Article by Michelle M. Lauer
The following article is provided as a courtesy by its author. It is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as legal advice. You SHOULD in every case act or rely only upon the advice of an attorney who practices extensively in this area of the law. You SHOULD NOT in any case act or rely upon written materials of a general nature, such as the following article.
Ever consider paying in advance for your funeral/burial expensesto save your loved onesthe financial burden? If your finances allow you to do so, pre-paying for funeral/burial services is an efficient and effective step in your estate planning that alleviates an often onerous task for your loved to undertake while grieving. A few words of caution if you do pre-pay for funeral/burial services: TELL YOUR LOVED ONES!It is critical to informyour loved ones that you pre-paid for such services and where you have stored the paperwork or insurance policy covering the funeral/burial services to avoid duplicative paymentfor services after you are gone.
To emphasize the importance of communicating your estate planning with your loved ones, the American Association of Retired Persons reports an actual situation where burial services were paid twice due to a lack of communications. Specifically, in 1973, a woman bought a prepaid full-burial insurance policy from a local funeral home. When the woman passed away in 2008, her family paid $8,128 to lay the woman to rest because they were neither aware of the burial policy nor advised of its location. The family later found the policy among the woman’s possessions. The woman’s daughter presented the burial policy to the funeral home and asked for a refund. The request was declined as untimely because it fell outside the window of time set forth in the policy for seeking payment.
Generally, contemporary life insurance and burial policies do not have payout expiration dates. However, older policies may set forth a particular window of time in which to make a claim for payment of the policy.
Be Proactive. Take steps to organize your affairs, put your wishes in writing, and keep everything safe in one place making it simple for your family. Plan your estate so that your loved ones have the tools and authority they need to carry out your wishes and safeguard your legacy. An estate planning attorney can assist you in creating a highly effective estate plan that can reduce not only the risk of identity theft, but also the hardships for your family.
Instances have occurred where individuals purchase pre-paid full-burial policies in hopes to save their loved ones from having to pay large amounts of money to lay them to rest. Unfortunately, their survivors were not aware of the policy until after the services.