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  • FIRST POST
    JPSC
    Pros and Cons of Pre-Paid Funeral Plans
    • #1
    • 1st Jul 09, 11:28 AM
    Pros and Cons of Pre-Paid Funeral Plans 1st Jul 09 at 11:28 AM
    I cannot see an earlier thread on this topic, but if I have missed one then apologies in advance.

    My parents, in their late 80s, are looking into these plans and I have no experience of the advantages and/or disadvantages of using them, so thought I would consult the collective wisdom of MSE, hoping to be able to tap into some actual experience.

    Obvious advantages seem to include fixing the cost at today's level and being able to negotiate exactly the arrangements you want for yourself. Against that, what happens if the Funeral Director involved goes out of business?

    I am sure there are many other points to be considered
Page 4
    • knightstyle
    • By knightstyle 12th Nov 17, 5:55 PM
    • 4,717 Posts
    • 1,753 Thanks
    knightstyle
    One good thing about these plans is that the deceased can select what funeral they have, this avoids family discussions/falling out at a time of stress.
    We organised one for my BIL but haven't got one ourselves. This was to stop the BIL wasting all his inheritance on drink and leaving us to pay the funeral bill when he drinks himself to death!
    • accorian
    • By accorian 20th Dec 17, 10:40 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    accorian
    I know this thread is old, but as a new member here I have only just caught up with it.

    In answer to the original question raised so many years ago, the type of funeral cover is crucial as to whether or not this kind of insurance is worth paying.

    My mother in law died earlier this year at the age of 95. Must admit, her family (including me) thought she was being a bit. . . morbid when, eleven years ago, she announced that she'd just paid for her own funeral.

    I think all of us are uncomfortable with the idea of mortality. In a family situation, it's actually embarrassing even to speak of it when the relative in question is already advanced in years. This was the case with my mother in law, a lady who was fit and active and funny right up until her final few months.

    At the time then, we joked with her, about how she was going to live forever. A retired book keeper, she replied: "Well that's good news for you lot then. Otherwise, the longer I'm alive, the more expensive it'll be to see me off. You do know, don't you, that costs go up every year for the dead as well as the living?"

    She told us that she had rejected the idea of spending even a penny on the various death insurance policies which she looked at because they were all about a fixed amount of money. She said none of those insurances could predict how long a person might live and so none of them were worth buying. What was required as the single most important feature was an absolute guarantee that no matter how many years she lived, and no matter how much the cost of a funeral might rise in that time, nothing extra would have to be paid.

    What you bought for a fixed price in the present remained that price into the future.

    What she also said was, "when I go, I don't want any of you to have to worry about what to pay, who to ring, and what to do. It's important for me to know that."

    And so it turned out to be when she died. We were devastated, as any family is, but thanks to her all that was necessary was to make a single telephone call to a single number. After that? Everything was taken care of, the funeral service, the speaker at the service (we're not really churchgoers), the official paperwork, the newspaper obituary notices. Everything. A sad and stressful time was made much, much easier to bear thanks to the fact that we, as a family, were not called upon to handle the management of death.

    People often talk about legacies, not merely legacies of cash or property but legacies of laughter, legacies of love. Mother-in-law's immediate and abiding legacy was that she spared us all the sheer awfulness of organising her funeral. As to the cost? Well of course, she spared us that, too, but money is if you think about it of lesser concern at a time like that than the pain of separation.

    I imagine there will be many providers of fixed, guaranteed price "funeral plans". I have no experience of how good each might be. All I can say is that mother-in-law purchased her 'plan' from the Co-op, and the Co-op's handling of everything was perfect. We made only one telephone call, and after that, the event took its course. No extra money was asked from us, and yet it must surely have been the case that the cost of that funeral was considerably more than the amount my mother-in-law paid for it, eleven years ago.

    In our experience then, purchasing a 'plan' which guarantees to cover the cost of the funeral, whenever it occurs, is the only purchase worth considering. Anything else which merely offers X amount of money is an expensive waste.

    Hope this helps.
    • Larac
    • By Larac 25th Jan 18, 10:12 PM
    • 806 Posts
    • 494 Thanks
    Larac
    Just to add to this thread - My Mum was in a CH and we brought a pre-paid plan as the CH wanted to know who the FD would be, when the time came. When she did pass, it did take all the decisions out of the equation and funeral planning was very smooth. A plan also avoids the hassle of requesting money from the bank, when the accounts are frozen as it has been paid for.
    • I am spartacus
    • By I am spartacus 6th Feb 18, 4:30 PM
    • 94 Posts
    • 91 Thanks
    I am spartacus
    A very interesting thread, I can see the point of fixing the cost at today's rates, I will have to do some further research on the different options available.
    "only two things in life a certainty, Death and Taxes"

    As an aside, not wishing to hijack the thread or appear too morbid, but after death I would rather not be embalmed before cremation, does anyone know if that would be an option?
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 7th Feb 18, 2:23 PM
    • 10,123 Posts
    • 17,118 Thanks
    margaretclare
    A very interesting thread, I can see the point of fixing the cost at today's rates, I will have to do some further research on the different options available.
    "only two things in life a certainty, Death and Taxes"

    As an aside, not wishing to hijack the thread or appear too morbid, but after death I would rather not be embalmed before cremation, does anyone know if that would be an option?
    Originally posted by I am spartacus
    It wouldn't be an option if you were having a 'green funeral' because embalming is not allowed. The fluids used can leach into the ground.

