Frequently asked questions about our EU funeral plans for expats

If you have any questions about Avalon funeral plans, don’t hesitate to call our friendly English speaking based funeral planning specialists on  +34 966 799 070

Avalon have a range of specialist funeral plans for UK expats living in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. The plans help you navigate the complicated funeral systems and provides you the support of our English-speaking team to help your loved ones with the funeral arrangements when the time comes.

We’re always here to answer any question you may have whether you’re thinking about taking out an Avalon funeral plan or if you’re already a customer.

Here are the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.

What is a funeral plan?

A funeral plan lets you choose the type of funeral you want and pay for it in advance.

It helps protect your family from some of the stress and worry of arranging and paying for your funeral if you live in Spain, Portugal or Cyprus where funerals typically take place within 48 hours.

It provides support from an English-speaking team to help your family navigate the funeral systems in these countries to make the funeral arrangements when the time comes.

A funeral plan also fixes the cost of the funeral director services at today's prices and protects you and your loved ones from any potential rises in funeral costs in the future.

How does an expat funeral plan work?

A prepaid funeral plan is an easy way to arrange and pay for the essential elements of your funeral in advance.

In Spain, Portugal and Cyprus typically funerals take place within 48 hours of the death meaning family in the UK may struggle to travel to Europe in time for the funeral.

You can choose what type of funeral you want and pay for the arrangements in advance. You pay for the funeral services in your plan at today’s prices, so you don’t have to worry if funeral costs increase in the future.

If you would prefer your funeral be held in mainland Great Britain, we have repatriation funeral plans available.

If you choose a dual certification on your funeral plan, the plan will cover the cost of your funeral if you live, or live between, mainland Great Britain and either Spain, Portugal or Cyprus.

Plans can be paid for in a lump sum, or in monthly instalments so you can choose a payment option to suit your budget.

When, when the time comes, just one call to our 24/7 bereavement line will put the plan into motion. Our English-speaking team will help you liaise with the local Funeral Director to take care of the arrangements as per your plan.

Avalon will then use the money you pay for your plan to pay the allocated Funeral Director to arrange your funeral.

What does an expat funeral plan include?

Typically, a traditional funeral plan includes the costs of the appointed funeral director to care for the deceased, to take care of the funeral arrangements including the handling the legal paperwork for the funeral to go ahead and includes a service at a crematorium or burial ground. These plans include transportation of the deceased, a coffin, and the funeral director to conduct the service on the day.

Our expat plans include the cost for a number of additional days (how many days depends on the choice plan) in the mortuary, to give your family additional time to take care of the arrangements and to allow mourners time to visit the country to attend the funeral.

There are also certain third-party costs associated with a funeral that the funeral director will pay on your behalf, such as doctor’s fees, crematorium fees, and ministers fees. Please visit the relevant plan pages to see what provision towards third party costs is provided.

If you choose a repatriation plan, this includes the flight back to mainland Great Britain for the deceased for a funeral in mainland Great Britain.

To see exactly what is included in each Avalon Funeral Plan, including any disbursement allowance to contribute towards third party costs, additional mortuary days and repatriation options, please visit the relevant plan pages; Expat Funeral Plans in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

Different plans and providers include different things in their plans, so please ensure you are aware of what you plan and includes and doesn’t include before making a purchase.

What’s not included in a funeral plan?

Different plans and providers include and exclude different things in their plans, so it’s important to be aware of what the plan you’re considering includes.

Most importantly, an Avalon Funeral Plan does not include for the services of any funeral director not appointed by Avalon.

Some of the things not included in a funeral plan are venue costs to host a service including a church service, a wake, obituary notices in newspapers, floral tributes or any items requested in celebration of the deceased such as specialist hearses, memorial caskets, burial plots or headstones, hymn cards or orders of service.

To see exactly what is not included and not included in each of Avalon’s Expat Funeral Plans, including any disbursement allowance to contribute towards third party costs, please visit the relevant plan page; Expat Funeral Plans in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

How much does an Avalon Funeral Plan cost?

We offer a range of funeral plans in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. The plans vary in price depending on what kind of funeral you want and the features you require.

To see how much our plans cost please visit the relevant plan page; Expat Funeral Plans in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

How can I pay for an Avalon Funeral Plan?

We offer a range of flexible payment methods. You can either pay for your plan in full or spread the cost with affordable monthly payments.

You can pay in a lump sum or over 18 months with no additional charges.

