What to Look for in a Funeral Plan

In the UK, there are many funeral plans and funeral plan providers to choose from. Not all that’s offered is the same. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it can be difficult to know which funeral plan provider or plan is best for you.

Ideally, you should be looking for a plan that suits your needs and budget. It’s best to check out all your options from a range of providers to ensure you get the best possible price. You’ll find most providers offer a range of plans at different costs. 

You’ll be given lots of information, so make sure you get it in writing. Then you can take it away and compare various options before committing. 

In addition, you should consider discussing taking out a funeral plan with your loved ones. It’s not always the easiest of conversations to have, but generally, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and be grateful that they know what you want to be done. They might also want to make some suggestions.  

Give yourself enough time to do your research and decide which plan is right for you. Make sure the pre-paid funeral plan is registered by the Funeral Planning Authority. If your plan is registered with them, it will meet the requirements of their Code of Practice. 

If you’re unsure, you could seek advice from an independent financial adviser.

Other things you should consider include:

Paying in Instalments

You must make sure you clarify how long you’ll pay instalments for and whether there is interest to be paid on the unpaid balance. 

Keep a close eye on the number of instalments you pay and when you can stop paying.

If you die before you’ve paid all the instalments, your loved ones may need to pay the outstanding amount. Check with the funeral plan provider to see what usually happens in this situation. 

What Does the Plan Include?

Not all costs will be covered by your funeral plan. Disbursements, for example, are included in some plans but not others. Disbursements are third-party costs such as church, crematorium, or minister fees. 

Before deciding on your plan you should think about the type of arrangements you’d like for your funeral. Think about the type of coffin, transport to the venue, a notice in the papers, pallbearers, and flowers. Check whether any of these will be included.

Also, find out whether the money you pay into your funeral plan will be placed in trust or will it be paid into your estate. 

Choosing the Right Company

You can buy your funeral plan from a funeral provider, a funeral director, or an insurance company. Before you purchase your plan, there are some things to consider:

  • What if your chosen provider goes out of business? Look for a plan that specifies the safeguards that are in place. Your plan might be transferred to another provider or paid back to you or your estate. 
  • How does the company invest the money you pay? Typically, the funeral plan will invest in an insurance policy or a trust fund. If the money is invested in a trust, the trust deed must state that it is for funeral costs. The trust should also be administered by independent trustees. 
  • Does the company belong to a professional body? Look for a company that is a member of the Funeral Planning Authority. This is an organisation that has a code of practice that includes having measures that regulate the service and a clear complaints procedure.   

Other Features to Consider

If you’re thinking about buying your plan from a local company, check what will happen if you move to a different area. Ask whether there will be additional costs to pay if you change your arrangements.

Find out what happens if you die away from home. Some plans include transportation within a specified radius. For distances outside of the radius, there may be additional charges to pay. If you were to die in a country outside of the UK, there may be additional costs or different conditions may apply. 

Ask what happens if you want to change the details of your plan in the future, or upgrade to a more expensive plan. If you decide to cancel the plan, will you be able to get a refund, and are there any charges for canceling your plan? Insurance policies tend to have a cooling-off period, but this might not apply to other plans.

What’s the procedure if your family is not aware of the plan and makes alternative arrangements? It’s not usually the case that the funeral plan company will refund the money due under the plan. 

Finally, check whether the plan covers the basics, such as the choice between a burial and a cremation. Also, find out how many cars will be provided as well as the type of coffin used.    

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