan which matches the estimated cost of £10 million or so.  The most we can find is a very bespoke plan at £20,000, though the average is currently around £3,000.

Winston Churchill’s funeral was a bargain £700,000 at today’s prices, though the family picked up some of the bill.

It was reported that the cost of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, which fell just short of a state event, was around £4.5 million at today’s prices or (at the time) 6p of every person in Britain, or 15p for every household. A spokesman for Lady Thatcher’s family said it was “extremely good value”.
Using costings which have been adjusted for inflation, Lady Thatcher’s funeral was five times more than the cost of Winston Churchill’s farewell in 1965. Funeral cost inflation is nothing new.

Lady Thatchers funeral was cheaper than the £7.5million cost of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mothers funeral in 2002.  Princess Diana’s funeral, at around £8 million in today’s money. But if you really want to go for the big time in funeral spending, you have to travel well back in time to June 323 BC.

Alexander the Greats final words were (allegedly) “I forsee a great funeral contest over me.” But at an estimated cost of £500,000,000 in today’s money, that is a big funeral bill.

Some accounts of Alexander’s death claim that he was preserved in a vat of honey and encased in glass.  Others that he was placed inside an elaborate solid gold sarcophagus,  encased in a solid gold casket. The gold shrine was transported from Babylon to Macedonia on a gold carriage, a team of upwards of sixty horses and a specially constructed road built to hold the weight and size of the procession.  We don’t think its’ like will ever be seen again.

But we digress.  Apparently, when the Queen dies, a code phrase such as “London Bridge has fallen” will go round the Commonwealth to give advance warning of Queens death, before a public statement is made.  That will allow leaders to prepare statements in good time.  Then the Queens funeral plan, prepared long ago and regularly updated, will swing into smooth action, and Prince Charles will be King.