7On your side: Buying pre-need cremation policy - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Buying pre-need cremation policy

A local woman thought she had taken care of her final arrangements 13 years ago.

But she recently found out there's no record of the services she says she paid $800 to receive after she passes away.

The situation may boil down to her word against those she says she paid. But it shows the importance of keeping excellent documentation if you pre-plan your funeral. 

Thirteen years ago, Shirley Pendleton says she and her mom went into a local funeral home to make final arrangements for themselves. Her mom has since died, but Shirley, just recently found out there seem to be no records of the plans she made for herself for cremation.
"The last part of 2012 in November, I called the funeral home because I had questions regarding how the organ donation, which I also signed up for, was going to work out with my cremation and at that time, I was told they could find no record of my signing up for cremation," said Pendleton.

Shirley has documents she was given and a copy of a check she wrote back in May 2000,  but she doesn't have a copy of the back of the check showing it was cashed. At this point, no one will take responsibility for the policy that apparently was never issued.

The bank says it does not have records beyond seven years.

Pendleton has filed various complaints to try to get her money back. "As of this date, there is no record or proof to show that my check was ever negotiated. I don't keep records that far back," she said.

Even worse than losing the money, Pendleton feels as her integrity is being questioned.

"I just wasn't aware that people could do something like this. I paid for something I never got. I lost whatever it is you have when you think you have a policy and if something were to happen to me now, even if I were to get the $800 back, it wouldn't go as far as it would have thirteen years ago," said Pendleton.

If she had to do it all over again, Pendleton says she'd make sure she kept meticulous records and perhaps even bring a younger relative along as a witness. For more information on pre-need policies and recommendations, click here.

If you find a good site with consumer tips on funeral services email me and I'll add it to this story so others can check it out: tschmidt@kplctv.com.

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