Best Virginia State Regulated Burial Plans

Written by Jeff Root

In Virginia, the department responsible for the regulation of funeral services is the Virginia State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. It is this organization responsible for all laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to licensing and regulatory compliance for professionals and funeral homes alike.

Virginia has proactive rules for burial plans, with statues and provisions in place to cover nearly any eventuality. Their regulated burial plans can be purchased when coverage is needed the most with a range of services and products made available, all of which are heavily regulated.

Keeping residents first, Virginia has put into effect a multitude of statutes designed to protect against manipulation or fraud. They even compiled a list of names, addresses, and pertinent licensing information for public use so that those who are looking for a state-regulated burial plan know which companies and organizations to trust and which aspects of the burial plan are required by the state or not.

For Example: Knowing that a grave liner is not a state requirement but simply a way for funeral homes to make more money can help families stand their ground when they want to cut costs without being in violation of any regulations or rules.

Before we dive deeper into everything you need to know about Virginia State Regulated Burial Plans, let’s take a quick minute to outline what we will cover in this article:

What we discuss in this article (click to go to section):

What is Burial Life Insurance?

Burial life insurance in Virginia is a small coverage amount that is issued by a life insurance company. These policies are smaller, whole life insurance policies purchased to cover the needs of a funeral and service when the insured passes away.

The face value of such policies ranges between $2,000 and $25,000 on average with only a handful of companies providing upwards of $50,000 in coverage. The prepaid policies typically have coverage amounts between $2,000 and $10,000 which is designed to cover only the costs of the average funeral.

Why is Burial Insurance Important?

Burial insurance is important for many reasons. With almost all life insurance companies, there is an age cut off which means anyone who outlives that cut off can no longer take out a policy, term or otherwise. In such situations, burial insurance is an alternative wherein older individuals can take out coverage for just enough to pay for final expenses or burials.

For those who cannot afford any other form of coverage, burial insurance gives loved ones the money needed to plan and execute a funeral during their time of grief without having to dip into their own savings or retirements or put the cost on a credit card. In some situations, applicants might not have any bills left, no debt, no mortgage, and no family to whom they wish to leave anything.

For such situations, buying life insurance in large amounts (typically minimums of $100,000) might not be necessary but a burial insurance plan gives just enough to cover final expenses so that there is a proper burial.

Where family is involved, things can get complicated, with loved ones fighting in their time of grief over what plans should be made. For those who want to plan their service or burial ahead of time, pre-paid burial plans can a) help make sure wishes are known and legally confirmed and b) provide just enough money to cover those wishes.

Final expense insurance comes in many forms: burial plans that are prepaid versus burial plans that are only applicable to the burial itself, simplified life insurance where the inquiry into medical history is limited, even simplified where there is no digging into backgrounds required.

Should You Prepay Your Funeral?

In the state of Virginia, you are legally allowed to name the person who is responsible for carrying out your funeral arrangements. According to Virginia Code § § 54.1-2825 and 54.1-2807(B) planning the funeral goes to the next of kin unless you have appointed someone specifically. If you fail to appoint someone and your next of kin and there is a disagreement, they have to resolve it in court according to Virginia Code § 54.1-2807.01 and that can get ugly.

You can also provide instructions for your final wishes and set aside the money for your burial or cremation by way of a prepaid funeral plan. Whether you should prepay ahead of time is a bit misleading. You can, of course, use your hard earned cash to buy the things you might need for a funeral such as a casket and invitations to the ceremony and the cost for a religious professional or band.

This falls under the regulations for Preneed Funeral Planning and is overseen by state law. It is in these situations that the state board works hard to provide information on reputable companies only and what documents you need for your survivors to carry on with the preneed plan. If you opt for this, you want to take steps to avoid being taken advantage of but you also want to consider that the funeral home might very well go out of business or no longer be able to provide the things you paid for.

However, you can also decide what it is you want and then purchase burial life insurance adequate to cover the entire cost.

What is Included in a Prepaid Burial Service in Virginia?

With Virginia state law you can prepay for things such as:

  • Casket
  • Funeral home services
  • Hearse rental
  • Flowers
  • Embalming
  • Viewing rooms
  • Other funeral service related costs

Some things you can, if you so choose, purchase out of pocket as mentioned but you might have to store them somewhere (like a prepaid casket you ordered from a third party).

Alternatively, you can make pre-paid arrangements with a funeral home (under the assumption that said funeral home will still be operational when you pass) whereby they know what it is you want and will guarantee to provide all of that when the time comes since you pay for it all ahead of time.

How Much Does a Prepaid Funeral Cost in Virginia?

