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6 reasons you need a funeral plan

Buying a funeral probably isn’t on top of your to-do list. There’s always going to be plenty more things to spend your cash on, but there are some solid reasons you need a funeral plan, too.

Buying a funeral probably isn’t on top of your to-do list. There’s always going to be plenty more things to spend your cash on, but there are some solid reasons you need a funeral plan, too.

Planning a funeral can take time and definitely needs some money. Whether you’re in your 90s and ready to head to the great beyond, or are in your 50s and don’t even want to contemplate your demise, it’s a smart move to look at funeral plans. 

With a little under 1.2 million funeral plans in the UK, that's a whole lot of people dying without any money or ideas in place. Unsure if you should add yourself to that number of funeral planners? Here are the six reasons we think should convince you to get signed up.

1. You control your funeral service

The thought of telling your nearest and dearest what you want them to do when you die can feel morbid and depressing. Whilst we don't advocate avoiding tough conversations, you can leave some of the finer details in your funeral plan, so folks don't have to remember them.

Funerals have so many options, with Humanist services, a range of burial options, and different types of coffin depending on the environmental impact you want to have. Even down to the song you wish to cascade over your last journey – these are all things you can lay out in your pre-paid funeral.

It’s important to note that these wishes aren’t legally binding. Those planning your funeral can choose to make changes, so ensuring they know the non-negotiable elements is still helpful.

2. No one else has to pay for your death

Funerals aren’t cheap. The average funeral costs somewhere around £4,400 depending on where in the country you live. Do you think that your friends and family have that type of cash spare?

The options when you die without a funeral plan generally are that someone has to use their money to pay, or they can claim the cost back from your estate if there’s money to cover it, or sometimes they can ask your bank to advance cash if it’s available. If there’s no money, you get a pauper’s funeral from the local authority.

A pre-paid funeral plan means you cover the costs of your own funeral. A plan will typically cover things like:

  • The coffin
  • Embalming services
  • Access to your body for viewing
  • Limousines and a hearse
  • Pallbearers
  • Order of service cards

With things like death certificates and burial fees normally excluded.

Buying your funeral plan whilst you’re still here means that you’re leaving these costs to be borne by anyone else. You can ensure you get the level of service you want when you’re in charge of paying for it.

3. Lock in your funeral price

As in life, so in death – the costs of funerals have been going up like everything else over the years. When you pay for a funeral plan, you’re booking the services you want rather than leaving a cash pot to be spent.

By picking the elements you want for your funeral and paying for them now, you’re guaranteeing that’s the price you’ll pay and no more. Whilst a funeral is currently around £4.4k, Sun Life’s Cost of Dying report predicts they’ll be over £5,000 by as soon as 2023. Cut out that inflation by securing today’s funeral prices.

4. Reduce the inheritance tax burden

With death and taxes the only certainties in life, making your death as tax efficient as possible is a savvy move. You should be considering a funeral plan as part of effective estate planning as you reach the golden years of your life.

The value of your funeral plan isn’t usually taken into account as part of your estate for inheritance tax. Buying an expensive plan can reduce the cash in your estate and help take you out of the inheritance tax band. Talk this through with a financial adviser to be sure you organise things in the best way for your circumstances.

As an aside, a funeral plan doesn't usually get assessed when your assets are being valued for paying for care. You can help out your family by not needing to pay for your funeral and reduce what you're liable for in terms of care costs at the same time. Be sure to check how your local authority works before basing your decision on this, however.

5. Ease the emotional burden from your family

Money isn't the first thing you want people to think about when you die. What type of wood you'd want your coffin made from is probably the next thing you don't want anyone to consider.

Emotions are high once you're in a box, and hasty decisions can get made. Having a plan in place with the big things covered like the music you want playing and whether you want to be buried or cremated will make the whole funeral process much easier.

Arguments can happen with funerals. How your kids know you can be very different from how your bridge club or sky-diving buddies thought of you. Help everyone keep their emotions at bay by not being forced into decisions that could haunt them a lifetime, even if you won't.

6. Protection into the future

When you choose to take a monthly payment funeral plan, you don't always have to pay in full to get your ceremony paid out. Many policies will still pay for your whole funeral as long as you've made a minimum number of payments.

In your mind, your funeral plan will be there to see you off when you’re old and grey. Life’s not always like that so starting a pre-paid funeral plan sooner rather than later will hedge your bets in case the worst happens too soon.

Joanne Rushton

Joanne Rushton

After working at the Co-operative Bank for five years, Joanne left to discover the world before returning to work helping customers understand their finances and get the most out of the banking. A career shift came after two more years, and she found herself working as a teacher in Hanoi, Vietnam before turning to her childhood of passion for writing.
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