Although it is not a subject many of us like to think about, the cost of our funeral will have to be dealt with when it takes place. Research shows that the costs of funerals are increasing over and above the level of inflation, and that this will continue to be the case.
If you’re concerned about how your family will pay for your funeral, you can make provision for that now, at today’s costs. A prepaid funeral plan is a contract between you and a nominated funeral director which you pay for now, or in instalments.
When the time comes, the funeral director will carry out your instructions for the funeral you have specified, and will receive payment directly from your plan, without your family having to make the arrangements or find the funds.
Contact us to make an appointment, in our office or at your home, to discuss your options.
Is it common to take out a prepaid funeral plan?
Yes, more and more people wish to make their own funeral arrangements – some in order to lessen the financial and emotional stress on their families when they die; some to make sure the arrangements for their funeral are as they would wish; and others because they do not want to have a funeral ceremoney, but would prefer a direct cremation.
Is there just one plan available or can I make specific requests?
We will discuss your requirements and wishes for your funeral arrangement. This covers everything, from burial or cremation, to number of funeral cars on the day, and the type of ceremony you would like to have, if any.
When we have gone through your requirements and wishes with you, we will suggest the most appropriate package to meet your requirements and nominate a funeral director who will carry out the arrangements when they are needed.
What happens if I want to change the plan later?
Every plan is different, and we will discuss them with you in detail. Usually there will be an administration cost associated with a change to your plan.
If your wishes change significantly, it may be more appropriate to cancel your original plan and take out a new one. This will incur a cancellation fee, so it is good to have thought through your wishes carefully before taking out a prepaid funeral plan.
Does the plan cover all my funeral costs?
The purpose of a prepaid funeral plan is to ensure that the money you pay now is sufficient for the costs agreed in your plan to be covered when they are incurred.
Some costs cannot be included in the plan because they cannot be anticipated or because they vary across the country. Should you die abroad, for example, the costs of repatriation will not be covered by your prepaid funeral plan. Many plans do not cover the costs of newspaper notices or of funeral flowers.
For those who wish to be buried, the cost of a burial plot is not included. You or your family need to make arrangements for this. A separate plan can be purchase to cover the cost of buying and engraving a headstone for those who wish to be buried.
We will talk you through exactly what will and will not be covered so that you know this before choosing which plan to purchase.
How do I pay for the plan?
You can choose to pay one lump sum which will pay out to the funeral director when the costs of your arrangements are incurred. You can choose to pay in instalments. We will discuss the options with you, depending on your circumstances. Your payments will go into a trust which will pay out to the funeral director when the costs of your arrangements are incurred.
If you pay by instalments and you die before your plan is fully paid, your family has the option of making a top up payment and then the plan will proceed as you envisaged. Alternatively, they can cancel the plan, incurring a cancellation fee, and have the remaining money refunded to your estate. The funeral plan will no longer exist, so all the funeral arrangements must then be made and paid for by your family.
Can I cancel if I change my mind?
Yes. There is an initial cooling off period, during which time you are free to cancel and expect your money back without incurring costs. After this time has expired, you can still cancel the plan, but you will be liable for cancellation fees.
Each plan is different and we will discuss this with you before you take out a prepaid funeral plan.
How does the funeral director get paid?
The money you pay for the plan is invested in a trust. It is not kept by either us or the nominated funeral director, which means it is completely separate and therefore not affected if anything were to go wrong with the provider. When the funeral takes place the trust pays out for the costs incurred in carrying out your wishes according to the agreement we drew up. There may be specific third pary costs not covered by your plan, such as newspaper notices, funeral flowers, or burial plots, and we will tell you about these at the outset so that it is clear what will be paid for by the plan and what additional costs may arise.
How is this regulated?
The plans we recommend are with companies who are registered with the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA). This means the funeral plan company has signed up to the FPA’s specific rules and code of practice, which require a high standard of compliance. All registered providers have to go through a re-registration process annually, where the FPA audit their documentation and practices before allowing the provider to re-register.
The FPA will monitor standards across the board, can review consumer complaints, and can facilitate a search of registered providers if the consumer has misplaced or forgotten the details of their plan.
Do I need to mention this in my will?
No, you do not, but it is a good idea to tell your family that you have purchased a plan, and let them know who the nominated funeral director is and where to find the plan documents that you received.
When the plan is required, your executor or other family member simply has to contact the nominated funeral director and they will deal with the arrangements.