Arranging or attending a funeral can be an emotional and personal time, but amid the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic that has grounded the UK, it has also made planning a funeral very confusing.
There are now new rules in place and new problems to think about, regarding who and how many people you can invite, the correct social distancing requirements and whether a family member can bear the coffin on the day.
These questions must be answered once the funeral has been arranged, but before we become concerned about these, we must answer more fundamental questions like: How do I go about planning a funeral? What are my options and how do I pay for it?
With so much negative press surrounding the funeral industry and misleading stories about both the funeral profession and the rising costs of funerals in the media, we look at why having a Funeral Plan may be your safest and most financially sensible option.
In recent years, there is justified growing concern over rising funeral costs, which in some areas can amount to as much as £10,000.
Most of us shop around regularly to get the best deals on our utility bills, phones, insurances etc so why do we shy away from securing a Funeral Plan?
Shopping around is essential. Waiting until it is too late could potentially lead to crippling bills and confusion at a time when emotions are high, and customers are vulnerable. When grieving, we are not thinking straight and can make poor financial decisions whilst having to place trust in those companies to consider whether we can actually afford the funeral we are choosing.
It may also feel disrespectful to shop around straight after losing a loved one. If you have already bought into a credible funeral plan, the stress is taken away and there are no nasty financial surprises to deal with.
What is a Funeral Plan?
A Funeral Plan is simply a way of prepaying for your funeral services in advance. You choose which services you require, ordinarily in set packages, and buy them in a single payment, over one to five years of instalments or pay fixed monthly payments until you are 90 years old, or the end of your life.
How far in advance can you buy one?
You can start purchasing a Funeral Plan whenever you like, however, most of us start thinking about later life products and planning once we reach middle age, usually purchased as a single payment or by convenient monthly instalments over one to five years. Some people look to longer funeral plan payment periods but in this uncertain world of ours, purchasing over a period of no longer than five years is certainly the most sensible approach.
How do I know who to trust when looking for the best Funeral Plan?
Seeking impartial advice from the industry regulator is the best place to start. UK Funeral Plans have been around for 40 years and are usually marketed by highly regarded, credible and ethical companies, so ensure you select a product from a company registered by the FPA (Financial Planning Association). Any product registered by the FPA has been independently scrutinised, so it’s down to you to pick the best funeral plan for your circumstances.
How much do Funeral Plans cost?
Funeral Plans are not an investment product, savings plan or a life insurance product. They are the purchase of services that will not be delivered until the time of your death. Prices will vary dependant on the services included, and over which term you wish to fund the purchase.
A simple cremation funeral that doesn’t include any limousines will probably be around £3,500 as a one-off payment. The same funeral purchased over five years with a deposit of £250 will cost £66 per month or approximately £4,181 in total.
Can buyers expect to pay more for monthly payment plans?
If you purchase over a monthly instalment term you will pay more, with the level of additional charges varying from company to company, to cover the lifetime management of the instalments and administrative management of the plan.
How am I protected against rising funeral costs?
Many consumers are unaware of the fact that a solution for managing rising funeral costs already exists through FPA registered funeral planning companies. Most funeral planning companies will protect the consumer from rising funeral charges if they offer a Guaranteed Funeral Plan product to protect against inflation or cost increases, no matter how far into the future the funeral takes place.
The Funeral Planning product has been designed to help consumers manage the cost of their funeral, whilst reducing the cost burden on their loved ones. The funds will be used to secure your specified funeral service, as outlined in your initial plan which also means that when the time comes you will get what you paid for and there will be no hidden fees at the last moment, so understanding the Funeral Plan is key.
In summary, being prepared and making funeral plans will significantly reduce the worry of last-minute financial outlay for your loved ones and is, therefore, one thing less to worry about when the time comes. With this in place, the brand-new set of rules and questions can be dealt with, with more clarity and far less stress.
Managing Director, Golden Leaves
Golden Leaves is one of the UK’s market leaders and is now the only independent funeral planning firm to have achieved BSI ISO 9001 for Business Excellence. The only other funeral planning firm to have achieved this accreditation is a Public Limited Company [PLC].
Headquartered in South London, Golden Leaves has been at the forefront of the Funeral planning sector since the early 1980s and has played a major role in the development of FPA (The Funeral Planning Authority).
For more information, visit https://www.goldenleaves.com/