We answer your questions on prepaid funeral plans as one of very few independent funeral plan advice companies in the UK.
My mother had a funeral plan, but we can’t trace it
[showhide more_text=Show Answer” less_text=Hide Answer”] Before 1985, nearly everything described as a funeral plan was actually a life insurance policy, though some funeral directors took fees in advance.
To check for a life insurance:
check your own, or the other person’s, bank account / credit card statements for evidence of payments to an insurer
contact the Unclaimed Assets Register online or by phone on 084 4481 8180
To check for a proper prepaid funeral plan:
Once again, check bank statements and paperwork first,
To check with firms regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority go HERE
For firms who are not members of the FPA, you will need to check individually. We have a list of the main ones here, and many others are just badged versions of the same plans.
What part of funeral plans is usually Guaranted?
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For the majority of funeral plans currently on the market, the only guaranteed part is the funeral directors fees as shown in the Terms and Conditions.
That doesn’t mean that there won’t be extra charges if you inadvertently agree to add something which was not in the original agreement, so always make it clear to the undertaker that you must agree in advance to any extras.
Typically, the funeral directors fees (ignoring extra limousiness, flowers, embalming, expensive coffins, church serevices etc) are something like two thirds of the cost of a cremation. Burials very much depend on the cost of the burial plot which can be hundreds or indeed many thousands of pounds.
Qustion? Are there any Fully Guaranteed Plans on the market?
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There are several which fully guarantee cremation funerals at the crematorium. But they still only guarantee what is in the plan, for obvious reasons. There is one plan which guarantees burials, excluding the cost of the burial plot. Church services and some other extras are not generally guaranteed as the costs are outside the control of the plan provider
Can I pay for a funeral plan over several years?
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Yes indeed, all the providers we are aware of offer instalment options, often interest-free if the plan is paid off over a short period – typically 1 or 2 years, If the initial period is longer than that then there will be an extra charge, usually called an admin fee.
Some providers will accept instalments over up to 25 years as long as you are 60 or under.
Do watch out for the transition between a prepaid funeral plan which pays for a funeral, and an Over 50s Life Insurance which does not build up any value or have inflation proofing of some description. Over 50s policies are disastrous if you miss payments as you may lose every penny.
My funeral plan company is not a member of the FPA – should I cancel it?
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The Funeral Planning Authority are important in the prepaid funeral market, and they are working hard to help comsumers. That said, UK companies selling plans should have sound financial arrangements in place to protect client money in one of two ways:
- The company establishes a separate Trust Fund into which goes your contribution after initial expenses. These Trust Funds have to have a majority of directors who are NOT associated with the main company, as their mission is to protect you and not the company. They will have accounts prepared every year, and every three years an Actuaries report will be prepared to check that the Trust has enough assets to deal with the deaths likely to occur.
- The funds, after expenses are handed to an individual insurance company to manage independently.
In both cases, if the funeral plan company goes out of business, the funds will still be available to pay a funeral director, though one suspects that guarantees might be lost, which is why we are careful about which Guaranteed Plans we recommend.
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What happens if the Funeral Plan Company goes out of business?
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As indicated in the previous question, all UK companies funds are ring fenced and there should be funds available for the funeral.
What is the biggest catch in Prepaid Funeral Plans?
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Where things can go wrong is if those arranging the funeral are not aware at the time that a funeral plan is in place. All plans have terms and conditions and one of the KEY ones is that you MUST speak to the provider before approaching a Funeral Director UNLESS they have already appointed a Funeral Director. In rare cases, the undertaker might have changed hands and no longer accept the plans, and the provider may have been unable to contact the deceased to advise them of the change. So ALWAYS safest to ring the company first, or risk losing all or part of the benefits.
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How Secure is My Money?
This topic is covered here.