Senior citizens who make arrangements to pay for their own funerals should be on the lookout for hidden fees in the plans they purchase.
Bob Lockler of Kansas City did not want to leave his family with the burden of paying for his funeral, so he made his own arrangements. He purchased a burial plan from 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.
Lockler claims he was never informed of them. KSHB reported this story in "Surprise fees could add thousands to your pre-paid burial plan."
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. If you are still uncertain about what you are paying for, then you can always ask an elder law attorney to review any contracts before you sign them. If I can assist with this or other types of contract concerns, please get in touch.
Reference: KSHB (June 21, 2016) "Surprise fees could add thousands to your pre-paid burial plan."