David Parente
CDFDA President
Albany, NY
Phone: (518) 489-0188

Pre-Need Funeral Planning

There’s nothing quite like being prepared, is there? No matter what, taking care of things ahead of time saves us time, trouble and sometimes, money. This is certainly true about making your funeral plans ahead of time. Pre-need funeral planning is the #1 way today’s families can save all three: time, trouble and money.

The National Funeral Directors Association, or NFDA, had this to say about the value of funeral pre-arrangement: “more adults are finding that preplanning a funeral offers great emotional and even financial security for them and their families. With preplanning, families find comfort in knowing that the funeral reflects what their loved one wanted. It also gives them peace of mind to not have to make important decisions at a stressful time.”

In the interest of safeguarding the families served by funeral homes across the country, the NFDA published a Bill of Rights for Funeral Pre-Planning, which includes guidelines for consumers. In short, the #association.name# member funeral home you enlist to help you develop a funeral pre-need plan must:

•    Provide a General Price List of goods and services prior to initiating the pre-plan conversation.
•    Provide a written statement of the goods and services purchased, noting the price of each item.
•    Provide a written pre-need funeral contract which clearly explains the rights, duties and obligations of the parties involved.

And this funeral pre-need contract must:
•    Have a product or service substitution clause which defines their substitution policy.
•    Define their geographical service area.
•    Clearly state the acceptable circumstances for the transfer the contract to another funeral home.
•    If pre-payment is involved, it must state where and how much of the funds will be deposited.
•    Define who is responsible for paying taxes on any income or interest generated preneed fund investment.
•    Detail how the funeral home will guarantee the price of goods and services you are purchasing. If not guaranteed, the contract must explain who is responsible for any additional payments which may come due at the time of need.
•    Explain the contract cancelation process and refund policies.


How Does Funeral Pre-Planning Work?

Much like making funeral plans at the time of need, those families or individuals interested in pre-planning a funeral will meet with a pre-planning consultant at the funeral home of their choice. They will provide you with a copy of the funeral firm General Price List, and together you will arrive at a funeral pre-plan which meets your needs and desires.

According to funeral director Frank C. Mayer III, quoted in the 2013 USA Today online article, Pre-Planned Funerals Can Ease the Burden for Survivors, "It can be as involved as the family wants to make it –very detailed, or just the framework of basic wishes.”
Once your funeral pre-arrangements are completed, the funeral home will keep a copy in their records. You’ll also keep a copy, and all related paperwork, in a safe place (having informed a family member or close friend of its location and contents.


Can You Pay for Your Funeral Pre-Need Plan Now?

The short answer to that question is “yes”. Some families will choose to reduce the future cost of their funeral plan by paying for goods and services ahead of time. Not all families choose to pre-fund their pre-need funeral plan, but those who do will be guided to use either a New York State Revocable, or Irrevocable/Medicaid Funeral Agreement.  Your funeral director will explain these Agreement options in great detail when that phase of Pre-Need Planning begins.


In the End

In all honesty, procrastinating about making your funeral planning decisions ahead of time doesn’t hurt you, as much as it hurts your surviving family members.  Without doubt, pre-planning your funeral reduces the anxiety and stress which makes it difficult for your family to make the important funeral planning decisions at the time of your passing.

If you’re ready to begin the funeral pre-planning conversation, consult our Member Directory for the funeral home near you.