What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2019?

Every year most of us make New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe yours are often the same – to go to the gym more, lose that weight you’ve put on over Christmas, eat more healthily and so on.

This year how about adding a new one?

‘I want to give myself and my family total peace of mind’

You can do that by making a Will, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), and/or by purchasing a pre-paid Funeral Plan.

Are you certain that if something happened to you, for example you had a serious accident, all your affairs would be in order – even if you lost mental capacity? Wouldn’t you like to be sure that your family would be able to access your bank accounts and deal with all your financial affairs without having to deal with any costly and lengthy court proceedings?

The only way to do that is to make a Financial LPA. People often don’t realise that even joint accounts would be frozen if mental capacity is lost, and partners would have no access to accounts unless there is an LPA in place. If you don’t have an LPA, then the only way of accessing money or selling property etc. is via the court. This takes months and ultimately could cost thousands of pounds. A simple LPA can save a lot of money, and perhaps more importantly, anguish for your loved ones.

What about health? The Finance LPA obviously covers all your financial affairs, but who would be able to speak on your behalf about health-related matters? Having an LPA for health in place means that if you weren’t well enough, your nominated Attorneys could speak to doctors and all other health care professionals on your behalf, as if they were you. They can also have the final say regarding life-sustaining treatment. You and your family can then be sure that your wishes would be respected.

What about a Will? Of course, everyone should have a Will, however it is particularly important in the following circumstances:

  • If you have children who are under 18. You need to appoint guardians in your Will, otherwise a court would decide who looks after your children should anything happen to you while they are young.
  • If you have a partner that you are not married to, then without a Will they are not going to inherit anything.
  • In these days of blended families with children and stepchildren, many people are not aware that stepchildren do not inherit anything unless there is a valid Will specifying that they should inherit. The only way to be certain that the people you would want to inherit your estate, actually do so, is to make a Will.
  • If you are separated but not divorced, your estranged husband or wife is still your next of kin in the eyes of the law, and therefore they could end up with everything unless you’ve made your wishes known by making a Will.

A Funeral Plan is the ultimate peace of mind for your family. There has been a lot of publicity recently about families ending up in debt because they can’t afford to pay for a loved one’s funeral. If you purchase a Funeral Plan now then whenever you die your funeral is paid for in full, and your wishes are also documented. A client of ours whose mum passed away recently said ‘I can’t believe how easy and stress-free everything was.’

One call to the Funeral Plan Company and everything is taken care of for your family. Anyone of any age can buy a Funeral Plan and prices start at £2,795. Our Dignity Plans currently have an offer of up to £340 discount on every plan. This great offer is running until April 2019. We also offer Safe Hands Funeral plans if you would prefer a Funeral Director who isn’t part of the Dignity Group. Your Funeral Plan Consultant will help you decide which plan would be best for you.

Don’t put off giving your loved ones peace of mind any longer! We understand that you may not be able to afford everything at once, so at A R K we can help you decide what is the priority for you. Make 2019 the year you get organised!

Remember we offer a clear and transparent pricing policy, and we’ll give you as much free advice as you need to help you take the worry out of those ‘what if’ situations.

Contact A R K now on 01438 746977 or email us at to action one of your New Year’s Resolution. Probably one of the easier ones to achieve…

*An additional fee of £82 has to be paid to The Office of the Public Guardian in order to register an LPA for use.


Financing your funeral in advance – why is this a good idea?

It’s ALWAYS a good idea to arrange a pre-paid Funeral Plan, but in some circumstances it’s a REALLY good idea.

There are many circumstances that make it especially important to have a pre-paid Funeral Plan in place. For example:

• You may have children with specialist needs who would find it very difficult to cope with making your funeral arrangements.
• If you have very few or no living relatives then it will give you the peace of mind of knowing you’ll have the funeral you want. Plus, you avoid burdening your friends with your funeral costs and the second-guessing of your wishes.
• Maybe money is tight and you are concerned about your – or your spouse’s/partner’s – funeral would be paid for when one of you passes away? With both our Dignity and Safe Hands Funeral Plans you can pay for one plan and use it for the funeral of whoever passes away first. You can always take out a second plan later when you can afford it.

How Funeral Plans Can Help
We recently sold a Funeral Plan to a lady in her early forties. She owns a small business locally and is a single mum of a teenage daughter. Her own mum had sadly passed away a few months earlier, and she was very worried about how her young daughter would cope with all the arrangements, as well as the grief, if anything happened to her.

