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Funerals? Being prepared and paying up front

It has been a week of reflection for me – it’s the anniversary of my Dad’s death – a time when I take stock and think about events in the past year. The most significant event happened in August when I lost one of my best friends, I am planning his memorial service at the moment. Plus reading Kathy Lawrence’s blog earlier in the week started me thinking about funerals.
Rising cost of funerals
Funerals are our way of saying good bye and paying our respects to our loved ones. We never really consider the cost of the funeral, which as I discovered when I had to organise one, can be much more than you think. In fact, the cost of funerals is going up rapidly and according to SunLife the cost on average will rise to £6,107 by 2023. It may not be something many of that worries us in our fifties, but it can be a worry to ageing parents who don’t want to leave their children with this cost. Many now consider a prepaid funeral plan allowing for the costs to be paid up front.
What is a Prepaid funeral plan?
How do you buy one? You can buy a funeral plan from either a funeral-plan provider or directly from a funeral director. You have the choice of either paying a lump sum or monthly instalments, usually over one to ten years. One-off payments usually range between £3,000 and £5,000. It can cover whatever you want it to including the funeral director costs, cars, crematorium service or burial costs (although this might only be a contribution which will need topping up), it usually doesn’t include the cost of a burial plot or flowers. These need to be paid for separately.
Is the money safe?
As I was considering all this, one question kept popping back into my head – if the money is paid up front, is it safe? So I went to the Which? money guide to check out the facts about safeguarding the funeral plan. When you hand over your money the provider places your money in a trust fund or an insurance policy which pays out at the death. These providers are bound by the code of conduct of Funeral Planning Association. As part of this code, the FPA’s members and the FPA itself pledge that if a provider goes bust they will honour paying for funerals that are covered by funeral plans. Feeling much happier now.
What next?
I want to talk to Mum about this, but it’s one of those difficult conversations to have. She is still very active and no obvious health problems so certainly not something to drop casually into the conversation. Any thoughts?
Do any of you have any experience of speaking to parents about this? If so, please let me know via the forum