Very few of us these days live near where we were born. We grow up and start our life’s adventure and more likely than not we will live many places before our death. Some people who feel they are settled today or who want to make sure they have taken care of everything for their family, might purchase burial rights in a cemetery and begin to purchase all things needed in a modern conventional burial. The problem is that we do not stay in one place any longer. Maybe we will have to go and live with other family members in our old age, leaving a perfectly paid for burial ground. Family might have changed their ideas about final disposition. Some might want to opt for cremation or donate their bodies. While the cemetery might refund unused items, the rights of burial are probably not one of them. The rights of burial can remain in the family as an inheritance. The fact remains that once a plot is purchased for the most part, it stays purchased. You can resell your burial rights or pass them down through the family, but that is all you can get out of the sale if things change. I have heard of families opting for cremation when a person has prepaid for a conventional burial because the cost of the funeral was too much. As the cemetery accommodates the family for the change of plans and produces a refund of sorts for items not used, the cemetery still cannot refund everything.
The most common way a cemetery makes money is through what is known as constructive delivery. A preneed contract is supposed to protect the purchaser from rising prices. It guarantees that the items purchased will be honored at the time of need, and certain parts of the contract go into a trust to insure this. If you have purchased from a cemetery, you might have noticed that there are two columns of numbers; one goes to the cemetery right away. Those are usually the price of the plot and services that the cemetery guarantees to provide. The other column is the money that goes into trust for items such as marker or vaults. These things, however, can be delivered before the time of need, and then the money for the item can be taken out of trust because it has already been delivered and used. Vaults and markers are installed and ready for use. This is called constructive delivery. Little profit can be made with a burial plan with goods waiting for the time of need. The profit is to be made today, not twenty years down the road.
The desire for constructive delivery is so high in the industry that the family service counselor, or sales person cannot live on selling to families at need. A family service counselor will not get any commission on most items sold in an at need situation. The corporation wants the sales force out there selling fear and guilt to get folks to make a contract for their preneed burial plan. Once a contract is made and paid, items that can be delivered are usually delivered. The trick is to know what you want and how to get it. Set your own money aside and start making your own plan. I always suggest doing some shopping around to see what prices are like where you live. Take a walk in local cemeteries. I have found that municipal cemeteries where I live offer much better pricing for burials than any other cemeteries around. Make the best choice for you and your family. If you know right now you are not going to go live somewhere else, preneed sales can offer discounts. The problem arises - few of us know where we will be when our death occurs. We must plan for our death, but we might not want to prepay for it.