What they are, how they work and how secure any money paid is.
By the end of 2019, over 2 million funeral plans had been sold in the UK since 2002, according to the Funeral Planning Authority^.
However, there is still some uncertainty around funeral plans – what they are, how they work and how secure any money paid is.
So, what exactly is a funeral plan?
A funeral plan allows your clients to pay towards their funeral in advance and at today’s price. It’s a way of taking control of the unexpected, setting out the arrangements they would like including any personal wishes, and limiting the costs.
It’s practical, sensible and an essential consideration for your clients’ financial end-of-life planning.
The most comprehensive plans guarantee that the services included in the plan are covered. This means that there is nothing extra to pay for the services included in the plan, no matter how far in the future the funeral takes place.
My client already has an alternative solution in place to pay for their funeral
50+ life insurance policies, Cash ISAs or savings accounts can prove unreliable in meeting funeral costs. Some policies are only designed to pay out a set amount and do not take into account the rising costs of funerals. This means your clients could pay in more than they would be paid out – which could lead to further funds being needed when the time comes.
Even making provision in a Will can cause timing issues regarding the release of funds. For total reassurance, for your clients and their families, a prepaid funeral plan stands out as the practical choice.
Additionally, with a funeral plan, it’s more than just paying for the funeral – a trusted funeral plan provider also delivers that specified funeral as well.
What should I look for in a funeral plan provider to recommend to my clients?
Firstly, make sure that they’re registered with a professional body, such as the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), that regulates the operation of prepaid funeral plan providers. Providers that choose to register with the FPA must show that they are consistently operating to a high standard and looking after customer interests properly.
You should also find out who provides the guarantee – a funeral plan is a promise to provide a service in the future, so it will only be as good as the company that stands behind that promise.
It’s important that you trust the company, they’re financially secure and have an established history.
How can I be sure that my clients’ money is securely held?
With a funeral plan, the money your client pays is placed in either a trust fund or insurance policy, which then pays the funeral director the amount required for the funeral when the time comes. It’s prudent to check where your clients’ money will be invested and that it’s secure. It should be held completely independently of both the plan provider and funeral director. Some firms also publish an annual report.
Can my client make personal requests for my funeral?
Some funeral plan providers will allow your client to document as much or as little about their personal funeral wishes as they want.
This could be very general, such as specifying the colour of the funeral flowers, or more specifically detailing songs, readings, order of service or location, for example. If any of these personal wishes were to incur a cost, these would normally be met at the time of need. Some funeral plans will allow your client to make a contribution towards the cost of the services in advance, to further ease the burden on their loved ones at an already stressful time.
Dignity – the prudent choice
Dignity introduced the UK’s first funeral plan in 1985. Since then nearly one million people* have made provision for their funeral costs in advance with Dignity.
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. When surveyed, 98%* of Dignity customers said that they would recommend Dignity to friends and relatives.
If you’re interested in joining Dignity’s partner network, get in touch. Simply visit dignityfunerals.co.uk/funeral-plans/partner-with-dignity/ and one of Dignity’s Relationship Managers will be in contact with you.
^Funeral Planning Authority, https://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/about-us/statistics/
*Dignity plc Annual Report & Accounts 2019
This article originally appeared on IFA Magazine