How to trace a forgotten funeral plan

20 April 2020

What to do if you think a loved one may have purchased a funeral plan, but you can’t find any of the information.

How to trace a forgotten funeral plan

The popularity of pre-paid funeral plans has soared in recent years. In fact, since the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) began tracking funeral plan sales in 2002, more than 2 million people have planned and made provision for their funerals in advance1. Doing so can save loved ones from having to make many difficult decisions, and from footing the full cost of a funeral when the time comes.

Funeral plan customers are encouraged to let their loved ones know about the arrangements they have made. However, a societal reluctance to talk about death and funerals means some families are left with little or no knowledge of what’s in place. With the average funeral now costing £3,7852, not confronting that awkward conversation can be an expensive mistake to make.

So, what can you do if you think a loved one may have purchased a funeral plan, but you can’t find any of the information? The FPA might be able to help.

Trace a plan with the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA)

The FPA is a voluntary regulator of funeral plan providers. Its aim is to ensure that customers get the service they’ve paid for when they need it. As part of this, it offers a funeral plan tracing service.

Unfortunately, there is no catch-all database for funeral plans, which means the search is not exhaustive. It does however allow you to ask the FPA’s registered providers, such as Ecclesiastical Planning Services, whether they have a plan in place for your loved one.

Check the deceased’s bank statements

If your FPA search is unsuccessful, try checking your loved one’s bank statements. You may find a record of a significant one-off payment, or of smaller, regular instalments paid to a funeral plan provider.

Ask around

You could also reach out to local funeral directors and ask whether they have a funeral plan for your loved one on their books. Be aware that funeral pre-payments should be held either within a trust fund, managed by independent trustees, or in a life insurance policy.

Alternatively, talk to other family members and particularly friends of the deceased, with whom they may have discussed funeral arrangements.

What if the funeral has already taken place?

Don’t be discouraged from trying to trace a plan if the funeral has already taken place and was paid for independently. In most cases, the funeral plan provider will still pay your claim.

However, be advised that if the service was carried out by a funeral director different to the one specified in the plan, or if it included different services and features, your claim may not cover the entire cost, due to pricing variations.

When taking out a funeral plan:

  • Involve a family member or a friend. Having someone with you when you take out your plan will ensure they understand what is and isn’t included. 
  • Tell your family about your plan or any other provisions you have made towards funeral costs. 
  • Keep the paperwork with other important documents, so that it’s easy for your family to find. 
  • Let your plan provider know if you move house, so that they can keep their records up to date.

1. Funeral Planning Authority, Funeral Plan Statistics, as at April 2020.
2. Royal London, National Funeral Cost Index Report 2019, September 2019.