Is prepaying your funeral a good idea?

Is prepaying your funeral a good idea?

Is it financially beneficial to take out a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan, or should you leave it to be handled by your loved ones after you pass? This article by G. Seller will help answer those questions and hopefully clarify the benefits and potential drawbacks of prepaying your funeral.

By the end of it, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that suits your needs and preferences, when it comes to such a delicate topic. It is important to note that Funeral Plans are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as of the 29th July 2022. This means that anyone providing a funeral plan has to be authorised to do so by the FCA.

G. Seller proudly work in association with Golden Charter. G. Seller are appointed representatives of Golden Charter who are regulated by the FCA.

What are the options for prepaying for a funeral?

When it comes to your funeral, you have different options available to choose from. There are trust fund backed funeral plans as well as whole life assurance policies.

A lot of funeral plan providers offer Set Plans which only provide pre-configured options with allowances towards costs, such as the crematorium fees. 

G. Seller provides The Independent Way funeral plan which allows you to configure everything to your requirements, no matter how simple or unique. G. Seller’s funeral plan consultants will be able to go through all your arrangements and give you an itemised quotation, making sure you get Your Funeral, Your Way.

A funeral plan is broken down into two parts; professional services and 3rd party costs (disbursements). G. Seller guarantee the professional services at today’s prices, so no matter how much they increase over time, they are fixed at that day’s price. 

An over 50’s policy pays out a lump sum on death, which can be used towards the funeral. But as the lump sum is fixed at the outset of taking out the plan, any potential increase in funeral prices could mean the payment won’t cover the cost of the funeral. 

Are there benefits to it?

Pre-planning your funeral is something that can certainly have a number of benefits. 

  • Your money is safe. It is paid into a well managed trust fund called the Golden Charter Trust. The trust is overfunded, so if all planholders pass away, there is still over £100 million left over. 
  • Guaranteed professional services.
  • No uncertainty about your final wishes which means it will alleviate the worry and stress on your loved one’s for deciding what you’d have liked.
    “Less than 1% of people knew their loved one’s wishes” – Source: Page 12
  • Potential growth on third party costs, used to pay towards increases in costs 
  • Flexible ways to pay.

Over 50’s Policy Comparison

Different ways for prepaying your funeral

There are a number of ways you can pre-pay for your funeral. Depending on your financial situation, some may work more to your liking than others.

Single payment option

You can pay in a one off single payment

12 monthly payment option

If you would prefer to spread the cost, you can pay over 12 monthly payments by Direct Debit at no extra charge. You will be covered once all payments are made. 

Instalment payment option

For a lower monthly payment, you can also choose to spread the cost of your plan over 2 to 15 years. 

This option includes the added benefit of the Golden Charter Pledge, which ensures that if you pass away at any time after you have made 12 consecutive payments, the benefit of your plan will be provided, with no further payments to be made. 

Potential risks with prepaying for a funeral

Are there risks to a pre-paid funeral plan? 

Depending on the type of funeral plan will depends on the potential risks. 

Funeral plans paid into a trust fund:

  • The funeral plan isn’t legally binding, so your next of kin could change all of your wishes. In G. Seller’s experience there is very little chance of this though. 
  • Third Party costs could rise a lot and higher than the rate of growth in your plan. In this situation your family would be asked to pay the difference. In G. Seller’s experience, this could be hundreds rather than thousands of pounds and also if it is an Independent Way Plan, then the difference to pay is usually minimal. 
  • More money was paid into the plan than what the funeral eventually cost. There is no right for the funeral director to pay the extra back to the family. However, G. Seller make the pledge where the third party costs in the plan are higher than the actual costs at the time, G. Seller will refund the costs back to the family. 

It’s clear that a pre-planning funeral is suitable for many. It relieves the worry and financial burden that can come when paying for a funeral of a loved one. For more information and a no obligation appointment, please contact the funeral planning consultants at G. Seller to find out more on 01455 637457 or 

Pre-Paid Funeral Plan – How Does It Work?

A pre-paid funeral plan is a safe, secure and cost-effective way to plan ahead for your or someone else’s funeral. 

