Prepaid funerals offer a form of security, and even comfort, as you can know that the plan will help the bereaved to avoid the financial strains associated with burying their departed loved one. In the majority of cases, this is precisely what happens, but what about when you discover that the plan held by your deceased loved one does not in fact cover all the costs associated with their funeral? How can you cover the shortfall?
Choosing a Service Provider
Does the prepaid funeral plan offer a choice of funeral directors? This is one of the most pertinent means of controlling the cost of the funeral, as different providers offer different prices while providing what is essentially the same service. Basically, you might find that the payout cost of the prepaid funeral plan can be stretched further when you're able to utilise a funeral director with an overall lower cost.
Share the Cost
How much is the shortfall? When the amount is relatively low, you and other family and friends might be in a position to pay this shortfall yourselves in order to get the funeral you feel is most appropriate for your deceased loved one. Be wary of taking on further debt in order to achieve this goal, but if the amount is manageable, and if the cost can be shared between multiple parties, this is certainly a valid option.
Of course, it might also be possible for these debts to be reimbursed by the deceased's estate. This generally can only occur when the final will and testament has been executed, meaning that all assets (material assets, savings, investments and superannuation) have been released. In this instance, it might be feasible to take on debt to cover any shortfall resulting from the value of the prepaid funeral plan, knowing that you will soon be reimbursed.
Another option is to discuss the matter with the bank holding your deceased loved one's primary savings. In some instances, it can be possible for the bank to release funds for certain costs (such as funeral costs) prior to the formal execution of the will. Likewise, the bank might also be able to release funds to reimburse funeral costs after the fact but also prior to the formal execution of the will. This all depends on the bank's own policy, as well as the applicable regulations in each state or territory, so be sure that early release of funds will be permitted before proceeding with this option.
When a prepaid funeral plan doesn't quite stretch as far as your loved one thought it would, you have numerous options that will help to cover the shortfall.