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  Pre-Planning
 
Q:  Why should I prearrange my funeral?
A:  When you plan ahead, you will be able to consider the many options available. You will have the opportunity to make an informed decision about your funeral arrangements and the kind of service you prefer. You will be able to make choices that are meaningful to you and your family, and you will be relieving your family of the emotional and financial burden associated with making difficult decisions when a death occurs. In addition, by prepaying your funeral services, a guaranteed price contract will allow you to purchase at today’s prices, free from inflationary pressures in the future.
 
Q:  How do I prearrange my funeral?
A:  Select a funeral home you are comfortable with, call with your questions or make an appointment to meet with a funeral director face-to-face. Information is free and there is no obligation to purchase until you are ready. Shopping around for the best value is often a good idea. You should not sign a preneed contract until you are comfortable in doing so.
 
Q:  If I pre-plan and prepay my funeral, how do I know that the money will be there when I die?
A:  It’s important to remember that prearrangement is a two part transaction. The first is the agreement between you and the funeral home to provide goods and services at a guaranteed price once the preneed contract is paid for. The second is the actual funding of the agreement at the time of need. The funeral home is very concerned with the question of the funds being available at death. That’s why they carefully consider the financial soundness of where your funds are invested.
 
Q:  If I prepay my funeral, what happens to the interest that my money earns?
A:  If you have a prearranged funeral that is comprised of items that are guaranteed to be performed by the funeral home at no additional cost to you, the interest (or growth if a life insurance policy) is retained by the funeral home to offset the rising costs of those specified goods and services over time. That’s the value of prearranging and prepaying at today’s costs.
 
Q:  Can I change any of these prepaid funeral services later?
A:  In Texas, the purchaser (or owner, in the case of insurance) of the policy may sometimes change the contract. This often affects the terms of the guarantees, including the price, so act carefully. Changing the terms of the agreement could jeopardize one’s qualification for assistance such as SSI or Medicaid.
 
Q:  What if your funeral home changes ownership?
A:  Prior contractual agreements are not voided simply because a change of ownership occurs. The funeral planning agreement you have with the prior ownership is carried forward with successor owners as part of their purchase agreement.
 
Q:  Is there a penalty for paying off these arrangements in advance?
A:  Although some plans may allow for a penalty, our plans do not. We never charge a penalty for advance payment.
 
Q:  Can social services take my prearrangements away from me?
A:  They may challenge the amount being set aside to pay for an exorbitantly expensive funeral, but funds set aside to pay for a reasonable funeral are not counted as assets for one to qualify for social services.
  Important consumer information to be aware of before you purchase a prepaid funeral contract is available at the Texas Department of Banking website; www.prepaidfunerals.texas.gov. The email address for complaints is consumer.complaints@dob.texas.gov
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