Recently I read of this woman’s multi-year fight to access her preplanning arrangements. Sometimes, even having the plans laid out as best you can may not be enough. She thought choosing a funeral home and paying ahead was what she was supposed to do. I’m sure she was told that was enough, that was great, all was done.
But then she wanted to change funeral homes. It happens! People move closer to children, or change jobs, or retire and hate where they are. Or just want a different option.
Because she pre-paid with a trust, the rules in her state (Nebraska) limited the liability for the funeral homes as far as fiduciary obligation and transferability. She only really found out the shortfalls in her plans when she tried to transfer; if she had not, her kids would have been given the hard news later on. What she wanted, and what she had funds for, two very different pictures.
I’m glad Mrs. Lespreance in the article had the foresight to plan ahead, and the grit and gut to challenge the system when she didn’t get what she was promised. Would you have? What would have happened to her plans if she was gone, and her kids were making the arrangements–would they have kicked a fit, or just paid the extra and moved on?
Funeral homes do a great service for a great many people. But if you’re not in immediate need, they may not always be your best option for planning. A plan written up independently, funded independently with a good national pre-need policy will always be portable and in your own control.
Trusts may not be a good answer if you don’t have immediate need. Prepaying with a specific home may not be the answer if you’re young, mobile, or stand a chance of being elsewhere when you die (or changing your mind).
Planning ahead is essential. Prepaying may NOT be the best of ideas. Ask an independent consultant why!