Pre-paid funeral plans

One of the changes that has had the greatest impact in the funeral industry in the last 65 years has been the growth of pre-paid funeral plans. Back when I was starting out, the idea of thinking about your own funeral would have seemed macabre rather than practical… how times have changed.

A lot of taboos have been completely discarded since then – things we once thought we couldn’t mention, we now think of as healthy to talk about – and rightly so. The emphasis has shifted subtly from mourning to celebration – or rather a gentle mixture of the two. We grieve but remember the good times more freely.

In the case of funeral plans, not only has it become socially acceptable to talk about dying, death and funerals, it’s also become a multi-million-pound industry.

The TV is full of adverts for funeral plans, as well as direct cremations, the other new trend in funerals. (That in itself seems strange, since at one time the funeral industry certainly would not have had ‘trends’). The growth of the concept of the funeral plan has brought a whole host of funeral plan providers to the market place.  Most of these have been very sound and well run. But, as with any new industry, there have been teething problems and some less well-run providers.

Settling the future

Essentially, the funeral plan is a form of insurance policy. It insures you against the cost of a future funeral by allowing you to pay either a lump sum or a series of payments to fix the cost of your funeral well in advance. Funerals involve a great deal of work and resources, with at least 60 hours of working time as well as items like a coffin, transport, flowers, venues etc. Hardly a surprise that they constitute a major investment for most.

The difference, of course, is that when I started out, it could never be the deceased who paid for the funeral; it was always the relatives. Now, thanks to the pre-paid funeral plan, it can be the deceased who pays, and often who decides where the funeral should be, what music and readings they would like, whether there should be flowers, and even how people should dress. All of this can ease the burden for family and friends considerably.

The idea, and indeed the reality for so many people, is that once you have your pre-paid funeral plan in place, you can forget about your funeral and focus on enjoying your life to the full.

Coming of age

It is a positive thing, therefore, that the pre-paid funeral plan industry will now be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is a sign that the pre-paid funeral plan has come of age, firmly established as a huge benefit to those who choose this route to settle their future well in advance.

Therefore, I’m delighted that, after many years, from 29th July 2022, the pre-paid funeral plan industry will be properly regulated and overseen by the FCA. From that date, only FCA approved companies will be allowed to provide or sell pre-paid funeral plans.

As a local family funeral director, the Hunnaball Family Funeral Group will offer free guidance about funeral plans to anyone who asks, including those who are now feeling anxious in the light of the FCA changes.

As funeral directors, we are here to help everyone, whether planning well ahead or facing a heart-breaking bereavement now. After 65 years in the industry, I think that this is actually the most important thing.

For more information about the FCA changes to pre-paid funeral plans, click here.