Life insurance is not only complicated, it becomes relevant in moments when you're not likely to be thinking at your clearest. This means a process like using your life insurance to pay for a funeral, something that would feel simple under other circumstances, can feel almost insurmountably daunting. As with other complex tasks performed under stress, the best course of action is to follow a plan step by step. Leave the thinking for when the grief and stress have passed.
Check the policy paperwork. Many policies include a document for direct payment of funeral expenses by the insurance company. If you can't find such a document, contact the insurance agent or customer service department. They will walk you through the process of assigning death benefits to the funeral home.
Meet with the funeral director. Explain that you intend to advance payment directly from the life insurance benefits. This is a common practice in the industry, and the director will have his own process for handling it.
Contact the beneficiary of the life insurance policy, if this is different from you. For example, a son arranging his father's funeral may need to involve his mother. Bring the beneficiary with you to finalize payment arrangements.
Fill out any documents required by the insurance company and funeral home, getting all signatures necessary from the policy's beneficiary. Double-check any policy or account numbers.
This process will go much easier if you have all the necessary paperwork accessible. If you are in charge of funeral arrangements for any members of your family, it's wise to know where they keep their life insurance information.
Under no circumstances should you let the funeral director know how much insurance you have available. Let him bid based on what you need, rather than try to increase the cost of the service until it approximates the death benefit of the policy.
- Courtney Rogers; Insurance Executive; AIL; Tigard, Ore
- "Life Insurance and its Applications"; Irena Kerr; 2001
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