Joseph Barsby, 3rd generation director of family funeral directors G. Seller calls for tighter regulation of Pre-Paid Funeral Plans, to ensure best practice and clearer disclosure in the interests of bereaved families.
Joseph and the dedicated team at G. Seller are passionate about providing the highest levels of bereavement care to the families they are privileged to serve. He took part in the ITV Tonight Pay Now, Die Later documentary which looked into some mis-selling of pre-paid funeral plans. As presenter, Chris Choi explained on air, “Our lives are full of special moments, each marked in its own special way, be it a birthday, wedding or death and there are ways that you can plan your death whilst still alive and kicking.”
As Joseph points out, “A pre-paid funeral plan should allow people to plan ahead, removing the uncertainty of your final wishes and financial pressures on your family. However, many plans are set, meaning that they don’t provide the personalised options, no matter how simple or unique. There is often a complete lack of clarity in what costs are or aren’t covered. But by going directly to a company like us, you can have the peace of mind that all of these pitfalls are not faced.”
A bespoke plan, no matter how simple or bespoke is tailored to the individual and G. Seller pride themselves on going the extra mile to meet the needs of the families that they serve, providing the highest levels of bereavement care to the families that they are entrusted to look after. The same attention to detail is placed on creating the funeral plan to meet the needs of the individual too. As a family business, family and real values are at the heart of all that they do and it is important to get it right.
Joseph recognises that there is a need for change to prevent families being distressed in the future and is calling for more regulation and clarity over the sector to ensure best practice, better standards of communication and clearer information for families as to what is and isn’t included in a plan, and whether the family may need to pay for anything separately when their loved one does sadly pass away.
Passionate about the need to raise awareness to make sure families are not duped and mis-sold to, Joseph has outlined the following considerations when thinking of taking out a pre-paid funeral plan:
- Speak directly to your funeral director, avoiding all third parties and call centres.
- Choose your own plan. G. Seller recommends are bespoke plan, allowing you to choose the options you want, no matter how simple or bespoke. Be careful with set plans that don’t cover a lot of costs that you may think is covered.
- Make sure you understand whether any fees are being deducted from the plan.
- Find out how and where the monies will be held.
- Seek out what flexible options there is to pay for the plan and find the way that is best for you.
Pre-paid funeral plans are a great way to provide clarity for the family and to ensure that a funeral is carried out the way that the deceased intended and to avoid unscrupulous practices and fee deductions that could lead to the plan not covering the intended costs, it is important to understand the plan and get things clarified in writing. As a firm, G. Seller work in association with Golden Charter, a trusted independent plan provider and put together a fully itemised quotation of the fees involved, being completely clear and transparent.
As Joseph concludes, “With over 1.3 million people in the UK having a funeral plan, and the costs of funerals expected to continue to rise in years to come, more people are looking into the options and need to be careful. Checking the small print is essential to the process and I would strongly recommend speaking to your funeral director that will be looking after you. The local funeral director is also clearly able to explain the details of the plan and to work in a professional manner to meet the needs of any individual too.”
“Programmes like Tonight are important if as a sector we are to be totally professional in the work that we do and that we retain our values and ethos in really caring for the people that matter, the families we serve. I am passionate about what we do and it is upsetting to see people being taken advantage of by unscrupulous organisations. I am fully behind the need for the Government to review the sector and to come up with guidance to ensure the sector is better regulated to provide clearer disclosure and protection of the consumer.”
“We are pleased to be pushing for change, to raise the bar for families to get better service at their time of need and to lead the way in the national debate on this important issue. As a family business with values and integrity at our core, we are keen to make a stance and proud to call for changes to ensure that no family is left with a funeral plan that is not what they thought they were taking out, only find out when it is really too late, and to create greater clarity around the terms, conditions and fees involved with these plans.”