Death – Facing the day…

Nobody likes talking about dying, but in reality some discussions and good advance planning really is beneficial to your family. The stark fact is that according to Sunlife in its ‘Cost of Dying’ report (2015), the cost of the average funeral has risen by 90% since 2004. The average cost of a funeral now stands at £4,078 and Age UK predicts that by 2022 the average cost of a funeral will have risen to £4,944.

It is true that investing this amount of money in an ISA will keep abreast of the rising costs of a funeral, but in reality, a really good funeral plan ensures that you have the type of funeral you really would like and that  it will reduce the stress and worry for your loved ones at a very difficult time. They will not have to worry about all the finer details at a time when they are grieving and will be confident that the funeral is how you would have liked it and importantly, that the cost is covered. There is a variety of different funeral plans available and some – including … covers all aspects of the funeral. Last year 200,000 policies were sold and customers had the choice of paying for their policies either in full or by monthly instalments.

The most comprehensive policies do take thought and time to complete. A  company representative will visit you in the comfort of your home to discuss the policy details and will return with a draft policy for you to read through to ensure that you are happy with all aspects before signing up. Some policies are excellent and need nothing more than a telephone call to your local Funeral Director (if they are an approved company for your chosen scheme) and they will guide you through the whole procedure – including legal requirements such as the issue and lodging of the Death Certificate. It is very reassuring that your nearest and dearest will have all the information that they need in one folder and importantly, that they do not have to worry about the cost of the funeral.

At such a difficult time for your family, it really makes things easier if your thoughts concerning coffin design (type of wood or one made from recyclable materials), flowers, funeral cars and type of service are all in your funeral plan. What is covered by the funeral plan does vary but the costs of the Funeral Directors and their services for conducting the funeral are covered and the cost of cremation and a service (if applicable) should be covered. If a burial is requested, the cost for the purchase of a grave plot can be £5,000 or more.  The Age UK Funeral Plan provides one of the largest burial contributions on the market and this increases each year in line with RPI inflation.  Dignity Funerals offers Amber, Pearl and Diamond funeral plans to suit everyone (www.dignityfunerals.co.uk). It is really essential to check exactly what is covered by your chosen funeral plan, as well as burial plots, such things as printing for the Order of Service or an inscription in the Book of Remembrance are not included and it is important to know so that there are are no surprises on the day. Importantly, by taking out a funeral plan, the costs are ‘locked’ at today’s prices.

It is true that Funeral Plans have been getting some bad press recently because of aggressive marketing and pushy ‘in home’ sales agents. It has also been found that some companies have taken a sizeable chunk of the policy cost as commission and administration charges rather than leaving it as part of the total amount of money invested for the funeral – it is well worth asking the company representative about such costs.

The best advice is to do your research and compare Funeral Plan companies thoroughly. There are a variety of different websites that compare the different companies such as

www.comparefuneraloptions.co.uk. The websites include customer reviews which are well worth reading. Age UK has a division that helps and advises on how to choose and organise a funeral plan (www.funeralplan.ageuk.org.uk). A number of companies such as Age UK and Golden Charter (www.goldencharter.co.uk) have an information pack that can be sent to  new customers in the post which means that you can read all a bout the policies offered before  the company’s representative visit. Take your time to make decisions and really feel confident that you know exactly what is included in your plan and

then rest assured that you have done all you can to prepare for the future…



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