Pre-planned vs pre-paid funerals: is there a big difference?

Planning for your own funeral isn’t something that comes naturally. While people understand logically that discussing death won’t hasten it, there’s something about the idea of our own mortality that means we often put off planning our funeral for as long as possible – or ignore the idea of planning it entirely.

For those of us who have decided to consider making arrangements ahead of time, there can be some confusion about the best way to proceed. Two common options offered by funeral directors around Australia are pre-planned and pre-paid funerals. While similar, these two options differ in some significant ways.

A pre-planned funeral is just what it sounds like; in discussion with a trusted funeral director, a pre-planned funeral allows us to decide on the specific arrangements we would like for our funeral service. Music, flowers, venue, vehicles – all of these things can be decided on and planned with the help of an industry professional.

Pre-planning is a great option to ensure families are clear on what our wishes are for the end of our lives. One thing worth noting, however, is that since no payments have been made or contracts signed, there are some associated risks. For example, family members may decide on different arrangements than the ones you have chosen for yourself. Additionally, prices may have risen significantly over time, meaning your chosen service may be a lot more expensive than originally planned.

Pre-paid funerals go a long way to minimising any of these concerns. Just like a pre-planned funeral, all applicable arrangements can be organised in advance with your local funeral director. On top of this, by paying for the funeral service in advance, all costs can be locked in at today’s prices; this is a great way to avoid decades of potential price inflation. As a binding contract has been signed, you also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that all your funeral arrangements have been formally agreed on – and paid for.

Ultimately, if you’re considering planning for your funeral in advance, you’re already ahead of the game. Consider speaking to your local funeral director to find out more about your options.