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.
Twilight 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 Twilight 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.
Are Twilight Funeral Plans fully guaranteed (meaning when the Planholder dies, that there won’t ever be anything extra for loved ones to pay)?
Whilst Twilight 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 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.
Because the trust fund is entirely independent of the company, in the highly unlikely event that Twilight 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.
What is the ‘Instalment Handling Charge’ (applicable only to plans paid over 36, 60, and 120 monthly instalments)?
Where a customer spreads the cost of their Twilight 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) 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.