Buying a prepaid funeral plan enables you to pay for the costs of your funeral yourself, so relatives don’t have the burden of funeral expenses after your death. It also means you can choose a funeral director and specify what sort of ceremony you would like. By buying a prepaid funeral plan, you can inflation-proof the costs of your funeral and pay for it at today’s prices.
What costs are involved?
There are two areas of cost involved in a funeral: those of the funeral director, and other associated costs, known as ‘disbursements’, which include things like minister’s fees, cremation or burial expenses, flowers, coffin and so on.
Most 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.
Many companies now offer prepaid funeral plans, so it pays to shop around. When choosing, make sure you know what they will do with your money in the interim – if they are going to invest it be aware that investments can go wrong, and if your money is lost your relatives may find themselves liable for the costs after all.
Why buy a plan?
Funeral costs will continue to rise, so it may make good financial sense to pay now.
By buying in advance you can also choose the type of service you would like – if, for example, you want to be buried in a woodland ground you can find a funeral director who can accommodate these wishes. You can be as prescriptive as you want – down to the location, hymns, cars, flowers etc.
Remember though that some family members may want to make their own tribute to you, and this can be a helpful way for people to say goodbye, so leave room for personal input from relatives as well.
What to look out for?
Try and choose a plan that allows for changes to be made – what feels right now may not in 10 years’ time. Or your wishes may change if another family member dies before you do. Look carefully at where the company will invest your money – both to make sure it is safe and it is not being invested in areas you don’t want.