Funeral Pre-Paying

Be wary

Pre-planning your funeral is a great idea, but you might find that pre-paying isn't the best option. You're probably pre-planning your funeral to lessen the burden on your loved ones, but the truth about pre-payment is that the bereaved may still be left holding the bill. When considering pre-payment you need to be aware that it comes with all the precautions of pre-need funerals (cost management, inflation and unforeseen costs) and those of a pre-need trust agreement. Some of the concerns you should keep in mind are:

  1. What if the funeral director goes out of business?

  2. How is your money protected against fraud or theft?

  3. What if your family goes ahead and pays for a funeral unaware of your prepayment?

  4. What if you move?

  5. What if you live much longer than you think?

  6. What if you get sick or decide you need the money for other things?

  7. What if you just change your mind about your funeral arrangements?

Why Some Pre-Pay

Even with all the risks involved in funeral pre-payment, a lot of people are still interested in the process. When funeral planning, some factors that could make pre-payment appealing include:

  1. A guaranteed price plan. If you can get this in writing (legally documented) you'll have a great arrangement. It would protect you and your family from price increases over the years. Even so, beware that some items or services will still have to be paid at the time of need.

  2. A guarantee of full refund or transfer if you move or change your mind. The law is not likely to protect your prepayment, though. Some states have very weak consumer-protection laws in these matters. Funeral directors in Mississippi can legally pocket half of prepaid money. People in Florida have lost up to two thirds of their prepayment because they were unprotected by the law.
Guaranteed prices of cemetery goods. You can buy a grave marker or grave vault and have it stored. You can also make a contract that specifies the manufacturer and model of the items you purchase, as well as any inscriptions and descriptions of materials you want used. Keep the address of storage in safekeeping and make sure there are people aware of your funeral planning.
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