Why considering a funeral plan should be essential to your later life planning

In truth no one enjoys thinking about death or dying and least of all their own funeral.

Grandmother, grandfather and grandson laughing together.

In truth no one enjoys thinking about death or dying and least of all their own funeral. However, without any plans in place, your loved ones will be left with the responsibility of making arrangements, which can add financial and emotional pressure at an already difficult time.

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By making preparations now, you can put all the arrangements in place, as well as making your wishes known, which will simplify things when the time comes. Don’t put off the inevitable. Take time now to consider your funeral and what the costs are likely to be.

One of the first, and most important, things to consider is how you’re going to make provision for your funeral. There are many options open to you, some of which are outlined below.

Savings
You could look to use your savings to settle the funeral costs. However, with interest rates currently so low, savings are struggling to keep up with inflation.
Funeral costs have risen much faster than inflation. Between 2011 and 2019, average funeral costs increased from £2,971 to £4,202*. That’s a 41% rise. It’s a trend that’s been going on for a while and if this continues, by 2028**, we project the average UK funeral could have risen to £6,206.

In addition, if you rely on your loved ones paying for your funeral from your savings, the accounts may be frozen upon death and, in some instances, the cash only released (to the Will beneficiaries) once the cost of winding up the estate has been met.

Your Will
Using your estate, (which is made up of the total money, property and belongings you have) to settle your funeral costs, might be a possibility. However, this could lead to problems for the loved ones you leave behind.

Locating your Will can sometimes be difficult for the family after you’ve gone. And making sure there’s time for it to be read before the funeral may not always be possible.

Many families also have to go through probate, which might result in a possible delay in releasing funds to pay for funeral director’s services and third party expenses, which often have to be paid for up front, or very soon after the funeral.

Over 50s life insurance
Another option is to take out a life insurance plan – usually known as an ‘Over 50s Whole of Life Insurance Plan’. Such plans guarantee to pay a fixed cash amount towards your funeral costs, however, be aware that the cash sum may not cover the whole cost of the funeral.

Premiums and cover remain fixed while the plan is running, but because the cash amount is fixed, inflation will reduce the value of the payout over time.
The cash amount is payable upon your death or when you reach 90 (whichever comes first), as long as you have paid the premiums for a specified minimum period. However, if you fail to keep up the premiums, cover will stop, and you may lose any cash-in value. In addition, depending on how long you live, you could end up paying a lot more in premiums than the plan will pay out.

Funeral Plans
With some 165,000 funeral plans sold† in 2019, this is an increasingly popular choice for many people. A funeral plan allows you to arrange and prepay for your funeral in advance, which means costs for services in the plan are fixed at today’s prices. They also help to protect loved ones from the stress of arranging and finding the money to pay for your funeral when the time comes.

Before you take out a funeral plan, it’s essential to check with the funeral plan provider which costs are covered by the plan. This means you can further protect your loved ones from having to meet any additional or unexpected costs in the future.

Most funeral plans will guarantee to cover your funeral director’s costs and other third party fees such as the crematorium and Minister or Officiant’s fees. However, some plans only provide a contribution towards those costs. It’s advisable to look for the plans that guarantee these costs will be covered, for greater peace of mind.
Your family will usually be assigned a local funeral director who will assist when the time comes. Some larger plan providers operate a free telephone bereavement advice and counselling service should your family need one.

Important factors to consider when choosing a product to cover funeral costs
Radio Times has partnered with Dignity to offer a choice of four Prepaid Funeral Plans. Dignity introduced the UK’s first funeral plan in 1985. Since then, they have helped nearly one million people^ plan for their funeral in advance.

Dignity table for article

‡For anyone that chooses to set out any funeral wishes within their Will, this may assist loved ones if they’re aware of the contents of the Will, or if not, it is found and read before any funeral arrangements are made.

Peace of mind
If you choose to pay for your funeral plan over more than 12 months, and pass away before you’ve finished paying for it, Dignity will cover your outstanding balance.
They won’t ask your loved ones to pay a penny more than you’ve already paid for all the services included in your plan. That’s the Dignity Promiseⱡ.
Dignity prides itself on being there to help people at one of the most difficult times of their lives. It does this with compassion, openness, care and respect. But perhaps most importantly, the service provided comes highly recommended by the families that Dignity serves – in fact, 98%^ said that they would recommend Dignity to friends and relatives.

NEXT STEPS
Request your free guide online  or call 0800 033 4717 today, quoting RAD150ND, and find out how you can protect you and your family from rising funeral costs.
• When you receive your guide, choose the plan that best suits you and your families’ needs and budget.
• You can also personalise your plan so your family can have peace of mind knowing they can follow your wishes. You can detail as little or as much as you like.
• Call Dignity at any time if you have any questions and they will be happy to talk through the plan or payment options with you.

  

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*2011 – 2019 Matter Communications independent research.
**2019 – 2028: Forecast based on average annual compounded growth rate of 4.43% each year between 2011 and 2019.
^Dignity plc Annual Report and Accounts 2019
†Funeral Planning Authority, https://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/about-us/statistics/
ⱡPlease see the Instalment Payments section of the Funeral Plan Terms and Conditions for further details which is included in your FREE guide.
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