The Guide to Pre Paid Funerals
When it comes to considering how to make your own funeral arrangements, it's natural to have questions or feel nervous about getting into the finer details.
What is a Prepaid funeral plan?
We demystify prepaid funerals and have a free guide ready for you.
Also known as a funeral care plan, prepaid funerals are for anyone who wants to pre pay for their funeral expenses before the rising costs become too much. There are a few reasons why you'd want a funeral prepayment plan:
- Your family doesn't have to pay for your funeral out of their own pocket.
- Your family also doesn't have to plan a funeral while they're grieving.
- Your funeral wishes are chosen directly by you.
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How much is a funeral?
The cost of a funeral tends to depend on the amount of services, standard or bespoke, that are included in a single funeral package. The usual procedure for many upon hearing about the death of a loved one is to contact a funeral director who will immediately begin the planning and its organisation on your behalf.
The average funeral cost for a traditional burial is £4,257 , and cremation is £3,311.
To get an idea of funeral costs in your area please use our interactive funeral calculator >>
The exact fees will be known the moment you enlist the funeral director to assist in the funeral preparation. Their fee will be based upon their time and expertise and will include many services, as discussed in the initial meeting. Services and products that are either offered by themselves or through third parties of which they may add a profit margin on top of the fee charged to them.
Such inclusions are:
- A coffin and or urn depending on whether you choose Burial or Cremation, selecting either of these two routes will enable the next line of questioning to be asked. Both of these items can be customised. A coffin or casket can have interior furnished with panelling options, handles, etchings and photographic wrap around design. The Urn also can be decorated, materials chosen specifically and be multiples, such as keepsake urns for all.
- Order of Service, Eulogy, Funeral and Death Notice publication will tend to be the same for both. Enlisting someone else to be a celebrant rather than the religious leader can add costs.
- Cremation would involve hire of a Crematorium for the service to be held, room hire for meeting family and friends. With perhaps a garden area reserved as a plot for any urn that is not to be scattered immediately.
- A religious place of worship for a burial service with grave digging, memorial service and headstone (usually installed at a later date) can be priced in. The two locations may not be the same and Cemetery fees could be extra.
- If a more simple Green burial is requested, the service may be outside in the grounds of the woods or field or held elsewhere. In this instance a venue may need to be hired, religious or otherwise and payment for those holding separate services.
- You should consider all parts of a funeral service to be a choice but there are considered optional extras. Such as flowers - separate from those sent by relatives, and to make pretty the area of the congregation. You may also need additional transport for the cortege, limousines typically, the hire of a hearse, pallbearers to carry the coffin if relatives unable or not chosen.
- For the people in attendance instead of hovering around conversation, you could hold a wake or allow for a meeting after the funeral service has been held. This may require further transportation, venue hire, flowers, catering and speakers. Alternatively it could be held at someone's home to reduce costs or to feel more homely.
There are many different ways and locations to hold a funeral, each and everyone choose different parts of a funeral service to make their goodbyes as simple or as precious as possible. Whether basic or more detailed with a memorial service some years later. The question should perhaps be what is the budget for the funeral and how best can the cost be spread?
How much does a funeral plan cost?
Paying for a funeral is never easy at any time. Whether out of the blue or known, it can still be a financial set back for most. Even if payment is to be borne by the deceased's estate and you're the Executor and Benefactor, the organisation of payment and settling of dues can still be unsettling.
This is why many choose the option of a funeral plan. Because having asked themselves the question of how much is a funeral today and how much will the funeral be next year? They have realised that undoubtedly a funeral will cost more in the years to come than it will by starting to make payments in the immediacy.
There are two examples of how much a funeral plan can cost. Much like any arrangement where you are buying a financial product that has a monetary outcome there will be varying terms and conditions attached to any payment schedule, so it's recommended to read the terms & conditions of any funeral plan before you sign on the dotted line.
1. If you are aged 50 and you wish to start paying for your funeral over a longer period, you need to treat your funeral plan payment as an investment that returns a fixed fee for services required. Your prospective funeral details could include, burial, the coffin - chosen by you, a service, flowers, transportation or more basic or more detailed.
You will be asked to pay £x amount a month over several years until the agreed balance is paid off.
2. A second example is: You're perhaps 80 years old, quite concerned about your children paying for your funeral so decide to take a policy out for a funeral plan over twelve months instead. This schedule works out similar, only payments will be spread over 12 months and the difference between a funeral today compared to the years to come will be lessened; furthermore your family won't have to pay or arrange any major details - as this will be all done beforehand.
Funeral plan vs savings & savings accounts?
In both instances above, a funeral plan company is able to pay your funeral bills, arrange and organise via a funeral director thanks to investing your money either during payment or after, to ensure payment can be made upon your death. With a funeral plan you pay todays' funeral price, so when the time comes, whether that's in 10, 15 or 20+ years time the cost does not go up (for a Burial, this usually does not include the cost of a burial plot).
