Golden Charter Direct Cremation Plan Review
As part of our commitment to helping families understand their choices, we have thoroughly researched the Direct Cremation market. This detailed Golden Charter review will help compare the Golden Charters Direct Cremation Plan (basic plan) to others available on the market.
Golden Charter Cremations Overview
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Largest Providers – With more than thirty years’ of experience in the funeral industry, Golden Charter is one of the UK’s largest funeral plan providers.
Direct Cremation Plan – The Basic Funeral Plan will provide you with an unattended, direct cremation service anywhere in the UK mainland for the headline price of £1,749.00. This sum is guaranteed to cover the funeral director’s charges, together with a £500 contribution towards the cost of cremation.
Funeral Plan Provider – Although owned by an association of funeral directors, Golden Charter is not itself a funeral provider. Instead, they exist solely to sell prepayment plans. You may either nominate a funeral director to carry out the funeral services, or, if you prefer, Golden Charter may select one on your behalf.
Wide Coverage of funeral directors – While their headline cost is a little higher than comparable plans for the services guaranteed, a Golden Charter Funeral Plan is redeemable with up to 2,900 funeral directors around the UK. Such a wide selection should almost guarantee a locally provided service.
Not an ‘at need’ Service – As Golden Charter sells only prepayment plans, you will not be able to arrange an at-need direct cremation funeral. If, therefore, you are expecting to need a direct cremation funeral within the next two years, it is unlikely that a Golden Charter Basic Funeral Plan will be the most suitable option for you.
Payment Options – Golden Charter offers a number of payment options for the Basic Plan, with payment in monthly installments available for up to ten years. Full coverage is guaranteed either when the plan is fully paid or after the first twelve months of installments, provided that you maintain an up to date payment schedule.
Customer Satisfaction – Golden Charter has achieved a very high rate of customer satisfaction, suggesting that a commitment to offering care and compassion doesn’t go out of the window when opting for simplicity and affordability.
Golden Charter Direct Cremation Plan Costs
What’s Included in the £1,795 Golden Charter Direct Cremation Funeral Plan?
Golden Charter will provide the following services with their direct cremation funeral plan. Everything is included in the headline price.
Paid Extras Include
*Additional prices will be determined by the funeral director at the point of need.
**The plan is guaranteed to cover the cost of cremation if investment returns on the amount indicated are sufficient. If the cost of cremation grows by more than the growth of the plan funds then an additional fee may have to be paid at the time the cremation is needed.
***An extra charge may be needed
A SUMMARY OF THE MAIN TERMS OF THE DIRECT CREMATION PLAN
1. Available to all adults aged 18 and over.
2. Pay in full, or spread the cost in monthly installments by up to ten years.
3. If opting to pay in full, redemption for the plan benefits is available at any time once payment has been made.
4. If opting to pay over twelve months, redemption for the plan benefits is available once the plan is fully paid. Redemption is available within the first twelve months following the purchase if the death of the beneficiary is accidental.
5. If opting to pay between two and ten years, redemption for the plan benefits is available after the first twelve months of up-to-date payments. Redemption is available within the first twelve months following the purchase if the death of the beneficiary is accidental.
6. A deposit of £49 is payable if paid in installments between one and ten years. You may pay a higher deposit in order to lower your monthly payment
7. Your money is protected in an investment trust.
Golden Charter Pre Paid Cremation Funeral Plans
Golden Charter offers a selection of pre-paid funeral plans, that come with various options.
To keep this review as easy to follow as possible, we have compared only the direct cremation plan (their Basic Plan) to other similar products on the market.
Golden Charter Basic Plan: How Much Will I Pay?
|Number of Instalments||Deposit||Monthly Instalment||TOTAL COST||Extra Paid|
*Prices for installment payments between 24 and 120 months vary by age. The price stated is accurate for a plan beneficiary aged 50 at the time of purchase. An online quotation facility is available on the Golden Charter website for you to confirm how much you will pay.
**A higher deposit may be paid in order to reduce the monthly installment cost.
THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR CREMATION PLAN
1. The timescale for collection of the deceased and return of the ashes following cremation will be dependent upon arrangements agreed with the selected funeral director at the time the plan benefits are required. You will need to bear this in mind if you would like the ashes to be present at a separate memorial or celebration of life occasion.
2. There is no option for mourners to attend the cremation with a Golden Charter Basic Funeral Plan.
3.If opting to pay in full, redemption for the plan benefits is available immediately – there is no waiting period or moratorium.
4. If opting to pay in monthly installments over one to ten years, redemption for the plan benefits is available after the first twelve months of up-to-date payments.* Redemption is available within the first twelve months if the death of the beneficiary is accidental. If death is not accidental, then all proceeds to the plan will be refunded to the estate of the deceased, or the balance of the plan can be paid in full to redeem the plan benefits.
