Planning ahead and comparison-shopping can help families avoid hasty and often expensive decisions. Informed choices about funeral arrangements can be made ahead of time when no one is sick and when everyone who wants to participate in the planning is available. Think and talk about what arrangements you would like to have. For information about options for funeral planning, click here. Collect information on the cost of what you want. Prices differ greatly. Put the plans in writing. Keep them where they can be easily found. Tell someone you trust where they are kept. Do not put funeral plans in a will, which will not be read until after the funeral.
As of July 2010, new laws are in place that control the cremation of a body. If being cremated is important to you, be sure to check with your legal advisor to make sure that your wishes will be honored.
Organ and body donation can also be preplanned.
The cost of a funeral depends on the casket and services chosen. Funeral homes must provide current prices of all goods and services, in writing, if you wish. Funerals can be prepaid in a lump sum, in payments, through purchase of a special-purpose insurance policy, or through a burial trust fund, which can be purchased through the funeral home. Some funeral homes will “guarantee” your funeral; it will not cost more than you paid, even if prices have risen.
Money that is paid in advance, including the interest that has accumulated, can always be transferred to another funeral home after your death and sometimes before. The new funeral home may charge you more.
Neither the irrevocable burial trust fund nor the irrevocable prepaid policy counts as an asset when determining eligibility for TennCare (Medicaid).
Social Security, the Veterans’ Administration, and life and casualty insurance pay death benefits, depending upon the circumstances at the time of death.
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