Why do I need to have a POA to finalize my step mother's funeral?

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I never really pushed having a POA because I'm on all her bank accounts and her Mobile home. By the time she moved in with me she had already had several small strokes, and was losing her ability to make decisions. I questioned whether she would understand or fight me. So I never pursued it. Mom had the presence of mind to pre plan and pay for her funeral service. This was back in 1995 she bought her casket, and made arrangements for her funeral up in the city where she lived before moving in with me. Her paperwork says it has been paid for since 2004.. Now, fast forward, she passed away in Feb of this year. Since I do not have a POA, the funeral home had to send out Affidavits to her three surviving kin to allow me to finalize her final plans. Well, they are all in their 80s. It's been a month and we are still waiting for one more to be returned. I'm so done at this point. Just bury her as she asked for. Then my husband and I GET to drive 300 miles to finalize her plans, then drive 300 miles again for her service. So confused.

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We had a death in the family in Feb., also. All the funerl Home/Cemetery wanted was the name/relationship of the responsible party and payment. My aunt had a prepaid funeral arrangement [2005] but since then, a lot of 'mom n pop' funeral homes have been bought out by larger conglomerates [even tho they operate under the local mom-n-pop name]. When she passed in 2007, the cost of te same services was higher than the price stated in the prepaid/paid-in-full contract. ou might want to review that contract to see if the problem is any allowance for higher prices to be levied at a future date [i.e prices stated expire in 5 yrs or are subject to a 10 pcnt adjustment, etc]. See if she named next of kin, too, you are a daughter. Read the contract - all you should need resolved at his point is payment, unless they are holding your Mom's body/remains "hostage". Why would they need affidavits from distant siblings, who aren't likely to comprehend he inferences of signing affidavits. Legal docs scare the badoodies out of most of us.

What's the funeral home's premise for delaying resolution, inflicting emotional distress and prolonging your grief? i'd suggest reading the contract and respond from a position of knowledge, compassion, courage and stength. i like jeannegibbs' suggested conversation -- toss the onus on them to respond to you in the reasonable/responsible manner she led. One would think it to be in their fiduciary interests and reputation to proceed promptly. i'm so sorry this is so very unnessarily prolonged. By the way, i was never asked by the FH nor the cemetary if i had POA. All they wanted was a check. i'm so sorry for your loss ~ stay strong, ok? God bless ~ crickett33
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Sorry for the typo, I said 'funeral home' and not 'field roll'. 😡 I'm seeing more and more why we need an edit button on this site, oh how some of us really hate auto correct
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I strongly agree with the poster who mentioned that POA actually ends when someone dies because it really does. I found this out myself, and I would've never otherwise known unless someone told me. Whoever told you that you need a POA to plan someone's funeral obviously doesn't know that POA actually ends when someone dies, and they should be reeducated.

* If your step mom already has a preneed plan in place, then that's what must be, especially if it's been long since paid off before now and you have the paperwork proving it. If she was making payments for her funeral, And she had it arranged through preneed where the funeral home is actually the owner of the policy, then chances are we would most likely be making her payments to another party who provides the policies. This would be called a funeral policy, and you would make your arrangements with the funeral home but make your payments to the policy provider. Hopefully your step mom saved all of her receipts for every payment she made on her funeral arrangements, because she would have gotten a letter from the policy provider which acts as a receipt. All of those receipts should be put with your funeral policy when you make your pre-need arrangement through the funeral home. That way, there's even more proof that the policy was actually paid off. Setting aside some money for grave opening and closing is also a very smart move because you're going to need to cover the cost of opening and closing.

If the entire cost of the field role was already paid off and you have proof of it, you can show this to the funeral home handling your mom's arrangements. If the funeral home wants to contest it, you can always take your concerns to the your state's funeral board as well as the Federal Trade Commission. Buyer beware that there are some corrupt funeral homes out there, which is why there are resources available if you have a problem. This is why you need to save all the proof that funeral arrangements were actually paid off well in advance, because if you ever have to approach the Federal Trade Commission or the state funeral board, you're going to need copies of proof of all of that paperwork. What you'll want to do is approach both parties so in case you have a problem with the state funeral board, the Federal Trade Commission has the last say in the matter, and they can actually make it right. The reason why I mention that there are corrupt funeral homes out there is because there really are. If you search Google, you'd be surprise of all of the nightmare stories out there where families were horrified by bad practices by crooked funeral homes. Not every funeral home out there is honest, which is why I warn you, buyer beware. When making your funeral arrangements, never pay the funeral home directly. Instead, make your arrangements through the funeral home of your choice, and pay the policy provider after making the funeral home the policy owner. That way, all of your payments are put into a trust for you. By setting up your arrangements this way, your arrangements are not counted as an asset should you need Medicaid.
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I just went through this in February when Mom died. The way it was explained to me was if there was no POA or WILL, then all the surviving children or 50% of them were required to be present to make the funeral arrangements.
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ferris1, where are those laws on the books? What state? I did not have to sign off when my father was cremated. Our kids did not have to sign off when my husband was cremated. (I'm in Minnesota)
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You can have paperwork Fedx'd,. We did it with MIL when her house was sold. Since you are a stepchild this may have something to do with it. No blood relation. Can't understand if she planned it all what the problem is? POA does end at death. You may need to get OK'd to be executor. Does she have children of her own? If so, maybe they should handle things.
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JeanneGibbs is totally spot on!

For the FH, policy done in the 1990's likely will cost them $ to carry out as per contract. They want you there in person to basically have you captive for an upsale. If the preneed contact also included all burial costs and headstone as well, they are totally loosing any profit ever made on the sale of the preneed. My mom has a 1980's preneed done and when I went to review a few months before she died (she was on hospice, bedfast in a NH and basically in countdown to death), I went line by line over the existing contract....many many things that were free back then now had cost. Like police escort & funeral holy cards. Floral was included but now the FH did not have a florist / flower shop so rhey would have to pay extra for the spray & stands done as per the preneed. All the pallbearers on both moms initial list and her updated list a decade before she died were either dead or themselves too frail BUT pallbearers could be "rented" & added to initial costs by FH. And there was now a separate cemetary fee & outside contractor cost to open & reseal the mausoleum (which was totally paid for in the 1980's). The added costs were more than the original policy.

Once the last octogenarian sends back their paperwork, FH has to carry out terms of contract. So do you need to be & want to be there for funeral, burial, etc? If not, send FH a certify letter with return registered card (both from the USPO & under $ 8.00 for combo) that you fully expect the terms of the preneed to be carried out as written once the last sign off is done. If so, then decide if you want to pay additional costs, how much and maintain firm on this with the FH.
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I love JeanneGibbs answer and that would be MY APPROACH as well. They're a business. Drive 300 miles to sign papers? Not bloody likely!
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There are laws on the books now that having one cremated requires all remaining children to sign off on the plans. Just do what the funeral home requests, drive the miles and go on with your life.
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For general reference prior to passing/incompetence:

Some states have a Disposition of Final Remains form that allows someone to designate their decision maker, if more than one person has legal standing, or if there is anexception to that standing.


This is done in advance.
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