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Have you made advanced arrangements?


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We recently lost our last parent and it got us to thinking about what final arrangements we should make, we have no children and no siblings. We already had our wills, medical POA's and advance directives drawn up when we hit the road in 2000 but haven't made cremation arrangements and were thinking of pre-paying? Both parents had prepaid; one with a mortuary in the town where they lived and the other with the National Cremation & Burial Society and we just had to call the number on their contract and everything was taken care of. We don't know where we will end up but something could happen before we get off the road and didn't know where we should make arrangements?

 

Has anyone here used or had experience with National Cremation & Burial Society for their advanced arrangements?

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With no close family I'd go to the lawyer that drew up your wills and set up your final arrangements through them. They can then take care of everything you will need done if both of you go at once or if one goes and the other is unable to take care of what needs done. Without that you may well end up with issues like a past neighbor had where the more distant family members heard about the deaths and showed up to scavenge what they could before the executor was determined by the local court since there was no will. The executor the court appointed turned out to be a distant relative that had never met the couple, lived in Maryland and had to burn their whole year's vacation in Arizona filling out police reports to try and recover the estate's stolen property and money. The poor kid ended up selling the furniture for almost nothing to empty out the house and got taken by a Realtor that sold the house to a flipper that jacked the price and put it back on the market the day after the kid flew home. It was ugly and sad and completely unnecessary.

 

With your lawyer dealing with final arrangements and identified in your emergency contacts documents / phone contacts you should be able to avoid this type of thing. They will handle securing and disposing of your assets per your wills, your final arrangements and anything else that needs done. Fees shouldn't be very high unless you have something complex to deal with and prepaid, prearranged funeral plans should simplify that even further.

 

 

On prepaid plans, mom has one with the cemetery where she will be buried. She has her plot picked out and reserved, arrangements are for her to be cremated wherever she dies and shipped there and then interred. All I have to do as her executor is call the mortuary where her body is being held and fax them the paperwork (2 sheets) that lays out what needs to be done. Everything is then automatic and out of our hands.

 

Trudy and I have our final wishes in our wills and close family that we trust to deal with everything nearby and since we are going to be cremated and buried in a military cemetery we had no need to preplan or prepay anything otherwise we would have also done prepaid arrangements.

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There are several different ways you can do that. There are a number of nation wide services. Some charge a one time fee, but most charge a monthly rate.. kind of like death insurance. The other route is to have an attorney or legal representative responsible for executing your cremation/burial, and to have funds made available from your estate or designated account.

 

There are some things to consider though.. with a prepaid nation wide service, you are betting on the fact that they will still be in business when their services are ultimately required.

 

The one time fee and monthly places seem to be very similar in what they offer... transporting you from wherever to one of their networked facilities.. cremate you.. then transport your ashes to wherever/whomever you designate. They generally offer options as well for memorials, urns, etc. The one advantage a dedicated service like that has though is that they are intricately familiar with processing the paperwork and such required.. whereas an attorney or legal representative is not and would basically end up engaging the services of a local mortuary to take care of transportation, storage and paperwork. In short... much more expensive than a flat rate nation wide service.

 

I think the nation wide service folks are definitely better suited to handle the logistics of transportation and such, and the one time fee would be the route I would go. It's generally something like a grand or two, but the monthly places can be something around $30-$50 a month. It doesn't take long before you're really paying out the nose. But again.. you're betting on them being around who knows how long down the road.

 

Ultimately, I ended up doing a hybrid sorta deal. I carry my legal representatives contact info with my POLST and advance directives, prepaid for attorney services and the local mortuary there, but also established a separate fund for last minute expenses for

transportation.. as well as wording in my will to ensure additional funds, if needed, would be available.

 

One last thing to consider as well.. nation wide services are just that.. within the U.S. only. If you travel outside the continental U.S. and give up the ghost, you're pretty much out of luck. Going the attorney/legal representative route.. you can rest a little easier.

 

On edit: I DO think it is important to have those arrangements and power of attorney clearly established outside of your actual will so that they can be enacted on immediately. Just sayin...

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Thanks for the suggestion Stan.

 

Our original attorney is no longer practicing and we have had several changes since. We are in the process of looking for a younger attorney or law firm that will hopefully out live us to revise/amend our will and execute our last wishes when the time comes.

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Trish is a paralegal working with an attorney who specializes in elder law. When we die, our good bits and pieces go for transplantation and the rest of our bodies go for medical research. At that time whatever of our bodies is taken care of by the research facility. Of course, it is already determined what happens to our assets and belongings.

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I don't know enough to speak about numbers or percentages but in the past I have seen that people that thought they had it set up to donate organs and final remains were rejected when the time came for reasons I can not remember but it did make the news a time or two that I can remember. I only bring this up to keep in mind you almost always need a plan b.

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I only bring this up to keep in mind you almost always need a plan b.

 

Good point. I seem to recall that the main reasons were autopsy, decomposition, obesity, infectious disease... But I know if you are rejected for medical study, you may still be able to donate to an eye bank or have skin harvested for burn centers. I would still think it pretty prudent to have a plan B.

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When I looked into Neptune Society, I had run across this article from the Funeral Consumers Alliance of North Texas and others like it.

 

I eventually just opted to go prepaid with a local mortuary and set up a "pay on death" type account at my bank. Theoretically, the account should appreciate over time and cover any rise in transportation or other related expenses when the time comes.

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When I looked into Neptune Society, I had run across this article from the Funeral Consumers Alliance of North Texas and others like it.

 

I eventually just opted to go prepaid with a local mortuary and set up a "pay on death" type account at my bank. Theoretically, the account should appreciate over time and cover any rise in transportation or other related expenses when the time comes.

 

Thanks for posting the article.

 

I do question the POD account as it would go to a dormant status after 3-5 years of no activity. Interest credits only are not considered "activity". When we first went full time we opened a checking and savings account in Texas. After 3 years the savings account no longer showed on our statements? We called the bank and it said it had gone dormant. We closed the savings account and transferred the funds to the checking account.

Escheating Process: When a bank account meets the criteria for abandonment, the bank can begin the process of escheatment. Escheatment identifies abandoned bank accounts and prepares to remit any funds remaining in the account to the state treasurer. The time period for abandonment ranges from three to five years. The bank may charge the customer an escheat fee, subtracted from the account balance, according to Sovereign Bank.

The complete article is here: http://classroom.synonym.com/happens-bank-accounts-activity-7683.html

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