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Who do you go to when someone dies?

I recently saw comparethecoffin.com advertised on Dragon’s Den.

I have no idea whether the idea will work (but good luck to them) and if they do they then might be faced with problems about the domain name but funerals are as much a part of what happens when someone dies as probate, so it’s always interesting to look at what’s going on with businesses in that area.

The trouble for us, as in many areas of law, is how to get across the message we are here and the services we offer. Comparethecoffin puts across the problem people face in relation to funerals:

“Steven could be you. He has no experience of arranging a funeral. Most of us only arrange two in a lifetime; it’s not something we ever get good at. And yet this is a business transaction just like any other. We need to look out for ourselves.”

How to approach the many things you have to deal with when someone dies is not something they teach you in school or something you’re dad’s likely to have passed down to you. Hopefully you won’t be dealing with many until you’re older and it can be the person you would usually turn to for advice who has died.

Surely the answer is funeral directors? Just like estate agents in property transactions, funeral directors are the first port of call and perhaps, you might think, most likely to pass on business. But I have spoken to a number of independent funeral directors and they all say the same thing: that people just don’t ask them about probate services. A local funeral director said that, in all the years he’d been working in his family’s business, he’d only ever been asked once but he’d had three referrals from solicitors.

Maybe that will change as more people carry out initial research on the net about products or services they are interested in buying. Whether it’s a coffin or a probate solicitor, it pays to shop around to find a provider who is open, honest and fair value.

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