Frequently Asked Questions
Although making your Lasting Powers of Attorney or Living Will is an excellent and prudent step to take when planning your future care and security, the process can seem complex. That’s why we offer a confidential home visit service where the process and issues can be thoroughly discussed and explained.
From enquiries made by our existing customers, we’ve put together a series of questions and answers of the most frequently asked about aspects of Lasting Powers of Attorney and Living Wills that aren’t covered elsewhere on our website.
You may find these to be of help when you are considering these important aspects of forward planning for a time when you may not be able to make decisions for yourself. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information or clarification, or to arrange a home consultation.
Remember – we’re here to help!
Making a Will is probably the most important document you will ever make, and by doing so you will have provided properly for your loved ones left behind at the most distressing time of all.
If you die without having made a Will, it could well mean that your family has to endure very difficult and unnecessary financial hardships whilst your affairs are being dealt with.
Furthermore, your assets may not go to the people you would have wanted them to, and many an heirloom has been auctioned off by the courts because the families could not agree to who should have them!
If you die without making a Will, you will have died Intestate.
This means that your Estate (all that you own, such as; property, possessions, cars, cash, works of art, jewellery, savings, investments, insurances and your personal belongings), will be distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules as laid down by law.
These rules of intestacy are applied when the deceased person has not left a valid Will. They are designed to provide first for a surviving spouse (or civil partner), the amount allotted depends on whether the deceased had children or not. If the deceased was not survived by spouse or children, the rules then go on to set out the order in which other relatives may inherit the the Estate. If there are no relatives, then the entire Estate will pass to the Crown.
Please see the current Intestacy Rules for more details.
By making a Will you retain control over who will receive your assets when you die. You are able to distribute your property as you wish, place age restrictions as to when children may inherit, and even create trusts for the protection of assets into the future. However, if you haven’t made a valid Will at the time of your death you will have died “intestate”. This means that your Estate will be distributed in accordance with the laws on intestacy. This could result in your family, friends and charities missing out altogether or not receiving what you would have wanted them to.
NO. The purpose of completing your Lasting Power of Attorney forms now is to allow people to make decisions for you in the future, if you can no longer make them yourself. It does not mean that once you have completed your LPA forms your Attorneys take over making decisions for you.
If you make your Health and Care Decisions LPA, your attorney cannot make decisions unless you have lost mental capacity and cannot make them yourself.
However, this differs with the Financial Decisions LPA, which allows you to say whether you want your Attorney to act for you whilst you still have capacity. This will enable your Attorney to help you to manage your finances.
Making a Will is probably even more important if you are an unmarried couple (or a same sex couple who have not entered into a civil partnership). There is no such legal status as “common law” husband or wife, and there are no provisions for unmarried couples under the current intestacy rules. Therefore your partner will not automatically inherit your Estate in the event of your death. Making a valid Will is the only way to ensure that the people you choose to leave assets to will be provided for in the event of your death.
This can have devastating financial and legal implications for the surviving partner, as well as major emotional stresses at the saddest of times.
If you have made a Will, the legal process in dealing with your affairs will be easier and much less painful during what is already a difficult time for your loved ones.
However, where a Will has not been made, the individual will have died intestate. This means that Letters of Administration must be applied for by the deceased’s personal representative. Until these are obtained bank accounts will be frozen, and access to any part of the Estate will not be possible. Obviously, this can often create unnecessary distress and financial hardship for the family whilst the deceased’s affairs are dealt with.
A Will is the only place where you can appoint a Guardian for your children. If you die without having made a Will, that opportunity will have been lost.
If you are a parent of young children, including those not yet born, there is of course a strong desire to protect their future if anything happens to you.
Making a Will enables you, as a parent, to appoint legal Guardians of your choice to look after your children until they reach the age of 18. Tragically, where a Will has not been made, the courts will appoint someone on your behalf – but it may be someone you would not have chosen, or wanted. Your children could even end up in care.
