What is it?
A pre-need funeral or burial purchase is purchasing, in advance, funeral services and merchandise that you select for yourself or loved ones. In connection with the purchase of pre-need services and merchandise, you enter into a pre-need contract with the funeral home.
What protection is provided by Illinois law?
The Illinois Funeral or Burial Trust Funds Act allows individuals to place funds in trust for funeral expenses. Sellers of pre-need services and/or merchandise must be licensed by the State of Illinois through the Office of the Comptroller, which has jurisdiction over the administration and enforcement of this law. You may contact the Comptroller's Office to verify whether a seller is licensed.
What services and merchandise does the Funeral or Burial Funds Act cover?
The law covers the purchase of funeral services, clothing, caskets, burial containers commonly referred to as burial vaults, and urns. The law does not cover sales of cemetery services and merchandise. The Illinois Pre-Need Cemetery Sales Act and Cemetery Care Act may cover these. The Comptroller's Office also administers these laws.
What is the reason for a contract?
All pre-need contracts sold in Illinois must contain disclosures to assist consumers in their purchase of pre-need services and merchandise.
What are Guaranteed and Non-Guaranteed Contracts?
A "Guaranteed Contract" means that the funeral home guarantees to provide the services and/or merchandise selected for the amount of money stated in the contract. This means that you or your estate will not be required to pay any additional costs for the items guaranteed, except for unexpected charges incurred (which may include the need for shipment of remains from a distance).
If a contract does not guarantee the prices charged, it must be clearly identified as a "Non-Guaranteed Contract." The amount paid will be determined at the time the services and/or merchandise are needed. Any amount paid pre-need will be considered a deposit to be used toward the purchase price, which will earn interest.
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