To help relieve their families of some of these decisions, an increasing number
of people are planning their own funerals, designating their funeral
preferences, and sometimes even paying for them in advance. They see funeral
planning as an extension of will and estate planning. Flanigan Funeral Home can
help you with your pre-need questions, please call us at 770-932-1133.
Thinking ahead can help you make informed and thoughtful decisions about funeral
arrangements. It allows you to choose the specific items you want and need and
compare the prices offered by several funeral providers. It also spares your
survivors the stress of making these decisions under the pressure of time and
You can make arrangements directly with a funeral establishment or through a
funeral planning or memorial society - a nonprofit organization that provides
information about funerals and disposition but doesn't offer funeral services.
If you choose to contact such a group, recognize that while some funeral homes
may include the word "society" in their names, they are not nonprofit
One other important consideration when planning a funeral pre-need is where the
remains will be buried, entombed or scattered. In the short time between the
death and burial of a loved one, many family members find themselves rushing to
buy a cemetery plot or grave - often without careful thought or a personal visit
to the site. That's why it's in the family's best interest to buy cemetery plots
before you need them.
You may wish to make decisions about your arrangements in advance, but not pay
for them in advance. Keep in mind that over time, prices may go up and
businesses may close or change ownership. However, in some areas with increased
competition, prices may go down over time. It's a good idea to review and revise
your decisions every few years, and to make sure your family is aware of your
Millions of Americans have entered into contracts to prearrange their funerals
and prepay some or all of the expenses involved. Laws of individual states
govern the prepayment of funeral goods and services; various states have laws to
help ensure that these advance payments are available to pay for the funeral
products and services when they're needed. But protections vary widely from
state to state, and some state laws offer little or no effective protection.
Some state laws require the funeral home or cemetery to place a percentage of
the prepayment in a state-regulated trust or to purchase a life insurance policy
with the death benefits assigned to the funeral home or cemetery.
If you're thinking about prepaying for funeral goods and services, it's
important to consider these issues before putting down any money:
- What are you are paying for? Are you buying only merchandise,
like a casket and vault, or are you purchasing funeral services as well?
- What happens to the money you've prepaid? States have different
requirements for handling funds paid for prearranged funeral services.
- What happens to the interest income on money that is prepaid and
put into a trust account?
- Are you protected if the firm you dealt with goes out of
- Can you cancel the contract and get a full refund if you change
- What happens if you move to a different area or die while away
from home? Some prepaid funeral plans can be transferred, but often at an added
Be sure to tell your family about the plans you've made; let them know where the
documents are filed. If your family isn't aware that you've made plans, your
wishes may not be carried out. And if family members don't know that you've
prepaid the funeral costs, they could end up paying for the same arrangements.
You may wish to consult an attorney on the best way to ensure that your wishes