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Call Kurtis Investigates: My Brother Pre-paid For His Funeral. Why Did They Charge Thousands More?

Call Kurtis Investigates: My Brother Pre-paid For His Funeral. Why Did They Charge Thousands More?
February 13, 2016 12:09 AM
By Kurtis Ming

Filed Under: Call Kurtis

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Some people plan and pay for their own funerals ahead of time, so when it’s not a concern for their love ones when the time comes.

Oscar Bautista didn’t want his family to worry about his funeral arrangements when he died, so he made arrangements and paid for his future resting place.

Oscar’s sister Yolanda Bautista says, “He always told me that everything was prepaid, don’t worry about anything.”

After Oscar passed away, Yolanda looked over his contract from 1994 showing he locked in his funeral price at $4,935.
The money in his funeral insurance plan had appreciated, nearly doubling to more than $10,800.

Yolanda thinks when Sacramento Memorial Lawn realized that, they charged today’s prices for his funeral, totaling a new cost of more than $8,700.

“You’re not entitled to that money, give it to its rightful owner,” said Yolanda.

Lisa West, who works in the funeral industry and educates people about funerals, says when pre-planning, it’s important to get an insurance plan guaranteed to cover the entire funeral.

“You have to make sure you purchase the right type of plan,” she said. “It’s guaranteed that your family will not have to pay more at the time of death.”

In cases when money is left over, Lisa says generally these guaranteed policies do allow funeral homes to charge today’s prices up until the money is gone.

Yolanda does not agree with this practice and thinks he brother wouldn’t, too. “It’s a shame. Do the right thing he would say.”

We reached out to Sacramento Memorial Lawn. They said they could not talk about this case but told us certain prices cannot be locked in, like death certificates, permits, and sales tax on caskets.

Sacramento Memorial Lawn has offered Oscar’s family the $2,100 left over after charging today’s prices.

Funeral planners say their best advice is to sit down with your family and talk about what type of funeral, burial, or cremation they want. In addition, people can attend free seminars about advanced planning and find a setting that is not sales oriented.

Kurtis MingfacebookFollowEight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer investigative reporter. Since joining CBS13 in 2003, he's held the position of general assignment reporter and weekend anchor, before starting the "Call Kurtis" consumer advocacy program,…More from Kurtis MingComments

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