What’s included in a prepaid funeral plan?

As each funeral provider will structure their pre-paid funeral plans in their own way, what is included will differ. As does the level of flexibility in each plan and what you are able to alter Those who prefer traditional funerals will likely find standard funeral plans most appealing, though there are a growing number of providers offering more bespoke and alternative pre-paid plans, such as eco-friendly funerals or burials at sea.

What Kind of Thing is Included As Standard In A Funeral Plan?

Typically a funeral plan will cover the burial or cremation fees. These can vary but the average cost of burial in the UK in 2020 was £5,033 and the average cost of cremation was £3,885. This includes the burial or cremation fees, as well as celebrant and funeral director fees. Most, though not all funeral plans, will include these essentials and are likely to also include Doctors’ fees, though again this is not guaranteed.

Most funeral directors will also include the costs of care for the body and transport of the body to the funeral directors and then, later, to the funeral. In addition to the hearse, some providers may supply one or more cars (often limousines) for mourners.

It is also common to include viewing in the chapel of rest for family, although some funeral directors will offer this just once and others will include multiple opportunities for visits. This is something worth raising with providers when discussing pre-paid funeral plans.

A coffin is typically included in a standard pre-paid funeral plan. However, this may not be the coffin of your choosing and so it’s important to consider your options and whether the coffin included in the plan meets your wishes.

Beyond this, other inclusions will vary. However, one key benefit of a pre-paid funeral plan is that you have the opportunity to make the plan. This means sitting with the funeral director and making arrangements in terms of how you would like the service to be conducted and what you’d like included. Such as particular readings, songs, poems and music. Those personal touches that come without a cost, but allow you to set the sentiment for your farewell. Aside from securing the fixed cost and taking the financial burden from family, this is often a driving reason some people opt for a pre-paid funeral plan – To ensure the arrangements are as they would wish.

What Can Be Included In A Bespoke Pre-Paid Funeral Plan?

Some pre-paid funeral plans may include some non-essentials. Or else, you may be able to add these onto a more bespoke plan at an additional cost.

Those aspects not usually included in a pre-paid funeral plan might include:

  • Flowers
  • Additional cars or carriages for the journey to the funeral location
  • Catering and other costs usually incurred for a wake
  • Headstone or plaque
  • Embalming
  • Order of service
  • Invitations and notices

There is nothing to stop you from leaving behind assets or money for your funeral, to be spent as per your wishes. However, any assets will likely be subject to inheritance tax, whereas all you include in your pre-paid funeral plan will be protected.

Although it may be disappointing to find that the above elements are not included in a pre-paid funeral plan, this is not necessarily a disadvantage. Pre-paid funeral plans can be cost-effective because they secure you a fixed rate for your funeral. That means if funeral fees rise with inflation then you avoid this extra cost. On the other hand, flowers, order of service, venue hire for a wake, catering, etc, are usually negotiable costs and so it may be possible to achieve better value if these are not part of a pre-paid funeral plan. Although, this can be difficult for a family member to do when coping with a loss.

Final Thoughts

The term ‘pre-paid funeral plan’ can be seen to imply that all costs of a funeral are covered. However, this is very rarely the case. Different funeral plans cover different aspects of the funeral and some are more flexible than others. Even those things usually included in a funeral plan may not be in all and so it’s very important to thoroughly scrutinise any plans you’re considering.

It is also wise to choose from an FCA registered funeral plan provider as you can be sure they have been regulated and found to have adhered to the rules and standards.