Pre-paid funeral or cremation plans have been growing in popularity over the decades. Many seniors take advantage of these services for a variety of reasons, such as locking in costs and their desire to lift the burden of planning a funeral for their loved ones.
Let’s take a look at pre-paid funeral or cremation plans, their benefits, as well as any drawbacks that might come along with them.
What is a Pre-Paid Funeral or Cremation Plan?
A pre-paid funeral or cremation plan is an arrangement with a funeral home, whereby an individual organizes and pays in advance for their funeral service before the time of need.
What is Included in a Pre-Paid Funeral or Cremation Plan?
Services rendered will vary based upon the funeral home, and the contractual agreement between the parties involved. Generally speaking, pre-paid funeral or cremation plans include the following provisions.
- Burial or Cremation of Remains
- A Casket or Urn
- Burial Plot
- A Headstone or Grave Marker
Other services can be added as well, such as:
- Religious Service
- Transportation for Loved Ones
- Photography Slide Show
- Publishing of Obituary
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The Benefits of Pre-paid Funeral or Cremation Plans
Here are some benefits of entering into a pre-paid funeral or cremation plan with a local funeral home.
- Locked In Pricing
One of the most popular features of pre-paid funeral or cremation plans is that services can be arranged at today’s prices, instead of paying much more in the future.
- Peace of Mind
Many seniors choose pre-paid funeral or cremation plans because they save their loved ones from having to make arrangements themselves at a stressful time. Pre-paid plans allow survivors to focus on what is most important during the time of loss.
- Services Can be Stipulated
With a pre-paid or cremation plan, the senior who takes out the policy can stipulate the exact kind of service they want to have, instead of leaving these decisions to loved ones who may not choose appropriately.
- Final Resting Place is Pre-Determined
If a senior wants to be buried or interred in a specific spot in a cemetery, the desired resting place can be stipulated and reserved in the pre-paid funeral or cremation agreement.
Possible Disadvantages of Pre-Paid Funeral or Cremation Plans
There are a number of possible disadvantages of purchasing a pre-paid funeral or cremation plan, including:
- Business Stability of the Funeral Home
Pre-paid funeral or cremation plans are only as dependable as the funeral home offering them. Should a funeral home go bankrupt or out of business before the contract holder dies, there is no guarantee that services will be honored at the time of need.
- Not Portable
Most pre-paid funeral or cremation plans are contracts made directly with a local funeral home. If a senior should move out of state or to an area that is not convenient to the location of the funeral home, services may not be feasible. Refunds are very rare in the pre-paid funeral industry.
Should a funeral home allow a family to transfer their pre-paid plan to another establishment, fees and penalties can be incurred.
- Inflexible Contract
Many pre-paid funeral or cremation plan contracts are very strict and do not allow even minor changes to be made once the agreement is in force.
Seniors and their family members should read a contract carefully, and request that an attorney review it.
- State Laws Differ
The laws that protect consumers with regard to pre-paid funeral or cremation contracts vary widely, depending on the state in which the agreement is executed. Purchasers of plans should carefully evaluate what state based legal protections they have before entering into a contract.
Frontier Senior Living is Here to Help
Pre-paid funeral or cremation plans are effective financial planning tools for some seniors, but not all. Before a senior invests in such a contract, it is important that they fully understand the exact conditions of the agreement, what laws protect them, and any drawbacks to such an arrangement.
The compassionate and friendly staff at Frontier has helped many families find the perfect Senior Living Community for their loved ones’ specific needs.
If your senior loved one is thinking about a move to a Senior Living community, we invite your family to visit one of our beautiful properties, take a tour and speak with our friendly staff.