When making a Will you, as the Testator, will be required to nominate up to four Executors, often family members, to deal with your affairs on your death. By doing so you will be confident in the knowledge that your affairs will be handled in accordance with your wishes by someone you trust, and your loved ones will be left with clear instructions on how to deal with your Estate.
A Will can include the creation of Trusts for your children (or grandchildren) to receive a gift of money, property or other assets, that is place in the hands of Trustees nominated by you. You will leave separate instructions as to how you wish the Trust to be administered, and how any proceeds from the asset may be dispersed to the child. You will also indicate when you consider the Trust should be closed and the proceeds passed on to the child.
There may also be occasions when you consider the inheritance of an adult should be administered by a Trustee, especially in instances where the recipient has an addiction problem with drugs or gambling, or who you may consider is a spendthrift, and therefore may require constant or permanent financial guidance and control.
There are also specialised Will Trusts that are designed to help the future security of a disabled or vulnerable beneficiary without affecting their benefit entitlement from the state or local authority.
See our Vulnerable Persons Trust page for more information.
Many people throughout their lives are kind supporters of charities, and make regular contributions to their favourite charity, as well as gifts in their Wills. However, if you die without making a Will the opportunity will have been lost.
Similarly, many people like to leave a token of their appreciation to a long-standing friend or neighbour in recognition of their help over the years. Perhaps you might like to make a gift to a special cousin, nephew or niece. All of this can be done in your Will – but if you die intestate they will receive nothing!
Your Executor is responsible for making your funeral arrangements in accordance with your preferences as set out in your Will. You can indicate here your preference to be buried or cremated, and the details of floral tributes or donations to charities, music to be played, and even where you wish your ashes to be scattered!
Funeral costs these days are particularly expensive and have risen by more than 80% since 2004. With the average cost of a funeral today being in the region of £3,500, we have a range of plans where you are able to fix the funeral director’s costs at today’s prices – whenever you die!
See our Funeral Plans page for more information.
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.
It’s a sad fact that, after the death of a parent, many children are disinherited if the surviving parent remarries without making a Will. The new partner then automatically inherits the Estate, and tragically children from the first marriage are often disinherited.
By placing your home in a Family Trust you can prevent this from happening.
There are two sets of fees which become payable when making you Lasting Powers of Attorney. Firstly there are registration fees payable to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), and these are as follows:
- £82 per LPA document if your income is more than £12,000 per year and you don’t receive a qualifying benefit.
- £41 per LPA document if your income is less than £12,000 per year and you don’t receive a qualifying benefit (in other words, you will be entitled to a remission of 50% of the full fee, i.e. £82 x 50% = £41 payable). Your income must be evidenced.
- You will be entitled to a 100% remission, i.e. £0 payable, if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit from the following list:
- Income Support
- Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Guarantee Credit element of State Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction/Support – also known by other names (not the 25% single person discount or the Class U exemption)
- Local Housing Allowance
- A combination of Working Tax Credit and at least one of:
- Child Tax Credit
- Disability element of Working Tax Credit
- Severe Disability element of Working Tax Credit
Not included: Disability Living Allowance, Invalidity Benefit, Personal Independence Payment
In addition to the OPG fees, Abbey LPA scale fees will apply, which we believe you will find to be highly competitive. Our fee includes:
- Home consultation
- Explaining and discussing the LPA to you and your nominated Attorneys
- Acting as Certificate Provider
- Assisting with the completion of your application forms
- Witnessing documents as appropriate
- Registration of the documents with the OPG
Over the last 2 decades, funeral costs have risen far in excess of the annual rate of inflation. Taking out and paying for a Safe Hands funeral plan means that regardless of however long you live, or however much the funeral directors fees and services cost when you pass away, your loved ones won’t be required to pay anything towards them.
