It’s not something people want to think about, but funerals, even modest ones, can be very expensive. Many families pay more than $10,000 for services, burials or cremations, and other aspects of a loved one’s funeral. One idea that estate administration lawyers have seen grow in popularity over the years is paying for funeral expenses in advance with a prepaid funeral contract to relieve family members from the stress of decision making and financial burdens. However, as with any financial decision, you should have as much information as possible before making a commitment to a prepaid funeral contract. Here are some key things to know:

You can plan your own funeral.
This may sound a little macabre, but think about it: you would be saving your family from the emotional rollercoaster of having to plan your funeral. They won’t have to guess what kind of service or funeral preparations you would want if you already made the decision.

You can save your family from the financial burden of funeral costs.
Funerals are often an expense that no one is ready for. Your estate may be able to cover the costs, but keep in mind that the probate process can take months or even years to settle, meaning it will be quite some time before your family is able to access the money to pay for the funeral. In fact, they may have to go out of pocket to settle debts before that time.

You’ll probably pay a lower price for your funeral.
Locking into a prepaid funeral contract years before your funeral can actually be cheaper, considering that prices always rise as the years go on. Consider that the average cost of a funeral in 2001 was just over $5000, which has doubled over the course of just 20 years.

It helps with asset protection planning.
Prepaid funeral contracts are considered non-countable assets for Medicaid planning purposes. Buying a prepaid funeral contract is usually part of the spend-down strategy when trying to qualify for Medicaid benefits.

There are, of course, some drawbacks associated with prepaid funeral contracts. The funeral home may go out of business, you may move out of state, and you also would not get the benefit of interest earned on the contract like you would if you put that money in an investment account instead. This is why it’s important to speak with experienced estate administration lawyers before you sign any contracts. There may be other ways to handle your funeral plans before you pass away that fit along better with your goals.

If you’d like to learn more about prepaid funeral contracts, or if you already have a prepaid funeral contract and want to see how it fits into a new asset protection plan, please call us at 941-909-4644 or 763-420-5087 to set up a complimentary consultation.


If you would like to learn more about how you can make it as easy and inexpensive as possible for your family if anything were to happen to you, click here for our free workshop.

Chuck Roulet
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Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney, Author, and Speaker
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