10 Essential Questions To Ask
Before Prearranging a Funeral
1. What do you know about the firm you have contacted?
It is extremely important to trust the firm that will be providing your funeral service - or the service for someone you love. Find out how long they have been in business and if the principals are owner operators. If you are new to the area, ask your neighbors what they know about the firm, or call the Better Business Bureau.
2. What does the funeral home look like?
Notice your surroundings when you visit. Since you are purchasing a product for future use, you will want to be certain the funeral firm you choose cares for its property inside and out. You may even want to ask if they have a policy for decorating and renovation. You should feel good about the physical appearance. After all, this is where your family and friends will meet.
3. Will your services be performed by the directors of the firm?
Ask the firm you choose if they are licensed to provide funeral services. Unfortunately, some abuses have been reported about merchandise and services being sold by individuals who are not licensed to provide service.
4. Will the merchandise and services you purchase now be available in the future?
You will want to be sure that the merchandise and services you select have guaranteed availability or will be substituted with equal or higher quality merchandise.
5. Will the quoted price be guaranteed?
If you are prefinancing your funeral as well as prearranging, the answer should be "yes". Paying for the merchandise and services at the time of arrangement, or purchasing an insurance plan involving a specific payment option, should freeze the cost of your goods and services despite the length of time that passes before actual use.
6. What happens if you move? Is the plan transferable?
Be sure you know how moving out of the area will affect your funeral prearangements. Will your funeral director still handle services? Will you have the option of transferring your plan to another firm in your new location? In today's mobile society, these are important questions to resolve before you purchase.
7. Can your plan be changed?
You may want the option of revising your plan at any time. Find out if there are any additional charges for changes, additions, or deletions to the plans you have arranged.
8. Is your money refunded if you change your mind?
Ask the firm you choose about this possibility. While the Federal Trade Commission guarantees a "cooling off" period, permitting you to cancel a purchase agreement within three business days, you will still want to know exactly how your firm handles this possibility.
9. Can anyone besides you cancel, change, or attach new conditions to your prearranged funeral?
No. Once you have set aside funds for your funeral plan, you are protected. Your plan should be held in trust, thereby eliminating the possibility of any outside individual or agency changing it. Any subsequent changes in your financial standing will not affect delivery of the contract. You are free to purchase and plan without any loss of government benefits.
10. Will your funded contract be protected by state and/or government agencies?
Almost all plans are protected. Check with the agency that regulates preneed trusts or insurance plans in your state to be sure your funeral firm and prearrangements are covered.
Remember, purchasing a prearranged funeral is a business transaction. Approaching it objectively in advance of need is just good business sense and should be a part of everyone's estate planning. Prearranging a funeral provides excellent financial benefits and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're prepared. We hope this information helps you give this option careful consideration.