Ask Elder Care Lawyers in NJ: Prepaid Funerals

Ask Elder Care Lawyers in NJ: Prepaid Funerals

December 26, 2018 Off By Glespynorson

Ancient Egypt stands out with its elaborate set of funerary practices. These practices were believed to be necessary to ensure immortality after death. The rituals included mummifying the body, casting magic spells, and burial with specific grave goods thought to be needed in the Egyptian afterlife. The practice was not limited to pharaohs, either. All tiers of society believed in these customs and engaged in similar rituals.

Fast forward thousands of years to Bergen County, New Jersey. Such elaborate funeral rights and practices are not common in the Garden State. Instead, very few people talk about their funeral wishes. The closest one can get to planning a funeral these days are prepaid funeral insurance plans.

If you watch television in the afternoon, you know what I am talking about. Every other ad is selling prepaid funeral plans. All of the providers have the same message. Help your loved ones by taking care of funeral arrangements and expenses ahead of time. Some are so bold as to claim that getting such a plan is a gift for your surviving family members.

How Much Does a Funeral Cost?

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average price of a funeral with a burial plot is $8,500; the median cost of a viewing and cremation is $6.078; and the casket alone ranges in price from $2,000 to $10,000. Not included in the costs are cemetery markers, obituaries, and cost of religious services.

What is a Prepaid Funeral?

Basically, a prepaid funeral is a set of funeral arrangements that have been paid in advance. They can be as simple or complex as the person wants. There are many ways to do this, depending on your preferences and financial circumstances. They include:

  • Designating a joint bank account: When a person dies, his or her assets are temporarily unavailable until the estate is settled. Setting up a joint bank account solves this problem because the survivor of the account has access to the funds, regardless of estate settlement.
  • Setting up a payable on death bank account: Also known as a Totten Trust, payable on death bank accounts, allow the person to name a beneficiary, and when the person dies, the beneficiary is able to access the funds. Totten trusts avoid probate.
  • Using an existing life insurance policy: Many life insurance policies contain a death benefit that assists with the payment of funerals.
  • Prepaid funeral plans: Different from life insurance, prepaid funeral plans are burial or funeral insurance. These plans can cover funeral expenses and some end of life medical expenses. They are sold and offered through a specific funeral home and can be paid as a lump sum or payments over time.

No matter the option you choose, family communication is critical. It is also helpful to seek the advice and counsel of an Elder Care Lawyer in NJ.

Many individuals who plan and prepay for their own funeral fail to inform a family member and instead of helping them through a difficult time contribute to their problems. Including details in the will does not help survivors in the immediate days following your death because they will not be able to access the will right away.

The Giro Law Firm is a New Jersey and New York law firm located in Newark, NJ that handles a wide range of legal matters that affect the elderly and disabled populations, including retirement, guardianship, health care, long term care planning, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, among other legal services. To request a consultation with an Elder Care Lawyer in NJ, click here or call (201) 690-1642.