We don't normally pay in advance for services that we hope we won't need for 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years. But the one certainty we all share is that we will eventually die and most of us will want a funeral to mark our passing.
Making provisions to pre-pay our funerals helps avoid financial stress on family and friends when the time finally comes. And by taking control of the planning we can make sure we get the send-off we want.
A funeral plan is a popular way to make sure that you get the peace of mind of knowing the cost of your funeral director's services are paid for. But is it a good way?
Beat rising funeral costs
According to 2018's 'Cost of Dying' report from insurance company SunLife, the overall cost of organising a funeral, wake and administering an estate has exceeded £9,000 for the first time ever. Looking just at funeral costs, and assuming historic rates of increase continue, forecasts from Golden Charter show the average costs of a basic funeral will rise from £4,271 this year to a whopping £7,579 in 2028 and to an incredible £13,449 in 2038.
SunLife's 'Cost of Dying' report has become an annual reminder of the need to protect against constant funeral price inflation. And one of the biggest advantages of a funeral plan is that it fixes the cost of funeral director's services at today's prices. With a funeral plan in place, no matter how much the price of your funeral director's services increase in the future, once your plan is paid in full, your family will have nothing more to pay for the services included in your plan.
Range of payment options
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough, but having to then find the money to pay for their funeral is additional stress that no family needs at the most difficult of times.
One third of respondents to Sun Life's 2018 survey said they had to pay for some or all of a relative's funeral expenses. And more than 10% said they had encountered notable financial problems because of funeral expenses, with some dipping into their savings, taking on debt, and even selling belongings to cover unexpected costs.
A pre-paid funeral plan avoids the financial shock of unplanned funeral expenses, but it also offers flexible payment options to suit every budget. Plan prices vary according to the level of service desired, but all funeral plans can be paid for in one lump sum, or the cost can be spread across 12 months at no extra charge. Dependent on your age you can even pay by instalments over a period of between two to 30 years, making a funeral plan an affordable option for as little as £13.59 per month.
However you choose to pay for your funeral plan, you'll want to know that your money is safe and secure until it is needed.
The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) sets out rules to ensure funeral plan payments are protected and the required funds are available when they are needed to pay for your funeral. Registered by the FPA, all Golden Charter's customers are protected by this strict Code of Practice with finances and procedures independently reviewed by the FPA.
Most of the payments made by Golden Charter customers are paid into the Golden Charter Trust, a financially separate entity currently estimated at more than £760 million. Plan holder payments are held by the Trust until they are required to pay for the cost of the funeral, at which time the money paid in will be given to the chosen funeral director.
Alternatively, fixed monthly payments are paid into a leading life assurance policy and will remain there until such time as it is required to pay for your funeral arrangements.
It's your funeral
In the context of funeral plans, 'It's your funeral' is actually a positive.
Although many of us have strong ideas around what kind of funeral service we would like for ourselves, SunLife's 'Cost of Dying' report 2018 shows that very few of us communicate these ideas to loved ones. In the 2018 survey just 1% of respondents knew all the wishes of the person they were organising a funeral for.
Pre-planning your funeral gives you the chance to tell your family how you want things to be. When you buy a funeral plan, you choose your funeral director and can leave detailed instructions about how you want your funeral service to be. This can cover everything from the music you want to your choice of flowers and even dress codes.
Keeping it local
Taking out a funeral plan with Golden Charter also guarantees that your funeral will be conducted by a local business. Owned by independent funeral directors, there are now nearly 3,000 funeral directors that accept Golden Charter plans, making our network of funeral director branches one of the biggest in the UK.
Access to this network also means that in the unlikely event that your funeral director goes out of business, or if you move to a new house, you will always have alternative options nearby.
Guaranteed peace of mind
There are many ways to arrange your funeral in advance. A funeral plan is one of the simplest, safest and most flexible options, with payment made and held securely, your funeral director chosen, and your wishes documented.
Golden Charter has one of the largest network of independent funeral directors in the UK. Many are long-standing, family-run businesses and all provide a compassionate and professional service. Find out more about how you can plan for your funeral with one of the funeral directors in our network. Request a free, no obligation information pack below or call 0808 169 4534.