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Frequently Asked Questions

We hope you have found our website useful and informative. Below, are some of the questions most frequently asked by our customers. If you have a question that is not covered, or if you require any other information/assistance, then please contact us and one of our friendly advisors will help you.

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.

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 (and the ‘Your Simplest’ option includes an £800 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 RPI 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.

Safe Hands 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 Safe Hands 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 (+RPI 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.

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.

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.

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) or £800 (‘Your Simplest’) to cover the following disbursements specifically:

1. Cremation fee (or interment* fee, if burial)
2. Doctor’s fee
3. 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.

The disbursements allowance is less in the ‘Your Simplest’ option because the cremation takes place on a morning before 10am (when, generally, crematorium fees are much cheaper than they are at other times of the day). Furthermore, with this option, the cremation can be carried out at any crematorium within a 30 mile radius of the funeral director’s chapel of rest – giving the funeral director the opportunity to use one further afield if the fees there are less than they are at the one that is, perhaps, more local.

Yes. In their basic format, Safe Hands Funeral Plans cover cremation only. However, with the exception of the Direct Cremation and ‘Your Simplest’ plan options, 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.

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.

No. Unlike with many insurance products, customers purchasing a Safe Hands Funeral Plan are not required to pass any medical tests.

Provided the new location you move to is within the UK, then your funeral plan will not be affected.

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 £495 cancellation charge), or alternatively, they could transfer the benefit of the funeral plan to an alternative family member/friend.

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).

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.

• 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.

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).

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 first of these triennial reports was prepared by Mazars LLP, a top ten UK audit and accounting firm and one of Europe’s largest, and is dated 21st October 2016. The report complies with the Technical Actuarial Standards on Funeral Plans, Modelling Data and Reporting, as issued by the Financial Reporting Council, and the Actuarial Profession Standards issued by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

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.

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, and the ‘Your Simplest’ plans, 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.

At the current time, customers are not permitted to nominate any firm of funeral directors that is owned by Dignity Plc.

In respect of Topaz, ‘Your Simplest’, 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.

National Federation of Funeral Directors