Funeral costs are going up that's why so many are choosing to lock in their price today.
Before you invest in a solitary financial product it's always good to compare different investment options. Investments that equally pay out on your death and can be signed into a will and apportioned so it pays for your funeral the same way.
Do compare savings rates and investment rates and rates of return on payments made over time against any plan you are considering taking out. But what about that £5000 you've left in your bank account from your pension pay out? It's a nice sum and would definitely pay for a funeral today but will it ten or fifteen years time?
The problem with savings interests rates is they go up and they also go down. If your savings do not grow above the inflation rate - which tends to be used to raise the price of goods in line with living, earnings and the rest of the economy. Your savings may fall behind the amount required to pay for a funeral in 20 years time. This is why a pre paid funeral plan can be popular.
It should be a win win as long as you are not paying more than what the funeral costs then you are saving. Even better perhaps as you don't need to manage anything either, just meet the payments as scheduled.
Provider v Provider?
Like in any industry there are competitors selling similar funeral plans, with different offerings, services, plan upgrades and ways of managing money better to pass on savings to you. It is these differences that will enable you to compare Co-Op Funeral Care against Dignity Funerals and Golden Leaves against Avalon.
- Start by comparing the different plans to see how they vary (see our compare funeral plans page). A lesser package may restricts days & times for a funeral and a more expensive plan may have an additional limo, with less restrictions on viewing the deceased.
- Then compare between plan providers, on price points and monthly premiums and overall cost and total balance paid, whether at the end of 12 months or 5 years.
- Compare what is included at each stage of comparison, gravedigger, only contributions to the cost of a certain aspect of a funeral or paying for all. Be sure to check those guarantees.
- Find out how much cancellation fees are, late payment fees, interest payable and rates and whether there are any costs after you have died, what they might be and how much.
- Get recommendations and read reviews. Do basic checks to ensure your money is held in a trust, that you're covered if they go out of business.
- Check their coverage and for any obvious bonuses such as cost of repatriation, bereavement assistance, locations and number of funeral directors available, as well as levels of support offered.
-Don't rush, if you want a tailor made funeral plan outside of the basics normally offered. Request a quote before you proceed and check with a financial advisor to make sure you're on the right track to making savings and not paying out more in the years ahead.
-This is your funeral. While the important fact is to see what is guaranteed and if not how much their allowance amount covers, you can add in additional services such as celebrant, choir, flowers, limos, upmarket coffin, plush interiors and cater for additional expenses, if you so desire.
Why you might NOT want a Funeral Plan?
With all things compared and all deeds dotted, you may simply not need a funeral plan. For all the reasons explained so far as to why you should, has been an equal reason not to.
So a funeral plan isn't for everybody then? No, it has to be stated that not everyone will find a plan useful or that spending money today for two decades in advance would not be wise for some people either. It's not only the personal situation that should be considered, in some cases it's the way a funeral plan is organised, for instance:
- Have you checked what the administration costs are? It has been reported that one funeral director sold on a policy to a client but the value of the funeral was only £2535 as opposed to the £3420 plan. The family was outraged and found that one to be misleading. An assurance product is supposed to be an investment that doesn't cost you more when the time comes.
- In other incidents, a funeral plan concluded that a £600 shortfall in a payment to a Crematorium for a funeral service was due to the venue hiking costs, which turned out not to be true. It's worth noting that a funeral plan company has to pay the going rate of the funeral director, now and in twenty years time according to its terms.
These are actual scenarios some of which could still be in play today. A funeral plan is a financial product that deals in assurance as opposed to insurance, however it requires as much scrutiny to ensure 1, you save money, 2, don't pay more than you need to and 3, any extra payments are minimal.
You may not need a funeral plan if you are financially comfortable or have assets that will cover funeral costs at the time of your death. Your children or partner may be comfortable meeting the costs at the time. Or you may want the most basic of green funerals which can be done cheaply. Equally you may not miss £20 a week and if done correctly, planning your entire funeral yourself could be quite appealing but no, funeral plans are not for everyone and all should read terms and conditions of a policy to find out what happens in a variety of circumstances - or talk to us so we can help.
What happens if you die before you pay it off?
Providers have different terms and you really must understand the differences between the polices, the different amounts you pay and the cost that is either paid as part of those premiums, as separate fees or as fees paid by your nominated representative after you die. There are four outcomes if you die before all payments are met.
a) If the policy is long term and between a specified number of years i.e. two to twenty-five years, a provider may state that if you die in-between this period and the first 24 months are paid in full, then the plan will be pay out regardless.
b) If the plan is short term and six or twelve months, it is usually the case that a beneficiary or executor will need to meet the cost of the remaining payments for the funeral to be fulfilled.
c) It is conceivable that some plans may just be cancelled and the premiums met thus far will be forwarded to a funeral director with the remaining payment to be met by you, minus a cancellation fee, or all monies sent to the named party.
d) The fourth option and in rare circumstances in some policies if have yet to meet minimum requirements, it may be possible for no money to be returned at all after a high admin or cancellation fee. This would not be a good policy to take out.
