What is a pre-arranged funeral or cremation service?

This is an arrangement of a person's final wishes regarding their funeral plans prior to death. Often this is funded with a life or an annuity policy. You specify what type of service you would like to have and then select funeral merchandise such as type of casket, outer burial container, etc. A prearranged funeral is your way of providing your family with written instructions of how and what type of funeral service you want performed upon your death. If funded in advance, it assures your family is not left with financial expenses they may not be able to afford.

What happens to my money if the funeral home where I have prearranged and prefunded goes out of business?

When your prearrangement is funded by an insurance company and this occurs, your family would need to designate an alternate funeral home to perform the services. The policy death benefits could then be assigned to the performing funeral home.

What happens if I move out of town or state after I prearrange?

Assuming you no longer desire for the original assigned funeral home to perform the services, you may transfer the prearrangement funds. Upon acceptance of your prearrangement from the newly requested funeral home you may inform the insurance company you would like to "reassign" the funds to be paid to a different funeral home at the time of death. If you still want the original funeral home to perform the services, your family will need to contact the original funeral home to perform your arranged service.

Wouldn't putting money into a savings account be the same as prearranging?

No. By prearranging with a funeral home you have the benefit of "locking in" today's funeral service prices. Since you prearranged you will not be subject to price increases as the years go by. Your savings account may be earning little interest, may not keep up with inflation, and is taxable. When the prearrangement is funded with a life or annuity policy, the death benefits are nontaxable to you or your family. Most people prearrange to relieve their family of the emotional and financial burden of funeral arrangements.

What if I die while still making payments on my life insurance funded prearrangement?

The prearrangement will be paid for with the death benefits of the insurance policy. Therefore your survivors will have little or no payment due to the funeral home for the service.

Isn't having life insurance the same thing as prearranging?

No. Insurance provides dollars only. With a life insurance policy, the decisions on the funeral arrangements have not been made in advance so family members must make these important arrangements while they are grieving. Many times families find they spend more than they can afford when arrangements are made at the time of death. Some are left not knowing what kind of service their loved one would have wanted.

What does prearrangement include?

Normally, whatever arrangements can be made at the time of death can also be made in advance as part of a prearrangement plan.

How do I know I'll get what I've chosen and paid for?

Pre-arranged funerals and cremations are highly regulated by government state and federal agencies. What you've chosen is in writing, item by item and described in detail. This paperwork can only be changed with your consent while you are living. The following consumer websites can tell you more about pre-arrangement regulations and consumer protection laws:


Oklahoma Insurance Department


Oklahoma Funeral Board


Texas Department of Banking


Texas Department of Banking


Texas Funeral Service Commission


Texas Department of Insurance


Federal Trade Commission


Kansas Insurance Commission


Arkansas Insurance Department


National Funeral Directors Association


National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Do I have to have cemetery property before I can prearrange?

No. You can choose that at a later date and it can be noted in your pre-arrangement file at the funeral home.

Can I prearrange cremation or is this just for burial?

Prearranging cremation is especially important if it is what you want and has not been common in your family history. This eliminates confusion or hard feelings by survivors not accustomed to cremation or without the knowledge that you preferred cremation. Many people include visitation or viewing before cremation. This allows family members wishing to "say goodbye" to do so. Today it is very common for families to include some type of private or public ceremony with cremation.

Is prearranging only for Seniors?

Of course we don't know when our time will come but whenever that happens, having our families prepared in every way within our power is the gift we can give them. "People don't plan to fail; they just fail to plan." Prearrangement is better to have and not need than to need and not have. The younger you are when you prearrange and the longer you live, the more you've defeated inflation's rising prices and that is wise and valuable.