When it comes to funerals, you won't be able to pay as you go, but be careful if you pay before you go.

Many people like the idea of preplanning their funeral, sparing family members from making decisions during a time of grief. It also can save money: You can shop around for the best prices. The Federal Trade Commission says funeral homes must give you a price list for all their services. And the FTC says you have the right to purchase many items, including coffins, from discount suppliers instead of the funeral home.

Many consumer advocates say don't pay in advance, because you may survive longer than the funeral home. Instead, negotiate a deal and put just enough cash in a savings account that's payable on death to the home. If you're concerned about Medicaid spend-down rules, you can set up an irrevocable funeral trust with the funeral home. While the money is not refundable, you can transfer the trust to another funeral home.

For more tips, go to nfda.org/planning-a-funeral/preplanning.html.

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