Ordinarily I would not have attempted to answer this question in this forum, but it was presented to me by a clergyman who was familiar with our web site. As it was explained to me, the question was posed to him by one of his parishioners.
“Fr., your parishioner may transfer his advanced planned funeral arrangements from one funeral home to another without penalty or loss of any portion of his pre-payment to include interest that may have accrued during the period the funeral home had the payment to any funeral home he may wish. The individual requesting the transfer must be assured in writing by the successor funeral director (home) that they (the director and the funeral home) are willing to accept the advanced planned funeral arrangements and funds thereto and will perform the exact funeral according to the arrangements initially selected at the time of the passing of the individual.
Fr., the process described above is quite common; relatively simple, and can be consummated without much fanfare.
In the event you (or your parishioner) wish to verify that which I have presented herewith, the following are the Massachusetts Rules and Regulations pertaining to this request.”
239 CMR 4.06: Transfer of Pre-Need Funeral Contracts
- Upon receipt of written authorization to do so from the buyer of a pre-need funeral contract, or the buyer's legal representative, a licensed funeral establishment shall transfer or assign that pre-need funeral contract to another licensed funeral establishment designated by that buyer or legal representative, provided that the funeral establishment to whom the contract is to be transferred or assigned has indicated in writing that it will agree to honor that contract. The terms of the contract shall not be modified at the time of the transfer, but may be amended by means of a written agreement between the buyer and the transferee funeral establishment after the transfer of the contract and all funds connected with that contract has been completed. All such amendments shall be subject to the limitations on amendments of pre-need funeral contracts, as set forth in 239 CMR 4.04.
- In the event of any transfer or assignment of a pre-need funeral contract pursuant to 239 CMR 4.06(1):
- if any funds received by the transferor funeral establishment from the buyer in connection with that pre-need funeral contract are being held in a funeral trust account pursuant to 239 CMR 4.09, all such funds shall be transferred to the transferee funeral establishment within ten (10) business days, as provided in 239 CMR 4.09(5). The transferee funeral establishment shall furnish written confirmation to the buyer, and the beneficiary (if different), that these funds have been received by the transferee funeral establishment and deposited in a funeral trust account which meets the requirements of 239 CMR 4.09 not later than thirty (30) days after the transfer or assignment of the pre-need funeral contract occurs. The transferee funeral establishment shall notify the buyer, in writing, of the identity and location of the banking institution in which the funds were deposited and which will serve as the trustee of the new funeral trust account.
- If any funds received by the transferor funeral establishment from the buyer in connection with that pre-need funeral contract were used to purchase a pre-need insurance policy pursuant to 239 CMR 4.10, the transferor funeral establishment shall send a copy of the buyer's written authorization for transfer of that pre-need funeral contract to the insurance company which issued the pre-need insurance policy and request that the insurance company take all necessary and appropriate steps to modify the insurance policy so that the transferee funeral establishment may receive payment for any funeral goods and services it provides to the beneficiary of that policy. The transferor funeral establishment shall furnish written confirmation to the buyer, and the beneficiary (if different), that the request for transfer of the pre-need funeral contract and appropriate modification of the insurance policy have been sent to the insurance company which issued the pre-need insurance policy not later than thirty (30) days after the transfer or assignment of the pre-need funeral contract occurs.
Father, I hope this response is helpful to you and your parishioner.