The following questions are those which it is helpful to know the answer to when deciding which funeral plan is best for you. If you have any other questions please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Is a funeral plan the right option for me?
This depends on your circumstances and your views on who should pay for your funeral. A funeral plan offers two main advantages:
- It pays for the included funeral costs at today’s prices and should therefore mean your family will be protected from those rising costs.
- It takes away the need for a family member to have to find and fund funeral services at a time of bereavement. Don’t forget it is not unusual for assets and accounts to be frozen.
You will need to decide if you can afford to pay for a plan, either in full or on a payment plan, without any hardship to your current situation. Also, whether your view is that you wish to organise your own funeral rather than leave this to your family.
What does a funeral plan pay for?
A funeral plan guarantees to cover the funeral director’s costs for the level of funeral services they are contracted to provide, as detailed in the plan.
What is not covered by the funeral plan?
Those services which are not provided by the funeral director such as Minister / ceremony fees, cremation or burial fees. While some plans will cover these ‘disbursement’ costs, most plans will make a ‘contribution’ to these (as stipulated in the plan) which means if there is a shortfall this would need to be paid at the time of the funeral. Funeral plans will not cover the cost of a burial plot or headstone unless they are specified and paid for at extra cost to the standard plan. Other costs such as floral tributes, a wake / catering and estate administration (probate) are all additional.
Do I have to pay for my plan in full now or can I pay by instalments?
You can pay in full upfront or by direct debit over 12 to 60 months with an initial deposit (e.g.; £250). Payments over 12 months are interest free so the amount paid is the same as you would pay if you paid upfront. Interest is charged on payments made over 24,36,48 or 60 months. The actual amount paid can be seen in the payments area of the plan provider. Remember also that if you should die before the final payment the outstanding balance would have to be met by the family or the estate.
If I decide to pay for the plan on instalments what happens if I die before the plan is fully paid?
Any outstanding balance would need to be paid by a family member or from the estate in order for the services to be provided. Alternatively, the plan could be cancelled but any refund would be subject to cancellation fees. Any new arrangements would then be at the prevailing rates at that point.
What if I decide to pay by fixed monthly instalments and then die within the first year?
If you decide to take out a ‘Fixed monthly payment plan’ your payments are going to an insurance company for a ‘whole of life’ policy. In the first twelve months this will only pay out for the full plan benefit in the case of accidental death. If you should die during the first twelve months only the payments made will go to the appointed funeral director as a contribution, the balance would need to be paid by the family or from the estate. From the start of year 2 onwards your plan would be fully covered.
Can I choose the Funeral Director?
You may be restricted to the funeral directors which the plan provider has contracts with. However, this will usually be several hundred across the country. You could always contact the plan provider to ask if a particular funeral director is available.
If I change my mind or circumstances change and I wish to cancel what fees will be payable?
There is a 28 day ‘cooling off’ period from receipt of the first payment when no cancellation charges apply and a full refund is given. After 28 days, cancellation will incur an administrative deduction of 20% of the full plan value. It is therefore important that you are absolutely sure that a funeral plan is the right choice for you, that you choose an appropriate plan for your needs and that your payment method will not cause you any hardship in keeping up the payments.
What happens if the plan provider goes out of business?
Funeral plan providers are required to keep monies paid to them by customers in independently managed separate trust funds which effectively means that the funds are ring-fenced. So, in these circumstances, monies would be allocated to an alternative plan provider, who would provide the same level of plan as the original. In the case of fixed monthly payments, these payments are made to an insurance company for a ‘whole of life’ policy, which could be transferred to another funeral plan provider.
What happens if my chosen or allocated funeral director goes out of business?
Your funeral plan provider would propose an alternative local funeral director on the same terms.
Can I buy a Funeral Plan for someone else?
Yes. You can complete the paperwork and payments on their behalf. Some plans require that the person is aged 50 or above.
Do I have to take a medical?
No. None of the plans require a medical. However, if a pre-existing condition is present remember that if the plan holder dies before the plan is paid in full the shortfall would have to be paid by the funeral organiser.
In the case of a ‘Fixed payment plan’ the ‘whole of life’ policy will only cover accidental death in the first year. From year 2 the plan cost is fully covered.
What happens if the person the Funeral Plan is intended for dies abroad or away from home?
Repatriation from abroad is not covered within funeral plans so it is important to make sure this is included on your travel insurance policy.
If the plan holder dies away from their home area the funeral director will arrange collection but extra costs will be charged.
How will the funeral plan provider be notified of the death?
Upon issue of the plan documentation, an extra copy of the instructions for notification is provided. (Some plans include a card to be carried by the plan holder.) These instructions should be passed on to the next of kin or a family member. It may be helpful to keep a copy with the plan holder’s Will (Do not attach to it). This is very important because if the family is not aware that a plan is in place they could pay for alternative arrangements.