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Planning ahead: Pre-paid funeral plans

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It seems churlish to complain about the cost of burying a loved one, but it can be a considerable - and often unexpected - expense.

Those who like to plan ahead can now buy pre-paid funeral plans from the Post Office. The plans allow customers to fix the amount they have to pay at today’s costs. They can choose between three plans based on the funeral they wish to have. The starting price is £3,275, and the plan can be paid as one lump sum or over 12 or 24 months, which would cost from £145 a month.

These are not a new phenomenon: groups such as the Cooperative, Age UK and Dignity all offer similar plans. Pre-paid funeral plans help to put in place and pay for the essential elements of a funeral, including the costs of the cremation or burial, funeral director, doctor’s fees, minister’s fees, coffin, transportation and a range of other fees and charges. This will vary from plan to plan.

Paul Havenhand, Head of Insurance at Post Office said: “Most of us, understandably, would rather avoid thinking about our funerals. Even more than that, though, we want to limit the amount of anxiety facing our families at a time which is likely to be distressing enough as it is. With funeral costs rising at an alarming rate we want to give families peace of mind at such a difficult time. Our pre-paid funeral plans guarantee that customers will pay today’s price for the funeral they have chosen, even if the average cost continues to increase.”

Are they worth it?

1) Shop around – plans vary considerably, and you don’t want to find that you aren’t covered for basic items

2) Funeral costs have been increasing, so it can help protect you to some extent.

3) It allows individuals to cover the cost themselves, rather than leaving it to their loved ones. 

4) It also allows individuals greater control over the type of burial they receive.

5) Remember, there are other options: you could just save up, you could be buried in your garden (subject to local authority permission), while costs may be covered by life insurance. 

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