You can pay by affordable monthly instalments by paying a deposit now and spreading the cost over two to five or ten years depending on which plan you choose. This option is subject to a 6% annual instalment charge.

For further flexibility, you can increase your payments or pay off the outstanding balance at any point. Our payment options are designed to suit you and your needs, but the sooner you can pay off your plan, the cheaper it will be.

What if I die before all the instalments have been paid?

In accordance with the Avalon Promise, if you’ve chosen to pay for your plan by instalments and pass away before it is fully paid, we could cover the cost of the services included in your plan.

If you die within the first 18 months due to a sudden and unexpected accident outside of the plan holders control, you will be covered by the Avalon Promise.

If you die within the first 18 months, your chosen representative will have the option to pay the outstanding balance before the funeral. Or they can cancel the plan, subject to the costs shown above.

What are funeral director fees?

Funeral director fees are the services paid to the funeral director for a funeral that includes a service. They include bringing the deceased into their care and preparing them for the funeral, preparation of the legal paperwork, making the arrangements with the crematorium or burial ground, and liaising with other third parties. The provision of a coffin, suitable vehicles and attending on the day to conduct the service.

What are third-party costs (disbursements)?

Third-party costs (known as disbursements) are the costs that the funeral director pays on your behalf, such as Doctor’s fees, crematorium or burial fees, and Ministers fees.

Please see the webpage for each plan for more information about third-party costs for our expat funeral plans. Expat Funeral Plans in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

Can I pay more into my funeral plan to cover costs outside of the services listed on the plan?

Yes, some of our expat plans allow you to include additional products and services that the plan holder will have paid for in full or covered in the instalments over the term of the plan.

Any payments made into your plan for additional extras and contributions will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) each year. See the terms and conditions for more information.

It is not possible to pay for additional extras into the plan for the Spain Simple Plan.

Can I choose my funeral director?

You can only use a funeral director in Avalon’s approved network. We work with more than 70 funeral directors, who have more than 600 funeral homes across Europe. We will allocate your plan to a one local to you.

We also work with more than 18,00 funeral directors across the UK.

Will the funeral director be local to me?

We will allocate your plan to the most local funeral director in our network. In Europe we work with more than 70 funeral directors who have more than 600 funeral homes.

In the UK we work with more than 1,800 trusted and reputable funeral directors.

At Avalon we aim to visit all the Funeral Directors we work with in person to make sure that they meet our high standards and will provide your family with the personalised service you and they deserve.

Can I get a refund if I change my mind?

If you pay in full you can cancel within 30 days with no cancellation fee. After 30 days, we will refund all the monies paid into the plan less the cancellation fee.

If you pay by instalments you can cancel within 18 months with no cancellation fee. After 18 months, we will refund all the monies paid into the plan less the cancellation fee.

Our cancellation fee is €495/£395.

Can I make changes to my plan after I have taken it out?

Yes, if you need to make any changes to your plan, simply contact our customer service team.

However, if you wish to add extra services, additional costs may apply.

It is not possible to make changes to the Spain Simple Plan.  

Will my money be held securely?

We recognise that your plan represents a significant financial outlay. So, to properly protect this expenditure, the money you pay into your plan is held in an established, independently managed Trust, until the time that it’s needed.

Avalon ensures that the Trust always has enough funds to provide the funerals of all our customers. But in the unlikely event that Avalon were to fail, the FSCS scheme guarantees to find an equivalent funeral plan replacement or financial compensation, which may be less than you paid in.

For more information see the UK plan terms and conditions or Expat plan terms and conditions.

Does all the money I pay go towards my funeral?

The money you pay goes into an established, independently managed trust until the time its needed. Avalon receive an amount of money for each of the plans it sells to cover our reasonable administrative overheads and expenses of running the business for each plan.

Furthermore, the Trust is authorised from time to time to make further payments towards our overheads and expenses subject to professional advice, whilst ensuring that the Trust retains sufficient funds to meet its obligations to all our plan holders.

Any amount paid in by you is fully refundable (less a cancellation fee, where applicable). For more information see the UK plan terms and conditions or the Expat plan terms and conditions.

Can I buy an Avalon plan for someone else?

Yes, you can buy an Avalon funeral plan for a friend or family member.

What is a joint funeral plan?

Your plan can have two named plan holders and the plan can provide the products and services on the event of either the first or second plan holder’s death. This is a joint plan and will cover either person named on the Plan Certificate for one funeral only.

There is no additional charge for a joint plan but it will only cover one funeral. If you need to cover both funerals, then two plans will be needed.

What is dual certification?

