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Our guide to funeral plans

All you need to know about making funeral plans

It’s natural to put off thinking about death, but facing up to it sooner rather than later can actually be a weight off your mind. No one’s getting any younger and if illness or a condition like dementia were to strike it could be harder, or even impossible, to make funeral plans and arrangements yourself.

Time’s also of the essence when it comes to costs. Funerals can be expensive – the average cost of a funeral in the UK is £4,078*, double what it was in 2005 – and someone close to you will have to pay the bill. Having a funeral plan can protect you against further price rises and ultimately ease the financial pressure on them or your estate.

The benefits of funeral planning in advance can be priceless. Not only will you be supporting the people you love even when you can’t be there, you’ll also be rewarded with peace of mind to continue enjoying life to the full now.

*SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2017

What is a funeral plan?

It’s a straightforward way to pay for and arrange aspects of your funeral in advance, lightening the financial and practical load on loved ones when the time comes. A funeral plan does not cover all costs associated with a funeral so always check what’s included and how much the extras could cost for your family.

So if you’ve ever wondered how your loved ones might cope with arranging your funeral, or you have a view on the kind of send-off you’d like, a funeral plan could make sense.

Making funeral plans – what to think about

1. Rising funeral costs

The average cost of a funeral in 2017 was £4,078* – up a massive 112% since 2004

And that figure is before extras like catering, venue hire, flowers, notices and memorials have been factored in, which on average add almost £1,930 more to the final funeral bill.

2. The type of funeral you’d like

Your choice of a cremation or burial can also make a difference to the cost of a funeral. The average cost of a burial is £4,561, over £950 more expensive than the average cremation cost of £3,596.

3. How much you can afford

Remember, any contribution you make to the cost of your funeral will be a help when it’s most needed. Funeral plans often come with a range of options to work within your budget.

4. Your own wishes

Is there anything you want to make your funeral more personal? Like your favourite song or an item of clothing to be sent off in? Anything goes these days, from Hawaiian shirts to wellies.

average cost of a basic funeral by region

The cost of a funeral in your area

Use our free funeral cost calculator to find the average cost of a funeral where you live.

Free funeral cost calculator

For those of you that prefer video…

Watch our short video that explains funeral costs

Video transcript
How much does a funeral cost?

Did you know that the average cost of a funeral in the UK is now around £4,078? This is made up of the fees for the cremation or burial, the funeral director, the doctor and the person conducting the funeral.

But, the average cost of a funeral can vary hugely, depending on where you live. For example, in London the average cost is £5,951 compared with Northern Ireland, where it’s £2,982.

It’s never easy to think about your funeral, but it can make such a difference knowing that there's one less thing for your family to worry about.

Use our funeral cost calculator to find out the average funeral cost in your area.

How our funeral plans work

  • We offer a choice of funeral plans to suit you and your budget
  • You choose how you want to pay either with a one-off payment or monthly with life insurance
  • All plans are open to any UK resident aged 50+

 

  • You can record any special touches you’d like to make the occasion all the more personal to you
  • Getting a quote is quick and easy to do

 

Things you should know

There are two ways to pay for our funeral plans so you can choose what best suits you:

1. Paying monthly with life insurance

Can be more manageable, but there’s a two year waiting period before the services under the plan will be provided. Full details are in the terms and conditions

2. Making a one-off payment

Means finding the money up front, but your plan will be in place straightaway

The funeral services will be provided by Golden Charter, who are the UK’s largest network of independent funeral directors and are regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority.

Why funeral planning makes sense

Funeral prices have risen massively over the years. With a funeral plan, your chosen funeral is sorted no matter how much prices rise, leaving loved ones with less to pay for at the time.

Also, by making funeral plans in advance, you’re more likely to get the send off you want because you decide as many of the specifics as you like. And, your loved ones won’t be left to make lots of difficult decisions as they try to second guess your wishes.

And finally, taking positive steps to ease the financial burden and worry of your funeral for loved ones whenever that may be, will give you all peace of mind to get on with living now.

Help to plan your funeral

My Perfect Send-Off is our free planner that guides you through some of the choices you can make now for your funeral. It also documents your wishes so you have a lasting record to keep safe and share with loved ones.

My Perfect Send-Off

1. Who provides the services included in your plans?

All funeral services are provided by Golden Charter. Who are the UK’s largest network of independent funeral directors nationwide and is regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority.

2. If I have savings of life insurance, do I need one?

It’s hard to know if savings or life insurance will be enough to cover everything that might need to be paid for when you die, including your funeral costs. And money can’t help loved ones with funeral arrangements. Whereas a funeral plan is guaranteed to pay for and arrange the funeral services included in it, as long as the required payments have been made.

3. Does a funeral plan cover the entire cost of a funeral?

It will cover the entire cost of all the services included within it. Exactly what’s covered will depend on the plan you choose. Your loved ones will need to pay for any extra requirement not included in your plan when arranging the funeral.

Third party costs – the fees for the doctor, the officiant and the crematorium or cemetery - are not within the control of a funeral director. Our funeral plans include a rising allowance to try and make sure these costs can be covered. However, if at the time of death these costs exceed the allowance, the excess will need to be paid.

4. What extras might my loved ones need to pay for?

Our funeral plans include most aspects of a basic funeral and the funeral director’s services. Any extra personal touches can be costed and arranged by the funeral director and paid for at the time. For example, additional transport, flowers, the wake, printing, a burial plot, headstone or memorial, or a service before the burial or cremation.

5. What happens if funeral costs go up between now and when I die?

A funeral plan is designed to protect against future price rises. The funeral services specified in the plan will be provided at no extra cost to your loved ones, regardless of any rises in the cost of a funeral.

Only if the allowance included for third party costs is not enough to pay these fees in full at the time of the funeral, will the excess have to be paid.

6. Why is the cost of a burial plot not included?

The cost and availability of burial plots varies significantly from region to region making it hard to set a price.

7. What happens when I die?

Your family will only need to make one phone call and then the Golden Charter funeral director will see to the arrangements. They’ll also give support, advice and guidance to your loved ones throughout. All contact details are set out in the welcome pack.

8. How old do I have to be to take out a Funeral Plan?

Our plans are open to all UK residents aged 50 or over. To pay with life insurance, the person named on the policy must be aged 50-80 at the start of the plan.

9. Who will my funeral director be?

Golden Charter will nominate one of their local funeral directors to take care of you, carry out your funeral and support your loved ones.

10. Can I take out a Plan for a spouse or parent?

Yes, you can – as long as they’re over 50 and a UK resident. If you want to pay for their funeral plan with a life insurance policy, the person must be aged 50-80 because they will be the named policyholder and you will not be entitled to the proceeds of the policy.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd. Golden Charter Ltd are not required to be authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority in relation to funeral plans but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

If you choose to pay for your funeral in one go, with a single payment, you will have a contract with Golden Charter. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

If you choose to pay for your funeral with a life insurance policy, the policy will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.