What is a funeral plan?
A funeral plan is just that – an opportunity for you to set out just what arrangements you want to be made for your funeral and the budget you have set aside to realise those plans.
What is the advantage of a prepaid funeral plan?
Prepayment takes funeral planning a further step forward.
In recent years, funeral costs have soared – outstripping increases in the cost of living by as much as ten times, according to recently released data.
And read any newspaper, and you’ll see sad stories about people getting in to what is known as “funeral debt” as they struggle to send off their loved ones.
By paying for your funeral plan in advance, you stand to beat such runaway inflation.
What is covered?
Funeral plans vary enormously in the range of services that are covered, at prices that are guaranteed from the commencement of your plan.
Usually, the more you pay, the wider the range of services you may expect to be covered – including, for example, a higher quality coffin and whether a limousine is included.
Most funeral plans typically include advice and support by the funeral director, a hearse; the coffin, the care of the body; help with the registration of the death and obtaining the death certificate; care of the body; supervision of the funeral itself; and and you also may also include any personal wishes that you may have, such as music, hymns and readings .
Associated expenses – such as the cost of a burial plot or a memorial stone – are not usually incorporated into a funeral plan, but some providers may make such provision upon payment of an additional fee.
How safe is my money?
If you have paid in advance for a funeral plan, you want some reassurance that the funds remain in safe keeping until they are needed.
Most national funeral plan providers are registered with the industry’s regulator, the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA). This requires its members to place prepaid funds on separate, independent deposit – either by way of a trust fund or through the purchase of a whole of life insurance policy in your name.
If the firm of funeral directors you originally chose to conduct your funeral goes out of business, FPA members are committed to securing similar services from an alternative firm in your area.
Can I amend or cancel my plan?
This depends entirely on the particular provider you choose.
Some may provide scope for you to amend the nature and scope of the services included in your plan – although you may need to pay a further charge to do so.
If you change your mind about the need for a funeral plan, you may also be able to cancel it and gain a refund of the money already paid – but this is invariably subject to the deduction of a cancellation charge.
What happens if I go to live in another part of the country?
When you first make your funeral plan, you or the provider nominates a chosen funeral director in your area to conduct the services you have selected.
If you subsequently move to another part of the country, your chosen provider may nominate an alternative funeral director near to your new address – but there may be a charge for this variation in your funeral plan.