With some industry members having already declared the preneed transaction dead, a recent AARP bulletin reports that the patient is not only alive, but it is regaining its strength. But, the reason for increasing preneed sales will only bedevil many death care operators: the rising costs of funerals.

Operators who face preneed competition will have difficulty swearing off the guaranteed contract if consumer advocates such as the AARP begin to recommend the transaction as a way for seniors to control future costs.

While the AARP’s stance on preneed may be moderating, the bulletin offers advice that consumers should heed:

  • Visit at least three funeral homes and ask lots of questions.
  • Ask for a detailed price list of products and services.
  • Examine the insurance policy or trust documents that fund the preneed contract (even have a lawyer review them).
  • Make family members aware of the funeral plans, and keep all documents and receipts in an accessible place.