Choosing the right prepaid funeral plan or package

Choosing the right prepaid funeral plan or package means that you can inflation-proof the costs of your funeral and pay for it at today’s prices!

What’s more, planning you own funeral allows the arrangements to be made in advance, on your own terms. Prepaid funeral plans also enable your surviving relatives to organise your funeral with the minimum of financial complications, at a time when they are likely to be under considerable stress.

What is a prepaid funeral plan?

A funeral plan pulls together all aspects of a funeral, so that the appropriate arrangements can be made and costs calculated, in advance of death.

Funeral costs are usually split into two parts: the costs charged by the funeral director and the other associated costs, known as ‘disbursements’ e.g. minister’s fees, cremation or burial expenses, flowers, coffin, etc.

Prepaid funeral plan options

Most prepaid funeral plans allow the funeral director’s costs to be paid in full, in advance, with a guarantee that no other costs will be charged, whereas the cost of disbursements cannot be guaranteed, as they may rise and are not under the control of the funeral director.

Funeral directors typically offer both standard funeral packages and customised plans to handle specific requirements.

Method of payment

Prepaid funeral packages generally offer the choice of making a single one-off payment, or monthly instalments for an agreed period (usually one, two or three years).

Benefits of choosing a prepaid funeral plan

The average cost of a funeral has doubled in the last decade, so a prepaid funeral plan appeals to many people, because it allows them to pay a fixed price to cover the cost of their funeral, however much prices may rise, in the future.

Making the right choices

Choosing the right prepaid funeral plan or package involves making a number of decisions, some fundamental, others involving more personal presentational choices.

Most funeral plans offer a range of fixed price packages including some or all of the following options: either burial or cremation, choice of coffin, preparation of the corpse before the funeral, hearse and official car for mourners, planning the funeral procession route, arranging funeral service details, booking the necessary personnel including pallbearers, minister, gravedigger (if required), provision of a burial plot or dealing with the deceased’s ashes following cremation, payment of fees for death certification, cremation or burial, etc.

To many people this list appears surprisingly long and complex, so it certainly makes sense for the options to be considered well in advance, preferably in consultation with your next of kin.

Prepaid funeral plan flexibility

One important point that is often overlooked when choosing a prepaid funeral package or plan is how easy it is to change the details, once the funeral plan has been taken out?

Bear in mind that, over the years, your circumstances could change: a close relative might die; you might remarry or change your religious affiliation. So, always choose a prepaid funeral package that offers a degree of flexibility; keep your options open, whatever your age.