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PrePlanning FAQ
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pre-planning faq

What is a funeral?
A funeral is an event where people gather together to express their grief for the death of a loved one and to share with and support others who are also experiencing grief.  A funeral provides an organized opportunity for the family and friends of the deceased to acknowledge the loss, to state the important role this person had in their lives, to recognize the loved one’s contributions and accomplishments and to prepare for life without the deceased.  A funeral honors the special unique human life that was lived. It is a final farewell.
How can I personalize my funeral?
You can personalize your funeral service by making prearrangements.  By making prearrangements, you can select a funeral service which has great personal meaning to YOU.  The service can celebrate your individual, unique life. It can provide comfort for your loved ones as it commemorates your life.  They will know that you have personally arranged this final farewell.  Thousands of Illinois citizens are saying “yes” to prearrangement when the circumstances are appropriate for them.
What are the benefits of prearranging my funeral?
The benefits of making funeral prearrangements are peace of mind and financial security.  When you make funeral prearrangements, you have the peace of mind of knowing you have planned ahead.  By doing so, you have selected a meaningful funeral service which will comfort your family and spare your family the difficult and stressful task of making arrangements at time of need.

If I make prearrangements and prefinance them, how do I know my deposit will be safe?
The Illinois Funeral or Burial Funds Act, established in 1955, requires that preneed funds be placed in trust in an Illinois bank or trust company or federal or Illinois savings and loan institution or federal or Illinois credit union or with an insurance company if insurance is the choice of the prearrangement.  To be sure your funds are handled as required by the Act, we suggest you:
  • Make arrangements only with licensed firms.
  • Be certain your preneed funds are placed in a trust.
  • Read the preneed trust contract.
  • Let your family know about your wishes.
 First, be sure that you make your deposit with an Illinois funeral director who is currently licensed to handle preneed funds.  His or her license should be prominently displayed and will be signed by the Comptroller of Illinois.  The license and the professional whom you select are your assurance that your funds will be properly deposited and will be periodically audited by the Comptroller.  When you make funeral prearrangements, the funeral home will prepare a preneed trust contract which states the amount of money you have paid, the services which you have selected, and the funeral home’s responsibilities.  Read the contract carefully to be certain that you have arranged everything just as you want it.  Should your circumstances change, you can obtain a refund of both principal and earned interest in accordance with the contract you sign.
Be sure to inform your family or a close friend or your legal representative about your prearrangements. Place a copy of your prearrangement contract along with your other wishes regarding your final disposition in a place where they will be available when needed.
Can I guarantee the price of my funeral when prearrangements are made?
Many funeral homes offer guaranteed prefinanced arrangements.  This means if you select your service and pay for it in full now, the funeral home will guarantee to provide the service at any time in the future. Prefinancing under this type of arrangement allows an individual to pay for their funeral today with no additional charges required at the time services are performed.  The earnings on the funds will be used to compensate for future price increases.
Should I seek out a funeral director?
Yes, select a funeral director of your choice who is licensed to accept preneed funds.  He or she is a stable figure in your community and has succeeded by always responding to the trust of his or her clients.  Further, you should go to him or her only because you want to.
What about those organizations which do contact consumers door-to-door or by telephone?
Many may be ethical and very professional.  They, too, may be licensed to accept funds.  Before making a purchase decision, be sure the contract allows you to withdraw your principal and interest should you move away or have other extenuating circumstances.  Shipping a vault elsewhere, for example, is too expensive in most instances.  Ask yourself and check the contract to find the answer to this question . . . “If I move to another state, can I get my money back?”  If the answer is “no,” carefully evaluate your decision.  Preneed decisions can be very beneficial– if they can be reversed when circumstances demand.
Is the concept of prefinanced funerals relatively new?
The Illinois Legislature passed the Funeral or Burial Funds Act in 1955. It has served Illinois residents well for over 50 years. Licensees must also be bonded.
If I just want to learn more about funeral prearrangements from the funeral director of my choice, am I obligated in any way?
Information is always available from your funeral director without cost or obligation.  He or she wants you to feel totally comfortable in making any inquiries you may have and helping you implement any decision which you may eventually make.
If I need additional information or ever have a problem, who can I contact?
Contact the Comptroller’s Office in Chicago at (877) 203-3401. The call is toll-free. The Comptroller’s Office monitors the progress and professionalism of funeral directors who provide pre-financed funerals for Illinois residents and others. They can confirm for you that your funeral director is licensed to handle prearranged funds and is also bonded.  You can also visit the Comptroller's website for more information. When you visit the funeral home, ask to see the license granted by the Comptroller to your funeral director.
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