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Preplanning / Prepaying for Final Arrangements
Old 01-22-2018, 03:12 PM   #1
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Preplanning / Prepaying for Final Arrangements

As part of my estate planning, DW and I are considering prearranging our final arrangements. We started last year by spending big bucks on a couple of side-by-side plots. Now we are considering at the very least prearranging our funeral/burial and possibly even prepaying.

So, does anybody have any real life experiences prepaying for final arrangements? Any pros/cons? Do/Don'ts? Horror stories?

I believe the cemetery and funeral home we'll be using put the money in a funeral trust account at a local bank. I don't think they use any kind of life insurance. My 97 dad has prepaid for his at the same place, but doesn't remember any details. I do know he gets an interest statement every year at tax time.
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:58 PM   #2
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Great aunt had prepaid for her funeral... essentially just a deposit account.

When great aunt passed... aunt and I went to the funeral home and made the arrangements.... since the funeral ended up costing less than the account balance, the funeral home sent me a check for the excess which became part of the estate.

IME, no particular advantage over just paying for it.

I think it would be more important to decide what you want for a funeral, service, etc. and have that written down somewhere to guide your family on what to do... unfortunately, great auntie didn't have anything like that.
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Old 01-22-2018, 04:15 PM   #3
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Just make sure that you are not going to move. A friend prepaid her funeral at a chosen funeral home. She then moved to a different state to be near her daughter and passed away.
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:04 PM   #4
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We are just going out with a flicker. I suppose I could hedge the expense with some natural gas futures.
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:42 PM   #5
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My mother had everything planned out and paid in advance. It was a great blessing to my siblings and me at an otherwise very difficult time.
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:52 PM   #6
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My FIL prepaid his own and my MIL funerals. When he was on hospice i went up to the funeral home to make sure everything was ready. Took a little bit but they pulled out the contract and we had everything ready as he passed. It was very very easy. Family met shortly after FIL passed and we talked about what we were going to do. They were very accomodating with slide show set up and such.

The obit on their site was a little late getting up. We did a small one in the local paper. if we had done the picture and full bio it was going to be $3-5k. The small one referenced the funeral day & time and the obit at the funeral home site. Even the small obit was $500 or so.
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Old 01-22-2018, 07:14 PM   #7
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My Mom paid for everything at a funeral home that had been around forever and there were no issues.
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Old 01-22-2018, 07:52 PM   #8
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My parents were in the process of making pre-arrangements when my Mom passed unexpectedly. It was chaos with differing opinions from family members about what she really wanted. In the end compromise arrangements were made, and some tensions still simmer.

It made it very clear that I can make it a lot easier for my kids if the decisions and arrangements are made in advance. I'm not done yet and the whole process has involved a lot of smarmy funeral salesman, but I figure I'm making life for my family a lot easier when I pass. Hopefully not for a long time.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:15 PM   #9
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My parents purchased burial plots when they were living in MA, but they eventually retired in FL. When Dad passed I was looking at $25K in expenses to complete the burial in MA. I had POA on his bank account, but the POA ended the day he died, so I had no legal right to use his money to pay for the expenses. And, I had a sister who was expecting all of the money remaining in the estate and would not have agreed to reimburse me for the funeral expenses out of the estate.

So, it would have been much more convenient if we had prepaid for Dad's expenses. It was quite stressful handling the situation.
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:32 PM   #10
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....And, I had a sister who was expecting all of the money remaining in the estate and would not have agreed to reimburse me for the funeral expenses out of the estate. ...
Unless that sister was the executor of the estate, she has no say in the matter. The executor could make a decision on the funeral and as long as the probate judge agrees then the greedy sister is out of luck.
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:51 PM   #11
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My parents purchased burial plots when they were living in MA, but they eventually retired in FL. When Dad passed I was looking at $25K in expenses to complete the burial in MA. I had POA on his bank account, but the POA ended the day he died, so I had no legal right to use his money to pay for the expenses. And, I had a sister who was expecting all of the money remaining in the estate and would not have agreed to reimburse me for the funeral expenses out of the estate.

So, it would have been much more convenient if we had prepaid for Dad's expenses. It was quite stressful handling the situation.
The executor / executrix should have handled that and paying the expenses from the estate and other bills is mandatory before doling out the remaining cash according to the Will/State law.

Hopefully this is how it was done, and your sister could get her share of the remaining.

