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Sun Mar 20, 2016, 10:29 AM

 

My mom turned 97 last month. In 1998, she paid 7K for a pre-paid funeral plan.

This included the funeral preparation, viewing and casket. A burial plot was not included because my parents purchased a mausoleum slot for her and my father. She put 7k into the trust fund which was the amount to cover the cost of her final wishes. The trust for the payment of the funeral is held by the state.

Things looked bad this summer as she came down with pneumonia. I took the paperwork to the funeral home to see what arrangements she wanted and verify that the trust was intact. The value of the trust fund is now at 11k but the funeral will now cost $14k. Most of the difference is because the casket she wanted, now costs a few thousand more than when she selected it.


My choice is to pay the difference of 3k for a casket that would be used for two days and never be seen again or buy a casket over the internet for $900.

On one hand, I consider a $9,000 casket to be a waste of money. On the other hand, it is her last wish.

May I have your thoughts on this while the need for a decision is not emergent?

12 replies, 3535 views

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Response to Hoppy (Original post)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 11:11 AM

1. If it's her money

that will be spent on the casket, and it is what she still wishes (worth checking with her to see, she may not want it anymore at that price), then she has the right to spend it as she sees fit, even if you (and I, honestly) think it's a bit ridiculous.

If it's your money that would make up the difference, that's a slightly different issue. Perhaps a similar casket that isn't 3K more than what she originally chose?

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Response to Hoppy (Original post)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 11:37 AM

2. Unfortunately, she has demintia and would not be able to communicate wishes.

 

The extra money would come out of my account.

When she made the original plans and invested in the trust, I guess she didn't expect to live as long as she has.

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Response to Hoppy (Original post)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 12:13 PM

3. Caskets aren't really that expensive

In Dallas, they have a casket store. You can buy a nice casket for $1000, which would cost 4-5 thousand from a funeral home. All you have to do is pick it up and deliver to the funeral home. There is no norm that says you have to buy a severely over-priced casket from a funeral home. They prey upon your emotions at the time of death to persuade you to buy from them.

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Response to Hoppy (Original post)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 05:09 PM

4. My last wish is to be cremated in a cardboard box

The cheaper the better for the people left behind!

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Response to Hoppy (Original post)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 05:24 PM

5. Funeral costs are horrendous. I speak from the view of someone who worked

in a Funeral Home.

My honest and humble opinion would be to tell you to opt for the less expensive casket. The funeral home offerings are marked up quite a bit from what I remember and honestly I think that the funeral industry is at an advantage and they prey (for lack of a better word) on families who are at their most vulnerable.

Bless you Mom for having had the foresight to pre-plan. My MIL did the same thing and it was so much easier on her sons when the time came. They could focus on each other and comfort friends and family without having to worry about the financials be they a burden or not.


I'm sorry you find yourself in such a position. Having lost my Mum to colon cancer a number of years ago (still feels like yesterday) I can fully empathize with you.

May you find comfort in whatever you choose and embrace whatever time you have left with your dear Mom.


aA
kesha.

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Response to Hoppy (Original post)

Mon Mar 21, 2016, 12:09 PM

6. One word:

Cremation.

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Response to AZ Jim (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 26, 2016, 10:53 AM

9. First of all Jim,

Welcome to our group.

Cremation isn't for everyone and his Mom didn't leave cremation instructions she left burial instructions.

This is a very sensitive area and I don't think that there are or should be any pat answers.

aA
kesha

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Response to Hoppy (Original post)

Tue Mar 22, 2016, 12:00 AM

7. i think if you can afford it, and it won't cause you any undo hardship,

you might be happier or feel more at peace with her passing if you get the casket she originally wanted.

i also think that if it *is* going to be a financial strain for you then you might want to find something that is more comfortably affordable. here's why: your mom set this fund up a long time ago to *prevent* you from having to bear a financial burden. and just for that reason alone, i'm sure she wouldn't want you to have to struggle financially to pay that added expense.

hope this helps

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Response to orleans (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 26, 2016, 10:54 AM

10. I think you're right in all of your observation and comment. n/t

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Response to Hoppy (Original post)

Tue Mar 22, 2016, 02:02 AM

8. Is it possible to "negotiate" with the funeral home re price of the casket?

After all, she agreed with them years ago at a certain price, and it is known that the funeral home is going to make a profit, so perhaps they'll be willing to cut a deal.

Also, the viewing time could be shortened. When she pre-paid she likely had many living friends, but how many will there be at a 97year old's funeral.

I would go with a casket as she wanted, or one very similar.

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Response to Hoppy (Original post)

Sat Mar 26, 2016, 10:55 AM

11. If you can get the model number for the original casket it might be possible to find it cheaper

online.

Nothing says you have to buy your vessel from the funeral home you're dealing with.


Lots of good thoughts in this thread. I hope you can find some resolution to your issue.

~hugs~

kesha

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Response to Hoppy (Original post)

Thu Mar 31, 2016, 04:57 AM

12. My guess is that your mother's choice of that particular casket took into account

the price at the time and the fact that she considered it within her budget. Don't torment yourself with the thought that it was something she had her heart set on. Knowing her as you do, do you really think she would have chosen that model if the cost at the time had eaten into your own assets to the tune of three thousand dollars? She sounds like she was prudent and thoughtful before the dementia set in and made a choice, to the extent she could foresee, to cover the expenses on her own. I believe that was the "spirit" of her last wish and I would be inclined to honor it by limiting the expenses to those which could be covered by the trust.

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