Please click on the sections below to expand answers to frequently asked questions regarding Pre-paid Funeral Plans:
What are the responsibilities of the funeral fund manager?
Forester’s main responsibilities are to ensure that your payment is properly invested in accordance with the Funeral Fund Rules and appropriate State and Federal legislation in your name and that your funds are not released or accessed by any third party until the funeral service is provided.
What happens if the funeral director goes out of business?
If your funeral director ceases to trade, the payments made into a Pre-paid Funeral Plan are protected as the monies held in the Funeral Fund are in your name and there is provision in the contract for the service to be conducted by another funeral director.
Funds will only be released to your funeral director for payment of your funeral expenses, upon evidence that the service has been provided, and cannot be used for other purposes.
How safe is my funeral fund investment?
Most importantly your funds are invested in a capital guaranteed funeral benefit fund. Being capital guaranteed means your investment can never be less than your initial contribution (less any funeral director establishment fee) plus any annual bonuses that have been applied.
Funds held in the Foresters Funeral Fund may only be invested in a manner as specified in the Benefit Fund Rules and the Life Insurance Act 1995. Foresters is also regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (‘APRA’) to whom it must report on a quarterly basis.
Prudential Standards issued by APRA prescribe that money held in the benefit funds of a Friendly Society may only be used for the benefit of its members.
If the Society were to cease to trade for any reason, the investments in the Funeral Fund could not be used to pay outstanding debts, but would continue to be held for the benefit of you, the Fund member.
Can I take out a pre-paid contract in joint names?
You can enter into the Plan in joint names, however in such circumstances, upon the death of the first of the joint investors, your investment will be paid out in full and the surviving member will then have to enter into a new pre-paid funeral contract in order to meet their future funeral expenses.
Can I change my pre-paid funeral contract?
As you have entered into a pre-paid funeral contract with a specific funeral firm, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that contract and as such, any changes to the contract, including altering your contracted funeral director, are subject to the specific contract conditions.
As these can vary between firms, we suggest you discuss any changes and how they are to be made with your contracted funeral firm in the first instance.
Can I transfer my pre-paid contract to another funeral director?
Subject to the terms of your pre-paid contract it is generally the case that you cannot transfer nor cancel your contract without the contracted funeral director agreeing to any change.
What happens if I move overseas?
In the event that you move overseas you will firstly need to discuss your pre-paid funeral contract with your contracted funeral director.
If the funeral director agrees to cancel the pre-paid contract then your Pre-paid Funeral Plan investment will remain in the fund in your name and at time of death will be paid to your estate to contribute towards your funeral expenses.
How much can I invest in the Plan?
There is no maximum limit on how much you can invest as it is determined by the price of your pre-paid funeral contract. This applies even to persons in receipt of a means tested pension or a benefit from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Do I need to declare my investment in the Plan as an asset for Centrelink and Social Security purposes?
Under current legislation there is no limit in the amount you can invest in the Plan if your investment is made in conjunction with a pre-paid funeral contract.
The total amount will be exempt for the purposes of the assets test, income test and deeming provisions of both social security and veterans’ entitlements legislation.
Does my investment enjoy annual bonuses?
The investment in the fund enjoys annual bonus payments and so will increase in value each year. As this investment forms part of the pre-paid contract the entire value will be paid out to the funeral director upon proof that the agreed funeral service has been provided.
With a pre-paid contract the funeral director assumes the financial risk that the investment performance of the fund will keep pace with increasing funeral expenses.
Do you offer insurance to cover the cost of transporting my body if I die interstate?
The Foresters Prepaid Travelcare Plan offers peace of mind for you and your family should you die whilst travelling within Australia.
Travelcare Plan premiums are currently $125 or $160 for Applicants under 75 and 84 respectively.
Most pre-paid funeral contracts will cover transportation of the deceased within a pre-determined distance outside of which additional charges can be levied on the estate. The Foresters Pre-paid Funeral Plan enables you to take out a Travelcare Plan to cover the transportation costs If you die outside of this designated area and within Australia. It covers the cost of transportation from the place of death to the funeral home of your chosen funeral director, up to a maximum of $3,000. Your chosen funeral director must operate from premises within 70km of your residential address.
PLEASE NOTE: this distance restriction may not apply for rural-based funeral directors.
Is there a cooling off period?
If for any reason you decide to return your confirmation of membership within 14 days from the date of issue or if after 14 days then only in any circumstances permitted by relevant legislation (or as in such period as is designated in the pre-paid funeral contract), Foresters guarantees to refund all monies contributed (subject to any applicable local State laws).
If you wish to cancel your investment within this period, you should firstly contact your contracted funeral director as well as writing directly to Foresters.
Please note that legislation in some States or Territories provides for a processing fee to be paid to the funeral director when you enter into a pre-paid funeral contract.