Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Update on Wisconsin's Funeral Trust Fund

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One of the top ten questions clients ask me is "should I prepay a funeral....I want to make things easy for my loved ones?".  My response always had some hesitation in it.  Prepay can be inflexible.  What if you change your mind on the type of burial you want?  What if you move far away?  And I'd end with, I personally prefer to hold money myself and pay for things when needed.  Now, if your time is near and you know it, a prepaid fund might be useful.  Never did I imagine that I could add to the list, "well that Fund is insolvent, recent reports indicate that is owes $23 million more than it has available.  Yes, Wisconsin's Funeral  Trust is belly-up!"

Last fall news broke that the fund had been mismanaged.  A court-appointed receiver was put in place.  How the money was lost has been the focus on work up until now.  Litigation may be coming in the future, but it is too early to tell.  Since the scandal broker several hundred people with accounts have died.  While those funerals were covered, the funeral homes only received 60 cents on the dollar.

Puzzled about what to do now?  You are not alone.  Keep in mind that funeral expenses are considered aspects of a probate, and are the first item paid during the administration of a will. Prepayment is not required, all you need is a funeral home willing to bill the estate, and force family members to pay and be reimbursed.

I will share the news as this situation unfolds.  Thanks for reading, and remember a blog does not constitute legal advice.  Please contact a lawyer in your state for advice specific to you situation.

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