Do you want them boogying in the aisles or sobbing their hearts out? Would you prefer to pass through the velvet curtains or be lowered into the dirt? They may not be the standard topic for Sunday lunch chat with the family, but talking about your funeral plan is essential.
How we see our final send-off is deeply personal. Investing in a pre-paid funeral plan gives you peace of mind and won't stick your family with the bill. Plus, you get to choose everything that happens in your service.
We’ll go through some of the questions you might have about pre-paid funeral plans, such as:
- What is a pre-paid funeral plan?
- What does a pre-paid funeral plan cost?
- What do I need to keep an out for when buying a pre-paid funeral plan?
So that you know where to be focussing your attention as you go shopping for your last goodbye.
How Do Pre-Paid Funeral Plans Work?
Depending on luck and your genes, you might never have had to plan a funeral before. If you have been in on one, you’ll know doing so can be difficult, and costly too.
With a pre-paid funeral plan, you can take away some of the stress from your family and friends by covering your costs now. With either a monthly fee or a lump sum payment, you agree with a company to pay for your funeral, no matter how much later you eventually die. It’s a way of protecting yourself from escalating funeral costs.
As well as removing the financial burden from your loved ones, you also get to outline what you want to happen at your send-off. Whether it’s setting out your favourite flowers for your coffin, or making sure they play The Beatles, not The Rolling Stones, as you leave the room – you’re the one making the plan.
How Much Will I Pay for a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan?
The average price for a funeral stands at around £4,400 in the UK. It’s not the type of money you want anyone to have to find within weeks of you dying.
Taking out a pre-paid plan gives you two main options – monthly payments or all in one go.
Lump Sum Funeral Payment
With a lump sum funeral plan, you pay the cash upfront and lock in the cost of your funeral. There are no extra costs applied. Even if prices rise over the years, the services covered in your package will still get provided.
Making the payments over 12 months should also avoid any additional costs; you only pay the cover amount. This can vary between providers so double-check if there's a difference.
- Costs from around £3,000 – 4,500 depending on what services you want.
Monthly Funeral Payment
Not got a few grand up front? You can make monthly payments spread over 2-25 years and sometimes more. You still lock in the services you'll receive, but you’ll pay more than the original funeral value.
You can spread the cost of your funeral over a long time, so it doesn’t feel like a massive expense. Lots of plans will still cover the full service, even if you don’t complete the full repayment term – check out the rules of the plan you’re interested in.
- Costs between £15-27 per month over 25 years, depending on your level of cover.
What Do I Need to Be Aware of When Taking a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan?
One of the key benefits of taking out a pre-paid funeral plan is that you can make rational decisions about your final shindig. It'll save your loved ones making emotional decisions while in the grips of grief. With this in mind, you do need to have your wits about you when choosing your funeral.
First, make sure the company you go with is registered with the Funeral Planning Authority. This is an industry body that helps in a few ways:
- It has a funeral plan tracking service in case your family can’t find your documents.
- It ensures members put your money into a trust fund or an insurance policy.
- It has a code of practice and rules, giving you as a customer peace of mind.
Next, you need to consider the level of cover that you want. The more expensive policies give two or more limousines to the service, handle flower and charitable donations, and offer flexibility on service times and chapel of rest visits. How extravagant your coffin is will also be determined by your plan – real wood and brass handles don’t come cheap.
It's worth knowing that there are some things your policy won't cover. Items like doctor and coroner's fees, embalming costs, and some fees for burials don't get included. Someone is still going to need to stump up for these, so if you're worried, be sure to have some savings knocking around, too.
Also, check about transferring your policy. Usually, you nominate a funeral director when you take out your policy; if you move to a new house, you might need to transfer your plan. Some companies charge for this, while others don’t.
What Are the Alternatives to a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan?
Having money in a savings account to cover your funeral is an option. You get to control how much is there to be spent and can cover costs like a burial plot, too. The money isn’t going to be available straight away after you die – be sure someone will have access to money who can claim it from your estate later.
Without a pre-paid plan, you're a little less sure to get what you want at your funeral. Taking out a plan means you can choose hymns, readings, flowers, etc. To be sure you get these elements, you’ll need to have a good long chat with the people you expect to still be around after you’re dead.
Without money from your estate and no access to extra cash, your family or friends may be able to ask the government for help with your funeral costs. This type of service would be nothing fancy, and there's little control over timing, location, music, and pretty much every other element of the service.