There has been some recent controversy surrounding pre-paid funeral plans. The media have focused on plans that do not offer a comprehensive service or leave the bereaved with an additional charge for certain parts of the funeral. The reality is that no funeral plan guarantees an outcome but they provide an ‘insurance policy’ against as much of the funeral cost as the client is prepared to cover.
We are members of the Funeral Plan Advice Service (FPAS) which provides an independent view across the pre-paid funeral plan market. The plans Kept Assets Limited recommend are thoroughly vetted and use the following simple checks:
1. FPAS Check that the plan actually covers the funeral. Unbelievably, some don’t and it is quite hard to work out how they avoid that without being misleading (we think some are!)
2. Your money must be invested in a fund which is ring-fenced from the firm and managed independently. The cheque should always be payable to the funeral plan company and not the undertaker. We have heard of funeral directors who do not fully understand their legal obligations in this area, and that could put your cash at risk.
3. Most (but not all) insurance based plans have no cash value so if you stop or miss payments you could lose everything. In most cases, the death benefit does not rise with inflation. So every year, the gap between the cost of a funeral and the death benefit leaves more and more for those left behind to pay. (the free pen or carriage clock may not lead to the best deal for you!)
4. Being tied into a specific funeral director or chain of funeral directors can create all sorts of problems if, later on, you find that you need to move to an area they don’t cover. That could lead to extra costs of the old funeral director making a return journey to collect you or for you to have a funeral in a place which hasn’t been your home for some time.
5. Does the funeral plan allow for family and friends to attend? Many cheaper offers don’t, they just collect you and take you to a crematorium which may be up to 200 miles away. You are then cremated immediately, with no opportunity for family or friends to attend and mourn. This is not the right solution for most people but can save a fair amount of money and we do receive requests to provide for the most basic of departures.
We believe that independent advice is essential if you are to be sure of investing in a quality funeral plan tailored to your wishes and budget. Why not contact us for an independent view today?