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Funerals/funeral with no money

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Question
Mom is in a nursing home. She receives ss benefits. The home allows her to keep 45/mom and allows her medical ins. bill. other than that, they take every cent. She has no assets, no other family accept her son and myself. (daughter in law). I am her representative payee through ss. When she passes away, and shes like 92. because I am the payee, does that make me the responsible party to pay for her funeral? If I give up that to the home, does that make them responsible? or will they just take her to a funeral home and send me a bill. She has no money nor will they allow a prepayed funeral bill to come out of her ss income. I don't like the idea of donating her to science. BUT, if she is an organ donor, does that mean they pay for the cremation of her remains? I'm just searching for an answer as to how to pay when we cannot. I thank you for any input.

Answer
There is $750 in state funds that can assist with funeral expenses. The funeral director will know how to apply for that. Where in PA? There are nonprofit consumer groups run by volunteers that have done a price survey and know the least expensive FHs to work with. Does she use any of her $45 a month? Can't she give that to you to help you pay something?

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How much did the funeral home say it would charge for a direct cremation? Where in PA? There may be a better price elsewhere.

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Lisa Carlson

Expertise

Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.

Experience

I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Organizations
Funeral Ethics Organization (www.funeralethics.org) Funeral Consumers Alliance (www.funerals.org)

Publications
Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Education/Credentials
Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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