Funeral Plan FAQ’s
1Q. Why take out a Funeral Plan with us?
1A. A funeral plan is a means by which people can protect their loved ones against rising funeral costs and help eliminate any uncertainty or indecision regarding what a person’s preferred arrangements should include.
2Q. Are your Funeral Plans fully guaranteed (meaning when the Planholder dies, that there won’t ever be anything extra for loved ones to pay)?
2A. Whilst Safe Hands Funeral Plans guarantee there won’t ever be anything extra to pay towards the funeral directors fees and services, when the Planholder dies there may be additional costs to pay towards disbursements (also called 3rd party fees).
The Pearl, Sapphire, and Ruby options all include a £1,200 allowance to cover the following 3 disbursements specifically 1). Cremation Fee (or interment fee, if burial) 2). Doctor’s fee 3). Minister’s/Celebrant’s Fee for service at the crematorium (or graveside, if burial). When the Planholder dies, if the allowance (plus CPI interest uplift), is insufficient to cover the cost of those 3 elements of fee, then the family/plan holder’s representatives may be required to pay any shortfall before the funeral can take place.
In the case of the Topaz, whilst the funeral director’s fees and services are guaranteed, this plan option excludes any allowance for disbursements/3rd party fees (these would need to be paid for before the Planholder’s funeral can take place, and will be charged at whatever the rate prevailing happens to be at the point they are paid).
The Direct Cremation option, which covers simply the actual cremation of the Planholder’s body, is fully guaranteed meaning there will never be anything extra for loved ones to pay.
3Q. How does a Funeral Plan work?
3A. Our Funeral Plans work on the same basis as most other plan providers, in that the money a customer pays for their plan is invested in a ring-fenced trust fund (in our Funeral Plans’ case, with Pitmans Trustees Ltd). The investment of the trust fund is managed by Swiss global financial services company, UBS.
Through the investment of the trust fund, the monies grow in value over the course of the Planholder’s lifetime. Then when the Planholder passes away, monies (+CPI uplift as applicable) are released from the trust fund and paid to a local, reputable, funeral director who then carries out the funeral in accordance with the instructions contained in the plan.
4Q. What happens to Planholders’ monies if Safe Hands Funeral Plans goes out of business?
4A. Because the trust fund is entirely independent of the company, in the highly unlikely event that Safe Hands Funeral Plans should go into liquidation or cease trading for any reason, because the trust fund is not an asset of the company (and because the Planholders are the primary beneficiaries of the trust fund) our Planholders’ investments would remain secure and ring-fenced specifically for the purpose of providing the funeral they have bought and paid for.
5Q. What is the ‘Instalment Handling Charge’ (applicable only to plans paid over 36, 60 and 120 monthly instalments)?
5A. Where a customer spreads the cost of their Safe Hands Funeral Plan over 36, 60, and 120 months, each instalment takes time to process, both by the company and by the trust into which it is securely invested. The company can absorb that cost where the payment period is up to 2 years, but over a longer period, where there are up to 120 transactions to process, the company needs to apply a small 4% flat monthly Instalment Handling Charge (calculated annually) to cover part of that processing cost.
6Q. What are disbursements or 3rd party charges?
6A. Disbursements (otherwise known as 3rd party charges) are cost elements of a funeral that are outside of the funeral plan provider’s/funeral director’s control. Most Safe Hands Funeral Plans (except Topaz) include an allowance of £1,200 (Pearl/Sapphire/Ruby) to cover the following disbursements specifically:
- Cremation fee (or interment* fee, if burial)
- Doctor’s fee
- Minister’s/Celebrant’s fee for committal service at crematorium (or graveside, if burial)
*Interment means digging or opening of a grave
Currently, the national average for the above 3 disbursement is around £1000, meaning the £1,200 allowance included in the Pearl, Sapphire and Ruby plans is more than adequate to cover them at the present time. If, at the time of the Planholder’s death, the disbursements allowance is insufficient to cover the cost of the above 3 elements, then there will be a balance for the family or estate to pay.
7Q. Do your Funeral Plans cater for burial or just cremation?
7A. Yes. In their basic format, Safe Hands Funeral Plans cover cremation only. However, with the exception of the Direct Cremation option, ALL can be tailored for burial, although the customer will need to purchase a burial plot themselves directly from whomever owns the cemetery at which they wish to be buried.
8Q. Can a plan be transferred from one person to another?
8A. Yes. A Safe Hands Funeral Plan can be transferred into the name of an alternative person. To do so, the plan purchaser needs to contact Safe Hands Funeral Plans directly, who will then make the necessary alteration.
9Q. Do your Funeral Plan customers have to pass a medical?
9A. No. Unlike with many insurance products, customers purchasing a Safe Hands Funeral Plan are not required to pass any medical tests.
10Q. If I move house to another part of the UK, will it affect my funeral plan in any way?
10A. Provided the new location you move to is within the UK, then your funeral plan will not be affected.
11Q. If I move abroad to a country outside of the UK, will it affect my funeral plan in anyway?
11A. Safe Hands Funeral Plans cannot be assigned to any funeral director outside of the UK. So unless the funeral is to be held in the UK, any Planholder who moves abroad will either need to cancel their plan (in which case they will receive a refund of the monies paid minus our standard £249 cancellation charge for plans sold after 1st February 2018 (cancellation charge is higher for plans sold prior to that date), or alternatively, they could transfer the benefit of the funeral plan to an alternative family member/friend.
12Q. What happens if a Planholder dies away from home, but within in the UK?
12A. Regardless of wherever in the UK the Planholder is when they die, Safe Hands Funeral Plans will arrange for the deceased to be collected and taken to a chapel of rest that is local to wherever the funeral is to take place. However, any transport costs over 20 miles will be charged at whatever the funeral director’s standard charge for mileage happens to be at that time (this additional charge would be payable by the Planholder’s representatives, directly to the funeral director).
