Laura Berry is a former State Farm insurance producer and insurance expert.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2017

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Don't miss these facts...

  • You need to have a listed beneficiary, even if it is your own estate.
  • Funeral homes are disallowed by law in most areas to be the beneficiary because the cost can vary and you may change locations.
  • You can request assignment papers from the insurance company and request a certain amount of your death benefit be paid to a funeral home.
  • Find out if you can make other financial arrangements beforehand if the funeral home will not accept assignment papers.
  • There are some expenses that have to be paid up front like the plot, flowers and grave stone.
  • Take the time to pre-plan as much as possible and know what the expenses will be.


You can breathe easier knowing that final expenses will be paid through your insurance policy, but many people ask if there is a way to cut to the chase and have the funeral home listed as the beneficiary.

The short answer is “no.” Most areas have laws against this.

Your most prudent option is to have a designated beneficiary that you trust to handle for final expenses.

Learn more about beneficiaries below and don’t miss out on our free comparison tool above! Just enter your zip code above and compare rates today!

Establishment of a Beneficiary

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Once you start a life insurance policy you will be asked to name a beneficiary. There can be more than one, but there has to be at least one, even if the money is left to your estate.

The main beneficiary is usually the person designated to ensure all of your final expenses are paid, including a funeral.

Many ask if the funeral home can be made the beneficiary to save time and added expense to the family.

Most areas do not allow for funeral homes to be placed as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy for a variety of reasons. There are solutions that make dealing with final expenses easier and are fairly close to having them as a beneficiary.

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Why Funeral Homes Are Generally Disallowed as Beneficiary

A life insurance policy is designed to be much more than coverage of final burial expenses. It can and does do this, but it is designed to be handled by a beneficiary to cover as many final expenses as possible.

It is also in place to help the surviving family stay financially afloat. Most states have determined that it is best to have a separation, although there is a way to have the policy cover the expense through an assignment.

There are also options for funeral trust accounts as well.

There is no way to know exactly where you will be living in 15 or 20 years. If you name a local funeral home as a beneficiary and then move from that location it could get messy.

You might not want to be buried near your former residence. This protects you from making long-term decisions in the moment. The benefit will still be good whether you live there or move to 10 different locations.

What is an Assignment?

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What you can do is ask the funeral home if they accept assignment paperwork. Once you establish this you can request the paperwork from the insurance company. This can be done by the insured or the main beneficiary.

It tells the insurance company in the legal form that you want to designate a certain amount of your death benefits towards payment of the funeral costs.

The insurance company will then issue two checks, one for the payment of funeral expenses and the other for any remaining balance to the beneficiary.

When a Funeral Home Will Not Accept an Assignment

There are funeral homes that will not accept assignment paperwork and expect services to be paid in full in advance.

You will find this out quickly as you try and make arrangements. It is best to be honest and upfront at your first meeting.

Make sure they understand that the life insurance is how you plan to pay for the funeral.

If you cannot reach an agreement on payment method it is best to shop around for another funeral home that will assist you.

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Items That Have to Be Paid Up Front

There is no way to get out of having a few upfront costs when it comes to funeral arrangements.

There are some items that have to be paid for at the time, such as a burial plot, flowers, pianist or grave marker stone. The funeral home of your choice should be able to give you an idea of how much these costs are.

Advantages of Pre-Planning

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Any amount of pre-planning you can do towards the cost of a funeral will help. As the time nears, if possible, get together with the funeral home and begin discussing the financial aspects.

Have as much prepaid as you can with plans to finish paying the rest already in place. It will ease the burden and stress at the time.

Contact your insurance carrier and have them send you the necessary paperwork for funeral home assignment if you wish to have death benefits cover the cost of a funeral.

They can point you in the right direction and help make the process easier.

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