Before you pre-pay your funeral in Tampa, read these tips from Tampa estate attorney, Laurie Ohall, first.
Pre-planning and pre-paying for your funeral can be a wonderful gift to leave your family. After your death, they will be grieving without the added stress of planning and paying for your funeral. Many funeral homes have plans available allowing you to plan and pre-pay for your final expenses. However, pre-payment plans are not something to enter into lightly.
Most funeral home plans require that you make a lump sum payment or they set up a payment plan, but in both cases, your money will go to them. Many funeral homes put your money in investment accounts and others require you to purchase a life insurance policy with the funeral home named as the beneficiary. Although there are legal controls in place about how funeral homes can invest the funds, there have been cases of abuse or neglect on the part of the funeral home. The victims in these cases have experienced large losses.
It is very important to fully understand how the funeral home plans to hold your money. You should also know who will benefit from the interest that might be earned while it is in the investment account. Does this money go to the deceased’s heirs or does it go to the funeral home?
There are logistical concerns as well. What if you decide to move to another state? Can you move the plan to a different funeral home, or is the plan canceled? If so, will you get a refund? Can you change your mind about the final arrangements, or are they locked in? What happens if the funeral home goes out of business?
There are other options for planning and paying for your funeral. One option is a funeral trust. With this option, you can give specific instructions for your services and set aside money that YOU control. You can manage the investment just as you would any other. Many people prefer this option because they stay in control of the planning and the investment.
Either way, before you sign a contract with a funeral home, call our Brandon, FL, estate planning law firm at 813-438-8503 and schedule a free consultation. We can review the contract and let you know all of the options that are available to you.