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Featured FAQ: Do You Have to Pay in Full When You Pre-plan a Funeral?

April 15, 2019

Advance funeral planning is a safe way to protect your family from the emotional and financial burden of having to make funeral arrangements after someone has died. For those who aren’t ready to make a financial commitment, advance funeral planning is also helpful because you are still able to gather information and make important decisions in a much less stressful environment. 

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“I often share with families the experience my family had when my mother-in-law died,” said Joseph Reardon, Vice President for Community Development and Advance Planning. “While the financial benefits of advance planning were helpful, the fact that the ‘business’ side of the arrangements were complete gave us the peace of mind we needed to focus solely on how we could enjoy the support of our family and friends in creating truly personal and meaningful ceremonies. This made all the difference in the world for our family.”

 Pre-planning can make the whole process easier because you have time to ask questions, consider options and make decisions based on your family’s needs and values.  The first step is to meet with your funeral director. The meeting typically takes about an hour and gives you the opportunity to discuss your wishes in as much or as little detail as you like. And you don’t have to make all the decisions all at once.  You may find it becomes much easier to make certain decisions after meeting with your funeral director and then speaking with your family.

Once they have decided on their arrangements, many people do opt to set pay for their arrangements in advance.  There are various reasons for doing so.  Often it is to relieve family members from a financial burden. Others choose to do so as part of estate or Medicaid planning. Still others do it so that they will have a contract ensuring that their wishes will be carried out.

“While pre-payment is never required, many people recognize the value of it,” said Reardon. “Advance planning offers several different payment options where payments may be spread out rather than having to pay the full amount at the time of need. People love this flexibility because it lessens the burden for them and their families.”

Massachusetts has very strict regulations about how funds paid in advance of a funeral are handled.  Any funds used for advance planning must be deposited in trust with a third party which provides a huge level of comfort for families knowing that their funds are protected. Should they ever move or if the funeral home went out of business, they could transfer their money to another funeral home.

 “It is a safe way to protect one’s family from the emotional and financial burden of having to make funeral arrangements after someone has died.,” Reardon added. “I have had family members die both with and without advance planning. It is a night and day difference!”

“Understandably, advance funeral planning can be a difficult topic to tackle. But putting it off can leave family members unprepared, both emotionally and financially, when the time comes,” said Reardon. “Once people have the opportunity to meet with one of our experienced funeral directors, they always leave with a deep sense of relief knowing that everything will be taken care of.”

If you have any additional questions about advance planning or would like to make an appointment to meet with one of our experienced funeral directors, please call Joe Reardon at 617-773-3551 or email joe@keohane.com 

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