Cemeteries are not covered under the Funeral Rule enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) unless they sell both funeral goods and funeral services. Make certain you receive all pertinent advice in writing and then take it home with you so you can look it over for a day or two with an advisor. The advisor should go with you to the cemetery and/or funeral home and can be a friend or relative. While most funeral service companies (funeral homes, crematories) are honest, many are not.
Do not allow yourself to be pressured into buying goods or services.
Funeral Rule: The Funeral Rule was written for the Protection of consumers, you and me. The Funeral Rule requires the funeral provider to give consumers accurate, itemized price information and various other disclosures about funeral goods and services. see Funeral Rule, page 178
The Funeral Rule, enforced by the FTC, makes it possible for you to choose only those goods and services you want or need and to pay only for those you select, whether you are making arrangements when a death occurs or in advance. The Rule allows you to compare prices among funeral homes, and makes it possible for you to select the funeral arrangements you want at the home you use. (The Rule does not apply to third-party sellers, such as casket and monument dealers, or to cemeteries that lack an on-site funeral home.) Some “package” deals are more expensive than single item purchases.
Personal Property Memorandum There may or may not be a Personal Property Memorandum that determines who gets what from the estate. All items may or may not be listed in the Will. The Probate Court may not have ruled on an item. If necessary submit the item for probate. To close the estate all items still need to be distributed and accounted for in a fair and just manner. If there is a surviving spouse it is most likely all personal property becomes theirs. If there are no guide lines then it becomes the responsibility of the executor to sell or distribute the items as they see best.
Remember to obtain receipts from all beneficiaries receiving assets. Have all beneficiaries sign and date a receipt. This is required and is also just good business practice. The executor must go before the court and PROVE they distributed the assets in an appropriate manner. They are libel and they need the receipts. Just explain this to Aunt Sally or Uncle Ted. If they do not sign and date a receipt, they do not get the assets. Period. No exceptions. If you think there may be a problem later on with the relative who conveniently forgets things, have the signatures notarized. The executor is libel and you can be held responsible to make up the financial difference even if you did everything correctly except get a signed, notarized receipt. Expect the best but always prepare for the worst. You and your family will sleep a lot better knowing that you did everything possible to protect the assets of the estate and your personal assets.
What is a Living Will:
A Living Will allows you to make health care decisions now in case you are unable to do so in the future. It documents instructions for your medical care in the event you are unable to communicate due to a severe injury, terminal illness or other medical condition. A Living Will can also be called a health care declaration, advance directive, or medical power of attorney. It is not a Last Will and Testament or a Living Trust. It has been estimated that more than one third of Americans have had to make a decision whether or not they should keep a loved one alive using “extraordinary means.”
Much more information can be found in
In almost every instance you may use an “alternative container” instead of a casket for cremation.
No state or local law requires the use of a casket for cremation. A funeral home that offers
cremations must tell you that alternative containers are available, and must make them available.
They might be made of unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard, or cardboard.
What Does It Take to Close a Deceased Person’s Estate?
All Taxes must be paid. All outstanding debts must be satisfied.
All Disputes Must be Settled.
All Beneficiaries must be taken care of.
This is done last after all other fees, debts and taxes are paid. Some assets may
have been sold to cover these other debts. Try to keep the family and heirs
informed about what will be sold and why it is necessary. They may want to
purchase it from the estate. You will be accountable to the court and others
for the sale price.
A Will that has been lost or destroyed: The dog ate my will.
If the original Will has been lost or destroyed the court
may (or may not) accept a photo copy of the original Will. Sometimes the
decedent gives potential executors a copy of the original Will. Copies may also
be in a safe deposit box. It is so simple to just tell people where you keep your
Will. It also requires a great deal of trust if the person is concerned about
anyone changing their Will.
There are usually indications that there is a Will even if it cannot readily be
located. It could be in a home safe kept under frozen food at the bottom of a
freezer in a garage. Or just wrapped in foil, placed in a zip lock bag and kept
in the bottom of a refrigerator freezer to hide it and protect it from fire. The
main thing is to search but you do not have to go to extremes. It is estimated
that over half of all Americans die without having taken the time to prepare a Will.
You only have a fifty-fifty chance there even is a Will.
A Living Will allows you to make health care decisions now in
case you are unable to do so in the future. It documents instructions for your
medical care in the event you are unable to communicate due to a severe
injury, terminal illness or other medical condition. A Living Will can also be
called a health care declaration, advance directive, or medical power of
Dementia and Changing the Will:
You are dealing with a person who is not
thinking clearly. They may, and often do, change their Will often. In most
cases a person with dementia can still make or change a Will if they can show
that they understand what they are doing and what the effects of it will be.
This needs to be addressed before a medical and financial crisis takes place.
Proof of incapacity should be taken care of early.
Dementia is a group of symptoms affecting intellectual and social
abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. There are many
causes of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of a
progressive dementia. In most cases a person with dementia can still make or
change a Will if they can show that they understand what they are doing and
what the effects of it will be.
Alford Plea – Under the law in the United States, the Alford Plea is a guilty plea in criminal court where the defendant admits that sufficient evidence exists to most likely sway a judge or jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the defendant does not admit the act and still asserts innocence. In other words: The defendant pleads guilty and says it sure looks like he is guilty. All the evidence says he is guilty, but there must be some mistake because he still says he is innocent.
Alford Press was founded on the belief that most people will go before God with this same attitude.