Pre-need and Pre-funding Arrangements
There are many elements that make-up a funeral contract and only your funeral director will have all the information you'll need to complete your arrangements. I have had a number of people tell me, "I have given my attorney my wishes and you are named as my funeral home, so I won't need to sit down with you." WRONG, Your attorney may have drawn up the best will or trust ever written, but the majority of wills are read after the funeral. As good as trusts are they need certified death certificates only obtainable after the funeral. Furthermore how accessible is that will or trust information on a weekend, holiday or during the attorney's vacation? Safe deposit boxes are sealed upon a death so even there, you aren't protected. Funeral homes are not allowed to close -ever- like a police or fire service we and our records are accessible 24 hours a day.
During the prearrangement consultation, vital statistics and biographical information will be obtained for the death certificate and obituary. Decisions such as the selection of a casket, vault, cemetery, and service selections are also made at this time. When you have made your selections, you will be given an Itemized Statement, which, for most funeral arrangements, will include contractual language which legally obligates you to pay the cost of the funeral. You will also be given the General Price List. Store these documents in a safe place and advise your family where they can be found. Again, a safe deposit box is not recommended, since it is normally frozen at the time of one's death.
Though there are no obligations, many people decide to set funds aside when preplanning a funeral. Pre-funding is another way to lessen the future burden on family members. It not only avoids later expenses at a time when family finances are often unstable, but it also often allows an individual to arrange a service at today's prices.