Original stained glass window (1897) at Schlossberg Solomon Memorial Chapel

What is Funeral Pre-planning?

Jewish funeral services usually take place shortly after the loss of a loved one. They are the one life event we know will occur, yet we are reluctant to plan for them.

When the time does come to plan for a funeral, families can be in a vulnerable state of mind (emotionally stressed, grief stricken, compromised). Many decisions need to be made in a very short period of time. Although the funeral directors at Schlossberg Solomon Memorial Chapel have experience and support to help guide families, it can be easier on everyone if a funeral has been pre-arranged.

Pre-planning a funeral is a real gift for the people you love. They will have clear direction on your wishes.

Pre-planning a funeral involves arranging and, in some cases paying in advance for services. Doing so can be as simple as creating notes regarding your personal preferences and vital information to be kept on file at our chapel. It can also involve making service and merchandise selections in advance and pre-funding those selections through a bank trust or insurance policy.

The process is simple

You can make arrangements in your home or at our chapel. One of our funeral directors will guide you through a process to help you make the best decisions that are meaningful, appropriate and affordable. Prearrangement consultations are free and without obligation. We also work with families who are not in Massachusetts. We can work by telephone, email, and postal mail. Click here to see our online pre-planning form to help you begin the process.

Why Pre-plan?

The act of pre-planning also allows one to make personal wishes known. Jewish law dictates that burial take place as soon as possible after death occurs. Coupled with the urgency of notifying friends and family, obtaining burial permits and certified certificates the burden of arranging a funeral can seem overwhelming.

Peace of Mind

Funeral pre-planning offers peace of mind. Your final wishes will be fulfilled. The burden of making funeral decisions and financial arrangements at an emotionally difficult time will be lifted. Loved ones will also have peace of mind knowing that funeral arrangements will be carried out in accordance with your wishes.

Pre-arrangement allows families to make difficult decisions with a clear mind and offers an opportunity for deliberation. Unlike funeral arrangements which must be made shortly after death occurs, prearrangements can be made at your home, at our office or synagogue and with sufficient time for consulting family, friends or clergy to make sure that you are satisfied with your choices.

Medicaid or Title 19 benefits

Pre-planning for funeral expenses can be useful for “spending down” funds prior to applying for Medicaid or Title 19 benefits. Once the death benefit has been irrevocably assigned to the funeral home, the policy or bank trust is generally not considered to be an accountable asset for purposes of eligibility.

Protection against inflation

By pre-funding your arrangement in full, you are protected against inflation. Funeral home services and merchandise (casket and burial vault) costs are locked in at the time of prepayment. Interest earned in a prefunding trust or insurance policy is used to offset inflation. If the interest earned falls short of inflation, your family will not be charged the difference. Cash advances such as copies of certified certificates of death, newspaper notices, cemetery charges, clergy honorarium or any other services obtained on your behalf by the funeral home are charged at the actual cost at the time of death. Although we cannot guarantee those prices in advance, we can estimate those expenses with you so that funds are set aside to adequately cover them.

How are prearrangements funded?

You are not required to pre-fund your prearrangement. If you wish to document your final wishes and keep those on file at our chapel for your family, we can assist you. Sometimes just knowing that the family need only make a single phone call at the time of need provides enormous relief and peace of mind.

If, however, you would like to pre-fund, we have licensed funeral directors on our staff who can explain and assist you with this option. In Massachusetts there various methods of financing a preneed funeral contract. The two most common are a Funeral Trust or an Insurance Policy or Annuity

Funeral Trust

When families prefund through a burial trust, funds can be deposited into a trust held by a federally insured bank. The named recipient is the funeral home. Trust funds are still considered your asset which means that interest earned is taxable. You will receive a 1099 form at the end of each year. There is no age or health prerequisite to creating a burial trust.

Insurance Policy or Annuity

Insurance funding can also be used to cover all funeral related costs including professional services, casket, vault and cash advance items such as newspaper notice and clergy honorarium. There are no health requirements if a single premium payment plan is selected. You will not receive a 1099 form because there is no taxable interest.

Can I transfer my prearrangements?

At any time after you have made pre-arrangements and even after death occurs, you or your family can transfer your pre-arrangements to our chapel. If you have pre-arrangements in another city or with another local funeral home, we can assist you with transferring those arrangements to us. In some cases, transferring from another funeral home may result in savings for your family as a result of our lower prices. You need not contact the other funeral home. Our staff will prepare documents necessary to the transfer for your signature, and we will handle the rest.

What happens when death occurs?

Upon the funeral home will submit a certified death certificate to the trust or insurance company requesting that funds be released. Funds will be mailed to the funeral home to be applied to the funeral expenses. Any excess funds will be returned to the estate or to the next of kin.

How do I start?

Starting the pre-planning process can be as easy as your first phone call. Our funeral directors will lead you through the pre-arrangement process. You can be assured that our staff will be attentive to your every need. We will answer any question that you may have and will never pressure you into any decisions.

Do I have to pre-pay?

The most important part of the planning process is just that, planning. You will be given the option of pre-paying, paying over time, or not paying and just making your wishes known.

What are the benefits of pre-paying?

You will have the peace of mind knowing that everything is taken care of and that your family will not have to worry about financial matters in their time of grief. This is not a money saving device. This is a convenience.

When you pre-pay funeral expenses, the monies collected will be placed into an Insurance funded plan or an FDIC-insured trust account. 100% of your money will remain in your name in the trust until the time it is needed. The Pre-paid Funeral Trust holds money in trust for thousands of individual funeral accounts. The money is pooled and earns the best possible interest because of its size. You can open a trust account with as little as $500 and make payments until the funeral is fully paid.

What happens if I change my mind or I move?

When you pre-pay your funeral expenses, the monies collected will be place into an irrevocable contract. If you move the contract is fully transferable.