Friday 28 November 2014

Smart Consumer: A perfect send-off for a loved one doesn't have to cost you the earth

With an average funeral now costing €5,000, Aideen Sheehan finds out how to keep expenses down

Cross shaped bouquet
The average Irish funeral costs around €5,000
Caretaker Niall Deacon at his "Headstone" and burial plot in Woodbrook Natural Burial Ground, Killane, Co Wexford.. Photo: Patrick Browne

It's an expense none of us can avoid, but the high cost of dying can be minimised by a bit of forethought.

The average Irish funeral costs around €5,000, but the costs can be significantly higher depending on where and how you're laid to rest.

With burial plots in Dublin costing as much as €16,000 each, it's no wonder charities such as the St Vincent de Paul encounter a high number of people getting into financial difficulties with funeral expenses.

Smart Consumer looked at some of the ways you can keep costs down, and some alternatives to the tried and tested rituals.

Cremate, don't bury

The cost of a burial plot is usually the single biggest funeral expense and that's particularly true in Dublin, with plots in Deansgrange Cemetery costing €16,000 while those in Glasnevin cost up to €4,600.

On top of that the cost of interment – digging and closing the grave –is typically between €900 and €1,000.

Cremation by contrast costs €630 while interment of ashes typically costs €400 or around €800 in Glasnevin's Colum- barium Wall.

Don't buy in advance

Bizarrely it can cost way more to pay your burial costs ahead of time.

Many Dublin cemeteries discourage and some don't allow advance purchases because it makes it more difficult to manage the graveyards.

Glasnevin, for example, is charging double for advance grave and interment purchases.

This means the advance purchase of a grave could soar to more than €9,000 while burial costs would be an extra €2,000.

But plan ahead

Unusual options include renting a coffin if you're getting cremated or getting ashes incorporated into jewellery or glass ornaments – check out www.celtic-ashes.com.

You could even get your ashes turned into a diamond in a high-pressure carbon trans-formation process which is available from €2,000 up from www.lifegem.com. Say Farewell Your Way is published by Oaktree Press.

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