Did my Loved One Make Prearrangements?



In a perfect world, everything goes out without a hitch. Everyone is on the same page. And there is never a need to worry. Then, there is real life. The question about whether or not a loved one already made burial arrangements before they passed is not that uncommon. After all, end of life isn’t a pleasant topic around the dinner table. Years pass and things like wills and prearrangements for one’s passing go undiscussed… That is, until the information is needed.


There are some things you can do, should yourself asking, “Did my dearly departed make prearrangements?” 


What Is Prearrangement?


Prearrangement is a contract entered into with an individual and provider for funeral services. This usually includes the cremation or burial, choice of casket or urn, the funeral itself, and details like flowers, readings, and newspaper obituary. The living individual will generally prepay the full amount or make payments over a set course of time.  


Did My Loved One Make Prearrangements?


Not knowing if a family member had life insurance or prearrangements is common. According to Consumer Reports, at least $1 billion in life insurance policies go unclaimed or lost. At the end of life, a loved one may become incapacitated by cognitive disabilities, like dementia or Alzheimer’s, which may not allow them to discuss previous funeral arrangements, wills, and other important documents.


In the case of unknown prearrangement, the first step is to call the executor, if you are not in that role. This may be an estate attorney who can answer your questions. If no one was appointed and you are unsure of your loved one’s wishes, you can refer to:


  1. File cabinets and storage areas. These are the common areas where legal documents are kept. Many people archival business records and paperwork to the attic or garage, so if you can’t find what you are looking for, storage file boxes may be in areas where overflow documents are kept.
  2. Safety deposit box. If you know that your loved one has a deposit box, locate the name of the bank. You will need a certificate of death and be the executor of the estate or next of kin.
  3. Financial records. If you cannot locate any prearrangement contract or documents, a good place to look is financial records. This includes bank and credit card statements which outline purchases and bills that have been paid. 
  4. Mail. Old mail and current statements can provide clues to any previous funeral planning.


Don’t Forget the Digital Trail


Other important ways to source information is through the deceased’s emails. Most banking, contract agreements, and business correspondence are done electronically, so you can peruse old emails to find evidence of previous contracts. Unsure about an email password, contact the provider, such as Microsoft, for steps to reset the password. 


Look through files on the hard drive, as well as any external drives, for files related to funeral planning, contracts, last will and testament, and agreements. 


If nothing comes up through this careful examination of files, contact local funeral homes. You can inquire with those in the area that may have had contact with the deceased. If nothing is found, you can proceed with the next steps on making funeral arrangements. Miller Funeral Services & Cremation Society of Texas can help you walk through funeral planning and answer any questions you may have along the way.


After a loved one has passed and you are grieving, it is a difficult to go through these necessary steps. Our team can help assist and make the process easier, efficient, and compassionate. Please call us with any questions about prearrangement and other needs. 

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