Can I pay for my own funeral?
The short answer is yes, you can pay for your own funeral. Paying for your own funeral may seem a strange thing to do, but it really isn’t if you stop and think about it. It can actually be a sensible, considerate thing to do and cost-effective if funeral costs continue to rise in the future.
If you like to be prepared, don't want to burden your family any more than necessary, or simply don’t like to leave loose ends, planning and paying for your funeral ahead of time with a prepaid funeral plan could be worth considering.
Why pay for your own funeral in advance?
With the average cost of a funeral now standing at £4,056 – paying for your own funeral in advance can help you:
- Protect your family from the expense of paying for your funeral or paying more for arrangements you don’t want
- Leave more in your estate for your loved ones, or your favourite charity. Prepaying for your funeral means more of your estate could be passed to family as inheritance
Can you get a payment plan for a funeral?
Yes, you can get a payment plan for a funeral. A funeral payment plan allows you to pay for your funeral in advance and at today’s prices, avoiding any future rises in funeral costs.
You can pay for a funeral plan in monthly instalments or in a single lump sum, whichever you prefer. Paying monthly allows you to spread the cost of your funeral over a timeframe that suits you and your budget.
How can I pay for my own funeral?
There are several ways you can pay for your own funeral ahead of time:
You will also be paying for your own funeral if your heirs or executors take the money from your estate after you die. However, they may have to wait for probate before they can access the funds, which means they may have to find the money from elsewhere first.
Why do I need a funeral plan?
Whether or not you need a funeral plan is entirely your decision. Here are few reasons why you may want to consider using a funeral plan to pay for your funeral in advance. You are in control of your own funeral arrangements; you pay for the plan at today’s prices, you can choose a funeral plan according to your budget and pay for it in a way that suits you, and ultimately ease some of the financial and emotional burden on your loved ones.
Let’s look at each of those reasons in more detail:
A funeral plan enables you to plan and pay for your own funeral to ensure a funeral director will take care of all the services detailed in your plan when the time comes.
With a prepaid funeral plan you can choose the type of funeral you would like and specify your wishes, so your family know exactly what you wanted. This also prevents them splashing out on a solid oak coffin when you'd prefer a cardboard one (or vice versa) or buying flowers when you'd rather have donations to your favourite charity.
- You freeze the cost at today’s prices
You pay at today’s price for the services guaranteed in your plan, so however long you live, your loved ones will not have to pay anything for these services, regardless of how much funeral costs rise.
- You choose a plan to match your budget
You can choose a funeral plan to match your needs and your budget. Most providers offer a range of fixed price plans, ranging from a limited option to standard plans offering basic services, up to premium plans with higher quality features. Some providers also offer a direct cremation plan, which provides a simple cremation only.
- You have a choice of flexible payment options
You can choose to pay for a funeral plan in full with a lump sum or spread the cost with monthly instalments over a specified number of years. The size of the payments will depend on the term you choose.
If you’re aged 50- 75 or 80, you could choose an insuranecbased monthly funeral plan which has lower premiums, payable either for the rest of your life or until your 90th birthday. You’re guaranteed to be accepted regardless of your health, and you will be fully covered after one or two years. There is a chance you could pay more in than the cost of the funeral services provided, but this will depend on how long you live.
- Your funeral plan is excluded from care home means test
If you ever need to go into full-time care, the money used to pay for a funeral plan will not be included in the means test to assess how much you must contribute towards care home fees.
- You and your loved ones will have peace of mind
Pay for your funeral now, and then you can rest assured that the services included in the plan are paid for and will happen as you wish, without causing extra worry for your loved ones. When the time comes, your family just needs to make one call to the plan provider. They will alert the funeral director, who will make all the arrangements detailed in your plan.
Alternative ways to pay for your funeral
A funeral plan is the only way to pay for your funeral in advance and at today’s prices. However, there are alternatives ways to leave money to pay for your own funeral, or at least contribute towards it, when the time comes. Do bear in mind the effect of inflation though, as it means your money will not go as far in the future as it can now.
Over 50 plans
Over 50 plans are simple whole of life insurance policies that pay out a guaranteed cash sum on death, whenever that is. The plan beneficiary/ies can use this money as they wish, for example, to help pay for your funeral.
- Affordable monthly premiums starting from £3,70 a month
- Guaranteed acceptance with no medical as long as you're a UK resident aged between 50 and 85, which can be particularly helpful if you have any pre-existing conditions
- Guaranteed fixed cash sum is based on your age and the premium you choose
- Full cash sum payable on death after an initial waiting period of one or two years
- The ability to take out more than one plan
- Some insurers give you the option to have the cash sum paid directly to a funeral director and taken off the final cost of your funeral
- The flexibility to write the plan 'in trust'.
Whole of life insurance
Regular whole of life insurance also guarantees to pay out a cash sum when you die. However, unlike over 50 life insurance, your acceptance is based on your answers to questions about your health and lifestyle, and you can be turned down. The cash pay outs on offer are higher than over 50 plans and could be used to pay for your funeral when the time comes if the beneficiary of the plan chooses to.
- A guaranteed fixed payout of up to £1,000,000
- No waiting period – cover starts straight away
- The flexibility to be written 'in trust’
A designated savings account
You could set up a savings account to save for your funeral. it may be worthwhile setting up a joint account with a trusted friend or one of your executors, so the funds can be accessed easily when needed. If it is in your name only, the account provider may refuse to release the funds until probate is granted, which can take up to nine months.
You might also want to consider whether you may need to dip into these savings during your lifetime, as this could mean there is less money left to help your loved ones pay your funeral costs.
Paying for your funeral from your estate
If you are happy there will be enough money in your estate to pay for your funeral, there is still a chance your relatives or executors will have to wait for probate before they can access the funds. If so, they may have to pay for your funeral out of their own pockets in the meantime.
Also, once probate is granted, if there isn't enough left in your estate after any debts (e.g. a mortgage) have been paid, they may not be able to reclaim the money.