What are the benefits of a prepaid funeral plan?

Consumer watchdog Which? suggest funeral costs could rise to £12,500 by 2020
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A prepaid funeral plan can protect your family from the shock 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 from industry specialists such as SunLife, you'll have seen that their research findings confirm funeral costs are rising. The latest Cost of Dying 2020* (SunLife) - claims an everage funeral costs £9,493 - this includes flowers, catering, and estate administration costs.

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 guarantees 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 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.

Dignity is one of the UK’s largest providers of this type of product with more than 910,000 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 the funeral director which could close, this ensures Dignity are 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 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 how much transport 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 you special wishes is available without cost 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 many 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 product - provided it's the right one for you - helps to guarantee that however much funeral costs may rise in the future, the cost yof the services in the plan is 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.

Decide which plan suits your needs best:

  • How easy to apply;
  • What is covered: ie, 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 10 years (an additional charge is usually incurred on this type of payment plan).

Conclusion

It makes financial sense to buy a prepaid plan - you will save money by protecting against any potential rise in funeral costs for services included in the plan. We currently enjoy record low inflation in the UK, but funeral costs in 2019 increased by 3.1%*, compared to an annual inflation rate of 1.8%, as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI).

If you cast your mind back to the first paragraph of this piece, that means that in the course of 12 months the average cost of a funeral (without a fixed-price, prepaid plan) has just risen to approximately £9,493.

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.

*Cost of Dying 2020 - SunLife

**Dignity plc Annual Reports & Accounts 2018

Find out more

Final Choices has teamed up with one of the leading funerals expert to offer you their Prepaid Funeral Plan.  Unlike some other options for planning your funeral, Dignity offer you guaranteed protection, at a fixed price, as all the arrangements covered in your chosen plan are taken care of, meaning your loved ones will have less to worry about during those difficult times. To request your Free funeral plan Guide call one of our friendly advisors today on 0800 432 0046 and they will be happy to assist.

 

Disclosure
Final Choices is a partner of Dignity Funerals PLC and accepts commission from sales related to enquiries through this website.
 
 
 
 

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

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