G. Seller has been providing funeral plans for many years, working in association with Golden Charter.   G. Seller is an independent funeral director that has been established since 1910. We are passionate about providing the highest levels of bereavement care to the families we are privileged to serve. It is so important to deal with the people that will actually be looking after you so that you get the funeral you want without any unexpected costs, omissions or worries when you pass away. This can give you peace of mind that your loved one’s arranging your funeral so that they don’t have to make as many decisions, making a hard time, that little bit easier for them.

There are many different types of funeral plans and the vast number of options are ‘set’ or packaged choices. At G. Seller, we believe that your funeral plan should be put together in a way that is befitting to you and all of your wishes are properly collated.

What are the benefits of a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan?

The real benefit of taking out a funeral plan is the peace of mind that you have expressed your wishes for the funeral you want. This can include having conversations with your family about your wishes, including them in the conversation with the funeral director or putting everything together in readiness for when the time comes; knowing they’ll not have the emotional stress of having to decide on ‘what you would have wanted.’ 

The added benefit is that the funeral plan is fixing the funeral directors’ costs at today’s prices, so, therefore, is protected against any future price increases. 

There are other benefits to having flexible ways to pay. The pre-paid funeral plan can be paid for in one lump sum, over 12 months at no interest or over 2 to 30 years. With the 2 to 30 years payment option, the funeral plan will have to be paid for by your 80th birthday. 

Your funeral plan will grow at between 1% to 6% a year depending on market conditions. To find out where your money is invested, please see the section below ‘What Happens To My Money?’

What happens when I pass away with a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan?

G. Seller produces a Confirmation of Pre-Paid Funeral Arrangements document that you sign as the plan holder and our Plan Consultant that you have dealt with signs. We recommend you keep this somewhere safe with the rest of your information for your next of kin to easily find. 

When you have passed away, we ask that your next of kin gives G. Seller (24/7) a call so we can explain the next steps with conveying you into our care. Depending on where you have passed away will depend on what happens but be rest assured, we will bring you into our care as soon as possible. For more information on immediate steps following someone’s passing, please visit our funerals page.

When your family or next of kin is ready, your appointed funeral director who will personally oversee all aspects of your funeral will arrange a convenient time to meet with your family to go through all of your funeral wishes and put a time & date in place. The G. Seller funeral director will find out the value of your plan and will invoice Golden Charter direct so your family have very little to do, apart from deciding when they’d like your funeral to take place and confirming all your wishes are still correct. Your funeral director will put together a confirmation of costs for your family. This shows what you originally paid into the plan for the funeral director’s professional services versus what they are at that present-day and how much money that has been saved. Also, it details the 3rd party or disbursement costs that were originally paid into the plan versus what these costs are at that day’s prices. The 3rd party costs will have accrued growth on those values which are there to offset any of the increases since you took the plan out. If these costs have risen higher than the rate of growth, your estate will be asked to pay the difference. Alternatively, if the rate of growth on those costs has risen more than the 3rd party costs have in reality, then your estate will receive a refund. 3rd party costs are costs outside of the funeral director’s control, such as minister or officiant fees, crematorium or cemetery fees, floral tributes or orders of service.

What happens to my money in a pre-paid funeral plan?

Your money is paid into the Golden Charter Trust. The trust fund is separate from G. Seller. The money is invested in a safe, secure and ethical way. The Golden Charter Trust invests in index-linked gilts, global equities, diversified growth and commercial property.

We are proud to say that the Trust is overfunded so therefore if the 800,000 people who have a funeral plan in the Golden Charter passed away, there would still be money left over. The image below shows a pie chart of the fund’s allocation as of 31st March 2021:

What happens if I pass away without a pre-paid funeral plan?

When you have passed away, we ask that your next of kin gives G. Seller a call (24/7) so we can explain the next steps with conveying you into our care. Depending on where you have passed away will depend on what happens but be rest assured, we will bring you into our care as soon as possible. For more information on immediate steps following someone’s passing, please visit our funerals page.

When your family or next of kin is ready, your appointed funeral director who will personally oversee all aspects of your funeral and will arrange a convenient time to meet with your family to go through the arrangements for you. 

It is not a problem you haven’t got a pre-paid funeral plan; the funeral director will put together an itemised estimate of funeral costs for whatever your family or next of kin decide on. There will be no hidden costs or sales tactics, G. Seller are here to look after you and your family as if you were part of our own family.