If you owned your property jointly with your spouse, and they were your only Attorney, then your partner would not be able to sell your home. This is because Attorneys cannot make decisions which benefit themselves, and selling the house would not be viewed as them acting independently. In this situation the property would first need to be placed into a trust and then sold.
However, if you had appointed your spouse/partner and another Attorney, for example a son or daughter, then the two Attorneys together would be able to sell the property. Similarly, if only one Attorney had been appointed, but they did not own part of the house, then they would also be able to sell the property.
Safe Hands work on the same basis as every other funeral plan provider, in that the money a customer pays for their plan is invested in a ring-fenced trust fund (in Safe Hands’ 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 plan-holder passes away, monies (+RPI uplift) are released from the trust fund fund and paid to a local, reputable, potentially nominated, funeral director who then carries out the funeral in accordance with the instructions contained in the plan.
If you do not make an LPA and later become unable to make certain decisions for yourself, there may be a time when no one can legally make decisions for you. This can make managing your affairs very difficult, and tasks such as paying bills, paying for care costs, and making decisions about your future care will be impossible without involving the Court of Protection.
The Court of Protection will then decide who will manage your affairs. This position is known as a “Deputy” who may be a relative, or it may be a professional such as a solicitor or an accountant. The process of appointing a deputy is long, arduous and expensive. The deputy must regularly report and seek authorisation from the court, pay annual fees and make annual reports. The cost will run into thousands of pounds during the first and subsequent years, and the process will continue until your death.
It is, without question, easier, less complex and substantially less expensive to be an Attorney under the provisions of an LPA, than it is being a Deputy of the Court of Protection.
NO. Your Lasting Power of Attorney will only be valid in England & Wales. If you move to Scotland or Northern Ireland then you must make your LPA’s relative to their own administration.
No. Safe Hands funeral plans are available to anyone, regardless of health, age or medical history.
YES. An EPA made before October 2007 will still be valid for your property and financial affairs. However, you will still need to make your Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Care Decisions as this is not covered under the provisions of your EPA.
Safe Hands offer 5 different funeral plan options to suit different tastes and budgets. With the exception of the Direct Cremation option, all, as an absolute minimum, include a hearse, a lined and fitted coffin, 24 hour transfer of the deceased, care and preparation of the deceased, and funeral director’s fees. Also, all options, with the exception of the Direct Cremation plan and the Topaz plan, include a £1200 allowance towards 3rd party fees/disbursements.
Funeral Director’s fees cover all elements of the funeral that are provided by the funeral director directly – such as the hearse, limousines, care and preparation of the deceased, etc.
Safe Hands funeral plans include everything that is required for a traditional burial or cremation (burial plot must be purchased separately). You may order or request any number of special additions (frequently at no extra cost). We will ensure that you fully understand exactly what is included within your funeral plan before it is paid for.
No. We have taken great care to highlight all charges associated with each of the plan options. If you require any further clarity, please call us and we’ll make sure you understand exactly what is included within the price of your chosen plan.
3rd party fees, or ‘disbursements’ refer to elements of a funeral cost that are paid by the funeral director to 3rd parties on your behalf. These are cremation fees (national average £600), doctor’s fees (£164 nationally, except Scotland where they are free) and minister or celebrant fee (£180). With the exception of the Topaz option, all Safe Hands Funeral Plans contain an allowance of £1200 to cover 3rd party fees. This allowance rises annually at least in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI). There may be a balance to pay at the time of need if the 3rd party fees payable by the funeral director on your behalf when you die, exceed the allowance in your plan (+RPI) at that time.
You can pay for your plan in a single lump sum, or you can spread the cost over an extended term up to a maximum of 10 years (120 months). Instalments made over 12 or 24 months have no handling fee. Deposit payments or payments in full can be made by cheque, bank transfer, debit card or credit card (credit card payments carry a 2.5% surcharge). Monthly instalments are made by direct debit.