If you have a second home in Spain, Portugal or Cyprus and either live or spend part of your time between these countries and the UK or Northern Ireland we offer dual certification on our Standard, Plus and Premium Plans.

This gives you the option to have a funeral in the UK or abroad. You can choose Dual Certification now if you already have a residence or if you move abroad to one of these countries after buying your plan. Just get in touch so we can update your address and assign a new Funeral Director to you.

Dual certification does not include repatriation. Please see the UK plan terms and conditions  or the Expat plan terms and conditions for more information.

 

What is repatriation?

Repatriation is the return of the deceased to their home country.

Our repatriation funeral plans provide the services to bring the deceased back to the UK for either a cremation of burial funeral.

Will I be asked questions about my health?

When you make an application for an Avalon Funeral Plan we will not ask you any health questions and we don’t require you to undergo a medical examination.

Should you disclose a life limiting medical condition during your application we may ask you for more detail to establish if the funeral plan you have chosen is suitable under your specific circumstances.

Are there any age restrictions to buy a plan?

Avalon funeral plans can be purchased by anyone aged 18 or over.  

If you are paying by monthly instalments, you must have made all payments before your 80th birthday.

What if I move house?

Our funeral plans are designed to move with you and this includes if you buy a move to an expat area in Spain, Portugal or Cyprus or split your time between the UK and Northern Ireland and these countries. Just remember to let us know so we can update your address and assign a new Funeral Director if necessary. If you let us know this before the time of need, there will be no additional charge. This is called Dual Certification and applies to our UK Standard, Plus and Premium Plans only.

What if I move abroad?

If you move to one of the expat areas in Spain, Portugal or Cyprus in which we operate, you can take your plan with you. Plus, if you split your time between one of these countries and the UK or Northern Ireland, your Avalon funeral plan will be valid in both countries, giving you extra peace of mind. This is called Dual Certification and applies to our UK Standard, Plus and Premium Plans only.

Can I change my allocated funeral director?

Yes, you can change the funeral director if the alternative funeral director is in our approved network.  Please give us a call and we can arrange this for you.

Can I include special requests in my plan?

You can list Special Requests in your plan that will be retained with your plan documents and passed onto the Funeral Director at the time of your funeral. Special Requests include personal preferences for the day of the funeral such as:

  • Dress code (colourful clothes, formal wear)
  • Songs, hymns, readings for the service
  • Flowers or charitable donations
  • Alternative coffin to the one provided with the plan
  • Specialist hearse or transport (such as a horse drawn carriage)
  • Procession for the funeral cortege other than a direct route

If your Special Requests incur a cost these will have to be paid for by your Nominated Representative at time of need as they may not be covered by the Disbursement Allowance included in your plan.

It is not possible to add Special Requests to the Spain Simple Funeral Plan.

What is the Avalon Promise?

If you choose to pay for your funeral plan in instalments, you can benefit from the Avalon Promise. Avalon will still provide all the services included in your plan if you pass away before your plan is fully paid if:

  • You die as a result of an accident at any time
  • Your plan has been in place for 12 months for a UK plan or 18 months for one of our Europe plans

This means your loved ones won’t have to make up the difference for the cost of the services in the plan and can focus on celebrating your life, instead of worrying about finding the money to pay for your funeral.

If you die within the first 12 months for UK plans or 18 months for our expat plans, your chosen representative will have the option to pay the outstanding balance before the funeral. Or they can cancel the plan and get a full refund.  

Full Avalon Promise terms, conditions and exclusions can be found in the UK plan terms and conditions or the Expat plan terms and conditions

Find out more about the Avalon Promise.

Am I eligible for the Avalon Promise?

All our range of plans available today include the Avalon Promise if you choose to pay for your plan in monthly instalments.

To be eligible for the Avalon Promise you will be aged between 18 and 77 and paying for your plan over a period of two or more years.

Your plan must have been fully paid for by no later than your 80th birthday. The Avalon Promise commences after your plan has been in place for 12 months on our UK plans and 18 months on our European plans and as long as all payments are up to date.

If you are already an Avalon plan holder these plans include the Avalon Promise:

In the UK you may benefit from the Avalon Promise for the following funeral plans: Cremation Only, Direct Cremation, Cremation with Service, CelebrationStandardPlus or Premium, or a Build Your Own plan online, purchased on or after 1st January 2019 in the UK and you’ve chosen to pay over two years or more and keep your payments up to date.

