13 / 01 / 21
The importance of funeral plans during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on all of our lives. We’ve all found ourselves in an unforeseen situation and have been affected in different ways, with impacts ranging from the missing spending time with family and friends to the tragic loss of loved ones.
So far, over 80,000 people in the UK have died with coronavirus, with the highest number of daily deaths reported just days ago. These unprecedented deaths have had a tremendous impact on families all over the country, with the number of people being faced with arranging a last minute funeral rising rapidly.
Naturally, this situation isn’t something that anyone anticipated – it does, however, highlight the importance of being prepared. We never quite know what’s around the corner, which is why we’re seeing the demand for prepaid funeral plans soar.
During these incredibly challenging tiHaving a prepaid funeral plan in place can give the peace of mind you need to know that should your family unfortunately find themselves in this position, they have one less thing to worry about.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about funerals in the UK during lockdown, and how prepaid funerals can help to provide some reassurance and security during such an uncertain time.
The impact of COVID-19 on funerals
Having to deal with the loss of a loved one is difficult no matter the situation and context, but in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing changes in how funerals are conducted, but necessarily in how they are costed.
Let’s talk about costs first. With funerals running on lower capacities and with less ‘features’ at the moment, you would expect there to be a slight decrease in pricing. However this hasn’t been the case, and funeral services are still averaging out at around the same £4,000 that they were before the pandemic.
It’s no surprise then that the Government has made an amendment to their Funeral Expenses Scheme. Before April 8 2020, those who receive specific benefits payments from the Government were entitled to £700 of financial aid to help with funeral costs.
This figure has now risen to £1,000 although if the deceased had a pre-paid funeral plan, you can only get up to £120 to help pay for items not covered by their plan. The point here is that the Government has decided to up this financial support due to the increase in unexpected deaths.
That financial support would not cover the cost of a funeral and the Government information on the issue states as such, so families are being left with financial burdens and the pandemic has actually seen an increase in ‘crowdfunded’ funerals.
Even if less people can’t be there at the funeral, and some features are now limited (which we will get onto) the costs have remained the same as funeral directors and staff are maintaining a high level of service and putting themselves at risk by performing their key worker duties. This superb article describes the funeral profession as the ‘frontline that nobody is talking about.’
Taking out a prepaid funeral plan during the pandemic
Despite the ongoing pandemic having a significant impact on the arrangements of funerals, this doesn’t affect your ability to take out a prepaid funeral plan. Largely unaffected by the current circumstances, funeral plans can be taken out in the same way as before.
Importantly, with a prepaid funeral plan, you will be securing the cost of your plan at today’s prices. This means that should the cost of funerals increase inline with the current situation – the price you pay won’t change.
Whilst some funeral plans may be disrupted by the current guidelines, you’ll still have the opportunity to personalise your funeral plan the way you want it. The songs you want, the colours you want people to wear, a particular poem you are fond of, none of this changes and is just as important now as it ever was.
Hopefully, the plan you take out won’t need to be activated for some time. However, when that time does come, the rules applicable to the arrangements and attendance of the funeral will be those in place at the time of death, not at the time of purchase.
How to prepare for an unexpected death during COVID-19
At Prosperous Life, we wholeheartedly understand that nothing can prepare any of us emotionally or mentally for the loss of a loved one, particularly if the loss is sudden and unexpected. A family’s grief is only worsened by any financial implications that may arise when being burdened with last minute funeral planning.
Our mission is to help people across the United Kingdom make the steps necessary to prepare for the future, so that if our time does come unexpectedly, measures have been put in place to protect our families from that stress.
Preparing for the short term
Taking out a prepaid funeral plan during the Coronavirus pandemic may be something that you wish to consider. Prepaid funerals help you to set your plans in motion and save your family the worry of having to arrange a funeral at short notice.
They are also locked in at an agreed price, protected from inflation and the rising costs of funerals.
