6 ways to follow up on a loved one's funeral plan
When someone dies, there is a lot that needs to be taken care of, including planning and paying for their funeral. In the UK, more than 210,000 prepaid funeral plans are sold each year. Having a prepaid funeral plan organised in advance ensures a stress-free time for your loved ones when you die. They won’t need to scramble to plan your funeral, or to pay for it.
However, there are times when we don’t know if our loved one already had a funeral plan in place before they died. This may be because they died very suddenly, they booked it and forgot about it, or they simply didn’t mention it to anyone.
We know that this can be a very stressful time for you. You will be dealing with the grief and loss of losing a loved one, in addition to worrying about finding important paperwork, and arranging the funeral.
Finding out if your friend or family member has an existing funeral plan will save you a lot of hassle and money, especially if it has already been paid for. Keep reading to learn how you can find out if someone has a funeral plan and how you can access it.
In this blog we’ll be covering:
- How to find or track a lost funeral plan
- How to make sure you don’t lose track of a funeral plan
- Is there a funeral plan register in the UK?
- How to know if your prepaid funeral plan is safe
- Finding authorised funeral service providers in the UK
- How to know if your money is safe with a prepaid funeral plan
- How the FCA protects you and your money
- Helpful resources for funeral planning, talking about death, important documents, and paying for a funeral
1. Find out if they used a funeral planning service like Legacy of Lives
If your loved one did plan their funeral in advance, they may have used the services of a funeral planner like Legacy of Lives. If they did use a funeral planning service, then they would have included the name and contact details of their nominee, emergency contact, or next of kin when filling out their plan. Legacy of Lives would then either send you a copy of their funeral plan, or give you a way to access their account.
Sometimes, people simply forget to mention that they’ve arranged their funeral in advance to their friends and family, or they don’t mention the details like the name of the company they’ve used. In this case, you can look for the relevant paperwork in their home office, on their computer, or their emails. You can also contact funeral planning services in the UK and ask them to check their databases for you.
2. Check with your local funeral directors
If your loved one mentioned pre-booking a funeral, they may have done so with a local funeral director in your area or city. You can contact the funeral directors directly and ask them to check their records or your loved one’s name. You can find a list of registered funeral directors here.
You could check with Co-op Funeralcare or Dignity, which happen to be the largest funeral directors in the UK, and then check with local funeral directors in your area.
Please note that if you or your loved one has a pre-paid funeral plan from before 29 July 2022, you will need to check with the FCA if the funeral director you’ve booked with is still registered and compliant with the new rules. The FCA took over from the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) on 29 July 2022. The FCA has implemented stricter regulations to protect consumers and their money. Some funeral planners have become insolvent since then. These include funeral planning companies like Safe Hands, Empathy, and Not For Profit Funeral Plans. We have explained this in greater detail in the “Frequently Asked Questions” section below.
3. Use a funeral plan tracking tool
Prior to 29 July 2022, the FPA (Funeral Planning Association) offered a funeral plan tracking service on their website. However, since closing down, the tracker is no longer available to consumers.
There are a couple of options available to you:
- The Probate Department UK have a funeral plan tracking tool on their website here.This tool will send a request to some FCA registered funeral directors to check their databases for your details.
Since the FCA took over, they have reduced the number of registered funeral directors from 65 to 23. This was a step towards protecting UK citizens from bad business practices by some funeral service providers. This means that if you or your loved one had booked a funeral plan with a now deregistered company, it will not show up in the database.
- My Funeral Matters UK offers a similar tracking request tool on their website . However, using this tool costs £9.99.
The tool will send a request for information to the funeral directors on their database in one go. This will save you the time and energy of contacting each funeral director separately.
4. Check bank statements
Most prepaid funeral plans are paid for via setting up a direct debit from your bank account each month. You could check your loved one’s bank statements or direct debit orders for any money going to a funeral director.
We highly discourage you from paying for a prepaid funeral or funeral planning service in cash. This is because there will be no record of the payment, in case you need to find proof of payment later on.
5. Check insurance policy
Most older people in the UK will have a funeral plan included in their insurance policy. This would be the next best place to check for any existing funeral plans.
6. Ask friends and family
If your research isn’t turning up anything, be sure to ask your loved one’s friends, family, coworkers, flatmates if they ever talked about booking a funeral plan.
