Frequently asked questions
Since 1969 the Australian Friendly Society (the “Society”) has been caring for the financial needs of Australians. We value and retain the historical friendly society philosophy of service and community whilst applying a modern approach to business.
The Australian Funeral Bond and the Bendigo Funeral Bond are a capital guaranteed investment plan designed solely to accumulate funds to finance the cost of your or your loved one’s funeral. The account balance cannot be withdrawn prior to death and must be applied towards the payment of the selected person’s funeral.
You can apply for either the Australian Funeral Bond or the Bendigo Funeral Bond online by filling out an application form. Before applying for the Australian Funeral Bond or the Bendigo Funeral Bond you must obtain a copy of the relevant Funeral Bond Disclosure Document. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Download the Disclosure Document – from this site or by contacting our Customer Service Team on 03 5485 7891
- Direct Investment – after reading and understanding the relevant Disclosure Document you can make an application direct to the Australian Friendly Society.
- Financial Adviser – you can seek advice from your Financial Adviser and make an application through them.
- Prepaid Funeral with a Funeral Director – should you prepay your funeral with a participating Funeral Director they will apply on your behalf to place the bond with the Australian Friendly Society. Should you apply in this way you will be ‘assigning’ your funeral bond to that Funeral Director (refer to the Disclosure Document for more information).
You can choose between individual or joint ownership of your Bond or apply for a separate Life Insured.
- Individual Investor – for a single applicant.
- Joint Investors – can be held in two names but can only be used for one funeral. This is a common investment for a couple who only have funds to invest for one funeral and want the choice of using it for the first or second joint holder.
- Separate Life Insured – an option where you can apply for a Bond and be the investor/owner on behalf of another person, perhaps a loved one selected by you, as the Life Insured under the Bond. This means that you as the Investor will be the Society member, and upon the death of the Life Insured, the accumulated Bond proceeds will be available to meet their funeral expenses.
You do have options and there are some examples below to help you understand them. You can also have more than one Bond (see Disclosure Document for more information).
- Own your Bond yourself (Unassigned)
Money for a funeral may be simply invested and ownership of the Bond retained by the investor. This option is ideal for someone who is not ready to make formal plans for their funeral with a funeral director, but wants the peace of mind knowing that they have invested funds to contribute to the cost of their funeral.
- Nominate a preferred Funeral Director (Nominated)
If you have decided upon your preferred funeral director, but again are not ready to make formal arrangements for your funeral, you can invest in a funeral bond and retain ownership of the Bond and also nominate that funeral director as your choice to conduct your funeral. We will provide information about you and your investment to the funeral director advising that they have been nominated.
- Pre-Pay with a Funeral Director (Assigned)
If you are ready to pre-arrange your funeral you can establish a pre-paid funeral contract with your preferred funeral director. Investing in a pre-paid funeral may assist in some of the decisions your family and loved ones will have to make concerning your funeral arrangements.
A pre-paid funeral is a formal contractual relationship between you and a funeral director of your choice and transfers ownership of the Bond from you to the funeral director.
You can contribute in a number of ways:
- Make an initial contribution of at least $25*.
- Make a contribution of the full amount of your desired bond value.
- Establish a Regular Savings Plan which allows you to make either fortnightly or monthly contributions of at least $25* via direct debit from your financial institution. This plan allows you to contribute over a time frame until you have reached your desired amount.
- You can also make additional contributions of a minimum amount of $25*.
*The minimum investment amount depends on the payment method, please refer to the Disclosure Document for details.
A Management fee of 1.75% p.a.* (inclusive of GST) is charged for the costs for operating the Fund.
*Under the Fund Rules, the Society is able to charge a maximum annual management fee of up to 3.00% p.a. plus GST on the average daily balance of the Fund to meet the costs of managing the Fund. 60 Days’ notice will be given to investors prior to any changes.
In determining whether or not to declare a bonus and the bonus rate to be declared, Australian Friendly Society considers the investment returns achieved during the year, as well as the advice of the Society’s Actuary. The actual bonus declared is calculated after the deduction of Fund fees, charges (including tax) and any reserves required by law. If a bonus is declared, it is allocated to each member’s account as at 30 June and becomes part of the total investment for the calculation of future bonuses. The bonus is guaranteed once declared.
The Bond may help you qualify for both income and asset test exemptions if you receive a means-tested pension or benefit from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The exemption threshold for the current financial year (indexed effective 1 July each year) is $13,250.
In addition to the Funeral Bond there is the Travel Protection Plan (the Plan). The Travel Protection Plan is an optional benefit that covers the transportation cost in the event of your death in Australia 70kms or further from your residential address. The Plan covers the cost of transportation of your remains from the place of death to the chosen funeral home, up to a maximum of $3,000 (the funeral director must operate within 70kms of your residential address). You can access a copy of the Plan Disclosure Document here.
The Bond can only be accessed upon the passing of an individual member, separate life insured or in the case of joint applicants, the Bond will mature upon the death of either one of the applicants as selected by the surviving applicant.
The Australian Funeral Bond and the Bendigo Funeral Bond are issued by Australian Friendly Society Limited (the Society) ABN 29 087 648 851 AFSL 247028. All benefits are guaranteed by the Society. Investors should read the current relevant Disclosure Document before making a decision to acquire this product.
The Society is committed to handling disputes and complaints quickly, fairly and in confidence. Any disputes or complaints should be directed to our Client Services team on 03 5485 7891 or in writing to:
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Friendly Society Limited
PO Box 480
Bendigo Vic 3552
If you are not satisfied with the handling of your complaint you may contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
Time limits may apply to complain to AFCA and so you should act promptly or otherwise consult the AFCA website to find out if or when the time limit relevant to your circumstances expires.