- What happens if there are any outstanding instalments at death?
As detailed above, if you die and instalments are overdue, a named person will be asked to make up the difference to be able to pay the funeral, or perhaps such detail is included in a Will and Testament. In most cases monies returned or difference paid to ensure funeral can go ahead as planned.
- What If you die abroad, does the funeral plan still cover me?
These clauses do differ between providers. You do need to check the particulars of any funeral plan to compare providers on each vital aspect and this may not be a question you instantly think of when taking a policy out. Some differences of note are;
a) Repatriation is a costly affair. If you die oversees and do not have this type of holiday / medical insurance cover or it is not specifically written in as a clause of a funeral plan to repatriate your body, then a funeral plan will not be enacted until it is received on British soil. However, most funeral plan companies if not agreeing to such recovery and financial aid in the policy detail will assist the bereaved in this task but at an extra cost.
b) Slightly different but related, some policies dictate a transportation allowance within the United Kingdom, this is usually a stated radius upwards of 25 to 50 miles or more. Any other costs need to be met by the bereaved but provider can assist. The normal protocol for the NHS is that once a person dies the funeral director then takes care of the body and undertaker is to go to the hospital directly by their own means.
*It's worth noting that if you are on any form of benefits or on low income, the Government can help via their Funeral Expenses Payments. However;
- We've seen a lot of people complain that their eligibility criteria is very strict. Recent changes include:
- Applications can be made within 6 months of funeral date as of April 2018 (was previously 3 months)
- If claimant receives money from the deceased's estate you'll need to pay it back to the government
- You'll be able to receive contributions from charities, friends, and relatives which will not be taken from the amount payable towards funeral costs.
This is all good, but as usual the government have missed the point, which is that having a funeral is getting more and more expensive. It's been said that bereaved families are still not getting enough to cover the funeral, to the tune of £2,000! Which means that they'll be forced to find the money elsewhere in the form of credit cards or loans, which will have a higher interest rate because of their situation. Talk to us today so we can see if we can help you.
What I Learned: Up until last year, I'd never heard of Prepaid funerals
But about 10 months ago my uncle was killed in a car accident. At only 52, he had made no preparations should he pass away unexpectedly. My aunt, along with myself and the rest of my family, handled all of the funeral plans on our own.
Since then, I’ve been looking into how a pre-paid funeral can help my family. There’s a lot an individual can do to plan their own funeral. Even if you’re young, healthy and have no reason to believe you’ll die anytime soon, pre-paid funeral preparations provide peace of mind.
I wager I’m not the only person who had some confusion about paying for a funeral in advance, including average funeral costs. So after doing the research for myself, I put together this complete guide about prepaid funeral plans.
If you’re looking to learn about the best prepaid funeral plans, the cheapest funeral plans and everything in-between, you’re in the right place. My guide will help you compare funeral plans and find the best solution for both you and your family:
What Are Pay Monthly Funeral Plans?
Not all prepaid end of life plans are the same. Some offer elaborate services while others just have the basics. Most plans in the U.K. aim for a middle-of-the-road compromise between services and cost.
Some common services found in most plans include:
- A hearse
- Transportation of the body to and from necessary locations (home, funeral home, gravesite, etc.)
- Guidance on various paperwork related to the death (newspaper notices, how to obtain a death certificate and more)
- Funeral services including viewing of the deceased
- Church service (if applicable)
- A coffin (from basic to elaborate, depending on the plan)
- Limousine procession
Burial services are commonly not found in a prepaid plan, at least not entirely. Instead, many providers offer partial cost coverage for burial. Some plans cover cremation entirely but only a portion of burial. This is because burial plots will increase in price over time where cremation costs remain much more consistent.
Most plans offer additional services for additional costs. If you want a high quality coffin, extra limousines, floral arrangements or other extras most funeral program providers will work with you.
Pre burial plans usually have two payment options. You can pay for the funeral in advance by simply paying the entire cost upfront. Most places will also let you pay in monthly instalments, too. You can spread payments out anywhere from one up to 10 years.
Guaranteed funeral plans, on average, cost anywhere between £3,456 and £7,600. The exact price depends on a variety of individual factors regarding your specific funeral plans. Also, the earlier you pay for your funeral in advance, the better value you’ll get because you’ll be able to stay a bit ahead of inflation.
