Traditional Pre-Need has been around for decades. “Pre-Need” is merely pre-planning and pre-paying prior to your death. Typically, you go to a funeral firm and speak with a funeral director or service arranger about the various funeral service options available. The first decision is the type of funeral: Traditional Burial or Cremation. Based on your preference, the funeral director will guide you through the funeral service and merchandise options as well as ancillary items such as death certificates, honorariums, permits, etc. While not all funeral firms are affiliated with a cemetery, the Pre-Need discussion will cover cemetery interment options, memorial markers, and fees.
The funeral firm will outline your wishes and prepare a Pre-Planning Goods and Services Agreement. This agreement outlines the cost associated the choices you made with items such as:
- Professional Service and Arrangement Fee
- Embalming and Other Preparation
- Use of Facilities and Staff
- Transfer of the Deceased
- Cremation Fees
- Casket or Alternative Container
- Memorial Package (Guestbook, service programs and prayer cards)
- Cash Advances:
- Death Certificates
- Reception catering for family and friends
- Cemetery Plot, Mausoleum Crypt or Niche
- Opening and Closing Fees
- Outer Burial Container (ground burial only)
- Memorial Marker or Niche Plaque
- Setting Fees
After the completion of the Pre-Planning Goods & Services Agreement, the next step is to fund it monetarily to secure the price guarantees and the merchandise the funeral firm will provide at the time of need.
Some funeral firms guarantee the consumer will not pay more at time of need for the funeral services and merchandise. The cash advanced items are typically not guaranteed by the funeral firm because the funeral firm does not perform the service or provide the item. The same pre-need guarantees can be offered for cemetery expenses if the funeral firm is affiliated with a cemetery.
By state law, the funds need to be deposited into an insurance or trust product. Both types of funding offer peace of mind that your funds will be available at time of need. The insurance product will always provide you more flexibility if you choose to relocate or change your mind about a funeral firm. The funds in an insurance product are transferrable to any funeral firm of your’s or your family’s choice.
National Funeral Directors Association’s 2017 Consumer Awareness & Preferences Study
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