Funeral Plan Review Part 1 – Golden Charter


Jan 10, 2014
Funeral Plan Review Part 1 – Golden Charter

Prepaid funeral plans are becoming big business in the UK with the population recognising the need and benefit of arranging everything in advance. Whilst plans are similar, with so many funeral plan providers in the market place, choosing the right one can take time so as promised in my previous blog, here is part 1 of my funeral plan review, this week focusing on Golden Charter.   

Who is Golden Charter?
Golden Charter is the largest independent provider of funeral plans in the UK. It is owned by an association of funeral directors; registered with the FPA (Funeral Planning Authority); recommended by the SAIF (National Society of Allied and Dependent Funeral Directors) and works on behalf of more than 3,300 independent funeral directors in the country – as I said, one of the biggies.   

How do Golden Charter funeral plans work?
Depending on how you pay, your money will either be invested into a Trust Fund or a Whole of Life Insurance plan until it is required to pay for your funeral, both of which are regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) so your money is protected. 

What funeral plans do they provide?
Golden Charter offer 4 funeral plans ranging from basic to more comprehensive cover.  

What are the payment options?
You can either pay for your funeral plan up front in full; over 12 months (don’t worry you won’t incur any additional charges), or by an agreed fixed monthly payment. With the latter, your money is invested into a Whole of Life Insurance plan; you’re monthly payments will continue until you are 90 or you die and you are covered for your full services after an initial period of 2 years. If you die within the first 2 years, Golden Charter will refund all payments paid plus 20%. This refund can either be paid to your estate or your chosen funeral director (in this instance the family would need to pay the outstanding funeral costs).   

What do they Cover?
Golden Charter funeral plans cover the cost of the funeral directors services, which includes transportation and care of the deceased, the coffin, hearse and staff for the funeral service. The 2 more comprehensive plans also include higher quality coffins, limousine(s) for family members, the use of a chapel of rest for viewing and bereavement counselling. 

With the exception of the basic plan, all other levels of cover include an allowance of around £940 for third party costs which includes cremation or burial costs and minister’s fees (Doctors fees were removed from the plan 1st December 2015). The average third party costs for a cremation are currently £840 but this does vary by region. Where you live and the rate of funeral inflation will dictate whether the allowance is sufficient to cover these costs. 

How much do Golden Charter funeral plans cost?
For single payment or the total cost of the 12 monthly instalments, you should expect to pay the following: (updated 11/04/16)
                     
• Golden Charter 50 Plus Base Funeral Plan - £2,800

• Golden Charter 50 Plus Standard Funeral Plan - £3,625

• Golden Charter 50 Plus Select Funeral Plan - £3,995

• Golden Charter 50 Plus Premier Funeral Plan - £4,540

The cost of the fixed monthly payment option will depend on your age and of course the level of cover you require, with payments starting from  £24.72 based on a 50 year old purchasing a basic plan).

Of the four funeral providers included in our review, Golden Charter is the only provider to offer a Will with every plan with effect from 1st April 2015.

A word of warning; to keep up with rising funeral related costs, most plan providers increase their prices on a yearly basis. Golden Charter has just announced their price increase which takes place on the 1st April 2016 (now updated as above).

Why choose Golden Charter?
If you are thinking of buying a funeral plan, the following features specific to the Golden Charter plan may help you make up your mind.

• They provide nationwide cover working with the highest number of independent funeral directors

• If you move, you can change your Funeral Director although this may incur a cost

• You can be covered below the age of 50 (payment must be in full or over 12 monthly instalments)

• Golden Charter are the only funeral plan provider to offer transportation of the body back to your nominated funeral director from anywhere in the UK whilst you are on holiday for free. In addition, should you die abroad, whilst your travel insurance should cover the repatriation back to the UK, they will also collect the body from the UK airport.

 

If you are interested in finding out more about Golden Charter Funeral Plans and to see how they compare with our plans click the Golden Charter link for full details.


Ashley Shepherd is an Over 50s Personal Finance Expert

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