No one wants to brood on our mortality, whether that be our own or a loved one’s. But, dying is inevitable, and it’s important you make plans for your funeral. All too often this is left to grieving family members, which is not only stressful, but can mean your wishes go unheeded.
The best thing to do to ensure you get a funeral that remembers you in the way you desire, invites the people you feel close to and avoids putting stress on your loved ones is to buy a funeral plan.
Funeral plans often raise many questions, simply because it’s not something we often think or talk about. It’s best to do the work now so you don’t have to worry about it if your health should decline. Read on to learn why funeral plans are so important and answer our most frequently heard questions.
How does a funeral plan work?
A funeral plan works like a prepaid credit card. It allows you to pay for your funeral in the present, so it will all be taken care of in the future. Most people plan their funeral and pay for it in monthly installments over several years, but you can also choose to buy a plan with a lump-sum.
The amount you pay will depend on the sort of funeral you envisage. A funeral plan can cost anything from £2,000 for a no-frills, cremation-only funeral, up to around £5,000 for a lavish send-off with limousines a procession. The choice is entirely up to you!
Usually, the plan provider will invest the money in an insurance policy that pays out when you die or place it in a trust fund. You should be aware that the Financial Conduct Authority doesn’t directly regulate this sector, though, of course, you are covered by the usual consumer safeguards. So make sure you choose a reputable provider that will look after your investment.
What does a funeral plan include?
What a plan covers varies. Make certain you understand what you are paying for and what expenses will still have to be found. All plans usually cover a coffin and transportation, an allowance for third party costs and probably a funeral procession to the funeral location. Up-scale plans will also add a more elaborate coffin, limousines, and more.
Things that aren’t often a part of the package are:
- Burial plot
- Memorial or wake and associated costs
Can you buy a funeral plan on someone else’s behalf?
Yes, in most cases, you can take out a funeral plan on behalf of your mother, father, partner, or other loved one as long as they are aged 50 or more. It may seem an odd gift, but understanding your death will not cause any financial difficulties for the ones left behind can be a massive relief for a lot of people.
The taking out of a plan can be the opportunity to rationally discuss what they would like at their funeral. Many people care about how their life will be celebrated at their passing, and knowing that their wishes will be met can be a comfort. And a funeral should be a celebration, even if it is a rather sombre one!
Can you cancel a funeral plan?
Yes. If you wish to cancel within 30 days, you will likely receive a full refund. After a longer period, there is usually some sort of charge involved for a management fee. This will be in the region of £250-£350 but varies depending on the individual provider. Most funeral plan companies are upfront about the charge incurred for cancellation. Note that if you have been paying in installments and haven’t yet reached the figure for cancellation, the provider will likely ask you to pay the difference.
Are there alternatives to taking out a funeral plan?
A funeral plan is not the only way to pay for a funeral:
- Over 50s life insurance offers the chance of giving your family a lump sum when you die. But there is the possibility that, if you enjoy a long life, you will end up paying more in premiums than your family will receive.
- A savings account is another way of financing funeral costs. However, with interest rates as low as they are, it is unlikely that it will keep pace with inflation and will require topping up.
- When you die, banks normally allow a funeral’s costs to be met by your estate upon receiving an invoice from the funeral director and a copy of the death certificate.
Why buy a funeral plan?
Here are the reasons many people choose to invest in a funeral plan:
- Give your family time to grieve: Bereavement is difficult, and people need time to grieve. They can’t do this if they are trying to plan your funeral and find the right people to invite.
- Protects against future financial changes: 2020 has proven that our situation can change quickly. A funeral plan removes any risk of financial difficulty and allows your dear ones to give you a good send-off. A funeral is never an entirely happy occasion, but should be a fitting tribute to a life well-lived.
- You can plan every aspect of your funeral: When you plan your own funeral, you can…
- Make sure all your old contacts are invited and notified
- Choose the music or hymns played
- Choose how and where your body goes to its final rest
- Leave a message for your loved ones
- Choose the vehicles your loved ones travel in
- Choose the flowers
- Peace of mind: nearing the end of our lives can cause some strange worries. A prepaid funeral plan ensures you know everything is taken care of in this area of your life.
Thinking about a funeral isn’t easy, especially when you or your loved one is alive and well. However, it is the smart thing to do as we grow older to ensure everything is taken care of and that all our wishes are respected. If you’re considering getting over 50s life insurance or a funeral plan to cover your end of life costs, we’re here to help. We can help you decide which option is best for your circumstances and put all the details in place. To find out more, click here or call us on 0161 537 0555.