New rules in place to ban funeral homes from holding pre-paid funeral expenses

Hampshire County

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s one of the most important decisions you can make, that you can’t personally fight when something goes wrong.

22News spoke with the Funeral Consumers Alliance of western Massachusetts. They encourage you to pre-plan, but to be cautious about pre-payment.

After the scandal involving the now-defunct Ryder Funeral Home in South Hadley, the state put new rules in place that ban funeral homes from holding your pre-paid funeral expenses.

If you want to pay in advance, make sure that money is deposited into an interest bearing “pay on death” account at a bank, or with an insurance company. Keep the paperwork and let a close member of your family know about it. Never cut a check directly to the funeral home or the director.

It’s also good idea to shop around.

President Sandra Ward of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts told 22News, “By law, if you go in the door, they must give you a general price list. We ask for those by mail and put them up on our website so we have a comparative chart that we do every two years.”

Prices for standard services can vary by thousands of dollars depending on which funeral home you choose.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask question like, “Can I change my mind?” “What am I paying for?” And “Am I protected if you go out of business?”

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