IT’S not easy to think about planning a funeral, and it can be even harder to talk about it openly with loved ones. There is a lot to consider, and many people worry about the financial burden they are leaving behind, making the whole process overwhelming.
With the cost of organising a funeral constantly rising, it’s more important than ever to be prepared. Logan Steele, general manager of Age Scotland Enterprises, offers a few tips on taking the stress out of planning.
1: Take out a funeral plan
Since many funeral directors now require a large deposit before the actual funeral takes place, arranging for costs to be covered in advance makes sure that grieving family and friends won’t have to bear the responsibility. Make sure you shop around for the best deal. A good place to look is the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) website www.funeralplanningauthority.com, which ensures that whichever provider you go with, safeguards will be in place to protect you and your funds, and your plan will be delivered to the highest standards.
2: Check that your money is safe.
Look out for the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) logo, which will let you know that the plan provider is registered. There is no legal obligation here, but taking out a plan with a provider that is registered with the FPA ensures that you are safeguarded so that when the time comes the funeral provided is in accordance with the plan you bought.
3: What’s guaranteed?
Knowing whether cremation or burial services are included, whether any disbursements (eg doctor’s or minister’s fees) are included, what type of coffin and funeral vehicle is included and what happens if your family wish to add any extras will help to avoid any costly surprises.
4: The total cost
It’s important you fully understand when your regular payments will be set and how much they will be for. You should also check the total amount that will be paid so you are confident of the value you will receive from your funeral plan and can make true comparisons.
5: Create the plan you want
Go with a funeral plan provider that allows you to outline what arrangements you wish to make. Ensure you can include special requests, such as a favourite hymn, a specific piece of music or a choice of flowers.
6Write it down
When the time comes this will ensure there is no confusion over what was agreed and will take any burden away from your loved ones when they are grieving.
7: Find out your rights
You need to know what happens if you change your mind. Find out your plan provider’s cancellation policy and whether there is a fee. You also need to know in advance that your provider has a clear complaints procedure for your next of kin to follow should anything go wrong.
8: Which funeral directors are included?
If you relocate you might want to hold your funeral elsewhere and this may mean changing funeral directors. It will be useful to know whether the plan that you have arranged is easily transferable to another funeral director.
9: Is your money held in trust?
It’s important that the trust funds involved in the plan are managed separately from your plan provider. We recommend that anyone looking to potentially purchase a funeral plan should exercise care when buying what they believe to be a trustworthy funeral plan. You should ensure the plan provider is legitimate and financially viable and that the plan terms are designed to deliver the outcome you desire.
10: Tell someone
It is essential to let your next of kin know that you have a funeral plan so that there is someone to oversee arrangements.
The rising cost of funerals is a real issue, which is why Age Scotland Enterprises offers a funeral plan to freeze costs at today’s prices. This allows you the peace of mind that no matter when the time comes, once you’ve got an Age Scotland Enterprises Funeral plan paid in full, the services of your plan will be covered. Call 0131 668 8025 or visit www.ageuk.org.uk/funeralplan for further information.