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My parents prepaid for cremation services thru The Neptune Society & let me tell you why it's a VERY good idea: because who wants to deal with that right after a loved one dies??? When dad passed, all I did was call The Neptune Society directly and they came out to pick him up, within 90 minutes, and arranged everything from there. All I had to do was drive over to their office to pick up dad's cremains about a week later.

Having these arrangements prepaid takes a load off of the survivors mind and it's one less 'thing' for them to worry about during a stressful time of grief. Plus, the NS is reasonably priced and professional. I think dad paid around $2500 for both of them, which includes the two wooden urn boxes which are shipped to the home after the contract is signed, and a couple of frames with spots for cremains to be placed, and a few other things I can't remember off hand right now. When I went down to the NS office, I bought a gorgeous silver necklace for my mother to wear that had a vessel in it for dad's cremains as well.

My DH & I are going to arrange for our cremation services to be prepaid thru this company as well.
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SandyB66 Apr 2021
I have the Neptune arrangements made for my mother and myself and I will not have anything to deal with when my mother passes and neither will my son. I am very happy with it.
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I’m ALL for prepaying no matter what. This is a beautiful gift that you can give your LO and yourself in taking care of final arrangements.

Having the details in place, surviving family/friends (if any) can spend quiet, reflective time in remembering (or not remembering) the Departed.

Finances are not the focus as much as peaceful release.
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disgustedtoo Apr 2021
In addition to being a "gift" to the family, it reduces the stress and potential overpayment for services not needed. Bad enough to lose a LO, but then to have to wrangle through this process? I am grateful that my parents did set up plans many years ago! It's on my to-do list, along with getting a new will, etc set up...
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MACinCT note has an important bit of information. I completed my pre-paid in Nov 2020. As my son is a retired funeral director, he gave me good advice. Always be sure that it is transferrable should you move out of the area. I also chose to use a family run organization to do it. The big societies/corporations (such as SCI), often but not always are pushing options that you do not want or need. My son is out of the country and they will hold my body securely until he is able to arrive. My ashes are being sent to Eternal Reefs where I will be made into a reef ball and laid to rest in the ocean. As there is an empty slot at the cemetery where my folks and older brother reside, I'm having a small amount of ash interred there. The headstone will add the longitude and latitude of where in the ocean I lay!
I am on a payment plan of a very reasonable fee per month.
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Tothill Apr 2021
I love the idea of including the location of your reef on the headstone at the family plot.
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You're smart to look at prepaying because what no one here seems to have experienced is the death of someone during a bad surge in this pandemic.

When I put my mom on hospice care in January, Southern California was having thousands of deaths daily, and I couldn't find a single mortuary in the area that would commit to take her body when she died. They could only guarantee they would take a prepaid client, and they wouldn't let me prepay at that point. I was actually told that the nursing home should have ice on hand, because no one could say when a place could be found to take her and her body may have to stay there a while. It was horrifying.

Fortunately, Mom has hung on through that time, so the backlog is gone now.

Also, if you aren't having the mortuary arrange a service, use a place that only does cremations like the Neptune Society. They'll do the cremation, give you the ashes, and you go on your way to dispose of them as you choose. I paid a mortuary $2400 for my dad's cremation (and a dozen death certificates), and he's still in my closet waiting for mom. His service was arranged through their church, and the mortuary had nothing to do with it, but their price was really high for just a cremation. When Mom goes, I'll use the Neptune Society and pay around $800. Again, the service will be at their church which doesn't allow caskets or urns. The family will then take them both to the niche at the cemetery which is where the biggest expense was -- $5500 for a 12"x12" hole in a wall! They charge $595 every time you have it opened, so that's why Dad is waiting in the closet for Mom -- we're doing a one and done.


Don't buy more than a couple of death certificates. I was talked into buying a dozen of them, and I've used exactly one. My dad had multiple investments, too, and only the folks at Charles Schwab actually kept the certificate they requested. His bank made a copy and handed it back, and no one else has even asked for one. I'll have to scan one of them to close his Gmail account if I even bother, but that'll be the same single certificate the bank copied. Now I have 11 death certificates I don't need. One will go into his folder for my genealogy research, and the rest will become something my children will uncover when I die.

