As part of their estate plan, some people choose to arrange their funerals before they die in order to make things easier for their family members or in order to ensure that they get all the things they want at their funerals. When making funeral arrangements in advance, people are generally required to prepay for the cost of the funeral. Making prepaid funeral arrangements can come with some risks, and it is important to ensure that the proper precautions are taken.
In Michigan, funeral providers who offer prepaid funeral contracts are required to be registered with the state and be certified to sell those prepaid contracts. When entering into a contract for prepaid funeral services, it is important to understand exactly what is being paid for, and how the company will use the money. It is also important to find out how transferable the contract is, and if there are any penalties if the contract is cancelled.
Prepaid funeral contracts can be quite expensive, and therefore, when making the decision to purchase this contract, a consumer should take time to make the decision. If the consumer feels pressured to make the purchase, he or she should not make the purchase from that company. If a consumer feels harassed or hounded to make a purchase, he or she can also report the harassment to the attorney general’s office.
An important issue to consider with a prepaid plan is what happens to the money that is prepaid for the funeral contract. The consumer should find out whether the money is placed in a trust account and find out whether any interest accrued is credited to the consumer. If there is considerable interest accruing, this money should factor into the cost of the prepaid contract.
Finally, it is important for consumers who purchase prepaid funeral contracts to let their family members know that there is a contract in place and give them the necessary documents. If the family members do not know about the contract, they may pay for the same services again after the consumer’s death. The consumer should not simply trust that the company handling the prepaid contract will contact his or her next of kin with this information after the consumer’s death.
A consumer who is considering entering into a prepaid funeral contract should consider making the same arrangements with family members or other trusted individuals. This way, he or she may be able to save money. If the consumer goes this route, he or she should consult with an experienced attorney in order to ensure that all wishes are followed by the people he chosen to assist with the funeral arrangements.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
There are many things to consider when putting together an estate plan. While the decisions have to be made by the estate owner, the decisions should not be made without an understanding of the available options. If you are interested in learning more about the estate planning option available to you, contact Resnick Law, P.C., to consult the experienced estate planning attorneys in Bloomfield Hills and Detroit, Michigan.
(image courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon)