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Virtual Paralegalism

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A Paralegal Inquires About a Prepaid Funeral Plan

Working as a paralegal in a civil litigation practice is a little like opening a giant box of assorted chocolates; whether you simply show up to work or sample a few mystery candies, you never know what you are going to get.

This week I was asked to get a quote for a prepaid burial plan (Medicare/Social Security “spend down” – you don’t want to know). A grave plot is already owned in a small rural hamlet.

All I had to do was contact the sole funeral home in the small rural hamlet – only there were a surprising dozen funeral homes in the hamlet’s Yellow Pages.

I decided to isolate a few and start with the one with the best online recommendations. Simple task, get a price quote for your basic funeral, right? Not quite…

First, the very serious funeral home representative inquires as to whether I’d like to be embalmed. Well, uh, no, but I can’t speak for the not-yet-dearly-departed. I make a note to ask.

“Graveside service?” he gently inquires. Um, I don’t know that either, but the last one I went to was really lovely.

Moving on, “a casket comes in six colors,” he gravely advised me. Six! You’re kidding! Colors! I never thought to ask.

I realize that I am completely ill-prepared to plan another person’s funeral. Ever so slightly annoyed with me, he emails me price lists – four whole pages of choices.

I advise my supervising attorney that there doesn’t seem to be any such thing as a “basic prepaid funeral plan.”

She muses that she thought this would easier, that there’d be “small, medium, and super-sized plans”.

I offer that caskets come in at least six different colors. She asks, “What colors?”

I reply that I honestly don’t know, because planning a funeral via telephone, you never know what you are going to get.

3 Responses to A Paralegal Inquires About a Prepaid Funeral Plan

  1. Did you check to see if any of the funeral homes had an online pre-arrangement form? The one I dealt with for my parents does:

    http://www.griffinfuneralhome.com/_mgxroot/page_10750.php

    You can download a .pdf form to use as a guide for any funeral home:

    http://www.griffinfuneralhome.com/_mgxroot/page_10750.php#download-form

    You can also try the National Funeral Directors Association for guidance:

    http://www.nfda.org/index.php/public

    You can even follow the NFDA on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

  2. What this experience taught me is that we need to be in charge of our funeral arrangements (unless we're not capable of planning it). It's a very individualized event, a little like a wedding! In the long run, not only did the city of burial change several times, but so did the plans!

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]gmail.com

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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