If the plans is/was being paid for over 1 or 2 years – because no interest is charged on plans paid for over 1 or 2 years, the balance is calculated by deducting the sum paid towards the plan at the point the time the Plan Holder dies, from the price of the plan as was at the time it was purchased. The balance is the difference between these two figures.
If the plan is/was being paid for over 3, 5, or 10 years – then at the time of the Plan Holder’s death, we first calculate the interest payable (4% flat) over the period of time between the plan being purchased and the plan holder’s death. We then add this to the net price of the plan (minus any deposit paid) as it was at the time of purchase (this gives us the revised ‘total payable’ figure). We then deduct this figure from the total payments made towards the plan at the time of the plan holder’s death. The balance is the difference between these two figures.
Repatriation to the UK is not included as standard within any of the Safe Hands plan options. Unless your Safe Hands plan includes an additional allowance to cover repatriation, then should you die while aborad or away from home, the cost of transporting your body back to the UK will need to be paid for (usually this is covered by travel insurance).
You can select any funeral director that is a member of the National Federation of Funeral Directors (NFFD), to undertake your funeral. You can also nominate any other independent firm, under which circumstances, when you pass away, we will offer your funeral to your preferred firm in the first instance. If, for any reason, your preferred firm is unavailable or unwilling to undertake the funeral, then it will instead be conducted by an alternative, local, reputable, firm at Safe Hands’ discretion (preferably one that is a member of the NFFD).
Yes. The funeral director’s costs and services remain exactly the same for both cremation and burial. However, because interment costs vary enormously according to different local authorities pricing, only when we know where you wish to be buried can we give you a fixed price.
Yes. All Safe Hands funeral plans can be tailored to suit individual tastes and preferences. Safe Hands funeral plans can also be altered or added to at any time (additional costs may be applicable depending on the nature and extent of alterations).
We can provide an eco-friendly funeral plan. However, because the prices of eco-funerals vary according to location and customers’ specific requirements, please contact us to obtain a firm price.
Yes. Should you choose the Topaz plan, you are welcome to pay for the 3rd Party Fees at a later date, or alternatively, your family/estate can pay for them when you pass away (under such circumstances, 3rd Party Fees will be charged at the rate prevailing at that particular time).
Yes. Upon application, simply make us aware that this is your intention.
Yes. There are no limits to the extent of personal requests that you may like your funeral to include. For instance, you might want the service to feature favourite music, hymns or readings. Or you might like mourners to adhere to a certain dress code. Depending on the nature of your personal requests, they may incur an additional charge although we would of course ensure that you are made aware before you pay for your plan.
If you change your mind and decide to cancel your plan, then you must do so by writing to Safe Hands Funeral Plans (Cancellation Dept), 8 Peterson Road, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 4EB. Provided we receive the letter of cancellation within 28 days from the date that your plan is effective from (see your plan certification pack) then you are eligible to receive a full refund. If we receive the letter of cancellation after 28 days from the date that your plan is effective from, then we will refund the amount you have paid towards your plan at the point of cancellation less our standard £395 cancellation fee.
Because the trust fund is entirely independent of the company, in the hugely unlikely event that Safe Hands should go into liquidation or cease trading for any reason, because the trust fund is not an asset of the company (and because the plan-holders are the primary beneficiaries of the trust fund) our plan-holders’ investments would be entirely secure.
It is of paramount importance to Safe Hands that plan-holders’ investments are as safe and secure as possible. To that end, the Safe Hands trust complies with all current legislation as set out in the Regulated Activities Order (Financial Services Act 2000). Key aspects of the trust are:
- Trustees: Pitmans Trustees Ltd (PTL) – specialist fund investor with £billions in trust.
- Trust Fund Managers: UBS – multinational investment management firm, voted ‘Best Global Investment Bank’ at the Global Finance World’s ‘Best Investment Bank Awards 2016’.
- Actuaries & Auditors: Mazars – one of the UK’s largest accounting and auditing firms.
- Solicitors: Wrigleys LLP – law firm specialising in trust funds.