CGA Law News & Blog

Is a Prepaid Funeral Right for You?

access_time Posted on: April 25th, 2024

From Attorney Tim Bupp, chair of the CGA Law Firm Estate Law practice group.

In this biweekly column, Attorney Tim Bupp shares with you lessons and perspectives from his twenty-five years as an estate planner with CGA Law Firm.

Is a prepaid funeral the right thing? I do not sell funeral plans, but I recognize them as an important issue related to estate plans. Funerals are complicated, expensive, and deserve our attention.

Who makes funeral decisions? By time-honored caselaw in Pennsylvania, the responsibility of planning a funeral falls to your next of kin. While you could appoint someone in your Will to have the authority over your funeral plans, in actuality, a Will is often not opened until after the funeral has taken place.  I recommend avoiding confusion or disputes by clearly making your plans, documenting them in writing, keeping the details with other important documents, and making your family aware of your wishes. 

How much should you budget for your funeral? In my years of practice, I’ve noticed that individuals often prefer to see less money spent on their funeral. However, family members are often willing to spend more on a loved one’s funeral as a way of expressing their care and respect. For this reason alone, I believe it is wise to plan for your own funeral while you are still alive.  Doing so can alleviate a potential burden on your loved ones after you’re gone, and it can also provide you with the peace of mind that your wishes will be respected. 

Are there any additional advantages to a prepaid plan? Absolutely. A prepaid funeral can offer significant financial benefits in elder law planning. Such an account is exempt from inclusion in one’s Medicaid estate, making the purchase of a prepaid plan a potential tool for preserving funds for your family. If you view cremation as a suitable alternative, I would strongly advise setting up such a plan yourself, as your family may not be aware of your wishes. Moreover, recent laws have opened up the possibility of allowing one’s remains to be addressed through composting instead of cremation or burial.  The idea of one’s remains becoming part of a garden plot, blooming with flowers and attracting bees and butterflies, is indeed beautiful thought.

Tim Bupp has practiced for twenty-five years with CGA Law Firm in estate planning, estate administration, and elder law. Tim is an Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) by the American Association of Estate Planning Councils and a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys. He is certified in Estate Planning and Pension Law Planning by the Temple University Beasley School of Law, from which he also holds a Master of Laws degree in Tax Law. He also holds a JD from the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law, an MBA from York College of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State. Tim has chaired the Estate Law Section of CGA Law Firm for ten years, where he is a shareholder.  Reach Tim at [email protected] or 717.848.4900. 

CGA Law Firm Attorney Tim Bupp

Timothy Bupp

Estate Law Chair, Shareholder

Timothy J. Bupp is a Shareholder with CGA Law Firm and chairs the Firm’s Estate Law Section. He provides clients with specialized advice in Estate Planning, Business and tax planning, Real Estate transactions and related matters. Tim assists his clients by utilizing the knowledge he gained from his advanced degrees in business administration, business taxation, and law, as well as his certifications in estate planning and employee benefits taxation.

Read Tim’s Bio Page in full HERE.