Contact G.Seller to discuss Pre-Paid Funeral Plans

Paying for your funeral in advance should not mean you have less choice when it comes to your funeral wishes. Planning ahead can spare your loved ones much of the stress and uncertainty of organising a funeral when you sadly pass away. 

At G. Seller, we work in association with Golden Charter, and believe you should have the full range of options and you can be rest assured that there is no uncertainty about your final wishes. Get in touch with us today for more information.

Hinckley Funeral Director Takes National Stance

Joseph Barsby, 3rd generation director of family funeral directors G. Seller calls for tighter regulation of Pre-Paid Funeral Plans, to ensure best practice and clearer disclosure in the interests of bereaved families.

Joseph and the dedicated team at G. Seller are passionate about providing the highest levels of bereavement care to the families they are privileged to serve. He took part in the ITV Tonight Pay Now, Die Later documentary which looked into some mis-selling of pre-paid funeral plans.  As presenter, Chris Choi explained on air, “Our lives are full of special moments, each marked in its own special way, be it a birthday, wedding or death and there are ways that you can plan your death whilst still alive and kicking.”

As Joseph points out, “A pre-paid funeral plan should allow people to plan ahead, removing the uncertainty of your final wishes and financial pressures on your family. However, many plans are set, meaning that they don’t provide the personalised options, no matter how simple or unique. There is often a complete lack of clarity in what costs are or aren’t covered. But by going directly to a company like us, you can have the peace of mind that all of these pitfalls are not faced.”

A bespoke plan, no matter how simple or bespoke is tailored to the individual and G. Seller pride themselves on going the extra mile to meet the needs of the families that they serve, providing the highest levels of bereavement care to the families that they are entrusted to look after.  The same attention to detail is placed on creating the funeral plan to meet the needs of the individual too.  As a family business, family and real values are at the heart of all that they do and it is important to get it right.

Joseph recognises that there is a need for change to prevent families being distressed in the future and is calling for more regulation and clarity over the sector to ensure best practice, better standards of communication and clearer information for families as to what is and isn’t included in a plan, and whether the family may need to pay for anything separately when their loved one does sadly pass away.

Passionate about the need to raise awareness to make sure families are not duped and mis-sold to, Joseph has outlined the following considerations when thinking of taking out a pre-paid funeral plan:

  1. Speak directly to your funeral director, avoiding all third parties and call centres.
  2. Choose your own plan. G. Seller recommends are bespoke plan, allowing you to choose the options you want, no matter how simple or bespoke. Be careful with set plans that don’t cover a lot of costs that you may think is covered.
  3. Make sure you understand whether any fees are being deducted from the plan.
  4. Find out how and where the monies will be held.
  5. Seek out what flexible options there is to pay for the plan and find the way that is best for you.

Pre-paid funeral plans are a great way to provide clarity for the family and to ensure that a funeral is carried out the way that the deceased intended and to avoid unscrupulous practices and fee deductions that could lead to the plan not covering the intended costs, it is important to understand the plan and get things clarified in writing.  As a firm, G. Seller work in association with Golden Charter, a trusted independent plan provider and put together a fully itemised quotation of the fees involved, being completely clear and transparent.

As Joseph concludes, “With over 1.3 million people in the UK having a funeral plan, and the costs of funerals expected to continue to rise in years to come, more people are looking into the options and need to be careful.  Checking the small print is essential to the process and I would strongly recommend speaking to your funeral director that will be looking after you.  The local funeral director is also clearly able to explain the details of the plan and to work in a professional manner to meet the needs of any individual too.”

“Programmes like Tonight are important if as a sector we are to be totally professional in the work that we do and that we retain our values and ethos in really caring for the people that matter, the families we serve.  I am passionate about what we do and it is upsetting to see people being taken advantage of by unscrupulous organisations.  I am fully behind the need for the Government to review the sector and to come up with guidance to ensure the sector is better regulated to provide clearer disclosure and protection of the consumer.”