Keep an eye out for the terms “guaranteed payment.” This means that the entire burial, cremation or other service is covered by the provider. The other option is “partial payment,” which is where the estate of the deceased will have to cover any additional costs.
Be sure to make a note of any cancellation fees, especially if you’re purchasing a plan at a younger age. An unexpected move to another city could make your funeral plans not feasible. If you do have to cancel, you don’t want to be hit by high fees.
Why take out a pre paid funeral plan?
Prepaid burial plans aren’t the only way to afford a funeral. A standard savings account is another option. Unfortunately, unless you start saving early, the interest you gain in the account is unlikely to match the rising rate of inflation. So a savings account is unlikely to make financial sense for many people.
U.K. law allows for the cost of funeral plans to be paid for directly from the estate of the deceased. A relative or spouse needs to show the bank both a death certificate and an itemised bill from funeral directors. The money taken out of any account can only go to the funeral plans cost. This means rent, utilities and other expenses might need to be covered in some other way until the estate can be legally distributed.
Pre payment funeral plans have advantages over both savings accounts and direct estate withdrawals. There are many reasons why...
See what Phil Baker from Bristol, has to say about prepaid funeral plans...
However, while it may feel uncomfortable or even morbid to consider the costs and arrangements, doing so can help protect you from inflating funeral costs whilst ensuring your wishes are fulfilled.
Since SunLife first began analysing funeral plan prices in 2004, the cost of a funeral in the UK has more than doubled. This is especially true for residents of the capital; in London, the average funeral now costs £5,529, a figure that’s 42% higher than the national average!
If you fail to put in place plans before you die, your loved ones can be left to bear the emotional burden of organising your funeral, not to mention finding the funds to cover the cost of it.
A prepaid funeral plan can put your mind at ease whilst also helping your loved ones feel more comfortable that everything will be handled after you pass away.
Find out how much money your family can save on funeral costs
Steve Bailey from Hertfordshire says..."The free call that i got from FuneralGuide helped me to decide that I didn't want to leave my kids with that kind of burden."
Paying for your funeral in advance can save money and stress for family members
Inflation causes the price to rise over time. This includes many of the products and services associated with funerals. If you can pay now for a “guaranteed rate” you'll get a better deal on a coffin, funeral service, body transportation and more. The earlier you pay the more you'll save.
More Payment Options
You don’t have to pay for the entire funeral today. The best pre pay funerals offer flexible options to pay small sums over time. Monthly payment care plans are a great way for someone with a small budget to pay for their entire funeral by the time they’ll need the services.
Reduced Stress for Your Family
Your death will be traumatic enough for your loved ones. There’s no need to add additional stress by making them choose all of your funeral arrangements while they’re also grieving. The more you can pay for your funeral in advance, the better. Plus, you’re guaranteed to have the funeral you want, as extravagant or simple as that may be.
Allows for Your Wishes To Be Followed
Some people want their funeral to be a solemn, religious affair. Others want a laugh-filled party. When you purchase a funeral plan, you have the opportunity to plan the event exactly. This includes a significant amount of control over the cost. If you want to keep costs down, but you think your family wants to spend, pre purchasing a funeral plan can control expenses.
Helps You Deal With, and Stay Protected Against Mental Impairment
Although it’s not a pretty thought, death isn’t always the only reason you need to make funeral plans. As many people grow older, they run the risk of dementia, stroke and other loss of both physical and mental faculties.
Creating a clear plan of what type of care you want is an important, but often overlooked, aspect of end-of-life planning. You’ll want to nominate a Lasting Power of Attorney. This person is usually a spouse or adult child. Becoming an LPA can easily be done online. They’re allowed to legally make decisions on your behalf if your ability to do so yourself is compromised.
Of course, you’ll need to make your wishes clear when you’re still of sound mind and body. The earlier the better. Amending your decisions after suffering from some type of mental impairment presents some legal challenges.
Policies, Best Practices & Authorities
Ideally, a prepaid burial plan is purchased years, if not decades, before it’s needed. The concern is to make sure that the policy issuer is still able to honour the policy. After all, you don’t want to be greeted with an “out of service” tone on the day you need to ring the funeral parlour.
First, you want to check out the reputation of the funeral home. Are they able to meet their earlier commitments today? Do they have a long history of business, and seem both professional and financially sound?
Once you’ve chosen to purchase a plan you can arrange for monthly payments or pay the entire cost at once. Either way, your money will be kept in one of two possible locations:
- A life insurance policy which pays out upon death.
- A trust fund
The Financial Conduct Authority offers some protection for consumers here. While the FCA doesn’t regulate funeral prepaid plans directly, they do oversee money in trusts and insurance policies. This offers a layer of government protection if there’s ever a problem.