In Europe you may benefit from the Avalon Promise for the following funeral plan: Expat Simple or Plus plan in Spain or Portugal, or an Expat Plan in Cyprus on or after 1st August 2021 and you’ve chosen to pay over two years or more and keep your payments up to date.

Full Avalon Promise terms, conditions and exclusions can be found in the UK plan Terms and Conditions or the Europe plan Terms and Conditions

Find out more about the Avalon Promise.

How do I cancel my plan and will I get a refund?

If you have paid for your funeral plan upfront, you can cancel your plan within 30 days of the receipt of your Welcome Pack with no cancellation fee. If you cancel after 30 days following receipt of your Welcome Pack, we will refund all monies paid into the plan, less the cancellation fee.

If your plan is paid by instalments, you can cancel within 18 months of the receipt of your Welcome Pack with no cancellation fee. If you cancel after 18 months following receipt of your Welcome Pack, we will refund all monies paid into the plan, less the cancellation fee.

What if Avalon were to go out of business?

In the unlikely event of failure of Avalon there will be a reasonable likelihood that your funeral plan contract will be transferred to and continue to be carried out by another regulated funeral plan provider but that could potentially generate extra costs for you.

In the event that the relevant funeral plan contract will not continue to be carried out by us or another firm then you will receive a payment corresponding to your balance, but this may not be the full amount you’ve paid in.

Avalon are a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Should Avalon be unable to meet its liabilities, you may be entitled to compensation from the compensation scheme. Further information about the scheme is available on the FSCS website: www.fscs.org.uk

How do I make a complaint?

Avalon is committed to providing a quality service and working in an open and accountable way that builds trust and respect with customers. One of the ways in which Avalon can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our customers, and in particular by responding positively to complaints, and by putting mistakes right whenever appropriate.

If you wish to make a complaint, please contact us via email at complaints@avalonfuneralplans.com, by telephone on +44 (0)161 486 2020 or by writing to Complaints Department, Avalon Funeral Plans, Brooke Court, Lower Meadow Road, Handforth Dean, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 3ND.

If you have made a complaint and you are not satisfied with our response or you have not had our final response within 8 weeks of us receiving your complaint, you can refer your complaint free of charge to the:

Financial Ombudsman,

Service Exchange Tower,

London E14 9SR

Telephone: 0300 123 9123 or 0800 023 4567

E-mail: complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Website: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Does all the money get paid into the trust?

Yes. All the money you pay for your plan is paid into the Trust. Avalon do not receive any money from the trust unless it is funded to over 110% of required funds to provide your funeral in the future. If the trust is funded to over 110%, we receive a maximum of 1364 GBP, depending on the plan type from the trust for every plan we sell to cover our reasonable administration overheads and expenses of running the business for each plan. Please see maximum amount per plan type here. The amount Avalon receive can vary but is subject to the maximum amounts per plan, subject to the funding rules. These maximums are the amounts certified by the actuary to ensure we always have sufficient funds retained on trust to provide the funeral services at time of need. This is not a fee or a charge to you and any amount you pay to us is fully refundable, subject to the cancelation terms of your plan. Subject to professional advice and guidelines and the Trust being over 10% in surplus, Avalon may receive additional amounts from the Trust.

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Why choose Avalon?

Award-winning funeral plan provider

Our plans are award-winning. We’ve been voted the 'Best Funeral Plan Provider' at the Personal Finance Awards every year since 2019. Not only that, but our Premium Plan is also Defacto 5* rated.

Avalon Promise for extra peace of mind

If you pass away before your plan is fully paid Avalon will still provide all the services in your plan once you’ve had your plan for 12 months in the UK or 18 months in the EU.

Rated excellent by our customers on Trustpilot

We have over 3,000 reviews on Trustpilot and are rated 'Excellent' by our customers. For over 25 years we’ve helped over 100,000 people feel reassured their funeral is planned and paid for.

Safe and secure

The money you pay for your plan is paid into an independently managed Trust and is held and safeguarded until the time it is needed to pay for the funeral. Avalon ensures that the Trust always has enough funds to provide the funerals of all our customers. But in the unlikely event that Avalon was to fail, the FSCS scheme guarantees to find an equivalent funeral plan replacement or financial compensation, which may be less than you paid in.

Local funeral directors

We work with local funeral directors to provide the funeral when the time comes. You can be sure that every one of the funeral directors in our network - 1,800 funeral directors in the UK and over 70 funeral directors in over 600 locations across Spain, Cyprus and Portugal - will deliver the high standards and personalised service you expect, and you and your family deserve.