According to a press release issued by insurers Sun Life on the 13th of September 2016, funeral costs are rising at a rate that far outstrips that of inflation, making them one of the elements in the overall increase in prices. In just over 10 years, the cost of a funeral has effectively doubled in price, says their 10th annual Cost of Dying Report.
With costs rising at such an alarming rate, many individuals and their families are likely to struggle when it comes to paying for the final arrangements they wish to be made for a deceased loved one.
Prepaid funeral plans offer a way of making sufficient financial provision to ensure your final wishes are not only respected, but paid for in advance at today’s prices.
If you are thinking of taking advantage of such a plan, there are a number of points you might wish to take into account, including the following.
- The plan that suits you
There are a number of providers and an even greater number of different funeral plans designed to meet the needs and requirements of a wide range of customers.
A funeral is – by its very nature – a highly personal and particular occasion, so you want to make sure that any plan you choose is capable of meeting in full the precise arrangements you have chosen. The principal consideration, of course, is the service to be provided by the funeral directors you want to conduct the service – and the ability to choose an alternative, if the first happen to go out of business in the interval.
- What is included in the plan
Funeral arrangements typically involve a number of separate elements of expenditure – from the funeral directors’ services, to payment for a burial site or cremation, the hire of cars, flowers and the venue for any reception or wake.
It is important to remember that no prepaid funeral plan is going to cover every one of these costs.
Plans typically cover the principal cost, the funeral directors’ fees and disbursement, but are unlikely to extend to other elements, such as the hire of additional cars, the purchase and arrangement of flowers, or the costs involved in arranging a post-service reception or wake.
- Is the provider registered by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA)
You might also want to make sure that the provider of your prepaid funeral plan is registered by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), which exists to make certain that its registered providers are delivering a service which results in your getting the funeral you have paid for when the time eventually comes.
The FPA’s Rules and Code of Conduct are designed, for example, to ensure that the money you have paid to the provider is kept safely and securely by them either in a separate, independent trust fund or used to purchase a whole of life insurance policy guaranteed to meet the required costs.
Providers’ compliance with the FPA’s Rules and Code of Conduct is tested every year, since re-registration is required on an annual basis.