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Pre-Planning Questions

Q: What is the benefit of pre-planning and/or pre-funding my final wishes or funeral service expenses?

The benefits of pre-planning and/or pre-funding funeral arrangements are abundant. Pre-arrangement gives someone an opportunity to make their wishes known to their family. This way there is less chance of surprise, confusion, or even conflict when the time comes; things are selected and ready. Pre-funding can save your family potentially unexpected costs at the time of your death.


Q: If I pre-plan and/or pre-fund my services, am I required to have services performed by the contracting funeral home? Can I move my pre-arrangement?

The services that are pre-planned and/or pre-funded can be transferred to other funeral homes.


Q: What is the difference between a guaranteed and a non-guaranteed pre-arrangement funeral contract?

A guaranteed pre-arrangement contract means that when services were pre-arranged, the purchaser (you and your family) put %100 of the money, to cover the funeral home's charges for service and merchandise, into an insurance product/or trust account. The service and merchandise charges would then be guaranteed, at the prices effective the day the contract was signed. Therefore, a guaranteed pre-arrangement contract is not subject to price increases. A non-guaranteed contract is subject to price increases. A trust can be started with any amount of money, and additional funds can be added later.


Q: If I become ill, unemployed, or I find myself in dire financial circumstances, can my pre-funded funeral trust be garnished or seized to pay my debt?

No. The money can only be released with your consent and signature along with the signature of the funeral director that set up the trust. After someone dies, the money is only released to the funeral home, and the funeral home must provide a copy of the death certificate for the payment to be issued. The funeral director is also required to provide a signed withdrawal certificate.


Q: What happens if I have a pre-funded funeral trust and I pass away in another city or on vacation?

In the event that a person passes away out of town or away from the place where the pre-arrangement is maintained, the family should contact Dahl Funeral and Cremation Service. We make arrangements with a funeral home in the area where the person passed away. This firm will manage the preparation of the body and transportation back to the deceased's home. In regards to the funeral trust; or insurance the funeral home will either perform services as originally planned and treat the third party funeral home's charges as a separate charge and bill the family for them, or pay for the transport and preparation of the body out of the trust or insurance. Then the family would be billed for the remaining difference in the service charges. The funeral home will choose the option which is most cost effective for the remaining family.


Q: (NEW) Can I pre-fund my funeral services with a life insurance policy?

Yes. Our preferred vehicle is National Guardian Life Insurance. Please contact us to set up a plan that best suits your needs. We can guarantee the goods and services so your family can be protected from inflation.


Q: If I have a guaranteed trust and my family decides to change the services, and there is money left over in the trust, what happens to extra funds?

If a person is not a ward of the state or on Medicaid, the additional funds are to go to the family or the estate. If someone is on Medicaid, the additional money goes to the state government.


Q: If I choose to pre-fund my funeral expenses, where does the money go? Where is it kept?

The trust fund is maintained by the Montana Funeral Directors' Association. The trustee is Wells Fargo Bank in Billings, MT. Most of the funeral homes in Montana keep their trust accounts in this trust. The entire trust being in the millions of dollars yields a much higher interest rate for the consumer. The other funding vehicle we use is National Guardian Life, this has been a stable funding vehicle and also allows families to be fully insured and protected while they are making payments.


Q: Who, besides the funeral home, should I confer with about pre-arranging my funeral services? Who do I make my wishes known to?

It is recommended that you first discuss your wishes for your funeral services and the disposition of your body, with your family and the clergy of your church. Make sure your plans meet the needs of those who will survive you. After all you are doing this for them. Additionally, if there are any disagreements about how services should go, or your family has constructive input for the services, your pre-arrangement provides the opportunity to come to a compromise. In this way everyone feels included in the pre-arrangement, which will increase everyone's comfort level when the time comes.


Q: If I am thinking of pre-arranging services for a friend or family member, what is an appropriate way to approach them with pre-arrangement?

The best way to approach someone about their funeral services is, above all, to be caring and honest. Let the person know that you want to help, and although this is a tough thing to talk about, it is better to talk about it now than later. It is easier to make better decisions when your mind is clear and focused, instead of making decisions when you are under emotional stress. The loss of someone we love is certainly stressful. You have the opportunity to plan ahead and help those who survive you. Discussing funeral plans with those who survive will make sure that the plans also meet their needs on an emotional and spiritual level.


Q: If the trust is guaranteed, and there is a price increase at the funeral home, how can the funeral operate at a loss on these accounts?

This is where the interest rate attached to the funeral trust accounts comes into the picture. It is our hope that the rate of growth on the account keeps up with price increases.