Legacy Funeral Directors investigation: Families discover funeral plans don't exist

funeral plans
Yvonne Colby and her daughter Mekala have been left counting the cost after paying thousands of pounds for a funeral plan which doesn't exist. Credit: ITV News

People who paid thousands of pounds to plan for funerals provided by a company at the centre of a police investigation have spoken of their anger after discovering there is no record of their policies.

Legacy Independent Funeral Directors, in Hull, is being investigated after concerns were raised about its "care for the deceased" earlier this month.

Thirty-five bodies were removed from a funeral home on Hessle Road, along with a quantity of ashes.

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of fraud and preventing a lawful burial.

Now there are concerns that people who paid to plan funerals for themselves or loved ones will lose out.

Yvonne Colby and her late husband, George, thought pre-paying for their funerals would ease the burden on their children.

They handed over almost £5,000 to Legacy and received a confirmation letter, an information booklet and a hand written receipt.

Legacy Independent Funeral Directors has been at the centre of a huge police operation with 35 bodies recovered in Hull. Credit: PA

While Mr Colby's funeral went ahead as planned last year, when Mrs Colby contacted third-party provider Ecclesiastical Planning Services she was told there was no record of her pre-paid policy.Mrs Colby said: "I asked if it could be in just my husband's name and she came back again and said there was nothing at all. It was very hard because you get over your main bereavement and then it's like it's all starting again."

Her daughter, Mekala, said: "I'm really angry about it. We aren't rich people, we're just every day working class people who've worked hard for what we have.

"My mum and dad were making plans so that me and my brothers don't have to worry about things, but now we do need to worry about things."

The Colby family got in touch with police after news of the police investigation was announced because of concerns about the ashes they were given after George Colby was cremated.

They say they have been assured they have the right remains.

But Mekala said the situation had caused them a huge amount of stress.

"It's only been nine months since we lost our dad, and he was our world," she said.

"It all just comes to the surface again - what you've already been through and now we're having to go through this as well. It's really horrible."

Jeff Richards and Maureen Rollinson have also discovered their funeral plans do not exist.

They each took out a plan out with Legacy in 2015.A handwritten receipt shows Mr Richards paid £4,200 by cheque.He said: "We decided that to save our dependents having any problems having to sort anything like this out I had a bit of spare money from a retirement payment so I decided to invest it into a funeral plan, so when we did pass, our dependents wouldn't have any problems it would be straighforward for them."

They were given official-looking documents, but were later told the plan did not exist.Ms Rollinson said she was "very angry".Mr Richards said: "I feel I've got some years left in me but I don't really want to be worrying over financial issues at my age."Ecclesiastical Planning Services. In a statement they said “This is a deeply distressing incident for the families affected. We are not able to comment on individual cases. Humberside police have asked anyone who is concerned about fraudulent activity to contact them directly."More than 2,000 calls have been made to a special helpline set up by Humberside Police for families concerned about their involvement with Legacy.

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