This funeral plan review will focus on Golden Leaves Funeral Plans, founded in 1984 with roots going back to a family of funeral directors in Croydon, South London as far back as 1875. In addition to providing funeral plans for the UK, Golden Leaves also provide European Funeral Plans for expats living in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.
For the purpose of this funeral plan review, we will focus on the plans offered in the UK, also known as From50 Funeral Plans from Golden Leaves.
Golden Leaves offer 6 levels of service which offer variety but it can be confusing understanding exactly what each has to offer, so do compare the content of each of the funeral plans closely.
Golden Leaves Copper Plan – this plan offers what is known as a direct cremation funeral; basically funeral arrangements without a service. The deceased is transferred directly to the crematorium with no one in attendance and no funeral service. There is no hearse, service, use of chapel of rest and the plan includes a basic coffin.
Golden Leaves Bronze Plan - includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; funeral services on the day; a basic coffin and hearse.
There is no contribution for cremation or burial fees so these will need to be paid for by the family when the time comes.
Golden Leaves Zinc Plan - includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; funeral services on the day; a basic coffin and hearse. The time of the funeral service is chosen by the funeral director and not the family.
It also includes a contribution of £840 to help with cremation or burial fees.
Golden Leaves Silver Plan - includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; funeral services on the day; a basic coffin and hearse and a fully guaranteed cremation fees.
Alternatively the plan includes a contribution of £1,100 to help with burial fees.
Golden Leaves Gold Plan - includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; funeral services on the day; use of the chapel of rest, a standard coffin, hearse, one limousine and a fully guaranteed cremation fees.
Alternatively the plan includes a contribution of £1,100 to help burial fees if that is the preferred option.
Golden Leaves Platinum Plan - includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; funeral services on the day; use of the chapel of rest, a high quality coffin, hearse, two limousines and fully guaranteed cremation fees.
Alternatively the plan includes a contribution of £1,1000 to help with burial fees.
The all important section of the funeral plan review which tells you exactly what you are getting for your money:
All of the Golden Leaves Funeral Plans include a full guarantee that the funeral directors services will be covered however there are subtle differences between each, so do read the small print.
In general terms all of the Golden Leaves plans include the funeral directors services, help and advice on the documentation and a coffin.
The Copper plan does not include a hearse or service as this is direct cremation where the deceased is taken to the crematorium with no funeral service and no family or friends in attendance.
The family has no choice on the date and time of the funeral on the Copper and Zinc plans.
With the Silver, Gold and Platinum plans, in addition to the funeral director’s charges, the cremation fees and minister’s fees are also fully guaranteed.
Services Not Guaranteed
5 of the 6 Golden Leaves plans include some form of contribution, with no guarantees for the burial fees. With the Copper plan the contribution is £840; which increases to £1,100 on the Silver Gold and Platinum Plans.
None of the plans include a second doctor’s certificate for cremation funerals however the law is about to change which means you won’t need this in the near future.
All of the Golden Leaves Plans are based on the national average – this means that if your chosen funeral director doesn’t accept the plan based on these figures, you may be asked to pay more.
This depends on the plan you choose. Any plan that offers a contribution rather than a guarantee for the third party costs could result in your family being asked to pay more for these services when the time comes. The amount will depend on costs in your area and how much fees have increased over time.
Also for burial, if there is any allowance left, it is lost rather than paid back to the estate.
Please note the Bronze Plan has no contribution for third party costs which means your family will certainly need to cover these costs at the time of need.
To assist in your funeral plan review, Defaqto the independent researcher of financial products has rated Golden Leaves funeral plans. To see their funeral plan Defaqto rating, please click here.
It is important to note in this funeral plan review that Golden Leaves is registered and regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) so therefore has to abide by their strict rules and code of conduct.
If you choose to pay in full or by one of the regular instalment options, then your money is paid into the Golden Leaves Trust Fund. This is totally separate to the company so if anything were to happen to Golden Leaves, the Trust with your money in it would remain intact ready to pay for your funeral service.
If you choose the Fixed Monthly Payment option then your money is paid into an AXA Wealth Ltd SunLife whole of life insurance policy, which is therefore regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
With a Single Payment or over 12 months
As with most funeral plan providers paying in full or over 12 months is the cheapest way to purchase a plan if you have the funds available as there are no additional fees. Please note you will be required to a £250 deposit on a 12 month plan.
Golden Leaves offer a more limited selection of instalments over 12 to 60 months, all with a minimum deposit of £250. You will incur additional fees for payments over a longer period than 12 months which are subject to a cumulative management fee of 6% per year.
As I point out in the majority of funeral plan reviews, instalment options vary massively from company to company so ensure you compare funeral plan instalment prices before choosing the most suitable plan; it could save you hundreds of pounds in the long term.
Fixed Monthly Payment Plan
If you want to keep to a budget and are between the ages of 50 to 75 then you could opt for the fixed monthly payment plan. You pay a fixed amount based on your age and level of service required and are covered for your funeral services after 12 months. Premiums are payable for life or until you are 90, so there is a chance you could pay more into the plan than the cost of the funeral – it all depends on how long you live.
In addition to providing cover after 12 months as opposed to the 2 year initial period with other plan providers, the Golden Leaves From50 plan does come with a rebate guarantee with this payment option that means you are entitled to a rebate if you pay in more than the cost of the funeral.
If you choose to pay in one go or by one of the regular instalment options, there are no age limitations however you do need to be between the ages of 50 to 75 to purchase a fixed monthly payment plan.
Apart from the Copper plan which is direct cremation only, the plans can be used for either cremation or burial.
If you choose cremation on the Silver, Gold or Platinum plans, then the services included in the plan are fully guaranteed. If you prefer burial, then your funeral directors services are guaranteed but you receive a contribution of £1,100 for your burial fees. In the unlikely event of their being a surplus, this would be retained by Golden Leaves.
The Bronze plan can be used for either cremation or burial but doesn’t include any form of payment for these costs and the Zinc plan just includes an allowance of £840 regardless of which type of service you choose.
When you buy a Golden leaves funeral plan you automatically get a 28 day review period to ensure you are completely happy with the details and funeral services included. If you choose to cancel during this 28 day period any money paid would be fully refunded.
If you cancel after that period there is a cancelation fee of 20% of the overall cost of the plan which is significantly higher than other companies so beware
Golden Leaves plans are accepted by independent Funeral Directors across the UK but there is no information available about who these are and the coverage, however, your plan will be placed and you will be advised of which funeral director this is once you have applied.
The Golden Leaves terms and conditions state that if you move, the plan will be moved to a funeral director local to your new address and they will endeavour to do this at no extra cost but fees may apply.
As mentioned previously in this Golden Leaves Funeral Plan review, the company also offer European funeral plans for expats living in certain countries, in addition to eco friendly green funeral plans.
Also if you are veering towards the fixed monthly payment funeral plan, then the Golden Leaves From50 plan offers cover after just 12 months as opposed to 2 years and of course there is the rebate guarantee that ensures you never pay more than the cost of the funeral.