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A pre-paid funeral plan is a straightforward and affordable way to pay for the end of life services of your choice, and to help relieve your loved ones from the financial and emotional burden of arranging and paying for your funeral. 

The key benefits of a funeral plan are:

Easing financial burden and emotional stress for your loved ones at a difficult time

Saving money by fixing the cost of your funeral at today’s prices, thus protection against rising funeral costs

Acceptance guaranteed with no intrusive medical checks

Complete financial security – your money is securely held under Trust management

Flexibility on both funeral choices and payment by instalments options

Peace of mind by knowing that everything is taken care of in advance

International plans – a helping hand for UK citizens living abroad

Third party funding, eg children can pay for their parents’ funeral plans



What is a funeral plan?

A funeral plan is an arrangement that allows a customer to pay in advance for their or another persons’ funeral.

The plan is a contractual arrangement with a provider, who assuming the plan has been paid for, is then responsible for arranging the funeral when it is required and paying for those elements covered by the plan.

Pre-paid funeral plans allow you to choose and agree the arrangements for the sort of funeral you wish to have in advance. They also allow you to fix the cost of most elements of the funeral, and protect you from future inflation of funeral related costs.

What is a funeral plan provider? 

A funeral plan provider is an organisation that allows customers to pay for their funeral in advance through provision of a funeral plan. These providers may be funeral directors, a subsidiary company of a funeral director, or a separate firm who make arrangements with funeral directors to carry out funerals on their behalf. 

What should I think about when buying a funeral plan? 

Firstly you should look for a plan from a provider who is registered with the FPA. This gives you an additional level of reassurance that the provider is compliant with a stringent set of rules and standards which go above and beyond the basic requirements.

It is then important to think about what you want the plan to provide in terms of services. It is particularly important that you understand what allowance the plan makes to cover third party costs (such as crematorium costs).

A further factor to be considered for some people might be what happens if you move to another part of the country.

You should also confirm what the cancellation arrangements are, in the unlikely event that you wish to terminate the contract with your chosen provider.

It can feel like a sensitive subject to discuss your funeral with family and friends. However, if you do buy a funeral plan, we recommend you explain exactly what you have purchased with those close to you, and ensure they are clear on who the plan is with, and what exactly it covers. This will help them to be better informed when they’re liaising with your plan provider to confirm your funeral arrangements at some point in the future.

Should I pay in lump sums or instalments? 

This is really a matter of choice and comes down to what best suits you. Clearly a lump sum involves a commitment of money up front, whereas instalments allow you to spread the cost. Most providers will add an instalment charge if instalments are spread over more than 12 months, so you should consider the financial impact of this.

You should also be aware that an instalment arrangement will normally require payment of outstanding instalments by your family if death occurs before all instalments have been paid.

There are insurance backed plans where no further payment would be required if death occurs before all instalments have been paid, though these usually have a period of up to 2 years where the value of the plan on death would be limited to a return of the contributions paid.

What happens to the money I pay for a plan? 

FPA Registered Providers do not hold the money you have paid for your plan. Instead they use it to either purchase a whole of life insurance policy on the life of the planholder, or to place the monies in a trust. The reasoning behind this separation is to ensure that if anything were to go wrong with the provider, the assets to pay for the funeral would be separated and ring-fenced.

The amounts to be paid out from either the trust or the insurance policy should be enough to pay for the funeral that the provider has committed to carry out for you reflecting the arrangements that have been made for the funeral. The FPA regularly check with registered providers to confirm this is the case, supported by actuarial assessments in the case of trust based arrangements.

What happens after I have paid for my funeral plan? 

A “nominated funeral director” is normally allocated, either at your specific request or by the funeral planning company. This will be the funeral director who will carry out the funeral, unless something else changes such as you moving home.

You will have a period of time in which you can cancel the contract and reclaim all monies paid. Once this period has elapsed, cancellation is still an option but a fee may be incurred. It is worth checking the details with your chosen provider so you know how long you have to cancel the contract without incurring a cost.

When death occurs, the nominated funeral director carries out the funeral according to the terms of the plan, and the trust or life insurance company pays the funeral director for doing so.

Does the money paid cover the entire cost of the funeral? 

It is important to read the terms and conditions of the plan you are considering to verify what is covered. Frequently, third party costs, also known as disbursements, may not be covered in full as they are not within the control of a funeral director (e.g. medical fees, newspaper notices). If these costs are not covered, the plan may include an allowance for them. However, if at the time of death, these costs exceed the allowance, some additional payment may be required.  It is also worth noting that plans do not normally cover the costs of a burial plot or internment fees.

What happens if I don't die for a number of years, and the cost of a funeral exceeds what I have paid for my plan? 

The funeral plan should provide protection against the inflation of the funeral directors costs and therefore your family should not incur additional costs for these specifically. However, the area where they could incur additional costs is third party costs (also known as disbursements), where some plans provide a contribution to these (that generally increases with inflation) but may not fully cover them. You should make sure you understand how this works in your plan and ideally explain it to your family.

How will the funeral planning company know about my or the planholder's death? 

We recommend that you discuss the plan you have purchased with your family or your executor. You should also make sure they know who the plan is with, as it is their responsibility to inform the funeral planning company (provider) in the event of your death. This can also be done via your nominated funeral director. 

What is the role of the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA)? 

The FPA is there to add objective scrutiny to funeral providers who chose to register with the organisation. This scrutiny is intended to add a degree of basic consumer protection by ensuring that providers conform to the the FPA Rules and a Code of Practice. This scrutiny is carried out by the FPA’s Independent Compliance Committee.

For the provider, being registered demonstrates they are operating above the basic required standards – which in turn provides an additional level of reassurance to customers purchasing a plan from them.

How can I find an existing funeral plan? 

The FPA offers a facility to check whether our registered providers have a funeral plan in place for an individual. Further details can be found here.

It is worth emphasising that FPA Registered providers choose to have their finances and procedures independently scrutinised by the Authority on an annual basis, and further agree to operate within the terms of the Authority’s Code of Practice. Providers not registered with the Authority have elected for whatever reason not to submit their operations to such scrutiny.

Can I complain to the FPA about a funeral? 

The FPA does not regulate funerals or deal with complaints about funerals. We suggest that you discuss any complaints about funerals with the relevant trade body for the funeral director involved. The two major trade bodies are The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) and The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF).

Can I discuss my funeral requirements with the FPA? 

The FPA is a regulatory authority and can provide you with general information around funeral plans and the market. However, the FPA cannot provide any advice on individual providers or around your own personal circumstances.

The FPA can be contacted as follows:  Telephone 0845-6019619   

Email info@funeralplanningauthority.co.uk

Barham Court
ME18 5BZ 

  PLEASE CALL 01268 761022 / 07901 948745


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