    There is much more information now on green funerals. Do a Google!
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 7th Feb 18, 2:32 PM
    • 10,123 Posts
    • 17,118 Thanks
    margaretclare
    Last week it became clear to me why funerals now are much more expensive than they used to be.

    We had planned to go to a funeral of a local man, a fellow-member of our church, but we didn't in fact go. I'd just been to the dentist and was feeling a bit wobbly.

    We parked outside the church and watched what went on. The vicar stood outside in his black cloak awaiting the arrival of the procession. 2 limos full of mourners all in black, preceded by the hearse. Several young men as bearers, carried his coffin into church together with all the flowers. 'Dad', 'Grandad' etc.

    Church service, a 'celebration of his life', and then the whole process in reverse to go to the crematorium. And then a 'wake' or get-together at a local hotel.

    What did it cost just to have all those professionals there, just to carry his coffin into church then back out again into the hearse, then into the crematorium?

    That poor man died between Christmas and New Year, but his funeral was into February. Where was he all that time? And were his wishes carried out? I don't know.

    Incidentally, as a church member, there is plenty of space in the church graveyard. In fact the church was given extra land at the time the airport next door was upgraded and roads were changed.
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 23rd Feb 18, 12:56 PM
    • 10,123 Posts
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    margaretclare
    We've been looking at this again and have decided not to.

    It turns out that the 'environmentally-friendly' funeral we want is not the cheapest. Never mind no limos, no funeral wreaths etc - the coffin is not the cheapest. I think probably because the cheapest coffin quoted for is varnished and that's not allowed. A cardboard or English willow coffin costs more because it's hand-made.

    DH sent for details, which surprised me - I didn't know he'd been thinking about it. Anything to do with money - I trust him. So we have discussed it, know what we want. We have enough in investments to pay for it all, so what's the point of tying up more money in advance?
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 24th Feb 18, 1:26 AM
    • 38,481 Posts
    • 35,151 Thanks
    Savvy_Sue
    It turns out that the 'environmentally-friendly' funeral we want is not the cheapest. Never mind no limos, no funeral wreaths etc - the coffin is not the cheapest. I think probably because the cheapest coffin quoted for is varnished and that's not allowed. A cardboard or English willow coffin costs more because it's hand-made.
    Originally posted by margaretclare
    We found this too - that a cardboard coffin was not the cheapest.
    Still knitting!
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    • Lindagreenacre
    • By Lindagreenacre 25th Feb 18, 4:19 PM
    • 78 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    Lindagreenacre
    My mother had one of these plans and so do my sister, my husband and I. One thing to take into account is that if a person ends up in care, the cost of the funeral has been paid for before the amount of assets gets down to the level whereby the local authority will step in to contribute towards care. Otherwise, the funeral will have to be paid for out of what balance remains.
    • Lindagreenacre
    • By Lindagreenacre 25th Feb 18, 4:26 PM
    • 78 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    Lindagreenacre
    tbh I don't know why people bother with these plans. If cost is likely to be an issue, then why not set aside some money in a joint account with whoever is going to have responsibility for arranging the funeral. The money passes automatically to the surviving joint account holder, and access is not held up by probate.
    Originally posted by zzzLazyDaisy
    What if the person in question ends up in care for many years and their funds are depleted?
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 25th Feb 18, 4:48 PM
    • 10,123 Posts
    • 17,118 Thanks
    margaretclare
    The probability/possibility of 'ending up in care for many years' is one which exercises many people's minds to a surprising extent. It is my understanding that, even now, only a minority of people 'end up in care' for what remains of their lives.

    This possibility/probability is not one which DH and I have factored into our plans. We have done our best to make this little house as user-friendly and convenient as possible, and have spent money to that effect.

    We'll still go for the 'green funeral' even with a hand-made coffin of English willow. Whoever dies first will get what we've planned, paid for from our investments, and details can be left so that the survivor can have the same.
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • judy
    • By judy 9th Mar 18, 6:58 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    judy
    I came across this interesting article about funeral plans (I'm certainly not going to bother with one!)
    https://www.fairerfinance.com/campaigns/funeral-plans
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