Death Care trade publications such as the Funeral Service Insider and the FuneralWire advocate that funeral homes revisit the non-guaranteed preneed contract.  I agree that funeral homes should reconsider the non-guaranteed preneed contract, but for reasons different from those expressed by other authors.

The non-guaranteed preneed contract affords flexibility and portability to the individual who wants to do more than preplan, but is not prepared to make all of the decisions that go into planning the final disposition.  The guaranteed preneed contract often ties the hands of the consumer’s survivors and the funeral home.   While many families take satisfaction knowing the prearranged funeral, some survivors feel they have been deprived the final opportunity of taking care of a loved one.    

Rather than espouse one form of preneed over another, funeral homes need to provide a viable non-guaranteed arrangement that can be selected in lieu of a guaranteed contract. There is a place for both types of contracts.  However, there are a number of hurdles to the non-guaranteed preneed transaction.  In this post, I will identify those issues briefly, and provide expanded discussions in subsequent posts.

  • Most state preneed laws have been written with the guaranteed contract in mind.
  • Marketing – proactive vs passive
  • Efficient trust management
  • Finding a sponsor