Making arrangements and paying for funerals in advance may have some problems. A Kansas City man who made his own funeral arrangements and paid in advance learned there were still some problems as KSHB recently reported in "Surprise fees could add thousands to your pre-paid burial plan." Bob Lockler, who did not want to leave his family with the burden of paying for his funeral, made his own arrangements with a local funeral home and paid installments on it for 12 years. When he thought he had paid for everything, he was surprised by another bill that suggested he still owed thousands of dollars. Some of the items on this new bill turned out to be suggestions and not necessary. However, there were other charges that were necessary for him to pay, including the costs of digging his grave, opening and closing the casket, and the sales tax on the casket. That Lockler would have to pay these additional charges was buried in the fine print of his contract with the funeral home. It is important to be certain exactly what you are "buying" when you purchase a funeral plan. Senior citizens on fixed incomes cannot afford to be hit with a larger bill than they expected. Ask the person selling you the plan if there is anything the plan does not cover. The Federal Trade Commission offers a checklist you can use to make sure you are getting everything you need. An elder law attorney could advise you and review any contracts in advance. Reference: KSHB (June 21, 2016) "Surprise fees could add thousands to your pre-paid burial plan."
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