Martin Lewis’ advice on funeral plans through the Money Saving Expert website provides information and tips on buying a prepaid plan. In addition to reviewing funeral plan costs, whether they are a good idea and security, the guide also compares three of the UKs leading funeral plan providers.
Who is Martin Lewis the Money Saving Expert?
Martin Lewis is a financial journalist, TV personality and founder of the website MoneySavingExpert. He is best known for campaigning for consumer rights and as the name of the website suggests, saving money.
What does Martin Lewis say about funeral plans?
Martin Lewis’ team at Money Saving Expert offer a one page guide on funeral plans. They list the top 10 things you should know about buying a prepaid plan and compare the UK’s largest funeral plan providers, namely:
Money saving expert top 10 funeral plan tips
Avoid the cowboys – Not all providers are registered with and therefore regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA). This has led to mis-selling by certain unscrupulous non-registered companies over recent years. Martin Lewis therefore recommends you choose an FPA approved provider.
Looking to the future, it has been agreed that sales of prepaid funeral plans will fall under the guidance of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA),which will come into force in August 2022.
Know what services you are getting – The guide shows a breakdown of services included, sometimes included and never included in funeral plans. Although this information is correct, it misses the crucial point that there are two types of funeral plans:
- Guaranteed plans – all services included in the plan are guaranteed with nothing more to pay
- Contribution plans – only include an allowance for third party fees therefore there could be more to pay
Guard against inflation – When you buy a funeral plan you freeze costs at today’s prices, avoiding future inflation. Money Saving Expert points out this is only cost effective if funeral costs continue to rise. However this has certainly been the case for the last decade.
Funeral plan pros and cons – If you have the funds and want to remove the worry of arranging a funeral from your family, a funeral plan is worth considering. However as with any purchase, you need to be aware of the pros and cons of prepaying your funeral.
Funeral Planning Authority vs the Financial Conduct Authority – As funeral plans aren’t currently regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority; your money is not protected in the same way as a savings account.
However, your money is held securely in either a trust fund or an insurance policy both of which are independently managed. This means if anything were to happen to the company, your money remains ringfenced, safe and ready to pay for your funeral services.
Avoid the taxman – When you buy a prepaid plan, it doesn’t count as being part of your estate. This means it will be:
- Excluded from any inheritance tax liability
- Won’t count as an asset if you’re assessed for care fees
Choose the right payment option – You can pay for your funeral plan in one of the following ways:
Tell your family – Once your funeral plan is in place, it’s important to tell your family, so they know exactly who to contact when the time comes.
Don’t confuse a funeral plan with over 50 life insurance – A common mistake people make is to assume Over 50s life insurance is a funeral plan, mainly because over 50 plans are frequently used to help with funeral costs.
Read how the two are very different.
Can you afford it? – An obvious question when considering buying a funeral plan is can you afford it? If there are sufficient funds in your estate, your family could use the money to pay for the funeral however it can take a while to settle the estate.
And don’t forget with a prepaid plan you are paying today’s prices avoiding inflation and removing the worry of arranging a funeral from your family too.
Money saving expert funeral plan best buys
The Money Saving Expert funeral plan best buys focuses specifically on the three market leaders listing each of their four plans. To summarise:
- Golden Charter offer contribution style funerals plan so there could be more to pay for third party costs when the time comes
- Age Co or Dignity offer a full guarantee for cremation funerals but not for burials and are the cheapest of the three companies
- Co op funeral plans are the most expensive but guarantee both cremation and burial funerals
Do Money Saving Expert offer funeral plans?
Money Saving Expert offers advice on funeral plans and tips for choosing the best buy but they don’t offer funeral plans themselves.
Does Martin Lewis think it’s smart to prepay your funeral?
Martin Lewis suggests a funeral plan could be a smart way to prepay for your funeral as long as you choose a company regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority, have the money available to pay for your plan and completely understand how it works.