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Berge & Berge, LLP Blog

Friday, June 12, 2015

Funeral Home Refuses To Refund Prepaid Funeral Costs

What should you disclose to your family about your estate?

In 1973, a woman purchased a prepaid full-burial funeral policy from a funeral home in her town. Over time, the documents pertaining to the policy were misplaced and, at the time of her death, the family had no idea the plan existed. The family paid the same funeral home for funeral services for their mother.

The missing policy later turned up amongst the mother's possessions. When the daughter presented the policy at the funeral home and asked for a refund, the funeral director refused. The family got a local news station involved, and the funeral home eventually refunded the service fees but not the full amount of the remaining fee. The news station contacted the underwriter of the policy, which covered the remainder of the fee the family paid for the funeral and associated costs.

Funeral costs are soaring, estimated at approximately $8,000 for burial with a vault, which many cemeteries now require. While prepaid funerals are a morbid issue and talking about death is never pleasant, it is imperative that your family members know your wishes and if you have any of these insurance plans in place or purchased.

Understanding funeral costs and wishes is important when developing an estate plan. A trust and estate attorney can guide you in effectuating your wishes and making them clear to your heirs. The more your heirs know about your wishes and desires for burial, the easier it will be to make decisions and avoid any arguments or disagreements between family members. While your loved ones are grieving, an estate plan helps them to make smart choices based on your wishes.

The Law Offices of Berge & Berge LLP practices exclusively in the area of estate planning. Our attorneys strive to educate their clients and design estate plans that meet their goals. We have been proudly serving the South Bay area for more than 20 years, including San Jose and Santa Clara counties. Contact us today at (408)985-9918 to schedule a consultation.


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