NPS and funeral homes

My mother had purchased her pre-need plan from a funeral home in Mound City, MO in 1981. When she became ill, my sister contacted the owners of the funeral home (Meierhoffer) and was told that everything would be taken care of as my mother had desired. When my mother died, I requested of Meierhoffer the “policy” (not knowing the about the problems with NPS) be transferred to a funeral home in Topeka. They indicated no problems with making this transfer. My family then made her arrangements with our local funeral home. After it was all arranged, my local funeral home called to inform me about NPS and that only the amount that my mother actually paid would be available to cover these costs and we would be responsible for the remainder. We paid for the services. I received the paperwork for the Guaranty Assn. to payout mother’s actual contribution, so I contacted them. The Kansas Guaranty Assn told me there was a national agreement with funeral homes that sold the policies and they would be responsible for all the costs associated with performing the service as planned. In our case, the selling funeral home did not perform the service. The Guaranty Assn said the selling funeral home should have “assigned” the benefit to the receiving funeral home. If so, the receiving funeral home would be responsible (and should not have billed us), or if not assigned, the selling funeral home would be responsible for the costs as long as they were in line with the original agreement. Neesless to say, Meierhoffer (St. Joseph, Mo) did not bother to mention if mother’s services were performed elsewhere, we would not have the benefit of her pre-arranged plan. They also did not assign the benefit to my local funeral home. Had our family known this was going on, we would have had Meierhoffer perform the services and then paid to have mother transferred to Topeka for burial. Instead, we were left having a large bill. I have contacted the MO attorney general for assistance. Not only was my mother a victim of NPS, we too were not informed by the funeral home of their obligations. I believe they too have a responsibility to grieving families.

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