The Guide to Pre Paid Funeral Plans

We demystify funeral plans for you...

Also known as a funeral plan, prepaid funerals are for anyone who wants to pay for their funeral in advance, before costs become too expensive. 


There are a few key reasons why you would want one:

  • Your family shouldn't have to pay for your funeral.
  • Your family doesn't have to plan your funeral while they're grieving.
  • When the time comes, a phone call to the nominated funeral director is all it takes, they will then execute your funeral wishes, which will have been chosen directly by you.

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It contains all the information you need to make an informed decision about planning ahead while saving money…

See what Phil Baker from Bristol has to say about prepaid funeral plans

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.

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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 monthly payment plans.

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, 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.

How to plan your funeral in advance

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 plan 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?
  • 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?
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.

Popular Funeral Plan Questions

Funeral plan vs savings & savings accounts?

Paying for most things

A funeral plan is able to pay your funeral bills, arrange and organise via a funeral director.

With a funeral plan you pay today's 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).

Compare Your 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.


The problem with savings interests rates is they go up and they also go down.

Your savings may fall behind the amount required to pay for a funeral in 10 years time.

Funeral Plan Providers Pitted Against Each Other...

Like in any industry there are competitors selling similar plans, with different offerings, services, plan upgrades and ways of managing money better to pass on savings to you.

  • Start by comparing the different plans to see how they vary (see our compare funeral plans page).
  • Then compare between plan providers, on price points and monthly premiums, whether at the end of 12 months or 5 years.
  • Compare what is included at each stage of comparison.
  • Find out how much cancellation fees are, interest payable.
  • 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.
  • This is your funeral. You can add in additional services such as celebrant, choir, flowers, limos, upmarket coffin, plush interiors...

What happens if you die before you pay it off?

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. 


*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 Are Pay Monthly Funerals?

Most monthly funerals include:


  • A hearse
  • Transportation of the body to and from necessary locations (home, funeral home, burial site, 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

Payment Options:

  • Guaranteed funerals, on average, cost  anywhere between £3,456 and £7,600.
  • The exact price depends on a variety of individual factors regarding your specific 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 plans not feasible. If you do have to cancel, you don't want to be hit by high fees.

Prepaid Funeral Questions / FAQ

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.

What are the benefits of a fixed price funeral plan?


Reassurance, protection against price inflation, affordable plans, control over your final affairs, protect your loved ones from paying the costs of your funeral.


Unfortunately, unless you start saving early, the interest you gain in the account is unlikely to match the rising rate of inflation.


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.

How much is a funeral plan?


You can get an estimate with our free funeral calculator here.

Are there any disadvantages?


  • Consider other outgoings along with your retirement planning, otherwise it may be too expensive.

  • Check exactly what is covered/not covered.

  • Some providers won’t pay out if you pass away too soon.

How else can I pay for my funeral?


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.

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.

The trust fund would appoint a funeral director (possibly the same one) to carry out the funeral. The trust fund could 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 respective to age. 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).



Is there an age limit?


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 plans do not operate on the basis of age, marital status or whether you are on a high or low income.

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.


– Using a shroud

– By not holding a service of any kind and instead a direct cremation

What does guaranteed mean?


It is good to look for and rely on guarantees, but also check for the amount of contribution 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?


Plans are pretty straight forward, they operate like this: If a service or item is not listed, it’s not included.


  • Burial Plans: 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: Disposal of ashes, paperwork and or their burial and any additional services not hosted on the listed Crematorium at the time.

Is interest added to a funeral plan if paying monthly or in full?



Some appear to indicate that interest can be charged if over 12 months. 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.

How long does it take a funeral plan to pay out after death / funeral?


Payment will be made to the funeral director within a specified period stated at the time of contact, usually within a day or so. 

How do I know if the deceased bought a funeral plan?


Use a tracking service at the UK’s Funeral Planning Authority, it is not foolproof and would seem obligatory on their part to supply the information if they find a matching name / details.

If the deceased had a funeral plan and I found out after paying for the funeral?



You would 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).

What if individual circumstances change and you can no longer afford to pay for a funeral?



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.

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 repatriatedIf you have neither it will be up your relatives and friends to meet the costs unless there is government intervention.

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.

What if I want to be buried elsewhere?


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.