Planning ahead with a European funeral plan
European funeral plans for Spain, Portugal and Cyprus could be a good idea if you live abroad or have a second home, as funeral arrangements and customs vary. A funeral plan for Spain and other european countries could remove the worry of language barriers, different cultural practices and family arranging everything remotely.
3 reasons why British expats may consider a Europen funeral plans
First and foremost you want to be sure that your family are protected from the emotional and financial stresses of arranging your funeral. Then there are the added complications that come hand in hand with living abroad such as:
- The language barrier - making arrangements is difficult enough at the time of need so any difficulty with communication can only add to that pressure and possibly prevent the family from having the type of funeral you and they would want
- Local Traditions - The country you live in will have different customs to the UK; for example you may find that the body needs to be cremated within 72 hours unless you have made prior arrangements
- Legal Implications - Depending on where you live, some countries have regional legal red tape; processes that should be followed when a person dies which could be a minefield if your family end up signing paperwork without understanding the implications
If your family is in the UK, pre-arranging your funeral can give them some peace of mind that the services included in your plan will be taken care of and not left to them to sort out
A prepaid funeral plan will remove all this worry; ensure the service is carried out in accordance with local customs and your wishes and will ultimately save money.
What happens if you die in Spain?
When someone dies in Spain, their next of kin is required to call the Guardia Civil (Police) and a Doctor (in the UK it’s just a doctor) who will in turn contact a local funeral director of their choice.
The next of kin will then be required to sign the ‘Body Release Form’, which in many cases also means that they have contracted to use that funeral director, often with no disclosure of prices or any awareness that they have committed to this.
The deceased’s bank accounts and assets maybe frozen and the funeral usually takes place within 72 hours.
What happens if you die in Spain and have a funeral plan?
This experience could be different with a prepaid funeral plan. Your next of kin would still inform the doctor and the police however, your family would then call the funeral plan Helpline and they will take care of everything else, removing the pressure from your family.
Usually the European funeral plan provider will have an office in Spain, often with multi-lingual staff so you can speak to someone in English at this difficult time. Plus they will have a good local knowledge and relationships with most local funeral directors.
Some providers have a 24 hour helpline based in Spain so when the time comes your family will have expert local speaking knowledgeable staff to take care of everything for them, just as you planned.
Frequently asked questions
Can I pay for my funeral plan in Euros or Sterling?
Yes, you can pay for a European Funeral Plan in either euros or stirling.
How safe is my money?
Your money will usually be invested in a separate trust that is independently audited to ensure that there are sufficient funds to meet future liabilities: from the 29th July 2022 all plans are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
What if I change my mind?
We hope that you won’t but sometimes we recognise that circumstances change and so if you cancel the plan within 30 days of applying you will receive all of your money back. After this there will be a cancellation fee charged by the provider.
Can I have my body repatriated to the UK?
The cost of repatriation can be expensive. Some providers will offer this service, but an extra cost. You should always check before applying for a plan what services are included and what are additional costs.
That said the majority of expats choose to be cremated in Spain.
I have Expat Insurance, why do I need a funeral plan?
Having ex-pat insurance will undoubtedly help your family, but this will take time to be paid to your family and will not help them through the stressful process of arranging your funeral in a country that will have different customs and procedures.
Are funerals in Spain more expensive than the UK?
Depending on which type of service you require the cost of a funeral in Spain is similar to the UK.
I am considering moving to Spain, should I buy a funeral plan now or once I have moved?
If you move to Spain from the UK you can purchase a European Funeral Plan before you move once you know your permanent address, if you choose the dual certification option, then the plan will also cover you whilst you are in the UK. Or you wait until you are living in Spain and buy a plan later.
Do European funeral plans cover people with homes in both the UK & Europe?
Whilst some people will have retired to Spain others will have homes in both the UK and Spain and divide their time between the 2 properties; some providers offer dual cover; meaning the funeral service can be held in the country in which you pass away.
I have been living in Spain for many years, is it too late to buy a plan?
No, you can still buy a funeral plan in Spain no matter how long you have been living there.