“We are pleased to be pushing for change, to raise the bar for families to get better service at their time of need and to lead the way in the national debate on this important issue.  As a family business with values and integrity at our core, we are keen to make a stance and proud to call for changes to ensure that no family is left with a funeral plan that is not what they thought they were taking out, only find out when it is really too late, and to create greater clarity around the terms, conditions and fees involved with these plans.”

Funeral Plans – Read The Small Print

G. Seller & Co. Ltd are on a mission to dispel some of the myths around funeral plans and have sound advice for anyone considering such a plan.

More and more people are considering Pre-Planning their funeral due to the rising costs and the impact on their family of having to pay for a funeral when they pass away.  However, care needs to be taken when considering a funeral plan and who to approach because all may not be as it seems.

At its simplest, a funeral plan allows you to pay upfront for your funeral so your relatives don’t have to cover the costs themselves – although they are allowed to pay for your funeral from your estate when you pass away.

You can buy a funeral plan from either a funeral-plan provider or directly from a funeral director and as Joseph Barsby, Managing Director at Independent, Family Funeral Directors, G. Seller & Co. explains, “Care needs to be taken as to who a plan is taken out with as some plans come with restrictions and there has been a lot written recently about plans being sold incorrectly, individuals not getting the funeral or the funeral director they wanted, and families facing distressing situations where they are not able to provide the funeral that was intended due to the mis-selling going on.”

Funeral plans can vary in what they include and in the majority of cases a funeral plan will have a set options and not include everything that is needed for a funeral to take place. Most set option funeral plans will include some of the main elements for a funeral to take place, other costs such as the cost of flowers, obituaries in the newspaper, funeral stationery or a headstone will be excluded. Terms vary from provider to provider and it is important to pay attention to the details and the terms and conditions too.

As Joseph continues, “This is an incredibly sensitive topic as the funeral plan will only ever come into being when a loved one has passed away, which is an emotionally difficult time for all those concerned. To find out at that stage that the plan does not allow you to use the funeral director that you wanted to, possibly one that has looked after members of the family for generations, or that there are significant costs to be borne by the family is insensitive and unacceptable to say the least.”

“We do not believe in the set plan approach and truly believe in doing everything on a bespoke basis, recording in full the plan holders wishes giving peace of mind that everything has been recorded with us and that we are the funeral director who is going to have the privilege to look after them. By talking through the options, we can also include notices in local and national newspapers, choices of music for a service and other personal requests too.”

As an independent funeral director, G. Seller & Co. Ltd are able to put together individual, bespoke plans in association with Golden Charter and within the bespoke plan their costs for professional services are fixed at today’s costs so that there are no surprises down the line.

Funeral costs can vary depending on the nature of the wishes of the individual and by putting together the right plan with the funeral director, there is peace of mind that the costs of the funeral are covered and the wishes of the individual will be carried out too.

As Joseph explains, “We feel incredibly strongly in the need for better regulation of the sector and are clear in the way that the plans we provide are structured. We will put together an itemised quotation based on the wishes of an individual and the only additional charges are a one-off administration fee of £249 that is paid to Golden Charter who administer the trust fund and a £50 arrangement fee for completing the details of the plan with the individual concerned. The plan is personal and bespoke and the charges transparent with all the monies then paid into the plan being put towards the funeral as and when it is needed.”

As Joseph concludes, “Transparency is really important and as a family business we have been serving the communities in which we live and work for over 100 years, we strongly believe that more regulation is needed to avoid some of the situations that keep coming to light. Some of the practices that we have evidenced are distressing to all concerned and we are passionate about the need for the provision of the highest levels of bereavement care and the need to care for the families that look to us in their time of need. Greater clarity, transparency and regulation would provide a better outcome for all concerned and is something that we strongly advocate.”

A funeral plan can provide peace of mind and provision for the payment of a funeral when needed, but for the time being at least, care needs to be exercised to ensure that the plan is going to do what is expected, and that there are not going to be any unnecessary surprises in the future.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact us

What’s In A Name?

We are a truly independent, family run business which has served Hinckley and the surrounding area for over 100 years, but with change in our industry taking place constantly and more people than ever taking out prepaid funeral plans,  it is important to know who is going to be carrying out your funeral.

Our latest advertisement below reinforces our position as a family owned funeral directors in the heart of our community – something that we are incredibly proud of.

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