Common Questions About Preplanning
Who preplans a funeral?
Anyone can preplan. Often family members or sometimes friends may participate in the process.
What if I don’t want a funeral? Can I preplan other services?
Yes, you can plan for the remembrance ceremonies and services that you want. You can learn more about the different ceremony, burial and cremation options by visiting MEANINGFUL CEREMONIES, BURIAL OPTIONS, and CREMATION OPTIONS.
What if I don’t want to plan each and every detail?
You can decide and plan the level of detail that you want to. If you prepay, exactly what you prepaid for is explained in detail in the contract.
What if I already own cemetery property?
You are already planning ahead. There are other ceremony and service decisions to make. Is there to be a church service? Visitation? It is always worthwhile to create a more comprehensive plan.
What are the benefits of preplanning?
Preplanning a funeral is a secure and informed way to prepare for the eventuality of death. By making arrangements in an unhurried atmosphere, you will not leave complicated decisions to your family on perhaps the most difficult day of their lives.
Should I also prepay?
Prepayment is not necessary, but there are many advantages. Paying in advance allows you to guarantee the costs and avoid inflation, while insuring that your family will be relieved of any financial obligation. For many this is an opportunity to organize finances and review assets for the long-term. Know that there are several payment options, including single payment or installment plans.
Are my funds safe?
YES! This is an important question because not all sellers of prepaid funerals are regulated equally and not all prepaid plans are alike. You need to be sure that the plan is controlled by state law and that the cost is guaranteed. You also need know that the money is invested prudently and securely. Our plans meet all these criteria.
What happens to the pre-arrangement money?
At A.J. Desmond & Sons, escrow funds are deposited in the Bank of Bloomfield Hills and appropriately invested or placed in a Merrill Lynch program under the auspices of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association. Insurance funds are placed with Fortis Life Insurance, an A+ rated multi-billion dollar company. Both plans are strictly regulated by Michigan law, assuring that your money will be there when needed. Once you pay, the funeral home is obligated to provide the guaranteed services and merchandise regardless of fund balances, so all responsibility rests with us.
Who pays taxes on the income?
In an escrow account, under recent changes in the tax code, either the owner (normally the purchaser) of the contract or the trust itself can assume the tax liability. If the owner has an income tax responsibility, the funds will be invested so that the trust pays any taxes due. Insurance policies have no tax liability.
What is the procedure when death occurs?
The family should immediately call the funeral home where the funeral was preplanned. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If death occurs away from the planned area, the family should still call the funeral home where the arrangements were originally made. We will make all the necessary contacts for you, including a funeral home in the location of death. Although we keep a complete record of all transactions, please remind us that there is a prepaid funeral agreement.
Will more money have to be paid at the time of the funeral?
All prepaid items with a guaranteed price are always considered to be fully paid. There may be charges for major price changes in non-guaranteed accommodation items and for anything either not prepaid or added at the time of death.
How does a prepaid funeral contract affect Medicaid or S.S.I. eligibility?
While the funeral home does not control Medicaid eligibility or regulations, it is often possible to pay for a funeral and have those funds considered a non-asset for Medicaid evaluation. Medicaid situations may change, but our documentation will always comply with requirements at the time.
What if I move away or change my mind?
Most contracts can be cancelled or changed at any time. If you move, our colleagues in your new location should honor the contract and a transfer of funds may be all that is necessary. If you move but want your funeral plans to remain here, there are some options. Ask Suzanne to discuss these with you.
If you change your mind, we will adjust accordingly. Just let us know.
Most escrow accounts can be cancelled and, by law, you are entitled to receive at least a 90% refund of both your original payment and the accumulated interest. It may not be financially practical to cancel insurance, but a change in the designated funeral director can always be made. Notify us of any changes, and we will make the appropriate modifications or give you a refund within 30 days.
What if I travel a lot and something happens when I am away from my home base?
We do have a travel protection plan available. If death occurs while 100 miles or more from home, this program covers complete transportation costs from anywhere in the world. This is beneficial to anyone who travels, has extended stays at another residence, or receives medical care away from home. Ask Suzanne to learn more.
What is my next step?
Contact the funeral home for details on setting up a prearrangement or click here. We will assist you in selecting services and merchandise to meet both your budget and your wishes.
PLEASE NOTE: To qualify the recipient for Medicaid assistance, some contracts may be certified "irrevocable" by the Michigan Family Independence Agency. Irrevocable contracts cannot be LEGALLY cancelled for any reason, although it is normally possible to transfer performance of the contract to another funeral home. Notify us of any changes, and we will either make the appropriate arrangements or give you a refund within 30 days.