Pension Entitlements At Risk
With changes to the assets test for the aged pension to kick in on 1st January 2017, thousands of people who currently enjoy a pension payment may now see their entitlement at risk.
Under the existing pension test for every thousand dollars over the asset limit your fortnightly pension payment is reduced by $1.50. On January 1st this reduction is to be doubled to $3.00 per thousand. This might not sound much until you do the maths. Take a person who is $10,000 over the limit then their pension entitlement is currently reduced by $390 per annum. This reduction now doubles to $780!
This change has seen people scrambling to find ways to reduce their assets and one of the more popular if not unusual means has been to take out a pre-paid funeral plan or invest in a funeral bond.
Local Penrith funeral firm Grace Funerals has witnessed a significant spike in the sale of their pre-paid funeral plans. “Pre-paid funeral plans have always been a natural extension of estate planning but over recent months we have seen their popularity reach new levels” says General Manager Asha Dooley.
Miss Dooley’s comments were supported by Noel Woff General Manager of Foresters Friendly Society one of the leading investment managers of funeral funds. “Typically, sales in pre-paid funerals increase annually by 2% -3% but this financial year funeral fund inflows have grown by 30% and in fact in November alone they were up 80%!” said Mr Woff.
Under current legislation an individual can invest up to $12,500 in a funeral bond and it is not deemed an asset and so it can help maximise pension entitlements. For a couple, they can take out two funeral bonds and so reduce their assets by $25,000.
“Even better still, says Miss Dooley there is no such dollar restriction on a pre-paid funeral so whatever amount you invest in a Plan it is not deemed part of your assets”
“Today a funeral plan is an investment option as natural as saving for your children’s education”, said Miss Dooley. “And while our staff appreciate that the issue is still a sensitive one for some people, our experience shows that people are becoming more realistic about the practical issues surrounding death.”
Miss Dooley believes that for those people wanting to reduce their assets it is advisable to consider entering into as fixed price agreement. “Not only does a funeral plan offer this financial advantage but by addressing the 50 or so questions that have to be answered when organising a funeral, it also provides emotional protection, reducing the stress that goes with the loss of a loved one”
“A funeral like any other service, is made up of many components”, he said. For example, the type of coffin or casket, flowers, funeral notices, your preferred music or verses are some of the many questions that need to be answered. By entering into a fixed price funeral plan your funeral will be carried out as you would have wished, whenever that may be, at no extra cost”
Grace Funerals have appointed Foresters Friendly Society as the manager of their pre-paid funeral funds. Miss Dooley believes that this offers further peace of mind for his clients who are safe in the knowledge that their money has been securely invested in a proven Australian financial institution, one that has been around for over 150 years.
For more information on pre-paid funeral plans please contract Asha or Tom Dooley on Tel: 4735 6900.
Dear Asha and Team,
When my son suicided it was the darkest time of my life. Your care, love and compassion helped to carry us through. You seemed to know exactly what we wanted and everything was handled with understanding and delicacy.
The service was a perfect tribute to his remarkable life. Your ability to accommodate our unusual requests (people signing the coffin and posting photo’s on it) meant that Sean received the farewell that I am sure he would have wanted.
Thank you all so much.
It was such an emotional time for us but your professionalism and compassion helped enormously.
I haven’t been through this process before but it wasn’t upsetting as both Julie and Jo gave us such support and nothing was too much trouble.
I would definitely recommend Grace Funerals after our experience.
“The team at Grace Funerals, especially Asha and Tom, are wonderful people to work with. They provided professional, compassionate guidance through the funeral planning process, and my dad’s service was exactly how we envisioned
“Not only were you all very patient but showed compassion in this difficult time. Tom we thank you and all your wonderful staff. The women looked so beautiful on the day and we were all touched at how everything fell into place. We think Dad would have been honoured.“
“Your professionalism, graciousness, love, comfort & support show to us at this most difficult time of losing our beautiful mother will never be forgotten. Every detail was handled with perfection, everything was very well co-ordinated in a very tight timeframe.”
“Words cannot express our thanks and gratitude to you and the staff at Grace Funerals. You kindness and assistance made the day a beautiful memory for us to reflect back on.“
“The funeral service that you put together was absolutely perfect and was exactly what mum would have wanted. Please know that if I ever need a funeral director again you will be my first call.“
Grace Funerals were professional, compassionate and showed immense understanding throughout the whole process of my grandmother’s funeral. They came highly recommended by our Bishop and entire church community – and know I know why! Their service was outstanding and they showed show much attention to detail. Asha went out of her way to make sure the funeral was as beautiful and memorable as our nan while also carefully considering our budget and highly unique needs. The facilities had a wonderful ambiance and the day felt intimate, warm and welcoming. We had several extenuating circumstances that could have proven extremely difficult and stressful but Asha and her team really took us by the hand and handled everything for us. We can’t thank you enough. I would never go anywhere else now! I can’t recommend you highly enough!