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Man enquiring about a funeral plan

12
Feb

2018

Purchasing a funeral plan is complicated – you are buying something for your loved ones rather than for yourself. Yet it’s of huge importance in ensuring that your wishes are met and that your family is not burdened by significant costs at the time of your passing.

A recent report carried out by consumer group Fairer Finance has found the process of buying a funeral plan is troubling people. A large number of individuals taking out funeral plans they don’t fully understand. This is leading to extra costs having to be paid out when the actual funeral takes place.

At Funeral Planning Experts, our aim is to take away the confusion and explain things in a simple way to ensure you have a complete understanding about what it is you are purchasing and that you get exactly what you want. If you are thinking about buying a funeral plan, this is what you really need to know and understand before you make any financial outlay.

What is a funeral plan?

To start with, let’s cover exactly what a funeral plan is. A funeral plan is a way of planning and paying for your funeral in advance of your death. This ensures that you get the funeral you want and the costs associated with it are settled in advance. For many people having a funeral plan in place is a great comfort, knowing that family and friends won’t have to organise and pay for a funeral after your passing.

However, the act of organising and paying for something which you will not be alive to witness is a little strange. Having the assurance that things will be exactly as you have specified, with no additional costs thrown in, is of vital importance.

The questions you should be asking:

What is included with the funeral plan?

Your funeral plan provider should be able to give you a complete breakdown of exactly what you are buying.

Funeral costs are usually split into payments directly to the Funeral Director and the third party disbursements; these are payments that need to be made for additional services the Funeral Director cannot provide themselves. It is important you check and compare the details of funeral plans.

Many funeral plans will allow you to choose your own Funeral Director, but it is definitely worth checking. Services they supply include:

  • Whether transportation of the deceased to the Funeral Director is included – Some funeral plans have mileage restrictions (repatriation from abroad is rarely included).
  • Coffin – The quality and type of coffin will be dependent on the funeral plan level selected.
  • Preparation of body – Not all plans include this, therefore it is worth checking.
  • Conditions of viewing the body – Whereas some funeral plans allow 24 hours access to view the body, some of the basic plans do not permit viewing at all. If you get a funeral procession – Some of the basic funeral plans do not include any limousines.

One of the main benefits of a funeral plan is to ensure that your loved ones are alleviated from the financial responsibility of your funeral. Many providers specify exactly what is included in the plan, whereas other providers prefer to make a contribution towards disbursement costs. It is very important to understand exactly what you are getting.

  • Burial/cremation Costs – Several funeral plan providers will only make a fixed contribution toward the burial/cremation and your family may have to pay the rest. You need to know what is covered and any likely shortfall. If you have opted for a burial, it is also highly unlikely that the cost of the headstone or burial plot will be covered in your funeral plan.
  • Additional Funeral Disbursements – These cover third party costs such as Doctor’s certificates, order sheets, Minister or celebrant, organist, obituary notice, flowers , etc. Again, find out exactly what you are paying for.

What freedom do I have to make changes to the funeral plan or to cancel it at a later date?

This is especially important if you are forward planning and buying the plan a long time before you expect to need it. Circumstances change and as such you may wish to change/cancel your plan. Make sure you understand the process of doing so and what costs could be charged.

Don’t forget…

If you do purchase a funeral plan, make sure your family and friends are aware you have done so and that they know where the plan is held. Although it’s never nice to talk about someone dying, it’s important that they know what you have planned and how they can enact the plan when you pass. That way, the plan will do exactly as you intended and keep disruption to a minimum at what will be a difficult time.

If you are looking for a funeral plan, Funeral Planning Experts can provide you with all the guidance you need to find the best policy for you.

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