Why take out a Funeral Plan?
Once you think about it, the answer is really rather obvious.
As the great eighteenth-century philosopher and writer Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers, once said: “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
Unfortunately, each and every one of us is going to pass on someday and will need some sort of funeral, be it burial, cremation or something else.
Of course, the type and extent of a person’s funeral arrangements will depend on many factors, not least of which is “whom they are leaving behind.” A person with a large and close family of children, grandchildren, and possibly even great-children, will probably need a more elaborate funeral plan than a person who has lived a solitary or reclusive life and has no close family or wide circle of friends to mourn them – each person’s situation will be different.
Taking out a funeral plan during your lifetime, while you are still able to consider things and discuss matters with those close to you, is probably the best way forward to plan for this most inevitable of events.
These days, even average funerals can cost anywhere up to £6000 or £8000 depending on where you live, if you need a burial plot or not, want a headstone or not, want a wake et cetera.
Such a sum of money may represent a huge financial burden on those you leave behind – and very often those who are bereaved feel a duty or obligation to “do the best for you” that is not easy to reconcile with their actual financial position, particularly when they may have mortgages and other loans to service in addition to paying their essential living costs. It is little wonder that one of the largest items of expenditure on credit cards is often a funeral – and this may take many years to pay off.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Nobody wants their family to face money worries in the future. A Funeral Plan lets you pay for your own funeral in advance of your death and to fix the cost of the funeral director’s services covered by your plan at today’s prices.
Even if prices rise in the future, once your plan is paid for you’ll have the reassurance of knowing there’ll be nothing more to pay for these services – guaranteed.
Few people like to talk about their own funeral, however, as our clients often tell us, knowing that your funeral arrangements are taken care of is a big weight off your mind – and your children’s.
At Zen Estate Planning we are experts at planning in advance and making sure that things are covered, even if they seem a long way off in the future now.
We act as agents for a number of FPA regulated Funeral Plan firms and our consultants will be happy to talk to you sensitively and confidentiality about which type of funeral plan will be best for you. You can pay a single lump sum, you can spread the payments over as many as five years, or you can do anything in between, depending on your financial situation. We are here to help you choose not only a plan that will suit you, your family and friends when the day comes, but will suit your current affordability profile too.
So, please do get in touch and talk to one of our consultants today – you and your family will feel more at ease with this matter settled.
What is a prepaid funeral plan?
A funeral plan is an arrangement that allows a customer to pay in advance for their own or another person’s funeral.
The plan is a contractual arrangement with a provider, who assuming the plan has been paid for, is then responsible for arranging the funeral when it is required and paying for those elements covered by the plan.
Why do prepaid funeral plans exist?
Prepaid funeral plans allow you to choose and agree on the arrangements for the sort of funeral you wish to have in advance. This allows you and your family if you wish to shop around and make sure you buy what you want at a time when it is easier to do so. Plans allow you to fix the cost of most elements of the funeral and protect you from future inflation of funeral related costs.
These financial issues are one part of why people choose to purchase prepaid funeral plans. However, for many, the main reason for buying a plan is more to do with putting their affairs in order. Customers say they simply want peace of mind that everything is taken care of with regards to their funeral, and that they don’t want their families to have to worry about it when they pass away.
Is a prepaid funeral plan the same as an over 50’s plan?
Some life assurance policies which provide a cash amount on death are sometimes referred to as funeral plans. However, they are not, for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the money paid out can be spent by the beneficiary on whatever they wish at the time. Secondly, the money paid out may not be enough to cover the expense of a funeral. It may also be less than what you paid into the plan.
Finally, there isn’t a contractual arrangement with a provider who is responsible for arranging the funeral. If you purchased an over 50’s plan, and intended to use the funds for a funeral, your loved ones would still need to make the necessary choices and arrangements with a funeral director after your death.
What happens to your money?
The rules around the regulation of funeral plans mean that the money to provide the funeral are set aside in something called a whole of life policy’, or held in a trust that is separate from the plan provider. Either method means the funds are kept separate from the provider company until the time that the funeral is needed.
A key part of the FPA’s checking process is to ensure these arrangements are in place, which helps to ensure the money is available to provide the funeral when it is needed.
Planning what you want from your funeral
Thinking about your funeral can be difficult, but if you’re considering purchasing a funeral plan it gives you an opportunity to have practical and rational conversations about what you want your funeral to be like.
Buying a prepaid funeral plan allows you to choose the various elements of your funeral, for example whether you would like a burial or cremation. Many customers say they prefer to have planned everything out in this way so that their relatives don’t have to do it after they’ve gone.
What happens when you die if you’ve purchased a funeral plan?
We recommend that customers tell their loved ones when they’ve purchased a funeral plan, where they’ve purchased it from, and if possible they should let them know where the paperwork is stored. This makes it much easier for relatives to contact the provider in
question and start arranging the funeral. Once they’ve made contact, the process should be quite simple as the customer would have agreed on all of the arrangements when they purchased the plan.