Ecclesiastical Funeral Plans took over the name of Funeral Planning Services for new plans in 2017, so if your prepaid funeral plan is older than that, contact FPS 1995 Ltd. They are a little hard to pin down as it would seem that funeral directors have a free hand to price plans as the wish. The also are behind Perfect Choice Funeral plans. Their websiste doesn’t do a great deal to make life easier!
They also offer the so called Regular Payment Plan, which is one of those awful Over 50s Plans which are best avoided in my opinion: indeed, I am a little suprised they feel it appropriate to sell them, given their Christian background..
But back to Ecclesiastical Funeral plans. Ecclesiastical Planning Services is part of a long established and worthy company, so I was somewhat disconcerted when we read their Terms and Conditions of Business.
Issue 1) Consumer Protection
The first thing that struck us when reading their terms and conditions seems to us to be a breach of consumer protection. With most companies, the funds are held by an independent body – usually a trust or an insurance company, at arm’s length. That means that consumers are protected if the funeral plan company goes out of business. Weirdly, Ecclesiastical entrust the investment to an insurance company, but THEY retain ownership of the policy which would indicate that their creditors rights – in the case of their bankruptcy – would go ahead of yours as your investment belongs to Ecclesiastical, not you or an independent body. See clause 6.1 in their terms and conditions. I am sure this is not their intention, as they are not a fly by night business, but it certainly concerns us.
Issue 2) Ecclesiastic Funeral Plan Prices: No National Pricing
With most companies, you can check out costs online before you contact the company. Not so with Ecclesiastical funeral plans which appear to be priced individually, which means that if you move, or the funeral director who did the previous calculation is taken over or closed down, your plan may be retrospectively repriced. Most companies supporting independent undertakers have national deals to avoid this potentially very upsetting issue.
This means that two different funeral directors in the same town could quote very different prices for Ecclesiastical Funeral Plans. You also need to be sure that they add an adequate amount for third party costs and don’t just sell you a plan which covers their fees but not the 50% or so addition needed for third party costs – crematorium fees, service etc.
Where we are based, the nearest supported undertaker on their map at the time of this review was 45 minutes away.
Issue 3) Ecclesiastical Funeral Plans Offer NO Transferability
If a family member dies and there is no access to adequate funds, you cannot donate your plan to them. (8.2 The Plan is personal to you and cannot be transferred.) Not everyone allows this, but it is an important feature which does nothing but benefit the client and the company who get the chance to sell you a second plan!