Funeral costs prepaid

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Funeral costs prepaid

My parents both paid in full many years ago for their funerals, however I had to take my mother back home out of FL due to health issues. My father was already buried at this point. What happens to the burial monies I need now for my mother up north here? Do I contact the funeral home about this? I have all of the original paperwork to prove her funeral funds were not used?

Asked on May 2, 2017 under Business Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It doesn't matter if the funds have not been used: your mother is not entitled to a refund of them unless the contract for the prepaid services provide for a refund in cases like this. It is doubtful that the contract allows for a refund; with most prepaid services, the money is lost if not used. Check the contract to see what her rights are.
That said, generally funeral homes have reciprocity and contracts or relationships with a least some funeral homes in other states, so that if you prepay at home 1, at least part of that money can be transferred to home 2 in the other state for a funeral (home 1 will keep part of the amount, typically, as payment for having adminstered the account). That's what happened with my father: he had prepaid in Florida; I moved him to New Jersey to be with me when he could no longer live alone; when he passed away in NJ, the FL home paid part of his NJ funeral expenses. Call the funeral home where the prepayment was arranged to ask them what will happen if your mother passes away up north.

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