Nowadays, people are more practical and future-oriented. That is why, products like life insurance, college plans and even prepaid funerals are being availed by many to secure their future as well as their loved ones’.
Before, people feel hesitant to avail prepaid funerals. Some don’t want to entertain the thought of facing death while others would even say, “Why would I think about my funeral?” With these in mind, it is of great importance for us to take a closer look on the features and offers that are embodied in prepaid funeral plans.
What is a prepaid funeral?
Basically, a prepaid funeral is a funeral plan purchased or secured in advance. It is a well-secured plan in which it is evidenced by a formal written contract which embodies the preferences and wishes of the plan holder in terms of type and style of funeral that he wants. One of the reasons why it is practical to avail of a prepaid funeral is that such will serve as an investment against future funeral costs because historically, funeral costs have been significantly increasing from time to time. In addition to this, for instance, if government taxes are subsequently increased, the plan holder need not pay additional amount for the purchased funeral plan regardless of when the funeral will be availed or required.
To help you know more about funeral plans and its offers, below are the answers to the possible questions about prepaid funerals:
Why avail a prepaid funeral? What are its benefits and who is eligible to take one out?
A prepaid funeral plan can be taken out by anyone no matter how young or old he is and whatever his health condition may be. The following are the benefits that a plan holder can enjoy:
- provides peace of mind for you and your family
- will lighten the burden of your family of making important decisions during a hard and emotional time
- eliminates financial burden of the family
- you can rest assured that all your exact preferences and wishes will be carried out
- you can save on funeral costs that might increase in the future
- you will be able to maximize and enjoy your pension benefits
What are the features included in a pre-paid funeral plan package?
A Prepaid Funeral Plan is designed to reflect your wishes and preferences. The following are the options that a plan holder should consider:
- type and style of funeral service
- preparation of the body and viewing arrangements
- burial or cremation
- the specific cemetery or crematorium
- type of coffin or casket
- Minister or Celebrant
- Memorial book and memorial cards
- Death notices, flowers, mourning vehicles etc. and
- Special features you would like to include such as a poem or a piece of music
How does a Pre-paid Funeral Plan work?
There are two main ways that a prepaid funeral plan can be bought. First, it can be bought from a funeral plan provider or from a local funeral director. Payment packages are made flexible for the convenience of prospect clients. Most providers allow a one-off payment in advance / lump sum or they also offer the option to pay in installments (though paying in installments for a long time, however, may cost more because of administration fees and interests). Payments made through installment are usually arranged through a direct debit or booklet payment system.
How will my payments for a Pre-paid Funeral Plan be safekept?
Your payment – whether through lump sum or installment will be kept securely by an independent entity such as a friendly society or trustee company and will be properly invested and safeguarded until such time as the funeral services under the Pre-Paid Funeral Plan are required. When that time comes, only then will the funds be released to the Funeral Director to ensure that the money is in good hands.
What if Plan Holder moves residence interstate or if death occurs interstate or overseas?
In case of a change of address, such must be properly coordinated with the Funeral Director since he will be the one in-charged with the transferring of your Plan to another Funeral Director. But you must be aware that in cases like this, prices cannot necessarily be guaranteed on a transfer for the reason that there are price differences between many country and city areas. The funds must be put in a secured investment you have arranged and can be accessed by the new Funeral Director at the time of needed.
On the other hand, if death occurs overseas, the Funeral Director should be informed right away because they should be able to arrange for the transport of the deceased and attend to any statutory or customs requirement. Be informed, however, that additional fees will eventually be required. Take note also that if the death and funeral occur overseas or interstate, the funds in the Prepaid Funeral Plan will be paid to the estate.
What about funeral disbursements?
All the policies we looked at guaranteed to cover funeral directors’ own costs so, no matter how much these costs increase between now and your funeral, the policies should pay out in full. However, cover for the third-party costs (often called disbursements) such as the burial, doctor, church, minister, organists, choir, burial plot and grave-digging don’t tend to be guaranteed – and the amount covered varies considerably between providers.
There might be cremation fees but, since these tend to be cheaper than burial fees, some providers will fully guarantee these costs. If you are happy to opt for a cremation a funeral plan that fully guarantees the third party costs offer significantly better cover than funeral plans for burials.
How to look for/ locate a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan/ Policy?
It is of great importance to inform someone, maybe a family member or a friend that you have availed of a Pre-paid Funeral plan as well as to give them detailed instructions on where you have kept the contract. Since there is no central database that records Pre-Paid Funeral contracts, in order to locate for the policy or contract, you have to look through the plan holders important documents as evidence of the contract. Then, you have to talk to a person’s solicitor to see if they had the contract filed away for their client, or contact the Funeral Directors in this person’s local area to see if they hold any record of the Prepaid Funeral Contract being taken out.
If in case that you think there was a Pre-Paid funeral plan but unable to locate the particular policy, the contact may have been left with someone responsible such as a Solicitor, a trusted friend, Next of Kin, the Executor of the Will and the public trustee. Alternatively, you may also start calling the accredited companies to confirm is they are aware of any Pre-Paid Funeral contract being held in that person’s name.
Securing for yourself or for your family a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan is not bad at all. We can all become open-minded persons and understand the laws of nature and accept them and even prepare from them. Availing a Pre-Paid Funeral will give us peace of mind and even touch the heart of our loved ones since they will certainly realize how much we value and love them through fixing things and making things in order and planned ahead.