PLANNING FOR the funeral of either yourself or a loved one is a matter of common sense.
Death is inevitable and making funeral arrangements in advance can lift a great burden from those left behind as well as bringing great peace of mind.
This is the strongly-held view of the Co-operative Funeral Service, one of Scotland's longest established and most respected funeral directors.
Thousands of people have already made decisions on their funeral arrangements calmly and dispassionately by purchasing a Co-operative Funeral Bond.
The Bond enables people to arrange their funeral exactly as they want it at today's prices, regardless of when death may occur.
Even if it's many years ahead, the Co-operative Funeral Bond will he honoured by the UK's largest funeral organisation however much prices may have gohe up in the meantime. Unlike some other funeral plans now available, the Bond is comprehensive and leaves purchasers with nothing more to pay at the time of the funeral.
The aim of the Co-operative Funeral Service in every case is to sit down with the client and talk through the arrangements they require to ensure that their wishes are respected.
he concept of funeral planning is relatively new to the UK and has recently been the subject of public debate, particularly in terms of how funeral planning organisations protect the money paid over by clients in advance for the final arrangements.
The Co-operative funeral Service has been at the forefront of developments in this area of consumer protection.
Bondholders' money is deposited in a trust fund, the custodian trustee of which is the Royal Bank of Scotland plc.
A spokesman for the Coonerative Funeral Service explained: ''Unfortunately there is still a great degree of public confusion over how funeral costs can be paid for in advance.
"Some people buy what are, in effect, insurance policies in the mistaken belief that they will cover the entire bill at the time of the funeral this is not always guaranteed however.
"The Co-operative Funeral Bond eliminates these concerns.
"There arc two distinct parts to a funeral account the funeral director's charges and the fees paid on the client's behalf such as cremation and burial fees.
"Unlike some other plans, the Cooperative Funeral Bond covers all these charges and people have the option of paying for the Bond in one lump sum or over 12 months at no additional cost."
He added: "Many people still find it difficult to think in practical terms about their own death or the death of a family memher.
"This can often lead to unwanted and unnecessary additional stress during the funeral.
"They may be unsure about what kind of arrangements the deceased would have wanted" According to the Co-operative, Funeral Bonds allow people to think quietly about the kind of funeral their relatives would have wanted.
Anxieties about financial burdens are dispelled immediately.
"The Funeral Bond is inflationproof. We have taken great care to protect clients' money," said the spokesman.
"When the death of the bondholder occurs, all families have to do is contact the relevant branch of the Cooperative Funeral Service and the funeral will he conducted as previously specified."
I For further information on the Cooperative Funeral Bond ring the Freephonc number 0800 289120.