Funeral plans offer a way of making sure that the arrangements you wish to be made on your eventual passing are already on the record, to be carried out just as you intended.
By paying for such a plan in advance, you may also enjoy the benefits of paying for the service at today’s prices and therefore beating the almost inevitable effects of inflation and increases in funeral costs when the time eventually comes.
These services are available from a number of national providers, so here are a few tips and suggestions about how you might compare funeral plans before making your choice:
- part of your funeral planning is likely to be the selection and designation of the local funeral directors you wish to conduct the arrangements you have planned;
- an important consideration when comparing funeral plans, therefore, may be the extent of the provider’s network of funeral directors from which you may choose;
How you pay
- a funeral plan is likely to represent a significant investment, so you might want to know about your options for making the necessary payment;
- do you have the choice, for example, between a single payment or may it be spread over several instalments – and, if so, how many;
- the problem with paying for any service in advance is the risk of the provider going out of business or otherwise becoming insolvent before the date on which the service is to be delivered;
- in the case of a prepaid funeral plan, this might involve the local firm of funeral directors you have nominated going into liquidation;
- when comparing funeral plans, therefore, you might want to ensure that your chosen provider is a registered member of the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), which works to ensure that in any such event, an alternative firm of funeral directors in your area may be found to conduct the same arrangements;
What happens to your prepaid funds?
- a related concern may be about the safe keeping of the money you have paid over in advance – how and by whom is it safeguarded;
- when comparing funeral plans, therefore, you might want to ensure that the funds are either held in trust or are invested in a whole of life insurance policy, which pays out on the eventual date of your death;
- either of these methods has the further backing of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates your rights under a funeral contract – as listed in the FCA’s published guidance;
- you are likely to want to make sure that what you pay in advance today is guaranteed to cover the costs of the future funeral;
- nevertheless, there may be additional previously unforeseen costs, so when comparing funeral plans, you might ask how might these costs might be met;
Your circumstances change
- what happens if your circumstances change – you might have bought a prepaid funeral plan for your spouse, for instance, but subsequently decide to separate or divorce;
- does the funeral plan offer the possibility of cancellation;
- if so, do you need to pay a cancellation charge on any monies refunded.
It might be clear, therefore, that you might want to compare offers by asking a number of questions of any potential provider before deciding upon a particular prepaid funeral plan.