There’s another legal provision involved here, too. The Consumer Credit Act of 1974, section 75, protects consumers who purchase over £100 using a credit card. Putting prepaid funeral expenses on your credit card offers you some additional legal protection. This applies to both full payments and monthly payments
Finally, you should consider purchasing services only from members of the Funeral Planning Authority. This is the professional association for funeral service providers. They adhere to a strict code of conduct. If a member of the FPA is unable to meet his or her commitments, other members will step forward to help and provide services as necessary.
What is the best funeral plan?
The best plan is the one which fits your needs. Here are some factors to consider:
For many people, the cost of the funeral plan is an initial concern. Fortunately, this concern is often unfounded. Cheap funeral plans are often a perfectly fine option. Even if you’re only purchasing the most basic services, a pre payment funeral care plan will still save you some money overall. Monthly funeral plans make services affordable for practically any budget.
Funeral plans for over 50 in age are different than funeral plans for under 50 in age. An over 50 plan pays out a fixed lump sum upon death. However, these plans are not always a great deal. If you live a long time, you could end up paying more in premiums than the eventual pay out.
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For my Brother's funeral, I was never sure he would have been happy with the difficult decisions we made for him. (...) A funeral plan seemed an interesting alternative. I found FuneralGuide.co.uk refreshingly different compared to the pushy “hard sell” websites..
Ben Griffiths, Brighton
The free call that i got from FuneralGuide helped me to decide that I didn't want to leave my kids with that kind of burden.
Steve Bailey, Hertfordshire
In some cases, you might not want to pre purchase any type of funeral plan. If your heirs don’t need access to your money right away, and you have a thorough will detailing your wishes with inheritance tax sorted out, pre purchasing a plan might not be worth the trouble.
Note that this is not a common scenario, however. Even if money is not much of an issue, most people prefer a pre pay funeral in order to ease the burden on their surviving friends and family.
The types of issues you need to prepare for depends on your family’s specific needs. If you normally pay the monthly bills, then your family will need to know how to access those accounts. A Financial Factsheet is useful here.
A Financial Factsheet is a document detailing the various financial accounts your family will need to know about. You’ll also want to detail all the household services such as electricity, milk delivery and even Netflix. The members of your household will need to know about all reoccurring bills in your name.
Picking which funeral plan will work best requires you to analyse each of the above factors. Most likely, you’ll want to choose some type of plan. Depending on your current age and financial status, you can make low monthly payments and save money on your funeral plans.
I wasn’t really looking to plan my own funeral. So at first I concentrated solely on helping my parents pay for a funeral in advance. Together, we sorted through many funeral plan quotes. There were many funeral plans for over 60 but we eventually settled on a prepaid cremation plan for my dad and a burial service with various prepaid funeral arrangements for mum if she was the first to die.
After that was all settled, I decided to look into prepayment funerals for under 50s. This was for myself. My children are very young, so they wouldn’t be planning a funeral anyway. But why put my family through the hassle? I started my search by only considering guaranteed funeral plans. This way my family wouldn’t have to pay additional fees down the road.
I found what I feel is the best funeral plan for under 50. Using a funeral savings plan allows me to make small monthly payments. The entire process was surprisingly comfortable. Instead of making me feel depressed or afraid, I was actually relieved that something so important for my family was now taken care. After explaining this to my wife, we decided to pre pay funeral expenses for her, too. Now we have joint funeral plans. This saved us a bit of money as well as makes our personal record-keeping easy.
As it turns out, my uncle left a blessing in disguise. A good portion of my entire family, including much of my extended family, has purchased funeral plans. This has brought us all peace of mind – while also saving everyone some money, too.
How to preplan your funeral
When it comes to making pre arranged funeral plans, there are some things you can do to make the process that little bit easier on everyone involved:
Consider some non-negotiables before meeting with any funeral directors.
Your funeral is deeply personal, and it’s only natural that you’d want something that reflects your wishes and personality. It’s therefore a good idea to make a list of things you want before you start comparing plans or enquiring about the best funeral plans for you. Some questions to consider include:
- Do you want to be buried or cremated following the funeral ceremony?
- Where do you want the ceremony to take place?
- How many people do you want in attendance?
- Do you want your memorial to take place in a church/place of worship or in a funeral home?
- Do you want a viewing beforehand. If so, is this to be open or closed casket?
- Do you want a graveside service following the funeral ceremony?
Considering the key aspects of your burial will help you narrow down the options when it comes to in-depth planning.
Ask for help.
Just because it’s your funeral doesn’t mean 100% of the planning duties necessarily need to fall to you. If you want some assistance when it comes to planning, ask family or even a close friend if they can help. It may be that they’ve already planned a funeral, be it there’s or someone else’s, and have some expertise they can share with you. It can also help you ensure that someone else is aware of your wishes, which can give you confidence that everything will be carried out as you intend when you are not here to oversee it.
Don’t bow to pressure.
