Funeral Consumers Alliance of Maryland and Environs

Prepaying for Funeral Service

Although planning for after-death care is strongly recommended, prepaying for a funeral may not be a good idea. There are a number of disadvantages.

You may move or die in another state, and it could be expensive to have your body transported back to the funeral home with whom you made your contract.

The money paid today may not cover the cost of what you want when the services or merchandise are needed in the future. This would necessitate substitution of cheaper merchandise or require additional money from your survivors or your estate.

The funeral home you contracted with may close or change ownership.

In many states, part of all of the interest earned on the money you prepaid may be withdrawn by the seller as part of their administrative fees.

You might change your mind about the kind of arrangements you want.

If you want to set aside money in advance to cover the cost of funeral merchandise or services, there are safer approaches. Life insurance may be purchased that will cover the cost of your funeral, or a special trust may be created.

When specific arrangements are made in advance, be sure to tell your family about them including where the documents are filed. If your family isn’t aware that you’ve made plans in advance, your wishes may not be carried out and your family may end up paying for arrangements a second time.