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Funeral and Cemetery Scams

It is hard to talk about what is going to happen when you die. No one wants to discuss it much among family and friends and especially not as you get older when the idea of mortality becomes a reality. But not having a plan is even more difficult, and places a huge burden and stress on the family members and loved ones you will leave behind. Planning your funeral arrangements is an important step in making your estate plan and it will ensure that your last wishes are fulfilled and your passing is a celebration of the life you have led.

California financial elder abuse attorneys realize that unfortunately, even this aspect of estate planning is susceptible to fraud and scams, despite it being a sensitive and emotional subject. According to the FBI, there are thousands of fraudulent offers for cemetery plots and funeral plan “deals” that will only result in wasted money and time on the part of senior citizens. These frauds often target senior citizens because it may be years before they find out they have been cheated—if they ever do. Far too often, the fraud is only uncovered after the person who was cheated has passed away and leaves his or her surviving family members to handle the fallout.

Know What Is Out There

Protecting yourself from fraudulent services or plans is crucial for senior citizens. In these cases, knowledge is power. When you are preparing to make your arrangements for your funeral and burial plans, whether you are in your 20s or in your 80s, you need to do your homework. The financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. have a list of tips to keep you from buying into a literal pit when picking out your cemetery plots and funeral arrangements:

  • Arm yourself with information and research. Shop around and call different funeral homes in your area and inquire about their services. Funeral home directors and staff are required to provide general and base pricing over the phone or in writing.
  • When you meet with a funeral home director, take a friend or family member along to ensure you are not overwhelmed or bullied into anything you do not want.
  • Learn about caskets for yourself—how much different styles and sizes can cost, and what you will need in specific. If you plan to have a direct cremation, a casket is not required.
  • Go through the fees for basic services provided by the funeral home, and the fees that can be charged for anything extra you may want or need.
  • Read through every contract and purchasing arrangement before you sign them. Ensure that all your requirements, and every step of the services provided, has been listed in writing.
  • Go over your options for cancellation, moving, and refunds.
  • Share the plans you have made with your family members and loved ones so they know what to expect, and what services you have paid for.
  • Do not allow a funeral home director or agent to bully you into choosing a plan you do not want. Make sure the decision is made solely by you, with no pressure from any outside sources.

At the Evans Law Firm, Inc., our attorneys represent any clients who have been cheated or swindled when purchasing their funeral arrangements or cemetery plots. If you suspect that something is not quite right with the estate plans you have made, or if you need a legal consultation about your arrangements, contact our office at 415-441-8669 or online at www.evanslaw.com.

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