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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Pre-planning your funeral is essential, but Pre-Paying can be harmful, says Sacramento Elder Law Attorney Heather Chubb

September 8, 2010

Pre-planning and pre-paying for one’s own funeral is a topic that is coming up more and more with my clients. While this discussion has always been a part of my planning process, it is something that people are bringing up proactively more and more in recent years.

Some of the reasons that people want to take care of their own final arrangements include:

  • To save their loved ones the stress of dealing with this while they are grieving
  • To make sure their wishes are carried out
  • To set aside funds and save their family the financial burden

These are very honorable reasons but sadly, many well-meaning people have been taken advantage of recently.

A recent audit by the California Department of Consumers’ Affairs Cemetery and Funeral Bureau found that one of the state’s largest pre-paid trust programs had misspent at least $12.6 million. That is a lot of money taken from well-meaning, honest people who were just trying to care for their families.

In addition to worrying about whether the pre-paid funeral industry is using your funds as intended, there are several other pitfalls that need to be considered before investing your money in a pre-paid funeral plan.

For example, if you decide later that you need the money that you invested in the pre-paid funeral plan for reasons such as family emergencies, you can lose up to 10% of the money you invested. Further, prepaying for you final arrangements with a life insurance plan can be even costlier. It is possible that you could end up paying a lot more money in monthly payments than it will actually cost for your final arrangements.

So, what is a well-intentioned person supposed to do to ease the burden of planning and paying for their funeral for the sake of their loved ones?

That’s easy…talk to an experienced Sacramento elder law attorney!

An attorney can help you preplan and prepay for final arrangements in a way that will be the most cost-effective and ensure that your family won’t have to deal with the stress at a time when they should be dealing with their own grief.

To make this process even easier, we’re offering our Peace of Mind Planning Sessions (normally $750) free of charge to the first 10 people who call in response to this article. You can claim your free session with me, your Sacramento elder law attorney, now by calling 916-241-9661.

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I was absolutely without a clue as to how to begin or what I should do to establish an estate plan. I did know that I wanted someone I could trust, that was honest and I would have confidence in. I was referred to Heather by my friend who was being legally advised by Heather on another estate. She was very satisfied with her work and thought I might be happy with her service. At our consultation appointment, her presentation was very thorough. I had lots of questions, and she was easy to talk to and was able to guide me to just the kind of estate plan I needed. That was 10 years ago. Due to circumstances in my life, I have had to make changes to my plan, and I always go back to her for her legal services and guidance. I have recommended Heather before.

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