Cincinnati and Dayton funeral consumers need to be aware of many factors when deciding to prepay their funeral or cremation.
The answer is not cut and dry.
As a general rule, I caution people in prepaying to a funeral home. There are several reasons. First, if you do pay the funeral home make a follow up call to the funeral home 35 days after the contract has been signed to be sure the money was placed in a trust or proper funding plan. DEMAND a receipt from the holding company, NOT the funeral home. Be sure to know a third party is holding your monies.The problem has been some funeral directors will take the money and NOT put place the funds in the proper accounts. Funeral directors are required to place the prepaid funds in a trust or insurance company within 30 days of the transaction. News reports from all over Ohio have shown funeral director facing criminal issues due to this theft or misappropriation.
Secondly, funeral homes are sold and the new owners may not be the people you want to conduct the funeral services or cremation. When the funeral business is sold the prepaid accounts typically transfer to the new owner. This could be problematic for the consumer.
Lastly, call the state board of embalmers and funeral directors and inquire of the funeral home you are considering to use has file the proper annual reports disclosing their prepaid accounts. If the board tells you the funeral home has not filed the report you may want consider an alternative plan.
When should you prepay?
There are two reasons I have found why people prepay.
First, if you are trying to qualify for state assistance for long term care or medical care, and you need to reduce assets in order to qualify. Funeral cost is an allowable spend down expense. Be sure to consult an qualified attorney regarding estate planning and spend down for your state before paying for a funeral in spend down.
There are people who desire to have everything - all their affairs- in order and buttoned up. They want to be sure their wishes are honored. They do not want their family or friends to have to deal with any details. If this is your situation or desire, then prepay your funeral cost. But follow up and get all the details of where the monies are held.
Our office can help you navigate the questions and process of planning your final wishes. Give us a call during normal business hours for more details. Do not sign ANY contract with a funeral home before you speak with us.