Pre-paid funeral plans – provider protection
21st September 2017
Talking about one’s final wishes is a somewhat sombre subject, but an important one nonetheless, as having the knowledge of our loved one’s preferences together with access to their financial arrangements can help those left behind.
Putting money aside to pay for one’s final send off represents sound financial planning, especially as funeral costs are reported to be on the rise, but what options are available?
Those with sufficient savings or investments often make this their first port of call. With rising rates of inflation, low interest rates and rising funeral costs, this method has its challenges in keeping pace and relatives need to be able to access your savings easily on your death.
Some people may prefer to make regular payments into a life insurance arrangement, which will provide a lump sum payment in the event of death. These policies are medically underwritten so those with certain health conditions may find the premium increases or exclusions apply, but they can be written under a trust arrangement which has the benefit of avoiding probate.
More people are now familiar with pre-paid funeral plans thanks to television promotions. These tend not to be medically underwritten and allow you to pay upfront or via a monthly payment, but many people may not be aware that these arrangements usually aren’t covered in the event that the provider becomes insolvent.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) does not provide protection for those with funeral plans as they are not categorised as ‘designated investment’ under FSCS’s compensation rules.
As a reminder, FSCS protects consumers who have incurred financial loss when authorised firms are unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against them relating to:
- life and general insurance policies
- investment business (on or after 28 August 1988)
- advice and arranging of mortgage business (on or after 31 October 2004)
- insurance intermediation (general insurance and pure protection contracts, for business conducted on or after 14 January 2005)
Many people may think that funeral plans are subject to the same regulation and consumer protection as other products, so it’s important to be aware of this important difference and anyone with a funeral plan who is concerned should contact their provider in the first instance. The regulatory body for the funeral planning industry is the Funeral Planning Authority – details are listed below.
Funeral Planning Authority
Kent ME18 5BZ
Telephone: 0845 6019619 (call charges may apply)
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