13Q. What happens if a Planholder dies away from home but outside of the UK?
13A. As standard, Safe Hands Funeral Plans make no provision for repatriation (the process of bringing a deceased person back to the UK). If a Planholder dies while outside of the UK, then their travel insurance should cover the cost of repatriation. Then, once back in the UK, Safe Hands Funeral Plans would arrange for the deceased to be collected from the airport and taken to a chapel of rest local to wherever the funeral is to take place. Note: If the distance travelled, by the funeral director, in order to collect the deceased from the airport and return them to the location where the funeral is to take place, is further than 20 miles – then fuel will be charged for, by the funeral director direct to the deceased’s representatives, at whatever the funeral director’s rate prevailing, for fuel, happens to be at that time.
14Q. What are the key aspects of Safe Hands Plans Trust Fund?
- Monies are held securely by Pitmans Trustees Ltd (PTL). They are specialist fund trustees with £billions in trust.
- Fund is managed by UBS. They are a multinational investment management firm, voted ‘Best Global Investment Bank’ at the Global Finance World’s ‘Best Investment Banks Awards 2016’. UBS analyse the financial markets and advise PTL on how best to invest the trust monies in order to maximise the growth of the fund. To date, the fund has been invested in a range of asset classes including equities, index-linked and fixed interests’ bonds and cash.
- Fund is audited by Mazars LLP. They are a top ten UK audit and accounting firm and one of Europe’s largest audit and accounting firms.
- Fund was set up in conjunction with Wrigley’s LLP – a law firm specialising in trust funds.
15Q. Is the Safe Hans Plans Trust Fund compliant with all relevant legislation?
15A. Yes. As one of the UK’s premier plan providers, it is of paramount importance to Safe Hands Funeral Plans that their Planholder’s investments are safe and secure. Set up in conjunction with Wrigley’s LLP (a law firm specialising in trust funds), great care has been taken to ensure the fund complies with all current legislation as set out in the Regulated Activities Order (Financial Services & Marketing Act 2000).
16Q. Is the Safe Hands Plans Trust audited?
16A. Yes. The assets and liabilities of the trust must, at least once every 3 years, be determined, calculated, and verified by an actuary who is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries or the Faculty of Actuaries. The most recent actuarial report, dated 11th October 2017, was prepared by Mazars LLP – a top ten UK auditing, accounting, and actuarial firm and one of Europe’s largest – following their appointment to do so by the Trustees, Pitmans Trustees Limited. The valuation of the Trust showed an asset valuation, after allowing for any deferred tax liability, of £22.3m. The valuation results of a central scenario based on a set of assumptions about likely future events (in simple terms, anticipated future mortality rates) valued the surplus at up to £9.3m.
17Q. How much money is in, or how big is, the Safe Hands Plans Trust Fund?
17A. The valuation of the trust, assuming all Planholders died on 31st August 2016 showed value, after deferred tax liability, of £12.7m (the value of the Trust as of January 2017 is over £15m). The valuation results of a central scenario based on a set of likely future events valued the surplus at up to £3m.
18Q. Can Safe Hands Funeral Plans customers nominate any firm of funeral directors to undertake their funeral?
18A. In the case of Topaz, Pearl, Sapphire, and Ruby plans, customers can nominate any firm of funeral directors*, anywhere in the UK, as the one that they would prefer to undertake their funeral. However, as a plan holder’s lifespan is indeterminate, and given the scope for circumstantial change over the course of a plan holder’s life – it is technically impossible for any funeral plan provider to guarantee that funeral director nominated by a customer at the point a plan is purchased, will be available to undertake the funeral when the plan holder passes away.
If you nominate a preferred firm, then when you pass away, Safe Hands Funeral Plans will offer the benefit of your funeral to that firm. However, if that firm is unavailable, for any reason, to undertake the service, then it will, instead, be assigned to an alternative local firm (usually one that is a member of the National Federation of Funeral Directors), at Safe Hands Funeral Plans’ discretion.
In the case of the Direct Cremation option, the funeral director is chosen at the sole discretion of Safe Hands Funeral Plans.
*Safe Hands Funeral Plans cannot be assigned to firms of funeral directors that are owned, or managed by, Dignity Plc.
19Q. Are there any funeral directors that Safe Hands Funeral Plans customers are not allowed to nominate?
19A. At the current time, customers are not permitted to nominate any firm of funeral directors that is owned by Dignity Plc.
20Q. Will the funeral director who undertake the funeral be local?
20A. In respect of Topaz, Pearl, Sapphire, or Ruby plans – the funeral director will always be one that is local to the Plan Holder’s location of residence – and, unless the plan holder/customer, when buying their plan, states otherwise, friends/family will be entitled to pay their final respects at the funeral director’s funeral home/chapel of rest.
In respect of the Direct Cremation plan, because the plan does not make any provision for a service at the crematorium, and does not include for viewing of the deceased – the funeral director, and crematorium at which the cremation of the Plan Holder takes place, will not, necessarily, be local to the Plan Holder’s location of residence.
21Q. Can I cancel my Safe Hands Funeral Plan?
21A. Where a plan is cancelled within 30 days of the ‘Plan Effective From’ date detailed in the formal plan certification, a full, no quibble, refund will be given.
Where a plan is cancelled after 30 days from the ‘Plan Effective From’ date detailed in the formal plan certification, then a refund will be given equivalent to the total sum of monies paid towards the plan at the point of cancellation, minus a cancellation charge of £249 for plans sold after 1st February 2018 (cancellation charge is higher for plans sold prior to that date).
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95 Arundel Road, Worthing, England, BN13 3EU.
A company registered in England and Wales: Company Number – 11511131