The cost for a preneed funeral plan is contingent entirely upon what type of plan you want.

For Example: There may be plans provided by the funeral establishment you are using which are non-negotiable. So they might cost $12,000 with $2,000 worth of things you don’t really want. Simpler plans are more affordable and some institutions will allow you a flexible payment plan where you only pay between $15 and $30 per month.

More often than not, a burial insurance plan from a life insurance company can give you precisely what you want for less and will pay out when the time is right so that you are guaranteed to have the funeral you want (even if the preferred funeral home is out of business).

Virginia Specific Statutes and Regulations for Burial Insurance

In many situations, the state law leaves certain things up to the funeral home with which you enter into an agreement, such as how far they are willing to travel to get your remains if you pass away elsewhere or what things you can physically reserve. There are other laws too.

Specific Regulations for Virginia Burial Insurance

  • State and local laws do not require you to purchase a vault or container to surround your casket. However, certain cemeteries may require it to support the grave in which case a grave liner is necessary.
  • Caskets are not required if you are getting direct cremation. For direct cremation, you may choose any heavy cardboard or composite container, a canvas pouch, or an unfinished wood box if you choose.
  • Embalming is not required by law save for very specific and rare circumstances. If there is, however, an open casket and viewing as part of the ceremony, the funeral homes themselves may require it.
  • Funeral homes have to maintain a general price list so you will know the cost of everything in your preneed contract, and will be able to compare it to make sure it is the same as other customers pay. In fact, the state recommends you take time to review the agreement before signing and have a third party look it over.

Virginia State Regulations for Preneed Funeral Plans

Prepaid funeral plans in the state of Virginia have some very specific regulations. While these are necessary for funeral homes to follow, they are still good to have a working knowledge of when deciding if burial life insurance or a preneed funeral plan is best for you.

Specific regulations for Virginia Preneed Funeral Plans

  • The state of Virginia allows for guaranteed and nonguaranteed preneed agreements either of which can be funded by insurance policies, real estate or personal property, or trusts. For guaranteed agreements, inflation does not impact the terms. If you select a non-guaranteed agreement, inflation between now and the time of death may render your funding insufficient.
  • If you decided to cancel the plan, you may do so within 30 days unless the money is in a revocable trust in which case you will receive a penalty. If you funded the arrangement with an annuity or insurance policy contract the ability to cancel is based on the terms of that agreement.
  • It is up to the individual funeral home with which you made the agreement to determine if you can change the assignment from one establishment to another.
  • If you decided to change the beneficiary it could void the contract.
  • Once you enter into this contract, no one can make a claim against that money, not for bankruptcy, debt settlements, or claims. The money also cannot be garnished. So, the money, real estate, or personal property you decide to use to pay for the contract will remain in effect.
  • If the goods and services you agreed to are not available at the time of your death, the funeral home selected is legally responsible for supplying similar style and value for the supplies and services. Your appointed representative has final say on choosing the substitute.
  •  In Virginia, if the funeral home has gone out of business or cannot uphold the agreement prior to your death, you can use the money to select another funeral home.

Other Common Preneed Funeral Plan Questions

What are the Tax Implications?

For a preneed plan, you pay the taxes to the funeral home or establishment with which you have entered into an agreement.

What are the Best Virginia State Regulated Burial Plans?

As mentioned, the state of Virginia maintains a database and list on their site with all the information you need to choose a reputable plan. The best ones are those that have what you want, when you want it, at an affordable price, from a licensed establishment.

What is a Preneed Burial Contract?

A preneed burial contract is an agreement you pay now that requires a funeral or burial home to provide burial products and/or services at the time of your passing.

What is a Prepaid Funeral Contract?

This is the same as a preneed contract, only you pay for the entire thing up front, rather than perhaps paying in monthly installments or at the time of your passing. For this, you can include funeral services and goods.

Is Embalming Required by Law in Virginia?

If you do not burial or cremate within 48 hours, the body has to be refrigerated or embalmed. However, it cannot be done without a court order or permission from next of kin according to Virginia Code § 54.1-2811.1 and otherwise is not legally required.

Finding the Best Virginia Regulated Burial Insurance Plan for You

Finding the best burial insurance plan should be easy and informative. Often times, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the options available, and it can become difficult to know which policy is best for you.

To avoid confusion and guarantee that you find the best burial insurance plan for you and your family is to speak with an independent life insurance agent.

Our agents represent dozens of the best burial insurance companies on the market and can help you understand all of your options in order to help you find the best company, policy, and rates to protect you and your loved ones.

Give us a call today to get started working with a professional, or use our burial insurance quote tool in order to get quick and easy burial insurance quotes in seconds.

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