A WIDOW fears she has been left thousands of pounds out of pocket following the closure of a York financial services firm’s offices.

Lynda Madden said that after her husband Noel became terminally ill last year, they paid thousands of pounds to Yorkshire Asset Protection for a funeral plan.

She said the firm assured them that the plan would be backed by national company Golden Charter and give them ‘complete peace of mind’ by paying for Noel’s funeral at a fixed cost.

But now, more than three weeks after his death from cancer, she fears she will be left picking up the total bill for more than £3,000 after the firm’s city centre offices in New Street closed down and staff stopped answering the phone.

Invoices from YAP, signed by consultant Michael Wild, show that the couple paid a £2,000 deposit last December for ‘2 X Golden Charter funeral plans,’ and then paid a balance of £4,500 in February for ‘Golden C Funeral Plan.’

But Golden Charter told The Press that while it was aware of YAP, it had never had any financial dealings with it and Golden Charter held no information in the Maddens' name.

A spokesman said it had also discovered that YAP had been advertising Golden Charter’s products on its website without the company’s consent. He said Golden Charter had tried to contact YAP but found that all its contact telephone numbers had been suspended.

Mrs Madden, of Stamford Bridge, said she was also concerned about the fate of will documents and house deeds which she and her husband had also lodged with YAP for safekeeping, and said she had contacted City of York Council trading standards.

A council spokeswoman confirmed its trading standards department had received a complaint and was looking into the matter. She said anyone else with concerns about this or any other related matters should call 08454 040506.

Mrs Madden said she and her husband paid YAP £6,500 for funeral plans for both Noel and herself. “Noel had been ill for some years and knew he was terminally ill,” she said. “He wanted to ensure I didn’t have the additional stress of having to pay for the funeral when he died.

“After he died, we did manage to make contact with the firm and they said to go ahead with the funeral. But afterwards, we just couldn’t get hold of them. We tried ringing and emailing but got no response. I have been sent the bill by the funeral directors and am increasingly thinking I will have to pay it.”

YAP’s telephone numbers have been suspended and extensive efforts by The Press to contact staff for comment have been unsuccessful.

  • Any customers of YAP with concerns can email newsdesk@thepress.co.uk

What the firm says...
YORKSHIRE Asset Protection’s website says it offers ‘specialist advice’ and ‘bespoke solutions’ for people’s estate planning needs.

It claims: “Our aim is to make inheritance planning and wealth protection accessible and affordable to everyone. Our dedicated team provide guidance on wills, trusts and tax mitigation to the people of Yorkshire in the comfort and privacy of their own home.”

It says the firm’s portfolio of services is covered by a ‘comprehensive professional indemnity insurance policy’ but gives no detail of the policy.

Services listed include property protection, inheritance tax, children’s trusts, lasting power of attorney, document storage, funeral plans and deed of gift.

It says Golden Charter is confident its funeral plans provide exceptional value and choice.