Many people like the idea of choosing a funeral home and making their own arrangements to ensure their loved ones are never burdened with the task. Pre-paid funeral plans allow you to make all the decisions ahead of time and pay for it in installments. Not having your loved ones put in the position of planning and paying for your funeral is a wonderful idea, but, before signing on the dotted line on any agreement, be sure to ask the following questions:
- Can you get your money back if you change your mind?
- Does the money you invest earn interest? If so, who gets it?
- What happens if the funeral home goes out of business?
- Can the plan be moved if you move to a different state?
- If money is left over after expenses, what happens to it?
Another key consideration you should ask about is what happens if the prices increase by the time the services are needed. Make sure that you are being guaranteed the services you have selected at the contracted price. Some pre-paid plans sneak in additional payments for “final expense funding” which allows the funeral home to charge the difference in price.
There are a number of alternatives to pre-paid funeral plans. For example, you can buy life insurance to cover funeral costs. Another is to set up a bank account solely for the purpose of paying your funeral expenses. Both of these options allow you more flexibility to change your plans if you so choose.
However, if either of these options is chosen, it is important to make sure your loved ones know your wishes. Additionally, clearly lay out these plans in your estate planning documents. This way there will be no doubt about what you want, which will go a long way in reducing the stress that your loved ones may experience upon your passing.
Before you make any decisions, be sure to consult with an experienced wills and estates attorney. Estate planning attorneys know which questions to ask and can help you better understand all of your options. Then, you really can feel secure that you’ve taken the burden of making end-of-life decisions off of the shoulders of your family.