How To Make Sure You Don't Lose Track of a Funeral Plan
- Have a chat with your loved ones about their funeral plans and wishes and take notes. Help them with booking a prepaid plan and include your name as next of kin to be contacted.
- If your loved one has booked a prepaid plan, note down the name of the funeral service provider, their contact details, payment details, and keep a copy of the relevant documents.
- Ask your loved ones to keep a folder of important documents, including prepaid funeral plans, in an easily accessible place (and to tell you where it is, of course!). The free funeral planning tool on Legacy of Lives is a wonderful resource where you can access all important documents, as well as funeral plans and wishes in one secure location.
- When moving house, be sure to inform your funeral director so they can update their records accordingly.
- Never pay for funeral plans in cash, and always keep a record of payment.
How does the FCA protect me and my money?
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over as a regulatory body for funeral services on 29 July 2022. What does this mean for consumers in the UK?
The new FCA regulations for funeral service providers in the UK are a great advantage for consumers in the UK. This means that you and your money will be protected when you purchase a prepaid funeral plan from any of the authorised funeral service operators in the UK under the FCA.
Not only will your rights as a consumer be better protected under the FCA, but you will also be guaranteed the service that you paid for.
Is there a funeral plan register?
There is no funeral plan register in the UK. Prior to 29 July 2022, the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) had a funeral plan tracking tool on their website. This tool allowed consumers to search for and track prepaid funeral plans from the funeral directors registered with the FPA. After 29 July 2022, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over and started regulating firms that offer prepaid funerals, making the FPA defunct. This tracking tool is no longer available to consumers.
How to check if a prepaid funeral supplier is safe?
To check if a prepaid funeral supplier is safe, check with the list of registered funeral service suppliers on the FCA website.
The FCA also has a list of firms that under no circumstances can provide funeral services here.
If your funeral plan supplier is on the approved list, your plan is safe.
If you had booked a prepaid funeral plan prior to 29 July 2022, and your funeral provider has become insolvent or has liquidated, there are some things you can do to recover your money.
- Check if a different funeral service provider has agreed to take care of existing prepaid funeral plan customers.
- You may be transferred to a new provider. However, this may be at an additional cost or under new terms and conditions.
- You can pay a cancellation fee and recover some of the money you’ve paid into a prepaid funeral plan.
- You can cancel any direct debit orders to a prepaid funeral plan.
How do I know my money is safe with a prepaid funeral plan?
If you are taking out a new prepaid funeral plan, always check if the funeral service provider is regulated by the FCA. Funeral services now being regulated by the FCA is a huge benefit for consumers in the UK. If you or your loved ones wish to purchase a prepaid funeral plan now, you and your money will be protected under the new FCA rules.
- Under the new FCA regulations, you have the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Services (FOS).
- You can also access the financial protection offered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that if your funeral service provider becomes insolvent or goes into liquidation you will be able to recover your money.
- The FCA will be banning any funeral service providers that do not guarantee a funeral service for funeral instalment plan products. This means that if you are paying in instalments towards a prepaid funeral plan, you will be guaranteed to get the service that you paid for. Note that this is unless the policyholder dies within two years of taking out the plan.
- If the firm you use is not authorised under the FCA, you will not have any financial protection if something goes wrong. Don't buy a plan from a funeral service provider if its status is "not applying for authorisation", "application refused" or "application withdrawn".
Finally, while it would make things a lot easier if you do find a prepaid funeral plan for your loved one, please keep in mind that they may not have one. It may also be difficult to trace and track a funeral plan as not all funeral service providers will respond to your queries, or even be in the database.
The best steps you can take would be to prepare well in advance and take the steps mentioned above to make sure you do not lose track of a funeral plan.
We hope that you found the information on this page useful and supportive.
We create resources that aim to break the stigma around talking about death and dying, funerals, and end-of-life services. We encourage you to talk to your loved ones about their funeral plans, and share your plans and wishes with them as well.
The Legacy of Lives team is here to guide and support you every step of the way. We understand that the days and weeks after a loved one’s death can be overwhelming and confusing. Especially so, if you don’t have access to important documents or information.
You can contact us via the chat box on our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of the resources and the free funeral planning tool on our website are free and easy to use.
Some helpful resources: