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5 Funeral planning myths debunked


6th Aug 2019 Pensions & Retirement

5 Funeral planning myths debunked
The funeral experts at Golden Leaves debunk five of the most common myths surrounding funeral planning. 
Since the first funeral plan was introduced to the UK in the 1980s, more and more consumers have purchased plans for different reasons, be it to have control over their funeral proceedings or to prevent a cost burden to their loved ones.  
The latter has become particularly prevalent in recent years, with growing concern over rising funeral costs, which in some areas of the UK amounts to as much as £10,000.  
This rising inflation has sparked a recent announcement from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for the requirement of a full market investigation into the funeral sector, revealing the average funeral would cost consumers, on the lowest income, 40 per cent of their annual earnings.  
The CMA’s announcement has resulted in a negative perception of the funeral sector, with many consumers unaware of the fact that a solution for managing rising funeral costs already exists through funeral planning companies registered under the Funeral Planning Authority.   
 That said, what exactly are the common misconceptions of the funeral planning sector and how can funeral plans actually help to protect the consumer against rising funeral costs? Barry Floyd, managing director at Golden Leaves—one of the UK’s oldest and most reputable funeral planning companies—is here to help debunk the myths.

Photo by Mayron Oliveira

1. Myth: The industry isn’t regulated

Despite what many recent news articles would have us believe, 95 per cent of the UK funeral market’s operators adhere to strict guidelines and regulations set out by the FPA.
The FPA—whose primary role is to protect consumer interests in the UK Funeral Planning market—is staunchly independent and impartial on all dealings by funeral planning firms, on behalf the consumer.
It’s important to note that the FPA isn't a trade or membership body that providers can just pay a fee for. Rather, a provider chooses to apply for registration and then the onus is on them to show that they can operate to the higher standards demanded by its rules and code of practice. This is then tested on an annual basis.
Of course, as in any industry, there will be companies who don’t want to play by the rules. So, make sure you take the time to do your research and if you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask a provider directly if it is registered with the FPA.

2. Myth: You don’t save costs with funeral plans

Funeral plans have been specifically designed to help consumers manage the cost of their funeral, whilst reducing the cost burden on their loved ones.  
In contrast to the continual rising costs of funerals—which have been largely criticised by consumer groups and the CMA as nothing more than profiteering—the funeral plan product has not increased by anywhere near the same percentage over the same time period. 
"Purchasing a funeral plan is intended to eliminate worry or concern, not to be the catalyst for it"
In fact, funeral plans keep these increases in check and maintain a handle on charges demanded by funeral companies, purely for the benefit of the consumer. 
Funeral plans actually shield the consumer from these rising funeral charges, particularly if using a provider who has a guaranteed funeral plan which freezes the cost of a funeral, no matter how far into the future it takes place.

3. Myth: You have to pay for extras 

When purchasing a funeral plan, it’s important to take the time to understand exactly what your plan will cover.  
Many consumers are under the impression that their family members will be given a lump sum to spend as they please, which simply isn’t the case. Instead, the funds will be used to secure your specified funeral service on your behalf, as outlined in your initial plan. 
If you have purchased a fully guaranteed funeral plan, the only time or situation where your family members will be asked to pay additional fees is if they request something that isn’t included in your original funeral plan. That’s why it’s really important to ensure everything you want is included from the start, avoiding any unnecessary distress for your loved ones in the future.  
All reputable funeral planning firms understand that purchasing a funeral plan is intended to eliminate worry or concern, not to be the catalyst for it.  

Photo by Noah Silliman

4. Myth: You can’t leave once you set up a funeral plan 

You certainly can, although there may be a fee depending on your terms and conditions.   
Cancellation fees are common in lots of businesses, from holidays to days out, and they cover admin and other associated resourcing costs incurred during the stages of setting up the plan and cancelling it. 
However, like other financial services, funeral plans do offer a cooling-off period to allow you to change your mind within a certain timeframe where you will receive a full refund of all monies paid. 

5. Myth: I don’t need to plan my funeral yet

It’s understandable that discussing a topic such as the planning of your funeral in advance may seem like a morbid and difficult conversation to have with the ones you love. Nevertheless, there are significant financial and emotional benefits to planning your funeral ahead of time.
Purchasing a funeral plan enables you to pre-plan, pre-design and pre-pay for all your end of life services in advance. In doing so, you can have peace of mind that you have helped lighten the emotional burden and much of the financial worry from your next of kin at a time in their lives when they are probably least able to cope.
The sooner you start on a plan, the better chance you have of protecting yourself from rising funeral costs and your next of kin from wondering which end-of-life services you would have liked.
Golden Leaves is one of the UK’s market leaders and is now the only independent funeral planning firm to have achieved BSI ISO 9001 for Business Excellence. The only other funeral planning firm to have achieved this accreditation is a Public Limited Company [PLC].   
Headquartered in South London, Golden Leaves has been at the forefront of the Funeral planning sector since the late 1980s and has played a major role in the development of FPA (The Funeral Planning Authority).  
 For more information, visit https://www.goldenleaves.com/