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Pre-Need Plans can be a R.I.P. Off

A recent article points out the efforts that Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has made against funeral homes selling pre-need plans. Mr. Hosemann is to be applauded.  Far too often, these plans are under-funded and the funds or service provider are nowhere to be found when the time for final arrangements are finally needed.  I personally experienced an attempt by an unscrupulous funeral home to renege on such an agreement when my grandmother died.  The terms of the contract were clear that all contracted services were included, but the funeral home tried to charge additional sums contrary to their agreement.  Fortunately, I had a law degree to back up my claims of impropriety and the funeral home ultimately saw it my way, but most families are not so fortunate. 

Our advice to our clients is to never purchase a pre-paid funeral.  Instead, we recommend establishing a funeral trust.  The trust can be funded with life insurance, and the funds can be used at any facility, on whatever is needed for the funeral, rather than some pre-established plan that may be inappropriate when services are ultimately needed.  The trust assets are unavailable as an asset for Medicaid qualification purposes.  And, perhaps best of all, one does not have to deal with a pre-need salesman in order to establish a funeral trust.  The funeral trust makes funds available to your family on the next business day, to be spent on the funeral as your family directs.

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