Brenda Lyle – Hometown News

Q:  Should I pre-pay my funeral?

A:  At One Senior Place, we advocate planning ahead for most things related to aging. Seniors frequently receive mailers related to pre-planning for funerals. But there is a difference between planning your funeral ahead of time and PAYING for it.  Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

 Pre-Arranging your funeral

“Shopping” for funeral arrangements may sound bizarre, but the practice is gaining in popularity. Why? Pre-arrangements take the burden off your family. Funeral directors share that grieving families often spend more money on a funeral than the decease may have wanted. Begin by deciding the type of arrangement: cremation or burial? You’ll find big price differences from one funeral home to another (and one state to another). Visit several local funeral homes, fill out a pre-arrangement form, and let the funeral associates create a plan for your wishes. These pre-arrangement forms can be kept on file.

Prepaying your funeral

Most pre-payment options include a whole life policy, payable in installments, to a third party insurance company. Some trust options allow for a lump-sum payment, held in an interest-bearing account, with the funeral home as the trustee.  But what if death occurs before the premiums are satisfied? Transportation to another state for burial? Refunds? Will prepayment cover all funeral costs? The answers can help you decide about pre-arrangement versus pre-payment. Regardless, you should designate a “payable on death” beneficiary for your bank account, so that your loved one can pay any last minute expenses.

 Medicaid and prepaid funerals

Prepaying funeral expenses can help you “spend down” your assets to qualify for Medicaid benefits. The funds that you set aside are considered irrevocable and therefore not counted as an asset by Medicaid.

Consider pre-planning your funeral by talking with your family and a qualified funeral director. If Medicaid is part of your planning, include an estate-planning attorney. And if you’re set on cremation, the National Cremation Society is on site at One Senior Place in Viera.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.