Preparing for the future
Looking further ahead, the pandemic may have given you the inspiration to start thinking about your estate. We have put together a team of experienced consultants who are trained to help guide you through the tricky task of later life planning, ensuring that your affairs are in good order and your assets are protected and distributed as per your wishes.
Covid can be a distraction from the fact that death occurs naturally and unexpectedly from a wide variety of causes, so preparation is essential – pandemic or not.
Funerals during COVID-19 pandemic
Prosperous Life remains open during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and we’re here to offer advice and support regarding funerals and funeral planning.
Whilst the guidelines continue to change, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding the current status of funerals during COVID-19.
Last updated: 13th January 2021
What should I do if someone passes away?
If a loved one dies during the COVID-19 pandemic, your first steps should be to obtain a cause of death medical certificate from the doctor, and then register the death with your local Registrar in order to get a death certificate. This must be done before you can begin arranging the funeral. If your loved one had a Prosperous Life funeral plan, get in touch with us and we’ll discuss with you what happens next.
Will it affect the funeral plan if they passed away due to COVID-19?
No. Current guidelines are applicable to all UK funerals, whether the death was related to COVID-19 or not. You may, however, be asked by your funeral director if the deceased had COVID-19, and they may have their own policies in place which they will discuss with you.
How many people can attend the funeral?
At the time of writing, no more than 30 people may attend a funeral service. This does not include funeral staff, and is applicable to all indoor and outdoor funerals.
Who can attend the funeral?
Due to the risks posed and the limited number of people allowed to attend, you should consider only inviting close family members and friends who are not shielding, symptomatic or self-isolating.
Can I travel to a funeral?
At the time of writing, mourners are permitted to travel for a funeral but must adhere to social distancing and safety measures whilst doing so.
I’m self isolating, can I attend the funeral?
No. If you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace due to testing positive or being in close contact with someone who has, it is a legal requirement that you stay at home, and therefore will not be able to attend the funeral due to the risk posed to others.
I’m self isolating, how can I make arrangements for the funeral?
To arrange a funeral, you should contact your funeral director via phone as opposed to meeting them face-to-face. If you have a Prosperous Life funeral plan, this can also be initiated via phone on 0161 850 7586.
Do social distancing and safety measures apply at the funeral?
While it is the responsibility of the funeral director to ensure that Government guidelines are being followed, it is of course expected of all attendees at a funeral during the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of the lack of any signage or direction.
It is a very sad situation, as so much comfort can be found in the arms of a family member at such a sad time, but unfortunately that is the way it has to be. Social distancing may result in some areas of the service being closed, such as gardens.
Can I visit the deceased in the Chapel of Rest?
Your funeral director will be the one to confirm what visitation restrictions are in place for the service. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on visiting hours and number of visitors allowed within chapels. If your loved one passed away as a result of COVID-19 then, sadly, you may be unable to visit them in the Chapel of Rest.
Will a hearse still be provided for the funeral?
Hearses are still being provided for funeral services, provided those within the same bubble are using the vehicle for the journey. It is required by law for passengers to wear face coverings whilst inside the hearse, similar to the law applied to taxi journeys.
Can a limousine still be used for the funeral?
This will be dictated by Government guidance at any given time. Most funeral directors are restricting limousine capacity, whilst others are completely withdrawing limousines from their services. Using your own methods of transport is advised.
Are pallbearers still allowed at the service?
Sadly, due to current Government restrictions, pallbearers are not permitted to carry coffins or caskets into a service. Instead, your funeral director will bring the coffin or casket into the service on a wheeled ‘bier.’
Can readings still be included in the service?
No changes here. You may still choose readings to honor your loved one during the service. Your chosen readings are agreed with your appointed funeral director before the day of the funeral.
If you would like to arrange your own pre-paid funeral plan, either for the security or convenience it brings, you should contact our helpful advisors by clicking here. We’re always around to give you the advice you need, and to help you make the right choice for you.
This page is for information purposes only and by no means offering any form of advice on any regulated product that may or may not be covered under FCA rules.