We were able to reassure her that if she arranged a pre-paid Funeral Plan then a single phone call would be the single action needed to arrange the funeral. It means that all her funeral wishes are now documented, and the funeral is paid for in full. She now has peace of mind that everything will be taken care of and her daughter will have one less thing to worry about. Hopefully it will be a very long time before the plan is needed, but that’s the best thing about having a pre-paid Funeral Plan – even if our client lives another 40 years her funeral will still be paid for in full. There’ll be no extra costs for her family, no matter how much the funeral costs will have increased by then.

A Sensitive, Friendly and Professional Approach
A R K specialises in dealing with more challenging situations. Our friendly approach and home visits are timed to suit you. Even if someone is unwell or has specialist needs then we can help them – whether this is with a Funeral Plan, a Will or a Lasting Power of Attorney.

Sometimes, a terminally ill person wants a Funeral Plan. This is obviously a very difficult situation for the person concerned and for their family. Recently, we helped a client who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. They had been told that they only had a very short time to live. By handling the situation in a sensitive manner and visiting at times when client felt well enough to talk to us, we could get everything arranged and finalised very quickly; so the client and his family had peace of mind and one less thing to worry about.

To give our customers more choice we now offer Dignity Funeral Plans alongside our existing Safe Hands plans. They are similar prices and you can choose from a range of options. Your A R K consultant will help you select the provider and plan that best suits your needs.

We carry out appointments in the privacy of your own home, or by telephone if you prefer. We can then offer you that same peace of mind that our existing clients have.

Please visit our Funeral Plan page for more detailed information or contact us on 01438 746977 or email  to discuss your requirements. We you offer our expert advice for free – with absolutely no pressure to buy.

funeral plan

Do I really need a Funeral Plan? I’m not intending to go anywhere anytime soon!!

The answer to this question is that, sadly, you never know when you are going to need it.

A Funeral Plan is like an insurance policy which protects you against the rising costs of funerals. Unlike most other forms of insurance, you know that one day you will definitely benefit from having the policy. Hopefully a long time in the future, however we will all need a funeral one day.

A Funeral Plan gives you peace of mind and security, and support for your family when they most need it. Your money will pay for your funeral costs – whenever the time comes. The money held in the plan is guaranteed to cover the cost of your funeral, even if that is 50 years away. It is safely invested in an independent Trust Fund, until your family needs it.

At A.R.K. Lasting Powers & Wills, we regularly highlight the cost of the average funeral. We know about how these costs have increased hugely over the years; and how they will no doubt continue to rise at a similar rate. We always advise our clients that buying a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan is the equivalent of buying your funeral at today’s prices, as in, say 30 years, the average cost of a funeral could be around £30,000!!

How Funeral Plans can help…

A.R.K. consultant, Julie, recently lost a close friend to cancer. He was only 60 years old and sadly died in January this year, just a few short months after being diagnosed with this horrible disease. His funeral was a real example of how costs can mount up. Without any following cars, the final bill for his simple cremation service came to over £4,500.

If there had been a Safe Hands Funeral Plan in place it would have cost £3,355 for the equivalent funeral (even with one car following the hearse it would have only have been £3,595). Hindsight is a wonderful thing – and Julie’s friend did not expect to die at 60; so he didn’t have a Funeral Plan in place. If he had purchased a plan, his family would have saved money, stress and the need to make most of the arrangements. (These have been made automatically by the Funeral Director, following the instructions contained in the Funeral Plan.)

Peace of mind re your funeral cost and wishes…

Funeral costs will only continue to increase. Please do consider arranging a Funeral Plan sooner rather than later. You and your loved ones will have complete peace of mind, knowing that the costs are covered and will know what your wishes are.

Contact A.R.K. now on 01438 746977 to discuss your requirements or to arrange a no-obligation home visit. Alternatively you are welcome to email us: There is absolutely no pressure to buy, and you can even pay interest free over a 2 year period (a small handling charge will apply if you wish to pay over a longer period of time). There are no hidden costs and we will explain exactly what is covered in each of the different types of plan.



Why your family will be really grateful that you arranged a pre-paid funeral plan:

Some of the A.R.K. team went to Safe Hands head office a couple of weeks ago for some refresher training. We have summarised some interesting facts about why a Safe Hands pre-paid Funeral Plan is a good idea!

