Category Archives: cheap funeral plans

cheap funeral plans

Paying For Your Funeral In Advance: What Are The Pitfalls?

Paying for your Funeral yourself.

Sorting out the cost of your own funeral in advance has many advantages:

  • The family don’t get a large bill which typically has to be paid within 48 hours, before the funeral can go ahead.
  • There is less for them to fall out over, as you have made the arrangements.
  • The funeral has less chance of guilt-tripping the family into spending more money than they need to or can afford.
  • With funeral cost inflation running at around 6%, and savings earning less than 1%, a prepaid funeral plan is a good investment for the family.
  • It is one less  (major) problem for others to sort out.

Paying for your funeral in advance is a great benefit for those left behind.

paying for your own funeralBut it gives you the peace of mind that you have done the best that you can.  Other pages on this site explore the types of plans and the types of plans to avoid.  But if you would like a free no obligation discussion and independent advice, give the Prepaid Funeral Review Research team a call on 0800 0588 240 or use the enquiry form to the right to ask for more information or a call.

One thing which has caused problems in the past is people paying the funeral director in advance.  If they have the necessary Trust

fund

or another formal scheme in place, that is fine.  Many funeral directors are tied to Dignity or Golden Charter, for example, who have all the required protections in place.  Others may not understand the rules and could put your money (and their freedom!) at risk by not doing things properly. It is very rare for this to happen in the UK but it must be better to talk to us before making a decision.

You can pay for your own funeral in one go, or you can break the cost up into monthly payments spread over anything up to 30 years.  Interest-free instalments are available over 1, 2 or 3 years with top prepaid funeral plan providers.  The bigger the deposit you put down, the lower the payments each month, but some firms accept no deposit plans.   But we only recommend monthly payments where clients are sure they can manage the payments every month.  At least with a proper prepaid funeral plan, you won’t lose every penny if you are late with a couple of payments.

Paying for your funeral: what is covered?

Prepaid funeral plans are NOT all the same, which is why our independent advice is so important.   A typical plan will pay the undertaker, who currently charges around two-thirds of the cost of a typical cremation.  Then there is an allowance towards third party costs – things the undertaker pays for on your behalf.  the basic ones are the crematorium fees, the doctors’ fees and the cost for a minister or celebrant to run the service.

But some plans will only cover the funeral directors fees, leaving your family with an increasingly large bill to pay as the years pass by. Best avoided, unless both you and your family understand the situation, as are cheap cut down plans.  We can run through the options, there is no obligation.

Problems With Funeral Prices: Have MPs Been Fooled?

Problems With Funeral Prices – Why The Market Isn’t Working.

Problems With Funeral Prices

Cost of Funerals

It isn’t what some MPs think that is causing the problem. James Dunn, founder at Funeralbooker says: “Co-op Funeralcare’s sales figures (2016 ones, just released) show a widening gap in funeral costs quoted by independents and the largest chain in the UK; with the Co-op as much as 42% more expensive. There needs to be far greater transparency and online availability of the costs associated with funerals and what people should typically expect to pay. At the same time, it’s also vital that bereaved families feel supported and able to explore all their options so that they can choose the type of funeral that best suits their budget and their needs.“

The same authors research indicates that Dignity operate the most expensive crematoriums in the UK.   In fact, 17 out of the top 20 most expensive are operated by Dignity. They charge twice as much as the cheapest crematorium.

Dignity recently bought the Co-ops crematoriums, consolidating their position in the marketplace. I wonder what happened to prices?

MPs have been misled  as to the causes of Problems With Funeral Prices.

MPs have been misled into thinking that increasing sales of prepaid funeral plans are the reason for problems with funeral prices.   The truth is actually the opposite – funeral plan providers help keep prices down, which is why both Dignity (in particular) and the Co-op are increasingly taking tight control of the sales of their plans. One of the new providers is even providing training and support to increase the number of independent funeral directors in an effort to keep funeral costs escalation under control.

In point of fact, regulatory and environmental pressures are a major cause of funeral price inflation.  But Dignity’s crematoriums have a virtual monopoly in most of the areas they are in.  So funeral directors pay their prices or tell families the funeral has to be held maybe 30+ miles away where the nearest non-Dignity crematorium is.  And it might be further.

Cremation facilities are seriously expensive to set up from scratch, so it is hard for anyone to set up in competition. We are pleased to see that some are managing it though.  The harder Dignity push their prices up, the easier it will be for others to compete, but it will never be easy. Perhaps the Competition and Markets Authority should look it Dignity’s crematoriums. In effect, they are local monopolies and should be price controlled.

There is a grave (sorry!) danger of the Co-op and Dignity – who are already working closely together – will use their position in the market to push prices up further. Dignity are growing their profits handsomely – at the expense of grieving families. And they do it by hiding behind the names of the family firms they have bought out so that they look independent.

We are proud of our support of genuine independent funeral directors who tend to offer a better service at a lower cost. We intend to continue to promote the services of independent funeral directors, and the prepaid plans which help to ensure the survival of competition in the market, which is under threat.

