Did you know that our pre-paid funeral plans can be tailor-made to suit your requirements? Find out more below…
Freeman Brothers has been a funeral director established in West Sussex since 1855. As a long-established, local company we have always sought to understand the needs of our community and how they may differ from broader, national trends and preferences. One of the ways in which we have worked towards this aim is through the selling of our own pre-paid funeral plan. As well as having a dedicated Pre-payment Plan Administrator, Natalie, customers can discuss their wishes with our staff in our offices in Horsham, Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint. One of the key features of our plan is the ability to ‘tailor make’ an arrangement entirely to suit your own preferences. Here, Freeman Brothers’ Manager, Abi Pattenden, talks to us about Tailor Made plans: what they are, and who might want one, and why.
The beauty of any of our pre-paid funeral plans is the guarantees they offer. There are many different type of funeral plan on the market and we always encourage our prospective pre-payment customers to compare products from different providers to ensure that the plan they purchase is right for them. Our plan varies from many in that we guarantee nothing paid for under the auspices of the plan will ever need to be paid for again or even ‘topped up’ – and this might be especially useful in a tailor-made plan.
Freeman Brothers has always offered two types of funeral plan. The first type is our set plan, available in tiers, and the second is the tailor-made – designed every time to individual requirements. We structure our scheme in this way for a few reasons.
Firstly, we understand that our tiered plans, whilst designed to meet most needs, aren’t suitable for everyone. Our current five-tier plan covers most requirements but no scheme can ever be exhaustive.
Secondly, we want to ensure the scheme is as inclusive as possible so that everyone who would like to take advantage of the benefits can do so, and showing a willingness to work with anyone on any type of arrangement is a way of demonstrating this.
Thirdly – and perhaps most importantly – offering a tailor-made scheme means that people whose wishes don’t fit into our set tiers can still tell us what they want, and we can use these requests to shape how our tiered plan can be developed and altered to offer customers what they would like.
As an example, our most recent update to the plan saw the addition of a fifth tier, our Basic Scheme, which sits below our Simple Scheme. This was added specifically because customers were taking out Tailor-made plans with very straightforward requirements, after finding that even the Simple Scheme had features excess to their needs.
However, there will probably be always space within our funeral plan for those people whose wishes don’t fit easily into any set of tiers. This could be for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is just about the way the tiers of the plans will have been created. They are carefully priced to offer maximum value whilst not being unfair to our customers who are arranging funerals following a bereavement and having to pay for this at the time their family member has died. Some assumptions have to be made around likely requirements – for example that a wish for the very simplest funeral means not requiring limousines – but these may not be correct, and it may well be that a tailor-made scheme in such a scenario is more cost-effective than trying to customise a tiered plan.
It might be that the wishes for the funeral to be paid for under the plan are quite diverse or quite complex. We have experiences of being asked to travel to relatively far-flung locations to scatter cremated remains, usually in the anticipation that other relatives might not be able to make the journey by the time the planholder dies. We have requests for funeral services to be carried out in more than one location – for example, none of our tiered plans would allow for a Church service to take place on one day and then a full service by the graveside of a burial ground a few days later. A coffin outside of our range (for example, an American casket) or a request for a different mode of transport, such as a horse-drawn or motorbike hearse may also require a tailor-made plan.
The time when it’s most likely for us to produce a tailor-made plan, though, is when a planholder wishes to pay for a headstone. We can add these costs onto our tiered plans, but this is often not the best approach. Often, someone might already have a pre-paid plan in place to cover the funeral service and be coming back to thoughts about their headstone later. This is a way to reduce the plan costs in the first instance and prioritise having the funeral costs paid for. They may only wish to pre-purchase their headstone rather than their whole funeral. Or – in a scenario which happens quite frequently – two planholders (usually a couple but also quite often a parent and child) will intend to be buried together and wish to arrange the headstone as part of that. We then need to tailor-make the plan for administrative reasons so that, at the time that the first planholder dies, we can attribute the correct costs to their half of the plan. There will always be more costs at the time of the first burial because of the need to obtain the headstone.
Even if the headstone is included as a part of one of our tiered plans, that aspect of the plan will always have to be tailor-made because of the bespoke nature of headstones. Our sister company, J.Gumbrill, which has been established as a Monumental Mason in Horsham since 1900, prices every memorial, whether for the present or as part of a pre-paid funeral plan, on a completely one-off basis. The shape and size of the required headstone, the material used, the type and amount of lettering and the situation of the memorial all have a bearing on cost. Even two memorials identical in every other way might vary in price significantly due to materials. Material costs also vary over time because headstones are made of natural, quarried stone which sometimes encounters shortages or deficiencies in quality.
At Freeman Brothers, we are very proud that our pre-payment plan offers flexibility, so that a customer is able to purchase a plan to their exact requirements if they choose, but also that this is combined with peace of mind. Because we guarantee all our plans, everything included in them will be covered regardless of how costs increase over time. We feel this offers our planholders the best of both worlds and is more satisfactory than only offering set plans, with any additional items having to be purchased at the time the planholder dies. We do allow this, of course, but under our scheme it’s never necessary, and so the representatives of our planholders, as well as those buying the plan, have absolute certainty.
If there are any questions about our funeral plans, you can find more information about them here or why not contact us to talk through your preferences?
Tel: 01403 254590
If you have an urgent query, please call 01403 254590. This number is answered by one our staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is the quickest way to reach us.
Tel: 01403 785133
25 & 27 Brighton Road
Tel: 01293 540000
126 High Street
Tel: 01273 831497