J & R Killick Ltd.

Established 1879

Funeral Directors

112 High Street, West Wickham,
Kent, BR4 0ND
020 8777 4502

Pre arranged funeral plans

We do offer pre-arranged funeral plans but would suggest you read the below "Guidance Notes" before committing to a scheme. We will be pleased to discuss the concept of a plan with you. Please do not hesitate to make an appointment to meet us and we can talk you through the options and costs.

Pre arranged plans, guidance notes

The concept of pre-paying for a funeral originated in the USA many years ago, when a huge American company bought up various concerns (funeral directors, crematoria and cemeteries) the idea was introduced into the UK.

Ever since Robert Maxwell disappeared with his company’s funds it is not permissible to give funeral directors funds, directly in advance of a funeral. The money must go into a properly administered fund, with investment trustees, run by a "plan provider". This fund will eventually be used to pay for the funeral costs.

There are now several of these "plan providers". Some have links to very large funeral companies or funeral director’s trade associations. The original American company has sold out and the new company is listed on the UK stock market. Some schemes are endorsed by well known charities but you are often restricted to one large funeral concern. Although these plan providers are registered under the Funeral Planning Authority, some pre arranged funeral plans are NOT regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Some companies carry out huge advertising campaigns with the "adverts" containing some misleading and inaccurate information. Don’t believe every piece of information you may read!

When these schemes started everyone thought they were a good idea but, in hindsight we have realised there are associated problems. When asked "why are you considering a plan?" most of our clients respond that they do not want to be a burden to those left to make the arrangements and want to have everything organised beforehand. Unfortunately a pre arranged funeral plan CANNOT negate the requirements of all the paperwork that needs to be completed at the time of death and these days this is quite considerable. The death still has to be registered and forms have to be completed by the nearest relative or executor. Circumstances, requirements and even the law may change from when the plan was taken out and this can cause complications (despite contrary advice contained in some adverts and brochures). The main problem in the past has been that the trust fund has not generated enough income to pay for the funeral, especially with low interest rates and poor stock market returns. Some plans are "guaranteed" but in reality this is by the funeral director and not the plan provider or trust company (this usually is reflected by a much higher fee). Most plans are now not "guaranteed" and any increase in disbursements over a certain figure will have to be met by the person making the arrangements. Those that are "guaranteed" are often considerably more expensive.

Please be aware that banks and building societies usually release funds from the deceased’s own individual account to pay for a funeral immediately on receipt of a death certificate and the funeral director’s invoice. Bank accounts of the deceased are NOT frozen in respect of funeral costs (this also applies to the Inland Revenue!).

The plan provider is usually paid a fee for the administration of a plan and this is incorporated into the costs involved. You should be aware that you purchase the plan from the plan provider and not from J & R Killick Ltd. We give no guarantee as to the financial standing of the plan provider or trust fund.

Before entering into a plan, we advise that you first consider who would be responsible for arranging the funeral and ensure that they know what is required (a burial or cremation, minister, final resting place etc). Our information folder entitled "do you know what to do?" also found here has proven to be very useful in this respect.

You should check your plan provider allows you to nominate a funeral director that you want to use, as many do not allow you to choose or to change in the future. Always check on the ultimate owners of the funeral director as this may not be who you think it is. Circumstances do change over the years and companies often sell out but the trading name does not change.

Some plans will not give you anything back if another funeral director is mistakenly used or if you want your money back if circumstances change. Most will only return the premiums paid.

Most importantly, check on the cost of the funeral required (i.e. cremation, burial, church service, final resting place) based on current costings and consider the option of doing nothing other than ensuring that sufficient funds are available. A pre-arranged plan can be considerably more expensive. When the time of need arises the person making the arrangements has much more flexibility and can easily access funds from a bank/building society account.

These notes are intended to give you information about your options, they should not be misunderstood as advice.

If however you need advice about your funeral arrangements then we strongly urge you to contact Peter Killick or Michael Killick, details here.

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