  • The average UK simple funeral and cremation currently costs between £3,500 to £4,500 depending on where you live. This can often be a lot more. Our Pre-Paid plans start at £2,275 and go up to £3,900.
  • In the last 10 years the cost of a simple funeral has increased by 70%
  • Based on the current increases, by 2029 an average funeral will cost £10,000 and if the current trend continues in 30 years the cost of a simple funeral could exceed £30,000!
  • Funeral costs vary in different parts of the country, but a plan costs the same wherever you live. For those of us in the expensive outer London area this is a major plus point.
  • You can specify exactly what you would like to happen at your funeral and your family will not have to second-guess your wishes.
  • You can specify a particular Funeral Director if you wish, if you don’t do this a local Funeral Director will be appointed by Safe Hands when the time comes.
  • Funerals of all different faiths are catered for.
  • Funeral Directors will often persuade families to upgrade by using terms such as ‘something a bit nicer for your loved one’ so buying a plan specifying your wishes can stop your family being upsold to at the toughest of times.


How safe will the money be? How do I know my funeral will definitely be paid for?

Safe Hands invests the money for plans in a completely independent Trust Fund. Therefore, in the unlikely event something happens to Safe Hands the customer’s money is completely safe.

Pitman’s Trustees Ltd an industry regulated Trust Fund Management Company administers the Trust Fund. The Trust Fund monies are invested by UBS in low and medium risk investments and spread over a large range of investments; which keeps the risk of investments safe.

The fund is audited annually (most recently in October 2017) and even if everyone who has a plan died today, there would be enough money to pay for all those funerals plus there would be a £9million excess.

The Trust has Public Indemnity cover and is under the umbrella of the Financial Services Agency, although it’s not subject to the compensation rules as it is not a bank or building society.

Other information regarding Funeral Plans:

  • You can pay by instalments, which are interest free for up to 2 years. For periods of more than 2 years a 4% annual handling charge is made.
  • You can purchase a funeral plan with just a £250 deposit, and then pay low monthly instalments for periods up to 10 years. A small price to pay for the total peace of mind it will bring for you and your family.
  • There are several different levels of plan that can be tailored to meet you needs. These will be fully explained to you by one of our friendly consultants; prices start from just £2,275.
  • There is a 21-day cancellation policy during which you can get a full refund if you change your mind.
  • There is absolutely no pressure to buy! Our consultants will visit you at home to discuss the plans available in as much or as little detail as you wish.
  • We have no involvement with any call centres or comparison websites.
  • Pre-Paid Funeral Plans are greatly increasing in popularity and for example in The Netherlands over 70% of the population now have a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan.

You have nothing to lose by arranging for one of our consultants to visit you for an informal chat about the options. Contact us today to make an appointment.

Pre-Paid Funeral Plans – Simple Yet Brilliant!

Why bother with A pre-paid funeral plan?

Most of us know that funeral plans make life easier for our loved ones. But why should you think about paying for your funeral in advance? Paying for your funeral now saves you money!

The average cost of funerals has almost doubled over the last 12 years. Typically, you could expect to pay £3,900 for your funeral in 2016. In 2004 the average cost was only £2,000. In 30 years’ time, the forecast cost could exceed £30,000!

I recently attended a Safehands Funeral Plan course. They explained that the average price of a funeral has doubled every decade for at least the last 50 years. The statistics prove this point. I am 50 and I am hoping to live for many more years! If I live until I’m 80 years old, my funeral could cost over £30,000!! Inflationary rises alone won’t help my savings to meet this increased fee… the price of funerals is rising far more rapidly than the rate of inflation. Fact.

How do pre-paid funeral plans work?

Buying a pre-paid funeral plan at today’s prices means that your family won’t have to pay for your funeral when the times comes. You can pay using a lump sum or monthly instalments.

As the cost of funerals rises, you’ll have peace of mind that your plan is in place and fully paid for. Your family will avoid the costly expense of your funeral… and will therefore inherit more from you. What a simple but brilliant idea!

Is the money you pay for your funeral plan protected?

Yes – absolutely. Your money is invested in a managed, fully regulated Trust fund, which is ring-fenced for people who have bought funeral plans. It doesn’t belong to Safehands, it belongs to you so your funeral would always be paid for.

Will my funeral plan pay for disbursements?

Disbursements are payments made to third parties for things like:

  • crematorium fees
  • minister’s fees
  • doctor’s fees for certifying the death

Most plans include an allowance towards them that should easily cover the cost of most, if not all, third party costs. (You may prefer to choose a plan where disbursements are not included.)

So…now I know why it is a really good idea to have a pre-paid funeral plan I will happily recommend them to my clients in Stevenage and surrounding areas who are making Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney with me.

With plans ranging from £2,275 to £3,900 I am confident there will be a plan to suit all budgets and requirements. (Payment by monthly instalments is available.)

Another benefit of arranging a plan with A R K is that you get personal, face-to-face advice – so no call centres to deal with or horrible forms to complete yourself.

Would you like to find out more? Contact me and I’ll answer any queries you have without obligation.