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Funeral plans

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What is a funeral plan?

A funeral plan is a simple way to arrange and pay for your funeral before you die, giving you and your family the peace of mind that costs are taken care of and that your final wishes are being carried out.

You either pay instalments or a lump sum to a funeral planner, which invests your money into an insurance policy or an independent trust fund. Then, when the time comes, your plan covers the costs of your funeral and your final wishes are fulfilled. Note that some plans are more comprehensive than others, so be sure to check exactly what is included by your chosen provider.

You might think that a financial plan to pay for your own funeral is morbid – but putting a few pounds away every month could save your family from the financial burden of funding a funeral while they’re grieving.

funeral plans illustration

How much does a funeral cost?

Funerals cost more and more every year: the average funeral cost £4,417 in 2019, £289 more than in 2018, according to Sun Life. In fact, the cost of even a basic funeral has increased 62% in the past decade – making it a massive financial imposition for a family in mourning.

The cost of your own funeral depends on the kind of send-off you want, but a lot of planning goes into even the simplest funerals. You have to factor in the cost of the venue, the ceremony, the flowers and the wake, as well as the quality of the coffin and the headstone. Then there’s the transportation both for your guests and for yourself, as well as whether you want to be cremated or embalmed.

£4,975

The average cost of a burial in the UK

£3,858

The average cost of a cremation

£5,963

The average cost of a funeral in London

£3,489

The average cost of a funeral in Northern Ireland

According to Sun Life’s latest Cost of Dying report, published in 2020

flowers illustration

What is included in a funeral plan?

Funeral plans can cover most things, though they differ according to the provider you use and the level of cover you select. They will usually contain the following as standard:

  • A professional funeral director to make all arrangements
  • Transportation of the deceased to the funeral director’s premises
  • The cost of a coffin or casket
  • The funeral service at a local cemetery or crematorium
  • A hearse to a local crematorium or cemetery
  • Some plans cover the cost of a plot or the flowers

Funeral wishes: What to consider when planning your funeral

There are two main benefits to funeral plans that should influence your thinking: peace of mind that things will be taken care of financially when you pass, and the opportunity to plan your final wishes in as much detail as you like. There are a few other things to think about, however:

  • Would you prefer to be buried or cremated?

    This choice will dictate much of the service, so it’s an important one to consider. 

  • Where would you like to be buried or cremated?

    For example, would you like a woodland burial or have your ashes scattered at the seaside?

  • Would you rather a religious or a humanist ceremony?

    Whether you’re religious or not, who you want to officiate your funeral ceremony is important.

  • What kind of music do you want?

    The music you choose for your funeral can set the tone for the event, whether that means hymns or a harpist.

  • Coffin, casket or cardboard?

    There is a wide choice, and they all come with different costs, whether the coffin is simple or elaborate.

  • Readings, psalms or a eulogy?

    Readings are a lovely way to memorialise someone. If you have a favourite passage or poem, you could ask for it to be read. 

Over-50s plans are insurance policies that can be taken out aged 50-plus that will pay out a lump sum on death, which can then be put towards funeral costs.

These plans are for life and offer a fixed pay-out, and you pay a monthly premium from the day you take out the policy. Therefore, if you take out an over-50s policy in your early fifties and don’t pass away until your early eighties, you may end up paying out a lot more that you receive on your death.

They are also insurance policies, so if you decide to cancel the policy you won’t get any money back and you will usually have to pay a fee to stop the plan early. 

Yes. One of the main benefits of a funeral plan is that you can have special requests.

Simply tell your wishes to the plan provider and they will keep them safe until the time comes. They will then do everything they can to honour them

Yes, you can take out a prepaid funeral plan on behalf of your mother, father, partner or another loved one.

Yes and no. Some plan providers let you choose your preferred funeral director.

You should inform the provider of your preferred choice when you purchase a plan and if it isn’t possible, they will let you know.

If you don’t have any preference, they will appoint a funeral director near to you from a trusted network of local independent funeral directors.

This will depend on the type of payment method and plan you have chosen, so you should check details with your provider.

If, at the date of your death, any payment is in arrears or there is a shortfall on the total cost, the funeral services will be provided if the outstanding balance is paid.

If the outstanding balance is not paid the plan providers will cancel the funeral plan and refund the money, usually minus a cancellation fee

Let your plan provider know you are moving so they can update your records. You will have the option to move your plan to a different funeral director, if required.

Most providers refund the full payment if you cancel within 30 days. Thereafter, they will charge a cancellation fee. Check your chosen provider’s terms and conditions. 

No. When you purchase a plan your money is either invested into a trust fund or an insurance policy, which is then used to pay for the funeral.

The aim of both methods is to safeguard your money until it’s needed, ensuring that it’s used to provide the funeral you have paid for.

No. Depending on the plan you select you will pay a fixed monthly premium for the term that you select.

If you intend to travel overseas, we recommend that your travel or medical insurance policy includes cover for repatriation costs back to the UK.

Most travel insurance policies will cover this as standard, but it is worth checking.

Your funeral plan will cover the cost of transportation of the body from the relevant UK airport or port to the funeral director’s premises.

If the death happens in the UK, funeral plans will include the collection and transfer of the deceased to a resting place, usually within a 50-mile radius.

If the body needs to be transported further than 50 miles, extra charges will apply. Check your chosen plan provider for the radius limit.

Yes, but joint funeral plans, or funeral plans for couples, only allow a single funeral plan in two names.

This means the plan only covers one funeral, when either of the named people pass away.

Not all providers off joint funeral plans, so it may be worth considering two individual plans and spread the costs of a number of years, so it is more affordable.

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