Finally, know that unless you have chosen a receptacle, you'll be given a bag of cremains about the size of a shoebox. It's a LOT, and they're very heavy -- about 10 pounds. I didn't know that, but I do know my folks' niche won't hold this much. I have to figure out how to put some of Dad's ashes in a receptacle along with some of Mom's, then dispose of the rest. (I won't let them give me all of Mom's in the first place.) Also, no one told me that ashes will solidify if you don't shake the box once in a while. Dad's ashes are like a solid brick now, so that'll be another interesting thing to deal with. (Hope that isn't too morbid for you, but he'd be amused. I know these ashes aren't my dad -- he's in my heart -- so I can be a little flippant about the disposition of them.)
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Mjlarkan Apr 2021
I appreciate you sharing your experiences. I disagree, however, about the number of death certificates needed. The ones I first ordered were so inexpensive, but to order extras are costly. I had several banks/businesses who made me mail a certified copy. This was four years ago. I had to mail a copy last month to an insurance company.
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Cremation is relatively inexpensive. I am not certain why you would want prepay? It was less than 2,500 with all required services and 20 death certificates for me, in California, when my brother died. I would say if you can find a similar price prepaid to be certain that no costs can be raised for you, and then prepaid will take funds now, not when things are frozen due to a death. Up to you. I would call in your area an discuss with your individual establishments. If you have access to Hospice they can often guide you to the best providers.
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disgustedtoo Apr 2021
Pre-paying relieves the stress of having to make all decisions at the TOD. I can imagine most people are going to be distraught and potentially can be taken for a ride, paying for unnecessary things. Doing it ahead of time, clear-headed, better decisions can be made. Also, as others have noted and you mentioned, assets can be frozen, resulting in LOs having to come up with payment.

I am very thankful my parents set up everything years ago! Costs do increase over time, so having something locked in can also mean paying less before the need vs at the crunch time. My mother still had to pay a good chunk when dad passed, as the plan was only about 2 years old. That was many years ago, so based on discussions with them last year, mom is pretty much paid up. No rushing around to find a place, or worry about payment! A call/email to notify them and mom's remains were picked up the same day. Cremation authorization was sent via email to me, and I printed, signed, scanned and returned it to them via email. The only thing left now is to schedule her interment with dad's remains at the military cemetery (I opted to wait, since she was cremated, the weather can be bad and it's over 2 hours for me to get to the site!)
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I agree with AlvaDeer, if you're planning on just a cremation for a LO, it's not that expensive, so really no need to prepay. I had my husband cremated 6 1/2 months ago, and it was $995, plus $95 for the container(I didn't get an urn, as we will be scattering his ashes soon)and then $30 for the 3 death certificates, (which I could have gotten away with just 1, as most places do take a copy of the death certificate). So the grand total was just $1126.65 with tax.
Now I guess if you're wanting some kind of a funeral service to go along with the cremation, then it might be worthwhile to prepay, as that will cost you a lot more.
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It cost $2300 where I live.

I have seen nice memorials given for people without the Funeral home involved. One was done in the persons Church. The urn was placed inside a beautiful wreath of flowers.

I preplanned my Moms funeral because of Medicaid which was allowed. It was so nice to not have to deal with it later on. All I had to worry about was flowers and the luncheon. I don't remember any 60 questions.
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Geaton777 Mar 2021
In my state I think Medicaid allows $1500 towards a pre-paid funeral.
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I was just speaking to my daughter about this. I want a simple cremation, and my first call will be to the Neptune Society. I want to take care of arranging it in advance. My mother (87) wants a burial, formal service, the whole funeral thing. She picked out a casket and location for burial. Cost (five years ago): $25,000.00. She paid it. If left to my remaining sibling and me we would have cremated her. I just do not understand all that expense.
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disgustedtoo Apr 2021
Just as bad as the cost of a wedding! I don't know how much mom paid as a deposit for her plans. I recall seeing a check for about $23-2400 to cover the remaining cost for dad - they set their plans up about 2 years prior to him passing, so there was that. Simple pick up, cremation, no service really, no funeral or wake, and burial in the military graveyard (he was a Marine.) Now, MANY years later, when email/talking with the FH, I was told mom was all paid up (account earns interest every year.) He did say that transport to the site would be $4-450, plus a stipend for clergy. Seriously? Driving her ashes costs that much? I asked about picking them up and taking it myself and indicated no clergy needed. She hadn't been to church in decades and being 97, she was the last on both sides of the family! We might have a few people attend the "service" the Marines provide, but certainly less than 5 people. He offered to go anyway and not charge us, and planned to say a few words himself. He's currently on medical leave, so I will have to confirm all that with the other contact. Mom passed in December, but the site is 2+ hours away and my preference would be to wait for nice weather to hold the burial (she qualifies to be interred with dad's remains.)

I realize that for many, esp the older generation, but for others as well, it is a rite of passage. Why it became such a circus affair is beyond me. If that's what she wanted and she paid for it, whoop it up.

Personally I don't want any hoopla. One thing my mother and I agreed on is if you can't be bothered to come see me while I'm alive, don't bother when I am dead!
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I used a funeral home that does cremations for my husband. We did not have have any service or any extras, just the "simple cremation package" which cost just under $1200.
I did not shop around for prices b/c this was a very upscale Mortuary, and I appreciated the atmosphere and the professionalism whatever the cost.
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Imho, many elders prepay funeral expenses. Also, some wish to donate to science - if this sounds too grotesque to you, I only mentioned it as as way to reduce expenses.
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