Pre-Plan v. Pre-Pay
There is a difference between pre-planning and pre-paying for your funeral. Pre-planning is about preparing documents and good communication. Pre-paying is offsetting the costs passed to those who will be responsible for the funeral expenses by paying a portion of the expenses ahead of time.
About 23 percent of people over age 50 have prepaid at least a portion of funeral or burial expenses for themselves or someone else, according to a 2007 AARP survey…But a full 79 percent of seniors report they have not done any comparison shopping for burial or funerals.
Pre-planning your funeral can help your family to avoid the stress of decision making and also make sure your desires are fulfilled in regards to your funeral and burial requests. Pre-planning can be done without pre-payment, and should be done sooner rather than later. For several reasons, talking about death is still one of those taboo subjects, but pre-planning helps take some of that pressure off. There are plenty of documents that can be prepared ahead of time, even from age 18 on, in order to prepare for and communicate your end of life wishes.
Pre-paying is a separate matter and the Federal Trade Commission has published an article about how to shop for funeral services. Some of the questions they ask you to consider in regards to pre-paying for a funeral are:
- Am I purchasing a casket and other merchandise or funeral services? What am I paying for and what items could change in price? How is it handled if they do change or if the products are no longer available?
- How is the pre-paid money handled? Is it in an interest bearing account? Is it in a trust? A life insurance policy?
- What happens to payments if the company goes out of business or changes ownership? Are the pre-paid funds transferrable?
- Am I able to cancel or change the contract? Under what terms? What is the refund policy?
- What happens if I move or die while away from home?
Comparison shopping can help you save money, have a better experience and possibly improve your convenience.
If you were not able to answer the questions above, Heflebower Funeral Services would love to sit down with you and look at those questions and provide answers. We hope to help you avoid some of the pitfalls we have seen people slip into.
Lots can change year to year, and certainly decade to decade, so an annual review of your pre-planning is a good idea. It can give you a chance to look at things that may have changed and determine if transferring to another funeral home is a good decision for you based on those changed needs and your comparison shopping. Some good questions to consider regarding things that may have changed in your pre-planning include:
- Is my will up to date? Are my beneficiaries still accurate?
- Are my desires for cremation or burial the same?
- Any new developments regarding a living will, organ donation, medical and/or financial power of attorney?
- Is the funeral home you chose still convenient? Is it in business? Has the ownership changed? Have the prices?
You have the ability to transfer your funeral pre-planning, as well as any pre-payment plans, to Heflebower Funeral Services. We won’t push you into any decisions and we won’t mislead you. In fact, we want you to take the time to make educated decisions about your end of life wishes, well before they are urgent and emotional.