Cut Down Cut Price Funeral Plans

Cut Down Cut Price Funeral Plans – A New Breed.

Cut price funeral plans

Why so cheap?

So what is a cut down cut price funeral plan? Should you consider them? We think there is scope for misselling here.  The plans are complicated, and few people read the small print.  We do, to protect our clients.

The funeral plan market is very competitive and the public are always keen to find a cut price bargain funeral plan.  That is great, as long as you understand just how the plan has been set up to keep its’ price low.

These types of plans are always cremation only plans.

So how are they cut down to be cut price funeral plans?

  1. Cremation prices vary substantially depending on the time of day. Typically, the cost will be lower for a funeral starting after 4 pm, or finishing before 10 am. Why? Because those time slots are less convenient for family and friends and the traffic is often worse. So the cut price funeral plans
  2. Crematoriums also vary widely in what they charge. So if the cut price funeral plan provider can choose the crematorium, chances are they can pay a lot less.  The disadvantage is that they might choose a crematorium 4o to 50 miles away.  Couple that with the early or late time for the service, and you can begin to see why these plans won’t suit everyone.
  3. Funeral Directors costs vary widely too, and with cut price funeral plans, you don’t get to chose the undertaker.  The prepaid funeral plan company will choose them.  You won’t get a bad one, that isn’t an issue.  But they may not be local and could be based as much as 30 miles away.

So if you have someone selling you cut price funeral plans, make sure they go slowly through the terms and conditions before you sign up.  And if you do buy a cut down funeral plan, please make sure your family are aware of it.  We are NOT fans in general.  The savings are not enough for the potential problems.

How To Choose a Funeral Plan

How to choose a funeral plan.

how-to-choose-a-funeral-planWe all know that funeral costs are rising far faster than normal retail prices.  But how to  choose a funeral plan?  They are more complicated than meets the eye, and it is very easy to mistake a plan with vital parts missing for a bargain.  As our professional advice is available without cost, it makes sense to at least talk to us.  Very often, we can offer a useful discount on plans too.  SO what have you got to lose by having a 5 minute chat with us?

How to choose a funeral plan step 1.  What do you want your plan to do?

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

Most funeral plans guarantee to cover the cost of the funeral director’s services.  Many also provide an indexed contribution of £840 to £1,200 (as at October 2016) towards third party costs.  These are ministers and doctor’s fees, and cremation costs.  The cost of digging and re-filling a grave is included, but not the cost of buying a burial plot.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 2.  What type of plan do you want?

  1. Life insurance plans are not funeral plans and should not be considered as such.
  2. Direct cremation where the family have no involvement?  These are the cheapest complete plans, but are likely to upset family and friends who are not aware of the severe restrictions.
  3. Basic plans which cover only  the funeral directors fee.  They are much better than nothing, but leave the family to find the doctors, ministers and cremation or burial costs. It is often hard for the public to tell which type of plan it is.
  4. Full plans covering the funeral director, doctor, minister, ceremony at the crematorium and cremation or cost of digging and refilling grave, but NOT the cost of the grave.  Church services, burial plots, extra mileage for the undertaker would cost more.  No cars are provided for the family, just the hearse.
  5. As above, plus limousine/s for the family, posher or alternative coffins.  You can make pretty much any sort of arrangement.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 3.  Costs and payment options.

If you can pay in full at once, that is great.  Most providers offer interest free installments over a year, sometimes more.  For longer periods, you will be paying some interest. But the chances are that the interest will be a lot less than the increase in funeral plan prices over the period. Typically, you can pay a deposit then pay the rest off over up to 10 years in set monthly installments.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 4.   Flexibility.

Many local undertakers offer their own plans. However, you may have difficulty if you move to a different area, perhaps to be near children when you are old.  Some prepaid plans are “sold” to undertakers local to you, and that can slow down the process of arranging your funeral.  The more flexible the plan from that point of view the better.  You don’t want a plan where the nearest undertaker in the chain is 100 miles away!  Some plans will also allow you to donate your plan to be used by a family member who dies unexpectedly, perhaps in a car accident. This can be a real boon, even if it does mean you need to buy a new plan.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 5.   Family and Friends.

Have you allowed for the level of involvement they would wish to have? Have you made your wishes clear?  Does your executor know what they are?  You can change your wishes at any time, but it is as well to put them in writing.  Ask for our Guide to Funeral Wishes.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 6 – read our reviews.

Our  series of reviews are clearly not personalised for you, but they will give you a good insight into the pros and cons of each funeral plan provider.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 7 – get independent advice.

Funeral Plan Enquiry

Family Funeral Plan – use our enquiry form to the right.

That’s where we come in.  Avoid the pitfalls, save money and make sure you do get the right plan.   There is a lot more to it than cost! We always send multiple quotes, but with a recommendation as to which plan we think is the best value for your unique circumstances.

PS Don’t wait too long as prices rise every few months – why not contact us today?