Whether it’s coming from family, a plan provider or a funeral home, pressure into a decision should never be taken lightly. While it’s important to make sure plans are made, bowing to sales pitches or pressure from loved ones can mean you choose something that doesn’t meet your requirements and fulfil your wishes. Take your time to compare different plans and offerings, and only choose something when you feel completely comfortable.
You can download a pre-made checklist that will present you with a number of things you’ll need to think about when you’re wondering how to make your own funeral arrangements. This list includes the basics along with little things you may not have thought about, such as flowers and decor, food and catering, pre- and post-funeral plans and even how to announce funeral arrangements.
Prepaid Funeral Questions / FAQ
It's natural to have questions, and at FuneralGuide.co.uk, we are here to provide easy-to-understand, honest advice when it matters most. If you are unsure of how to prepare for funeral arrangements or whether or not a prepaid plan is right for you, we have compiled a list of some frequently asked questions that can help you make your decision with your loved ones easier....
What are the basics of a prepaid funeral?
A prepaid funeral plan enables you to pay for the cost of your burial before you pass away, so your loved ones are not left to pay for it after the fact.
It is a practical and smart way to ensure your family members aren't left to struggle financially after you pass, but it also gives you the opportunity to personalise the experience. You can be sure that everything is just how you’d like it, which can be a big stress reliever for everyone involved.
You can choose your funeral director and home, burial site, and finer details of the day all at a fixed price. This means no unexpected costs or hidden fees, no stress associated with planning for your loved ones, and that you can have a final say about your burial.
What are the benefits of a fixed price funeral plan?
Reassurance, protection against price inflation, affordable plans, control over your final affairs - need we go on? These are just a few of the benefits of obtaining pre arranged funeral plans. You can protect your loved ones from incurring the costs of your funeral, which is a big benefit for most people.
This means no worrying about guessing what your wishes would have been, struggling to make ends meet whilst making arrangements, and trying to handle all of this on top of the inevitable grief. The fact that pricing remains fixed helps you to budget efficiently, too - put simply, making plans is a selfless and smart choice that can give you and your loved ones peace of mind.
How much is a funeral plan?
The cost of prepaid funeral plans varies depending on things like the provider, the level of coverage, whether you have chosen a ready-made package or have tailored something to your needs along with other factors. You can get an estimate with our free funeral calculator here.
The real benefit of choosing a prepaid funeral plan is that you know exactly how much is payable and when, so you can effectively budget to pay your pre paid funeral costs. There’s no need to worry about unexpected rising prices, so you don’t have to compromise on any of your final wishes because you can’t afford it.
What should I consider when comparing monthly payment funeral plans?
There are a number of things to think about when sizing up the best prepaid funeral plans side by side. For a start, you should look at how much you want to spend - do you have funds aside to part with a lump sum, or do you want to pay in instalments?
You should also think about what you want from the funeral itself - do you want something small and private with close friends and family? Or a large celebration of life?
Consider looking at different providers too, as the offerings will vary depending on whether you’re obtaining coverage from a private funeral director or a large insurance company. Once you’ve made a checklist of things you want (and don’t want), tally up prepaid funerals pros and cons to see which best matches your needs.
Once you’ve submitted an enquiry to your chosen provider, it’s a wise idea to do some research and see if you can find some reviews online, ideally from an independent source if possible.
Of course, it makes sense to talk over your plans with your loved ones to ensure they are aware of your intentions and know what to do and who to contact when the time comes. Finally, ensuring your chosen provider is a FPA registered will give you some protection and peace of mind as well.
Are prepaid funeral plans a good idea?
This all depends on your particular needs, but for most people, putting a prepaid plan in place is a very smart idea indeed. It can make managing the financial aspect of your funeral much easier whilst also minimising the pain and stress that your loved ones may encounter.
Are there any disadvantages?
There are some things to consider when choosing a prepaid funeral plan. For example, you will need to consider other outgoings along with your retirement planning, as if you have not sufficiently planned you may find yourself paying out more than you can afford each month.
It’s important to check exactly what your prepaid funeral plan will cover too, as some may only pay for part of your funeral, meaning you or your loved ones will still need to find money from elsewhere to cover the remaining cost. Prepaid plans are also ideal for the long-term, meaning if you are currently ill, it may not be the best solution.
Furthermore, some providers won’t pay out if you pass away during a specific time period after taking out your policy, so you should consider this when making your selection.
How else can I pay for my funeral?
If you don’t want to go the route of prepaid funerals, you may want to raise the money to pay for your burial. If you are aged over 55, you may want to release equity from your property to cover the costs.
If you are under 50 years old, life insurance may be another option. You can also invest in ISAs or bonds to raise the money. However, with prices rising rapidly, even if you do set money aside there’s no guarantee that this will be enough to eventually cover the cost.
