Widow’s relief after ‘lost’ £3,700 funeral plan is found

February 1, 2020
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But when her family came to update her details recently, no trace of the agreement could be found.

++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on maisha.frost@express.co.uk ++

Norah Hopwood, 88, and her daughter Linda were shocked to be told by Co-op Funeralcare it had drawn a blank as they knew the money had been withdrawn from Norah’s account with the Co-operative Bank (a separate company).

In correcting her mum’s details when Norah came to live with her family, Linda was certainly doing the right thing and it proved even more so as it was this that brought the problem to light.

“But trying to sort it out has been going for weeks,” Linda explained when asking for our help. “We have a receipt of the plan but Funeralcare want to see a copy of the cheque mum used. She was asked to pay by banker’s draft however. When she joined us she got rid of a lot of things including her old bank statements.”

Given the time that had elapsed and the manual processes then involved this turned into quite a probe. But with Crusader put all sides in direct touch and their determination to help, proof has been found.

The banker’s draft it emerges was not claimed, perhaps through human error or lost in the post, so the plan never formally set up. Funeralcare has now apologised to Norah for any delays resolving the matter. While it did offer to provide a new contract at the same cost but she has now decided to take the refund supplied via her bank.

“We can’t thank you enough for your intervention,” the women told Crusader.

Alternative ways to save for funeral costs 

If you take out a funeral plan the paperwork will come through within 10 days, so make sure you get it, then keep it safe and updated.

For those seeking other secure and straightforward savings options to cover the cost of their funeral (now reckoned to be around £4,400) Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst with advisers Hargreaves Lansdown (www.hl.co.uk) suggests an easy access savings account is a sensible option.

“Marcus and Ford Money both pay 1.35 percent interest,” she says. “Alternatively there are cash individual savings accounts (ISAs). Cynergy Bank’s offers 1.31 percent tax free.

But basic rate taxpayers don’t pay tax on the first £1,000 of interest, so unless you have significant savings, you can make more in a savings account, warns Coles.

NS&I Premium Bonds are also worth considering. “These don’t pay interest, but your money is safe, guaranteed by the Government, you can get hold of it quickly, and win a prize into the bargain,” she adds.

“Given you only need to access this money on death, there’s another more surprising option – with more interest. Some fixed rate bonds that tie your money up for years will free up the cash immediately when you die – regardless of how long they have left to run. The PCF 7 Year Term Deposit pays 2.15 per cent and pays out early without penalty on death – so you can cover funeral costs.” www.hl.co.uk 



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