Now you can’t even save money by dying
With the rising cost of living today, you’d be forgiven for thinking that when you were no longer living, you could save yourself money. According to Sun Life, funeral costs have risen 70% since 2004, which means that index-linked funeral plans- even where they use the higher RPI measure of inflation- just can’t keep up with the cost of popping your clogs.
Now Which! have formalised their beef with peddlers of funeral savings plans because, when it comes to it, they might not actually pay for your funeral, which seems contrary to their stated aim. Funeral plans are also not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA- the new FSA), which means that grieving relatives who are left high and dry have nowhere to turn as there are no specific rules governing suitability or performance of these plans.
Which!! analysed a range of funeral plans from the key providers and found:
· Although all the plans guarantee to cover the funeral director’s costs in full, many funeral plans, particularly for a burial, do not fully cover other important costs like the doctors’ fees, and fees for church, minister, organists, choir, grave digging and burial plots.
· Most funeral plans make no contribution towards optional items such as the venue or catering for a wake, family flowers or a memorial.
· Only the Co-operative and Family Funerals Trust offer to guarantee burial costs, but neither include the burial plot, one of the priciest aspects of a funeral which costs on average £725, but potentially more.
· Funeral plans can be a better option if you are planning to be cremated as Dignity, Age UK, the Co-operative and Family Funerals Trust all guarantee to cover the core costs of a cremation.
· A funeral plan from Dignity and Age UK sold in 1998 would have left relatives with an average shortfall of £1,200 in 2012 if a burial had been chosen.
The only person at Which!!! Who has the power of speech, Richard Lloyd, said:
“People should make sure they are fully aware of any exclusions that apply before investing money in a funeral plan, to ensure your loved ones are not left with an unexpected hefty bill.
“We also want to see funeral plans fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to make sure people get what they paid for.”
Still, having something put aside to give you a good send off has to be better than nothing at all- so long as the plan coughs up when you croak it it has to be a good thing., not a grave error. And in any case, you won’t care, because you’ll be dead.