I must have had this tab open for a while, so missed pb4uski post and cross posted.
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:34 AM   #12
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Just make sure that you are not going to move. A friend prepaid her funeral at a chosen funeral home. She then moved to a different state to be near her daughter and passed away.
I'm still figuring this stuff out, but looking at the contract it appears you have a choice between revocable and irrevocable funeral trusts. I assume the revocable account can be refunded. I won't know for sure until I get further into the process.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:00 AM   #13
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The executor / executrix should have handled that and paying the expenses from the estate and other bills is mandatory before doling out the remaining cash according to the Will/State law.

Hopefully this is how it was done, and your sister could get her share of the remaining.

I must have had this tab open for a while, so missed pb4uski post and cross posted.
There was no will, just a TOD leaving the money to me, which she contested in court.
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:01 PM   #14
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The obit on their site was a little late getting up. We did a small one in the local paper. if we had done the picture and full bio it was going to be $3-5k. The small one referenced the funeral day & time and the obit at the funeral home site. Even the small obit was $500 or so.
Yeah, obituaries are crazy expensive. I wrote a 250-word obituary for my husband for the Kansas City Star and it was $400- no photo. I was a bit disgruntled when the local freebie paper picked it up although I'm sure they had an agreement with The Star. When Mom died, Dad chose to do what you did.

To get back to the OT- DH was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and lasted 6 months after that, so we had plenty of time to talk about final arrangements. It was a dicey period because my mother was also terminally ill, so I didn't prepay the crematorium till after we got back from Mom's funeral - I wasn't sure what would happen if DH died somewhere on the trip to SC. Once I got everything documented and paid for it was a great relief- one less thing to do later.

I don't want to prepay anything just yet- if I need LTC I'm going to find a place near DS, 3 hours away. I'm not quite 65 so I hope I have many good years left, but this is a good reminder to have a discussion with DS and DDIL about my wishes. Mobility can be an issue- just last week, Dad had Mom's ashes "inurned" in the columbarium of the church in the city where he'd moved, a couple of hours away from where they'd lived. Fortunately, the church where Mom's ashes had originally been placed was happy to buy the double niche back from Dad.
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:08 PM   #15
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I don't know if this qualifies as pre-paying/pre-planning, but one day a few months after DH got sick, he announced that he had made an appointment to visit a cemetery not far from our house. We went, walked through on what was a gorgeous day, picked our spot, signed the papers, took photos of some monuments that we liked, and that was that.

It means so much to me that we did that together, and that I know that this is what he wanted.

Did not do any pre-planning on funeral homes, though, so just had a friend calling around in the last days. We weren't doing a funeral right away, and it was just a cremation (with the cemetery handling interment at a later date), so it wasn't terribly expensive.

EDIT: And I should add that my estate attorney now has all of the information about the plot deed, etc.
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:16 PM   #16
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When my mother passed away she had prearrangements made and I was grateful for that. About the only thing we (me and two sisters) had to decide was what kind of flowers. There was plenty in the estate to pay for the funeral so that was not a concern.

FIL did prepay via DW as POA since at that time it was very unclear whether he would live long enough in the nursing home to outlive his assets and a prepaid funeral is not counted as an asset in the Medicaid five-year lookback. As it turned out that step wasn't necessary since he passed before outliving assets.
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:21 PM   #17
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I don't know if this qualifies as pre-paying/pre-planning, but one day a few months after DH got sick, he announced that he had made an appointment to visit a cemetery not far from our house. We went, walked through on what was a gorgeous day, picked our spot, signed the papers, took photos of some monuments that we liked, and that was that.

It means so much to me that we did that together, and that I know that this is what he wanted.

Did not do any pre-planning on funeral homes, though, so just had a friend calling around in the last days. We weren't doing a funeral right away, and it was just a cremation (with the cemetery handling interment at a later date), so it wasn't terribly expensive.

EDIT: And I should add that my estate attorney now has all of the information about the plot deed, etc.
DW and I picked out our plots last year and you're right it did feel kind of good getting that out of the way. Now, I'm looking to preplan the rest of it.

Did your attorney want this information for some reason? I'm just curious as to what he would need it for?
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:28 PM   #18
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DW and I picked out our plots last year and you're right it did feel kind of good getting that out of the way. Now, I'm looking to preplan the rest of it.

Did your attorney want this information for some reason? I'm just curious as to what he would need it for?
I have no children, and so I wanted to be sure that the necessary info lands in the hands of my executor (a sibling who I am not really all that close to) when the time comes. Trying to make things easy for whoever has to deal with my shuffling off.
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