Do funeral homes offer payment plans? Sometimes. It depends on the funeral director and when the funeral is taking place.
Generally speaking, it’s easier to find flexible payment options if you’re planning your own funeral in advance. It’s harder if you need to pay for a funeral for a person who has recently died.
In this article, we’ll cover the two main types of payment plans for funeral services. These are:
- Paying for a funeral in instalments
- Pre-payment funeral plans
We’ll also look at a few ways you could get help paying for a funeral.
Paying for a funeral in instalments
Are you arranging a funeral for a person who has recently died? If you’d like to spread the cost, you’ll need to find a funeral director who’s willing to offer flexible payment terms.
While it’s not common, some funeral homes do have payment plans in place to help make funerals a little more affordable.
Your best bet is to shop around. You can use our free search tool to look for funeral homes that accept payment plans near you. Simply enter your postcode to get started.
How do I know if they accept payment plans?
Occasionally, a funeral director will mention that they do payment plans on their website. If they don’t, they might say so on their price list instead. You should be able to download this from their website – look for terms like ‘CMA price list’ or ‘standardised price list’ to find it.
Failing this, phone them up and ask ‘can I pay for a funeral in instalments?’. Even if they say no, they may be able to advise on other ways you can get help paying for the funeral.
Are there any downsides?
If you spread the cost of a funeral, you may have to pay interest with each instalment. This means the total cost of the funeral will be higher than if you’d paid upfront.
This is normal. Paying for a funeral in instalments is much like taking out a loan or buying a car on finance. The funeral director is effectively lending you money for the funeral, so will charge interest for this service just as a bank or finance provider would.
Be sure to read any agreements carefully before you sign them and ask the funeral director if you’re unclear about anything. You could also consider taking out a funeral loan with a bank. They might offer lower interest rates than your funeral director.
What if I’ve already chosen a funeral director?
Don’t worry. You’re free to shop around and change funeral directors, even if you’ve already chosen one.
One thing to keep in mind: you’ll have to pay your current funeral director for anything they’ve done so far, such as looking after the body. For this reason, it’s best to choose a new funeral director as early as possible.
You can learn more in our article, ‘can you change funeral directors?’.
Pre-payment funeral plans
A pre-payment funeral plan is a way of paying for your own funeral in advance. This means your friends or family will have less to pay when you die. This kind of funeral payment plan is often simply called a ‘funeral plan’.
There are lots of funeral plan providers in the UK. Some are tied to a specific funeral director, while others let you choose from a list of different funeral homes.
How do they work?
Funeral plans work like savings accounts. You can either pay a lump sum to cover your funeral or pay in instalments. Depending on the payment plan you choose, these instalments could be paid over several months or years.
When you die, the money you’ve paid is used to cover some of your funeral costs.
You can learn more about pre-paid funeral plans and how they work here.
More ways to get help with funeral costs
As well as paying for a funeral in instalments, you might be able to get other funds to help pay for it.
Check if the person had a funeral plan
It’s possible that the person who has died took out a pre-payment funeral plan but didn’t tell you.
Unfortunately, there’s currently no easy way to find out. You could try asking around – they might have told a close friend or family member about the plan. You could also look for documents from a funeral plan provider or call up a few providers and ask.
Take out a funeral loan
Some people take out a loan to cover funeral costs, then pay back the loan over several months or years.
This might be a good option if you want to use a funeral director who doesn’t accept payment plans. Taking out a loan means you can pay the funeral director upfront but spread the cost with a bank or other lender.
Bear in mind that you’ll have to pay interest on the loan, so the funeral will cost more in the long run. However, your bank may be able to offer a better interest rate than your funeral director. If you have a poor credit rating, you’ll often have to pay more interest. Your loan application could even be refused.
Some lenders offer loans especially for funerals. You don’t have to use one of these loans to pay for a funeral. You can take out a standard personal loan with your bank and use this to cover funeral costs.
Get help from the government
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to access government funds to help pay for the funeral. These include:
- Funeral Expenses Payment: this is a one-off payment that’s available to people on certain benefits. In Scotland, there’s a different fund called the Funeral Support Payment.
- Bereavement Support Payment: this is available to some people who have lost a spouse or civil partner. It consists of one lump sum followed by smaller monthly payments.
- Children’s funeral funds: these help parents pay for a child’s funeral. There are different funds for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Make sure you check the details as some funds might affect your benefit payments.
Get help from a charity
There are quite a few UK charities that can help people with funeral costs. Some, like Quaker Social Action, offer advice to anyone who’s struggling to pay for a funeral. Others can provide financial help if the person who has died had a certain job or passed away from a particular illness.
Here’s a list of funeral charities that may be able to help you.
Other useful articles
- What is a funeral plan?
- How to get help with funeral costs
- Can you get help with funeral costs if you’re on benefits?
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