Golden Charter Funeral Plans Review

Key Points

  • plans do not guarantee your cremation & ministers fees
  • third party allowance is only £940
  • good funeral director coverage
  • your family could have more to pay when the time comes

Read our Golden Charter Funeral Plans Review to understand the benefits and pitfalls; and then read our other funeral plan reviews.

Who is Golden Charter?

This funeral plan review will focus on Golden Charter funeral plans, the largest provider of prepaid funeral plans to independent funeral directors. They are owned by funeral directors and have over 25 years experience working with a network of more than 3,300 independent funeral directors throughout the UK.  

What funeral plans do they offer?

Golden Charter offer 4 levels of service – their Value funeral plan which is their newest addition along with their Standard, Select and Premier Plans.

Golden Charter Value Plan – includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; funeral services on the day; a wood effect coffin, hearse and use of the chapel of rest within office hours. Please note that the time and the place of the funeral service on this plan is dictated by the funeral director and not the family.

It also includes a £700 contribution to help with cremation or burial fees.

Golden Charter Standard Plan - includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; funeral services on the day; a plain veneered coffin, hearse and use of the chapel of rest within office hours.

It also includes a £940 contribution to help with cremation or burial fees.

Golden Charter Select Plan - includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; funeral services on the day; a panelled veneered coffin, hearse, one limousine and use of the chapel of rest at any pre-agreed time.

It also includes a £940 contribution to help with cremation or burial fees.

Golden Charter Superior Plan - includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; funeral services on the day; a solid wood coffin, hearse, two limousines and use of the chapel of rest at any pre-agreed time.

It also includes a £940 contribution to help with cremation or burial fees.

Which funeral services are guaranteed?

This is an important part of the funeral plan review as you will certainly want to be clear about what services you are paying for:

Guaranteed Services

Golden Charter plans include a guarantee that your funeral directors services will be covered at today’s prices which includes their help and guidance with the documentation, services on the day, the coffin, hearse and limousine (depending on the level of service) and the use of the chapel of rest on 3 of the 4 Golden Charter Plans.

Services Not Guaranteed

Whilst the funeral directors services included in the plan are fully guaranteed, there is only a contribution for the third part costs or disbursements as they are also known which essentially is your cremation or burial fees of either £700 or £940 (depending on the level you choose). This allowance increases in line with the trust fund on an annual basis.

None of the plans include a second doctors certificate for cremation funerals however the law is about to change which means you won’t need this in the near future. 

Will there be more for my family to pay?

Yes, there could be. As there is just a contribution of between £700 to £940 for third party costs, this means that your family may have to pay more for these services when the time comes. It all depends on costs in your area and importantly how much they have increased over the years.

If you prefer a burial, then the allowance is there to help pay for these costs however it is only used for the actual burial or interment fees and nothing else; and if you don’t use all of the allowance, you lose it.

What is the Golden Charter Defaqto Star Rating for each of their plans?

To assist in your funeral plan review, Defaqto the independent researcher of financial products has rated Golden Charter funeral plans. To see their funeral plan Defaqto rating, please click here

How can I be sure my money is safe?

Another very important part of this funeral plan review is to note that Golden Charter is registered and regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) so therefore has to abide by their strict rules and code of conduct.

When you buy a Golden Charter plan and pay either in one go or by one of their regular instalment options, your money is placed in the Golden Charter Trust Fund which is a completely separate entity to Golden Charter. Therefore if anything were to happen to the company, the trust fund with your money in it would remain intact and ready to pay for your funeral.

If you choose the Fixed Monthly Payment Plan then your money is paid into a UK life insurance company which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

How can I pay for my funeral plan?

With a Single Payment

Paying for your plan in one go or over 12 months is the cheapest way to buy a Golden Charter funeral plan as you don’t incur any additional fees.

Monthly Instalments

Depending on age you can spread your payments up to 30 years with a minimum deposit of £49 but Golden Charter instalment costs tend to be quite a bit higher than most so do compare funeral plan prices if going down this route.

Fixed Monthly Payment Plan

You can also spread your costs by opting for their fixed monthly payment plan. With this type of plan you pay a fixed monthly premium which is based on the level of service you choose and also your age. You are covered for your funeral services after 2 years but pay your monthly premiums either for life or until you are 90. Therefore you could pay more into the plan than the actual cost of the funeral at the time of need – it all depends on how long you live. 

Is there an age limit on Golden Charter Plans?

You can buy a Golden Charter funeral plan from the age of 18 and there is no upper age limit when paying in one go.

With the instalment options you need to have completed your payments by the age of 80 and with the Fixed Monthly Payment Plan you must be between 50 to 80. 

Can I choose either a Burial or Cremation funeral?

Yes burial or cremation services are available within the plan. The £700 or £940 allowance that is included in the plan (depending on the level of service you choose) can be used to help with either the third party costs associated with a burial or cremation funeral. If the allowance is insufficient, there could be more for your family to pay.

If there is any money left over in the allowance, this will not be paid back to the estate or the family.

Can I cancel my funeral plan?

Once you apply for the Golden Charter funeral plan you have a 30 day review period where you can read through the plan details and if required, cancel and receive a full refund of any money paid. After this period the funeral plan can be cancelled but you pay and cancelation fee of £249

Who will my funeral director be?

Golden Charter work with over 3,000 independent funeral directors throughout the UK so you can either let them choose a local company for you or you can nominate one as long as they accept the Golden Charter funeral plan.

What happens if I move home?

If you move anywhere in mainland UK the plan will move with you. The cost of transfer if there is one will depend on the funeral director.

Do Golden Charter funeral plans offer any additional features?

All plans come with a free Will and also transportation of the deceased if anything were to happen whilst on holiday in the UK.

Plans are also fully transferable which means they can be used by any member of the family.

Funeral Plans

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Our Golden Charter Review Verdict

Having reviewed Golden Charter funeral plans, there is no doubt that they are one of the leading providers in the UK with the largest network of funeral directors however there are a number of loop holes in the plan that could mean there are additional charges for your family to pay.

For example plans include one of the lowest contributions of £940 (£700 for the value plan) for the cremation or burial third party costs and although this allowance increases in line with the Trust Fund, it is unclear as to how much if at all this increase will be; therefore your family could well be left with a bill to pay at the time of need.

Also there is no guarantee that there will not be additional charges if you move your plan because of a change of address – it all depends on what the funeral director charges so another unknown..

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