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I was blind-sighted by this discovery as my parents were both professional people and always on top of things like this. They even have long term health care. Now in assisted living and Mom's Alzheimer's is final stages she can not communicate and Dad confused also. Don't know if agencies, SS have provisions that offer. What do I do next?

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Is there any value to the estate, contact me offline
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There is another option not stated by anyone here so far. My husband and I decided to will our bodies for science research. One of the reasons is that the organization we chose, will in most cases, cremate the remains at no cost, send you the ashes in a beautiful black container with the name, date of death. My husband died 2 years ago, and since then they have sent me on the 1st year anniversary, a letter letting me know that it is hardest time period to get through and that if I felt I needed to talk with a grief counselor, they would provide me a name. Also on the 2nd anniversary, they sent a card saying how they appreciated our "gift" and in his name a tree was planted up in Oregon. There have been other letters also that thanked me again for my "gift." The only thing in question is this: They reserve the right to refuse the body, depending on what the circumstances of the death were, or what their doctors are studying at the time. At the time of death, you notify them immediately by phone, they ask you if you can answer questions at that time, giving you the option to say "no" if you are too upset to talk. These questions relate to the former overall health of the deceased. At the end of the conversation, they will put you on a short hold and apparently discuss with others in the organization, and then come back on and give their decision. If, for some reason they reject your 'gift', you will be responsible for cost to cover finaI costs. I know here in Phoenix there are several crematories who offer cremation for under $1,000. I do feel that since cremation is becoming more the choice due to high casket, viewing costs, etc., these will increase. So, you do have to be prepared, just in case. I have been extremely satisfied with their compassionate understanding of my feelings. The ashes were returned to us by private carrier, within 2 weeks. When one considers the fact that burial or direct cremation only take care of the remains, it was with great satisfaction to know perhaps our choice might give future doctors or specialists in training, some additional information that would benefit others. The organization we chose is SCIENCE CARE. I am sure there are others.
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Check out the Cremation Society of America, they seem to be pretty reasonable. Also, you can donate a body to a medical school if there is one near you - they handle the transportation and the cremation but you would have to pay for them to send the urn to you. We donated my mom to the U of MN School of Medicine two years ago. They had a beautiful service for those who were donated and were so appreciative for the donation.
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Many people don't carry life insurance. Perhaps your folks were thinking that their estate would be large enough to cover 2 funerals.
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I don't know of any state that pays for funerals.
If a person would choose to donate their body, they need to sign forms and make certain that you qualify. (Not all bodies do.)
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Correction: Social Security paid $250 on his final arrangements.
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My husband was a service-connected disabled war vet and all the VA provided was a head stone for the plot I purchased for ashes. They told me they would have paid more IF I had not had him cremated. SS paid $300 on his final arrangements. They told me they would not pay for the burial plot in the cemetery of my choice in our home town. They only pay for the burial plot of the veteran (not the spouse) in 'certain' cemeteries - not all of them. In addition, I was not entitled to draw any of his disability after his death.
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As a rule the VA pays Very Little, a $300 allowance, burial space for vet&Spouse, In rare instance more, $2,000 for service related, a flag.
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Mom was more than willing to do her own pre-planning because she has an a strong opinion against cremation, which my sister and I prefer. So she knew she had to pay for it ahead of time or we would have went the route of cremation. She has life insurance so by pre-planning and paying, her life insurance will go to my sister and I. She wanted that. Always check with your local funeral home for pre-planning even when they are older. Mom bought her 'policy' when she was 85 and the premiums are very reasonable. If they are still alive, it's not too late.
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Wow!! It is amazing when you think you are the only person going through a situation. My mom has no life insurance either, well maybe a small amount with her pension plan. I will look into this Neptune service because I have no idea what I will do about mom's services since I only have two siblings and I cant even get them to call often or visit.
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I think this is one thing my sister and I have done correctly, concerning our Mom. We took her to the local funeral home and worked with her to pre-plan her own memorial service by having her purchase a burial policy. She was more than happy to tell them everything she wants done for her final arrangements EXCEPT she refused to look at caskets. She told my Sister and I to select the casket, which we did. She didn't want to see it. The total service she pre-selected was $9,000 total and included everything except opening and closing of the burial site. That was $2100 and she has pre-paid that, with cash. The funeral home then let her pay out her memorial service ahead of time, on a monthly payment plan. The only 'glitch' was -- she had to pay 24 monthly payments (small monthly payments) BEFORE she passed. If she had died prior to the 24 months, the payments she made before death would have applied to the balance of the arrangements. So it was almost like it was something to live for -- to get past the 24 months! Now she is totally covered as it's been 29 months since she purchased the burial policy. The small 'premium' is deducted from her bank account on the first of the month and we are worry-free.
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Either of your parents military veterans? Some veteran's benefits include funeral costs. Can provide for spouses too.
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Also, check with any country clubs they may have belonged to. Sometimes in the membership package (cost) there is a life insurance policy attached.
Also, with any professional associations they may have belonged to.
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If parents have some assets, are headed for nursing home noe or later: In Georgia as an example; up to $10,000 (each) for a MEDICAID EXEMPT Funeral Trust covering both spouses, and even their children & Spouse, can be preplanned, {or purchased on a Crisis basis}, BEFORE the Medicaid app is completed The Average cost of a Funeral is about 10K.
The Funeral Trust does not have to be purchased from a funeral home, and therefore better when planning ahead becomes portable to ANY funeral home anywhere in the US In Wisconsin in 2012 the Funeral Director private investment trust came up $20 million short, as it was not through insurance , rather risky stock investments
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My Grandparents pre paid for their funerals on a monthly plan when I was little.
They also pre paid for their burial plots. It was such a relief when they passed that my mom didn't have to come out of pocket for anything. They chose a irrevocable plan because that way medicare and medical can't count it as income.
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Check Costco they have really nice coffins for 900.00 I don't know what you do then but looking into it when I find out more will post
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Before my mother passed she thought she was paying for Life Insurance, when in reality she was paying on an Accidental Death Policy!! This was through AARP!! When she passed we( her children) devided up the cost which for a simple burial,(she was creamated), cost approx. $3500- $4000, here in Washington State. That was in 2011. Check all there insurances to make sure, they might have something else in writing somewhere? Also if they are retired military there might be some options there as well. Good Luck and God bless :)
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Selfishsiblings: You are correct. No state pays for a funeral unless the deceased was impoverished and is buried in a pauper's grave with a little ceremony at the gravesite. The state where I live is very respectful of the dead. Here in GA, no one goes to their grave without a prayful acknowledgement of their life.
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Mamoogins: Social Security ( I found out the hard way with both parents and my husband's passing) pays one month in arrears, while the subtraction for Medicare is paid ( taken out) one month in advance. If one dies on the last day of the month, they consider you dead for the entire month. Therefore the check which was already given over to the deceased, has to be returned. They automatically take it out of their checking account if that is where it was submitted.
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ejbunicorn - I have never heard of a state paying for funeral expenses. Anyone else?
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Is every state different for the amount they allow for a prepaid funeral. I know you can pay it up front and get it done. I live in MD.
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I never heard of the Neptune service. We just took care of a prepaid funeral cremation. It was just a little over $5000. I think that is terribly high. I have to prepay my husband too and that will be a regular funeral. I hate to think how much that will be! Probably $10,000. I don't know where that money is going to come from. By the time Medicaid takes care of him in a nursing home they will clean me out completely. So I guess I need to prepay it. My husband has Alz too. But I am keeping him home as long as I can.
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If you are not having a regular viewed open casket service, there is a place called The Neptune Society. Every state has it, we pre-paid our Mom's cremation $2000. They come when the person passes and take care of remains and then get them back to you, then you can have a small service with family , friend's etc. celebrate there life!!
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Just to expand a bit on Mamoogin's response; Social Security and VA benefits pay a month behind. We had read posts that they "took" the last month's checks; however, my mother in law passed on February 9th. The benefits that she received on February 1st were actually for January, so they were not touched. However, on March 1st, payments for February were deposited and had to be returned (they actually took them back out of the account automatically). If you contact the bank when your mother passes, they are legally responsible for returning the payments for you.

