Attorney General Headshot

Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg

Attorney General Seal


When death occurs, decisions must be made under emotional conditions and limited time constraints. Some of these decisions could involve purchases of goods and services costing thousands of dollars. A preplanned funeral is a way to remove this burden from a spouse or family member. A preplanned funeral consists of writing down your preferences, suggestions, and requests for your funeral.

It may include the funeral home, church, minister, type of service, preference for burial or cremation, and information for the obituary. Many funeral homes have worksheets to assist a person in making decisions.

Your preplanned funeral document should be kept with your will or other estate planning documents. You should also tell a family member about your wishes for the funeral.

Some individuals desire to do more than merely plan for their funeral. For these people, prearranged funeral contracts might be desirable.

Through a prearranged funeral contract, you can contract with a funeral home or other provider for goods and professional services for your funeral. Money is paid to the funeral home or other provider at the time the contract is made.

Under state law, the funeral home is required to deposit 85% of that money into the trust. The law also restricts how the trust funds may be invested. The trusts may be revocable or irrevocable.

Any contract should be reviewed carefully, and your attorney should be consulted when questions arise.

Prearranged funeral contracts and trusts, especially irrevocable ones, are not for everyone. Individuals who contemplate a move to a different town or state may find out that the money in trust cannot be moved prior to death. Asking questions beforehand will help ensure that unintended problems do not arise.