Many people come into our Houston estate planning law firm seeking to pre-plan their funeral so that they can relieve their loved ones of the burden of doing so when they are gone. Because of the growing demand for funeral pre-planning, local funeral homes are also responding by offering different plans that allow people to pre-plan the service they would like, pick out a casket, and even pay for everything in advance. Pre-planning your funeral here in Texas can be a wise idea, but you might want to think twice before pre-paying for your final expenses in advance.
You should be aware that here in Houston the state of Texas, there are rules that often require the funeral home to invest the money paid to them so that it is available when needed. Some funeral homes put that money in a trust fund or buy an insurance policy naming itself as beneficiary. With that said, if you are considering a pre-paid plan, you should find out the following:
- If your funeral home goes out of business, will you lose part or all of your investment?
- If you move out of the area, is there a penalty or complete loss of your plan?
- If the funeral home invests the money you pay them, do they get to keep the interest or do you?
- Can you change or cancel your plan?
- If you sign up for a payment plan and you die before it is complete, does the funeral home have an insurance policy that will cover the remaining costs?
Because pre-paying your funeral here in Texas often comes with risks and a lot of “unknowns”, an alternative (and sometimes better option) is to work with an attorney to create a trust which will allow you to provide detailed instructions about your final wishes and set aside funds to cover the expenses. This is all set up and controlled by you, removing the funeral home as the middle man, while still providing you with the same same peace of mind that your end-of-life affairs are taken care of.
If you would like help to independently pre-plan and pre-pay your final affairs, including your funeral, call our Houston estate attorneys at (281) 218-0880 to set up a consultation. If you would like, we have an expert that can review the funeral home contract that you are currently considering and tell you what other options may be available.