I would agree with the other posts. If possible, pre-paid funeral service is a wonderful idea. In our situation, though, the pre-paid services did not cover all of the expenses-(copies of death certificates, other "add-ons"). However, our total cost was under $300.

Make sure to check with her financial institution to see if there are any "premium-free" life insurance policies that are offered as a "perk" of being a customer. We were surprised to find that she had a policy through her credit union.
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My mom has her funeral already payed for but my guess would be if someone passes away without life insurance which will be my case when I pass that the state pays for the burial
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Yes, consulting an elder care attorney is also helpful. Check with a local office on aging to see if there are any free/pro-bono services or workshops on this topic. I agree with the previous poster about checking with the facility financial office & social worker. My parent's pre-paid funerals were also part of "spend down" to MD Medicaid which, thankfully, we never had to apply for prior to my father's death after 8 months in a NF, 6 of those on hospice care.
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Found an article for you on funeraltrusts
Please keep in mind that there are state laws that will supersede some of what is written here.
I just went through the Medicaid filing process for my Dad now in a NH. Mom still alive. Had to liquidate their assets. Mom gets to keep his SS to pay her rent, (i.e. she is called the "community spouse"), and I purchase two Irrevocable Funeral Trusts, one for each, with as much money as I could in the spend down to Medicaid, to help pay for their funerals.
I hope this helpful to you!

-SS
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I live in GA, my father has no life insurance either and wants to be cremated, about $900.
If you want or they have mentioned in the past that they want to be buried, you are allowed to keep out enough to bury them. It is a certain amount in each state. In this state, the money has to be spent (preplanned) and you must show the facility the receipt.
I'm not certain about every state, but SS will send you a check, small, about $250 to help w/ expenses. The funeral homes and crematorium's know exactly how much it is.
Additionally, when they pass, SS will ask that you return the last check they sent out. I never understood this part, because they always pay after, never before anything. I feel as if they are cheated out of their last bit of money.
There are other monies you are allowed to keep out. It may be best to check with the social worker or financial office at the facility where your parents are located. They are a good first source. They have been wonderful for me where my father is, as they know all the rules associated with the particular state in of which they reside.
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Yes, pre-pay for their funerals now with remaining assets at a funeral home of your choice. Ask the social worker at the NH for some funeral home suggestions if necessary. About two years ago, it cost my parents about $4500 each for two "basic" cremations at a nice funeral home in the Washington, DC area. Time to look into it now…
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You mention that they were professional people; is there any possibility that there is a life insurance policy that was part of their professional association that you've overlooked? Some kind of automatic sign up thing, or a death benefit. Some unions/professional associations have this. Hugs and much love.
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