5. If paying between two and ten years and the beneficiary dies before completion of the payment plan in full, Golden Charter will not approach the estate for the deceased for any further payment*
6. You must be aged 78 or younger to pay in monthly installments over more than one year, and no older than 80 at the end of your chosen payment term.
7. You can transfer the benefits of your funeral plan to a nominated family member or friend who dies before you once the total cost of the plan has been paid. However, an additional cost may be incurred.
8. If paying in full or in monthly installments over twelve months, you have the right to cancel the plan free of charge within thirty days following the date of purchasing your plan. Cancellation after thirty days will incur a cancellation fee of £249.
9. If paying in monthly installments between two and ten years, you have the right to cancel the plan free of charge within twelve months following the date of purchase. Cancellation after the first twelve months will incur a cancellation fee of £249.
Golden Charter Direct Cremation Plan Vs Other Direct Cremation Plans on the Market
Here’s how the Golden Charter Basic Funeral Service plan compares to direct cremation plans offered by a selection of other providers, including Pure Cremations, Golden Leaves & Distinct Cremation.
|UP FRONT PRICE||£1,795||£1,450||£1,490||£1,749|
|6 MONTH PLAN||£1,749.96||–||–||–|
|1 YEAR PLAN||£1,866.84||£1,519.56||–||£1,749.00**|
|2 YEAR PLAN||£1,941.36||£1,589.28||–||£1,843.00**|
|3 YEAR PLAN||£2,019.24||£1,658.88||–||£1,894.72**|
|4 YEAR PLAN||£2,100.00||£1,728.00||Varies*||£1,946.44**|
|5 YEAR PLAN||£2,184.00||£1,798.20||–||£1,999.00**|
|6 YEAR PLAN||–||–||–||£2,053.48**|
|7 YEAR PLAN||–||–||–||£2,108.68**|
|8 YEAR PLAN||–||–||–||£2,164.84**|
|9 YEAR PLAN||–||–||–||£2,224.12**|
|10 YEAR PLAN||–||–||Varies*||£2,283.40**|
|LOWEST MONTHLY PAYMENT OPTION||£36.40||£29.97||?||£18.62**|
|UPPER AGE LIMIT FOR PAYMENT PLAN||none||80 at time of completion if paying over more than 2 years||74||78 at time of purchase, or 80 at time of completion|
|CREDIT FINANCE OPTION||no||no||Yes, via third party||No|
|FULL COVERAGE||After full payment or 24 months following purchase***||After full payment or 24 months following purchase***||After full payment or 12 months following purchase***||After full payment or 12 months following purchase***|
|FREE CANCELLATION PERIOD||30 days following purchase||60 days following purchase||30 days following purchase||30 days following purchase|
(HOW MONEY IS STORED)
|Investment Trust||Investment Trust||Whole of Life Assurance Policies||Investment Trust|
*Prices vary by age. The price stated is accurate for a plan beneficiary aged 50 at the time of purchase. An online quotation facility is available on the Golden Charter website for you to confirm how much you will pay.
**May be conditional upon maintaining an up to date payment schedule.
Closest Competitor Service
Below we have listed the closest comparable product to the direct cremation service offered by Golden Charter Cremation Plan
|Competitor||Golden Leaves & Avalon Funeral Plans|
|Service||Each offers their services through a large network of funeral directors|
|Difference||Golden Charter will only cover cremation fees up £500 + investment return on that sum. All providers include funeral directors professional services|
Golden Leaves is probably the best value overall, but there are individual differences between each of the providers, and some of the services vary depending upon the funeral director.
Only Avalon offers an option to attend without having to purchase a traditional funeral
|Review||Read our Golden Leaves Review|
Read our Avalon Funeral Plan Review
Golden Charter Customer Reviews
Below are the awards, customer reviews and our opinion of the Golden Charter direct cremation offering
Golden Charter has earned an impressive 4.5 out of a possible 5.0 star review on Trustpilot, with fewer than 5% of reviews recording a negative experience.
On the other hand, Golden Charter may be less suitable if:
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a Paper Brochure Available for Golden Charter?
You have the option of ordering a Golden Charter Funeral Plan brochure for delivery by post.
How do I Purchase a Golden Charter Funeral Plan?
A Golden Charter Funeral Plan may be purchased online or by phone. You may also be able to arrange a plan through an affiliated funeral director.
Who Will Carry Out the Direct Cremation Funeral?
You may select your preferred funeral director at the time of arranging your plan. If it isn’t possible to appoint your preferred funeral director then Golden Charter will suggest some suitable alternatives.
