Preparing the Paperwork for Your Final Goodbye in North Carolina: State-Required Preneed Forms for Funeral Planning
The loss of a loved one is emotionally traumatic for the friends and family left behind. And in a time already heavy and morose with the strain that accompanies mourning, quite often the duty of planning and paying for a funeral falls upon the family. So while it may sound grim, many people choose to prepare ahead of time for their funerals so their loved ones won’t have the added stress of planning or figuring out how to fund their funeral when they pass away.
If you want to pre-plan your funeral in North Carolina, it is important to understand the state regulations and required forms for preneed funeral planning.
North Carolina Preneed Planning Forms Regulations
Perhaps one of the most important things to keep in mind as you begin pre-planning a funeral is that you’ll need to get all the required and necessary forms from the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service. If any contracts you prepare are done using forms other than the ones issued by the Board, then they are void and cannot be upheld by the state.
You should also be aware that all contracts must be in writing, on the forms provided by the Board, as verbal preneed funeral contracts are not valid.
Inflation-Proof vs. Standard Forms
The state of North Carolina allows funeral homes and providers to offer two types of preneed funeral contracts: standard and inflation-proof.
A standard preneed funeral contract applies funds from a prepaid amount of money held in a trust, or any insurance payouts, based on the prices available on funeral services and merchandise, at the time of the beneficiary’s death. This means that the prices quoted during your funeral pre-planning process may change by the time the funeral takes place, due to inflation or other cost increases. The standard contract doesn’t protect you from the potential that costs could rise between the time of planning and delivering the actual funeral services.
An inflation-proof contract allows you to plan for the services and merchandise you want at the prices available during your planning process. This contract will enable you to lock in those rates and protect you from any increases in pricing that may occur. However, this type of contract may require that funds from the prepaid trust be applied as a deposit, and it may also keep the full amount paid out from any insurance policies—even if it exceeds the costs of the funeral services. This will be disclosed in writing to you during the contract process if it applies.
The Standard Forms
Goods & Services Document
This document is for you to go through with your funeral services provider and declare all the goods and services you want associated with your funeral. You can choose how you want your body to be prepared, viewed, and transported, as well as select merchandise such as caskets, flowers, etc. The pricing for everything you select will be listed and itemized on this form.
This form needs to be included in any standard preneed funeral contract prepared, and you can download the standard goods and services document here. If you don’t elect to have any goods or services from the funeral home, you’ll use this form to indicate that on this form with the verbiage, “No goods or services selected.”
Standard Insurance Contract
You’ll also need the North Carolina Standard Insurance Preneed Contract in order to list any life insurance policies you have that will be paying out funds at the time of the funeral. Please note that any policies listed on this form must be purchased beforehand.
If you choose to prepay funds for your funeral into a trust, then you’ll need to complete the Standard Trust Preneed Funeral Contract.
Using a trust can enable you to set up monthly payments toward the final funeral costs, but keep in mind that if the full amount is not paid in full at the time of death, then family members will be responsible for the balance. Any trust that gains yearly interest may also be taxable.
Certificate of Performance of Preneed Funeral Contract
Any funeral home providing you services will need to fill out a Standard Certificate of Performance of Preneed Funeral Contract in order to obtain payment from insurance policies or financial institutions.
The North Carolina Board of Funeral Service requires that a copy of this form be mailed or faxed to them within 10 days of the funeral home receiving payment.
Preneed Trust Transfer Memorandum
In the event you wish to transfer funds from one financial institution to another, you can do so by using the Standard Preneed Trust Transfer Memorandum.
Planning your funeral ahead of time can provide you and your family with many advantages. It can also give you peace knowing your final wishes will be carried out, and your loved ones will not bear any funeral planning or cost burdens.
Understanding the forms and contracts you’ll need to complete, and why, will hopefully help minimize any confusion around North Carolina’s Preneed Planning Forms and regulations and streamline your planning process.