What are the benefits of a prepaid funeral plan?

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A prepaid funeral plan can help protect your family from the unexpected cost and distress of arranging an 'at need' funeral. We take a look at why it is a product we should all consider.                                                  

If you 've read reports and research from industry specialists, you'll have seen that funeral have been rising.

Between 2011 and 2019 average funeral costs increased from £2,971 to £4,202*. That's a 41% rise.

If this trend continues, by 2028 average UK funeral costs are projected to rise to £6,206**. Add to this the money spent on the send-off, covering extras such as flowers and the wake, and the overall cost of the funeral could start to significantly increase.

It's a cost that too few people consider until they absolutely need to. Recently, a group of friends from Droitwich undertook a sponsored walk to raise money for a friend's funeral costs after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given only six weeks to live. It's a sad story of a life curtailed but it illustrates how our health and circumstances can change overnight and why having a plan for the end of your life is so important.

What you get with most prepaid plans

There are many funeral plans on the market, and it pays to shop around. The most obvious benefit of a prepaid funeral is cost; you pay today's prices for a service you might use 20 years in the future. A prepaid plan can help to cover the required services for a cremation or provides a contribution towards burial costs. You can also detail your wishes for the service itself - any special readings, music or flowers you’d like. This type of product gives you full control of your funeral and the type of event you want it to be. You can add as much detail as you like and if circumstances change you can amend some of your wishes (provided they are within the plan) free of charge. 

Weigh up the different plans available and make sure you choose the plan that suits your budget and provides the best guarantees to suit your requirements. Providers of funeral plans worth exploring are Dignity, SunLife, Perfect Choice and Co-operative Funerals based on the cover levels and independent ratings of these products.

Dignity is one of the UK’s largest providers of this type of product with nearly one million people*** entrusting their arrangements to the company and having been helped to pre-plan their funeral in advance with them.

Among the benefits of buying one of their plans is that Dignity provides the guarantee. Unlike some other providers, where the guarantee is passed to an independent firm at the time of need, this ensures Dignity is still responsible for providing the services in your plan irrespective of what happens in the future. Dignity prides itself in setting some of the highest standards within the funeral profession. Their reputation, built on their rich heritage, dates back to 1812 when their oldest branch opened its doors. Since then their national network of funeral directors have been serving their local communities. Appreciation of the quality of this end-to-end link is reflected in Dignity's customer feedback, with more than 98%*** of those surveyed after the funeral being prepared to recommend their Funeral Director to friends and relatives. 

Prepaid funeral plans of this type are relatively easy to set up and provide a stress-free way to choose the type of funeral that's right for you; from deciding whether you want a burial or cremation, a simple or more elaborate coffin, and thinking about whether a limousine or two may be required on the day for example.

As with most providers, there are different levels of plan, depending on the type of funeral you choose. You can add special wishes, and if you change your mind or your circumstances vary, these can be amended. The service to add or amend your special wishes without cost is available on all Dignity plans. Paying extra money for items is only available on the Amber, Pearl and Diamond Dignity Prepaid Funeral Plans, however some requests that fall outside the plan details may incur an extra cost^^. 

Making sure your money is safe

With some funeral plan providers, your money is held in an independent trust fund until needed, this guarantees that no matter what happens your money and funeral arrangements will be protected and honoured. 

When considering buying a prearranged funeral product, make sure the seller is also registered with a professional body like the Funeral Planning Authority. They are responsible for overseeing the operation of registered funeral plan companies.

With costs having risen over recent years, this may necessitate that we all take a far keener interest in how we finance and arrange our end of life matters. A prepaid funeral product - provided it's the right one for you - helps to guarantee that however much funeral costs may rise in the future, the cost of the services in the plan are frozen and helps to reduce some of the financial stress from your nearest and dearest.

Why take out a prepaid plan?

  • Protect against rising costs;
  • Have the funeral you want;
  • Helps reduce the cost and stress;
  • Gives clear and personal instructions to your next of kin.

Decide which plan suits your needs best:

  • How easy to apply;
  • What is covered i.e. Is the Crematorium fee guaranteed, is a limousine included, can you cancel at any time and get your money back less a cancellation fee?
  • Trust in the reliability of the plan provider; 
  • Value for money;
  • Financial protection.

Application process:

  • Online;
  • By phone;
  • By post.

Payment:

  • Lump sum one-off payment;
  • Monthly instalments - the cost can be spread over 12 months at no extra cost;
  • Monthly instalments over set periods, usually up to 25 years (an additional charge is usually incurred on this type of payment plan).

Conclusion

It makes financial sense to buy a prepaid funeral plan - you will save money by protecting against any potential rise in funeral costs for services included in the plan.

Making provision for end of life should be seen as a natural and sensible step and the earlier we accept this and discuss the options open to us the better. Prepaid plans, if nothing else, can be a simple way of ensuring your loved ones are protected in the future against unexpected costs and the worry of planning a loved one's funeral.

*2011 - 2019 Matter Communications independent research.

** 2019 - 2028: Forecast based on average annual compounded growth rate of 4.43% each year between 2011 and 2019.

***Dignity plc Annual Reports & Accounts 2019

Tags: Funeral Dignity Funerals Funeral Planning Authority Which? prepaid plan prepaid funeral Cost of Dying Report

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