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Essex Funeral Director helps families to avoid debt

Secure Haven Independent Funeral Directors, in Margaretting, is hoping to provide a welcome relief to families who are getting into thousands of pounds of debt.

New research shows grieving families are struggling to pay for loved ones’ funerals, with a fifth of people polled admitting to turning to credit cards, overdrafts and loans.

On average, those asked said they have mounted £2,205.59 of debt – taking two and a half years to clear it. One in five of those who fell into debt took between five and ten years to pay off the amount.

Paul Yarwood set up his business to focus on affordability, care and helping families through their grief. He advises families should be clear about what they are getting from their funeral director before they commit to the arrangements.

Mr Yarwood, of Chelmsford, said: “These figures do not come as a surprise to us as we know there are genuine concerns among people who not only don’t want to spend huge sums on their own funeral, but also don’t want to pass the debt on to their families.

“This is a key reason why we formed Secure Haven. We are trying to help all families, whether rich or poor, to receive the funeral they want and can afford.”

The research, by Funeral Zone, found only six per cent of UK adults have pre-paid plans in place to cover the cost of their own funeral, while half of those polled who have paid for a funeral have done so from their life savings.

Secure Haven offers three packages to its clients, clearly outlining what is included in each.

Mr Yarwood, who runs the business with wife Cheryl, said: “Our pricing structure falls below the national averages and local charges and families can see the prices transparently on our website and literature. By knowing costs up front, families can make relevant comparisons with others and take control of their costing.

“We also offer funeral plans fixed at today’s prices plus an admin fee to help families with future planning using the packages we offer today.”

The company also works closely with the Department for Work and Pensions to help families to access funding, when needed.

Mr Yarwood said: “We work with our clients and their budgets. If they have little money left to pay for a funeral, we outline what their budget will get them; we will try to help them in any way we can.”

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