Pre paid funeral plans remain a hot topic as more Americans look at the cost of traditional funeral and burial services versus cremation. Confusion and misinformation sometimes clouds the decision-making process, so this list of funeral planning questions and answers shines light on the benefits of pre-planning a funeral, how to start a payment process and ensuring your choices are kept.
What are the advantages of pre-planning a funeral?
There are three major advantages to pre-planning a funeral:
First, pre-planning a funeral ensures that all of your final wishes will be fulfilled. Because death is a difficult subject to discuss, often your true wishes may not be known or fully understood by your family
Second, pre-planning a funeral can eliminate the financial burden that a funeral might pose on your survivors. And pre paid funeral plans result in lower costs in the future.
Third, pre-planning a funeral provides you and your family with the peace of mind in knowing that everything has been taken care of in the manner you specified. It's the best gift you can leave your loved ones.
Do I have to prepay for my funeral now?
No. Many people just want to have their final arrangements known in advance, and they even decide on the type of ceremony and casket without actually prepaying for these items. Getting your wishes down in writing is the most important thing. That way, there is no confusion about your intentions at the time of your death.
What payment options for funerals are available?
While most people pay for their funeral in one lump sum, you can also set up a payment plan that's convenient for you. Alternatively, you can use the current value of your existing life insurance to pay for your funeral without ever having to cash in the policy.
Can I get help paying for a funeral?
Yes. Funeral financing assistance is available for those who need the money immediately and for people planning end-of-life expenses for a loved one. Using a funeral financing loan, you can make and pay for arrangements today and have those prices locked in until it's time to use them. Phaneuf partners with Memorial Funding, which offers funeral financing assistance via about 30 lenders. Click here for more information on funeral financing.
How are pre paid funeral plans protected?
Once your funeral or cremation arrangements are made and paid for, they cannot change after you pass. (You can always update your wishes and arrangements while you are alive.) Your family cannot alter your plan after you die, unless stipulated in your arrangements.
What if I pass away while traveling?
If you enjoy travel, we offer a unique out-of-state extended service program. Our Nationwide Coverage and Protection Plan is an option for pre paid funeral arrangements. It covers individuals who pass away outside of Phaneuf's service area and/or outside of your legal residence state. This includes transportation and any third-party fees associated with transporting the body to our funeral home.
What happens if funeral prices increase?
By prepaying for your funeral arrangements, you can lock in your service at today's lower price. Once your funeral is paid for, we guarantee, in writing, that the total price of our services and merchandise selected will never increase. This clearly makes pre paid funeral arrangements a financially wise decision. You should be aware that not all funeral homes offer a lock in price guarantee.
Are my pre paid funeral arrangements secure?
Yes. Any funds we receive towards a prepaid funeral are placed into an Irrevocable Mortuary Trust account, in accordance with state law. This trust is insured and the funds gain interest, which we maintain in the account to offset future price increases. We pay all taxes and administrative fees each year for you. No one can access these funds or cancel the Trust. By Federal and State law, the funds can only be used to perform the service you selected and withdrawn only at the time of death.
In New Hampshire, the funds paid for funeral services are not assets of a funeral home. The funds can only be withdrawn from the aforementioned trust at the time of death and upon submission of a death certificate and letter from the funeral home stating that they rendered the service. If a funeral home closes for whatever reason, they generally contract with another funeral home in the vicinity to take over the prepaid accounts. The family will be notified if another funeral home takes over the account, and the family can choose to stay with the new funeral home or transfer their prepaid arrangements to another funeral home of their choosing.
Should I compare different funeral homes
If you have never dealt with a funeral home in the past, you may want to meet with several before you make your decision. All funeral homes in our area offer some sort of preplanning program and all are priced competitively. While price is an important consideration, it should not be the only one. You should also compare things such as the quality of the facilities, professionalism of the staff and their attention to your needs in offering a service that's right for you. Experts agree that these factors will go a long way in assisting your family at a most difficult time. And isn't that the reason for pre-planning a funeral in the first place?