Funerals can sometimes come at great expense and put pressure on the bereaved – preparing for this by making arrangements yourself through a pre-paid funeral is a truly considerate parting gift. Pre-paid funeral plans allow you to free your loved ones from some of the emotional and financial burden that your passing may bring.
How to plan a pre-paid funeral
There are two main methods of buying a pre-paid funeral, either through a funeral plan provider or directly from a local funeral director. Either way, payment options should be flexible – you may wish to make a one-off payment, or make monthly payments spread over a period of time to suit you. The longer you spread the payments out, however, the higher administration fees and interest you will incur. 12-monthly payment plans should amount to the same as a one-off payment, but any longer will cost you more.
Expenses of a pre-paid funeral
A pre-paid funeral allows you to shoulder that cost now, instead of leaving your relatives with what is bound to be a higher cost in the future. The money you pay will generally be stored in a secure trust to guarantee the funeral director costs. This allows you to avoid the inevitable impact of inflation and rising prices further down the road. It does not necessarily guarantee all funeral costs however, especially concerning burial fees, which are likely to increase and could still leave your loved ones with a bill to pay.
What a pre-paid funeral includes
A simple funeral plan usually pays for the funeral director services, which at their most basic include transport and management of the deceased, the casket price and the administration of the funeral. Basic plans may be limited in options concerning the actual service, transport for friends and relatives and the use of certain amenities. There may also be limits imposed on how far the provider will travel to collect the deceased. When you have decided which factors of the funeral are most important to you, make sure the plan you aim for comprehensively covers them.
Whilst most plans will guarantee a price-freeze on the funeral director’s costs, they may not cover ‘disbursements’, or third-party costs, such as related professional services including burial, doctor, minister, organist, choir, grave-digging and cremation fees. These prices can vary, and are difficult to plan in advance, so they are less likely to be included in your pre-paid funeral plan. You can set aside an additional contribution to cover such costs, however, to ensure that your loved ones aren’t billed for any shortfalls.
Changes to your plan
Travelling away from your local area should be considered in your initial plan. If you wish to transfer your plan to a different director, or to make adjustments for your funeral, these can be easily arranged with your provider, though you may incur fees from additional costs.
Funerals and VAT
Currently, funerals in the UK are not subject to VAT, so you should not have to pay any additional taxes on your pre-paid funeral plan.
Ursula Jones writes about CPJ Field & Co prepaid funeral plans, for more information please visit http://www.cpjfield.co.uk/