If you have no preference then Golden Charter will appoint a funeral director near to you from their network of local, independently owned funeral homes within thirty days of the plan start date.
Should Golden Charter need to make changes to these arrangements before you claim the benefits of the plan (for example, because the appointed funeral director is no longer in business) you will be notified.
What Type of Coffin does Golden Charter Provide?
The precise style of coffin will be selected by the funeral director.
What Happens to Medical Devices and Jewellery?
Then removal of jewellery and medical devices is included in the cost of caring for the deceased.
Can I Choose where the Cremation Takes Place?
You will not be offered a choice of crematorium with a Golden Charter Basic Funeral Plan.
Will Golden Charter Tell me the Date of Cremation?
The funeral director allocated by Golden Charter will inform you of the date and time of the cremation.
How Can I Pay for My Funeral or for My Plan?
Full payment for a Golden Charter Funeral Plan can be made by debit or credit card, by bank transfer or by cheque.
Instalment payments will be made by Direct Debit. Note that Golden Charter reserves the right to cancel a plan if you are unable to maintain an up to date payment schedule.
Can I Pay off my Instalment Plan Early?
Golden Charter will accept early settlement if you are paying by instalment towards a funeral plan. If paying over more than twelve months early settlement may reduce the total price that you have to pay.
Are Special Offers or Golden Charter Discounts Available?
Golden Charter does not appear to be running any promotional offers at this time, nor do they offer discounts to selected groups.
Will I Receive Plan Documentation?
Upon purchasing a Golden Charter Basic Funeral Plan, you will receive the following documents within thirty days:
- A summary of your plan.
- Your funeral director’s details.
- Your plan holder certificate.
- A personal membership card for you to carry in your purse or wallet.
You will also receive a customer statement which will be sent to you once every three years using your preferred method of contact.
Who Should I Tell About My Funeral Plan?
When you apply for a Golden Charter Funeral Plan, they will ask you to nominate a representative whom they can contact to inform them of the plan’s existence.
However, we suggest that you inform all of your closest loved ones that you have purchased the plan, and how they can obtain the documentation to make a claim.
Remember also to update Golden Charter with any changes of your address or contact details after you have purchased a plan.
How will My Loved Ones Claim the Plan Benefits?
Following your death, your nominated representative or another family member will need to contact either Golden Charter or the nominated funeral director in order to claim the plan benefits on your behalf.
Full guidance should be outlined in your documentation. However, at minimum, your representative will need to present a copy of your death certificate so Golden Charter is able to authorise transfer of the funds to pay for your funeral.
What Happens if Golden Charter Goes Bust?
Golden Charter Ltd. is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
When you purchase a funeral plan, your money will be divided into three:
£249 is paid to Golden Charter to cover the cost of arranging and administering your funeral plan.
£250 is paid to Golden Charter to cover the cost of marketing and selling your funeral plan.
£1,250 is invested in the Golden Charter Trust, run by a Board of Trustees completely independent of Golden Charter. Golden Charter cannot access the funds in the trust except to provide you with a funeral, or to give you a refund if you request one.
In the event that Golden Charter ceases trading, the trust will seek to work with other providers to offer you the plan benefits. It’s possible, however, that you may need to pay a little extra if the services of another provider are engaged.
You may also be entitled to compensation under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
How do I Make Enquiries?
Enquiries can be made by email, by phone or through their online contact form. An online chatbot is also available on the Golden Charter website.
A Golden Charter Funeral Plan can be purchased on their free-phone number 0808 169 9698 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Their email address is email@example.com.
The company also has a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but it’s not clear if these accounts are monitored for the purpose of making enquiries.
Are there any Hidden Costs?
A Golden Charter Basic Funeral Plan should cover most of the services you need for a direct cremation funeral. However, please note the following:
- The plan value includes a £500 contribution towards the crematorium’s fees for carrying out the funeral. This sum will be invested in the Golden Charter Trust, and should grow in value over time. However, if the rise in crematorium fees is greater than the growth of the plan value, you may have to pay the difference at the time the plan is redeemed.
- Doctors fees (if required) are not included.
- Unforeseen changes in taxes and regulations enacted between the date the plan is purchased and the death of the beneficiary may require Golden Charter to levy additional charges. However, this is a standard term of funeral plans offered by most other providers.
Can I Transfer Arrangements to another Funeral Plan Provider?
Transfer of a plan held with Golden Charter to another provider will require cancellation of the plan.
Are they Eco-Friendly?
Golden Charter do not emphasise their green credentials in their literature.
Who Owns Golden Charter?
Golden Charter is privately owned by the SAIF Charter Association, an association of independent funeral directors.