What if the funeral plan company goes out of business?
All funds will go into a completely separate fund; these funds are independently managed trust funds or managed by an independent insurance company. Strict controls are in place for how funds are managed.
In the event of a funeral plan company going out of business the trust fund would appoint a funeral director (possibly the same one) to carry out the funeral. The trust fund could also potentially use another funeral plan company for choosing a funeral director.
What is the cheapest cover you can get for your age?
From our research there appears to be no discounts for funeral plans respective to age. It's a quirk of nature that the older you are the sooner the benefit of a funeral plan will be realised. The only stipulation is that you must be over 18 years old if making a payment and payments should be completed by the holder's 80th birthday (in most cases).
Therefore the cheapest payment option for any funeral plan will be calculated based on your date of birth in relation to how many years remain before your 80th birthday.
Example: if you are 20 years old you will be able to benefit from the lowest possible monthly premium over a 25 year period.
However if you are aged 70, you will only be able to benefit from a maximum spread of ten years (120 months) (in most cases) increasing the cost of monthly premiums to represent the balance needed to be reached in a shorter period of time. With one upside being that at least you will pay less in 'instalment charges.'
Is there an age limit?
There are two distinct birthdays that funeral plan providers tend to mention when it comes to limits, your 80th and your 85th. The latter may differ but if you have taken out a long term plan and reach your 85th birthday, it is possible a plan may need a top up to ensure all services can be carried out as requested. Most policies prefer all plans to be fully paid up by your 80th - probably because 81 years old is the current average lifespan in the UK.
Cheapest cover for single parent on benefits?
Unfortunately funeral plans do not operate on the basis of age, marital status or whether you are on a high or low income. In fact it could be said that such a plan is already beneficial to those on a low income by aiding in your ability to pay for a funeral ahead of time without leaving such a concern to your children or relatives.
What is the price for cheapest cremation?
Because prices fluctuate you can compare cremation costs online, these will be estimates based on a local area's recent costings. While cremation is cheaper than a burial, there are ways to reduce the cost further.
-By not using a coffin and instead a shroud
-By not holding a service of any kind and instead a direct cremation
While this may not be deemed appropriate to many, people do decide themselves not to have so much fuss created in the week of their death and ask that there simply be a memorial service at a later date, perhaps with urn of ashes present. The above options would certainly ensure a cheaper cremation, however without corpse ritual / ceremony.
What does guaranteed mean?
It's that small print again. You may look for the term 'guaranteed' in a policy and feel good about it, but it is the words proceeding and following the word that is the devil in the detail. For instance a funeral plan may guarantee the funeral director's services but actual burial costs may only see a set contribution (denote sum) will be made.
So while you think you're receiving guarantees, they may only be on one aspect and not be on all. Be careful in how a policy is interpreted. For a similar instance, if the funeral plan guarantees a contribution based on £x,xxx amount of today's burial costs + yearly rated RPI (Retail Price Index - inflation) top up, the bereaved may still end up parting with the difference.
It is good to look for and rely on guarantees, but also check for the amount of contribution being thrown in the pot too when they do not guarantee burial/cremation costs. Most providers do not guarantee burial/cremation costs but 'contribute' varying amounts.
What is not covered in a funeral plan?
When you consider a funeral plan as a product you don't expect essential parts to be left out but it can and does happen. Plans are pretty straight forward, they operate like this: If a service or item is not listed, it's not included. If it's important and listed as definitely not included, then they are advising you this as it's a cost someone will need to pay at the time.
- Burial Plans: Unless stated probably will not cover the cost of a burial plot, internment fees or a graveside memorial service if in addition to the actual service, or for the cost of a headstone.
- Cremation Plans: Unless included in the cost, you will possibly need to make arrangement for disposal of ashes, paperwork and or their burial and any additional services not hosted on the listed Crematorium at the time.
Plans tend to be basic provisions that cover the funeral director's fee, the service, the transportation for the funeral procession and hearse, limited to a certain amount of vehicles dependent on the value of the plan. Flowers, room hire, death notices to newspapers, catering, choir, organist, pallbearers, and grave diggers may all be additional costs. Unless you take a tailored approach and an off plan funeral plan, in which case you pay for almost anything in advance.
Is interest added to a funeral plan if paying monthly or in full?
This is a good question and definitely one that you need to ask an individual provider. Some appear to indicate that interest can be charged if over 12 months, making a funeral plan policy more expensive.
However you have not yet received goods yet and money is held in trust so this is not a loan of money. Though once policy guarantees kick in (the two years full payment receive full funeral for instance) it could be said you have placed an order on credit terms.
This is more of an investment so if anything you should perhaps be being paid interest on the amounts you pay as premiums and be paid those amounts by the provider. Yet this is where they make their money. The interest gained and profit on invested money enables them to pay the higher rated RPI cost of a funeral in the years to come.
