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 chats 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 focus 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. But, if you have been in on one, you’ll know doing so can be difficult and costly!
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 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. So whether 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 your death.
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.
Paying over 12 months should also avoid 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 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. Many plans will still cover the whole service, even if you don’t complete the entire 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 know when buying 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 from 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, ensure the company you go with is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. All funeral plan providers must register with FCA. If you’ve bought a funeral plan, your provider might have transferred to another company to meet the standards. You can check the website for registered companies.
The FCA provides plenty of benefits to customers. It helps in a few ways:
- It ensures members put your money into a trust fund or an insurance policy.
- It has a code of practice and rules, giving you peace of mind.
- It gives you access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so your money is protected even if the provider fails.
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. Your plan will also determine how extravagant your coffin is – 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 will still 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 buy your policy; if you move to a new house, you might need to transfer your plan. Some companies charge a small administration fee 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 immediately after you die – be sure someone will have access to money who can claim it from your estate later.
You're a little less sure to get what you want at your funeral without a pre-paid plan. Taking out a plan means you can choose things like hymns, readings, and flowers. 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.
Choosing a pre-paid funeral plan
Pre-paid funeral plans could provide you with the peace of mind you need. Your death will devastate your loved ones, and knowing your funeral is like you wanted can help. The cost of a funeral is not something you want your loved ones to worry about. The wide range of pre-paid funeral plans makes it easy to prepare for the inevitable. Even if you don’t want to opt for a pre-paid funeral plan, you should always make preparations and discuss your wishes for the funeral service.