Is it possible to take out more than one funeral plan just in case first one doesn't cover it?
I can understand a person's thinking as to why they may consider multiple funeral plans. After all, you are one person and beneficiaries can benefit from multiple life assurance products and pay outs upon death. However because you are one person, you can only really have one funeral and those services as basic as they are can't really be duplicated.
You can have multiple funeral plans but I would have to question as to why you would wish to. You could in effect have two funeral services in two different places but you can only be buried in one, cremated in one. It would be much better to alter an existing funeral plan or if possible, move it to another provider or cancel but there will be fees involved, the benefits may be worth it for the initial cancellation fee - contact us if you'd like to talk it over.
You could in effect buy one policy for yourself, and another for a partner, this would make sense.
How long does it take a funeral plan to pay out after death / funeral?
The chain of events leading to a funeral plan being enacted appears to be fully borne by the person that knows it exists. After informing the nominated funeral director and the funeral plan provider, you will be sent confirmation of the plan details and what is included along with a balance of account.
Should payments be up to date, payment will be made to the funeral director within a specified period stated at the time of contact, usually within a day or so. Meanwhile the funeral home can continue organising the funeral. If payments are missing or policy not fulfilled you may be asked to part with the difference to proceed with the funeral, or all monies returned minus a cancellation fee.
How do I know if the deceased bought a funeral plan?
If you are unsure if the deceased had purchased a funeral plan or has had one taken out in their name or paid by someone else you can use a tracing service at the UK's Funeral Planning Authority. It is not foolproof and would seem obligatory on their part to supply the information individually if they find a matching name / details.
You may also discover paperwork pertaining to such a policy or payments made in a history of a bank account or you could ask family members if they were ever stated as the point of contact or know of the nominated funeral director.
If the deceased had a funeral plan and I found out after paying for the funeral?
You need to talk to the individual plan provider but the usual process would be that they would pay out the monies to directly cover all aspects covered by the original plan. Though not any additions. There may be time limits on claiming the unclaimed plan and proof of purchase from a funeral director required. There may be other fees involved.
What a funeral plan DOES NOT cover?
A funeral plan is meant as a very basic means to provide a very basic service, paid for in advance at the best possible price. However, over a short period of time it has been found that some people wish to prepare for more than simply their death and an entire celebration. And why not?
A funeral plan absolutely does not cover anything not expressly mentioned in the plan details. For instance, it is not a life assurance product which will see beneficences receiving monies unless the plan is cancelled and fee paid. It tends not to cover for charges such as internment fees or burial plots which can rise far above the cost of inflation. Some fees may also only be contributions and not whole amounts and only linked to RPI.
Funeral plans can be individually tailored to include additional limos, choirs, flowers etc. otherwise day / time of funeral, funeral procession cars and route, standard of coffin, Chapel of Rest visits, gravedigger and Officiant fees are usually included. But additional funeral services are not, unless bespoke additions and written into a policy at the time.
What if individual circumstances change and you can no longer afford to pay for a funeral?
Each provider differs on explaining what will happen if you fail to make payments as agreed. In most cases whether a short or long term plan, if missing three payments in a row or in entirety, your plan may be cancelled and balance of payments returned. Minus any fees for cancelling the plan.
If you cancel within 30 days, most will refund for payments and if you cancel at any other time, a fee is usually charged with remaining monies paid back.
What if the plan provider's company goes out of business?
There is an organisation called the Funeral planning Authority of which members have a strict code of conduct to adhere to. All monies are meant to be held in a trust for customers so money is ring fenced if a company does go under. If this should occur then another company is named to run the trusts and ensure the funeral plans continue uninterrupted and monies can eventually be paid to the nominated funeral director ensuring your funeral goes ahead.
I am an expat, can I have a funeral plan?
There is a single issue with an Expat that wishes to be buried in their native country and that's getting home in the event of death. Your life assurance or medical insurance should see that your body is repatriated. However in the event you have neither it will be up your relatives and friends to meet the costs unless there is government intervention. A UK funeral plan will only be carried out within the realm.
What happens if I move house within the UK?
In most circumstances you would inform your provider and they would find another funeral director local to you, there may be charges for this.
As with any financial product that you are keeping long term it is important to advise banks and societies and insurers of your new address. While it is possible for family members to look your name up on a database to find what policies you took after you have died, it is much easier to keep all paperwork handy and those that need to know, informed of their location and update the funeral plan provider of your nominated funeral director.
What if I want to be buried elsewhere?
Some people choose to be buried in their place of birth or the town of their family. A funeral plan will meet your needs as much as is possible and already prescribed within. If not contained within, then costs will need to be met by an Executor, your estate or the bereaved and the plan will then take over once your body has been re-localised.