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Planning Ahead

Advance Planning FAQs

These are some of the questions we often get asked about advance planning at Sinai Memorial Chapel. If you have others, please get in touch with us.

  • Q. How do I pay the costs associated with my plan?

    A. You can choose to pay nothing prior to death, knowing that a plan is in place that you have chosen and that meets the financial, emotional, and spiritual needs of you and your family. Or, you can pay a lump sum up front or make payments over a period of years.

  • Q. If I decide to pay for my services in advance, how will I be confident that the funds will be there at the time of need?

    A. If you decide to pre-fund your advanced plan, you have a choice of a Preneed Trust or a Preneed Insurance Policy. Should you select a Trust, Sinai Memorial Chapel will see that all funds are placed in a separate Preneed Funeral Trust with ClearPoint Federal Bank and Trust, an FDIC-insured bank. Should you select an Insurance Policy, Sinai Memorial Chapel has made arrangements with National Guardian Life Insurance Group, assuring coverage at the time of need.

  • Q. When I make an advance plan and choose to pre-fund, is the price guaranteed or will my family have to pay more at the time of my death?

    A. Sinai Memorial Chapel does not guarantee prices when an advance plan trust is created. Sinai Memorial Chapel does guarantee prices when an advance plan insurance policy is created. In all situations, however, we will work with your family to stay within the budget you have set.
    Eternal Home Cemetery, Gan Shalom Cemetery, and many other cemeteries will guarantee the price of a plot at the time of purchase when it is reserved and paid in full or over time.

  • Q: What happens if I die before the funeral is fully prepaid?

    A: If you have a trust, the amount paid plus the interest accrued will be credited toward the cost of the funeral. Any remaining funds in the trust will be returned to the estate or alternatively, any balance due will be paid by the next of kin. If you have a preneed insurance policy with Sinai Memorial Chapel, the cost of the funeral will be paid by the insurance company.

  • Q: My family member has limited income. I was advised that I could reduce his or her assets for Medicare and MediCal eligibility by pre-funding funeral expenses. How do I go about doing that?

    A: In this case, the funds are placed into an account set up as an irrevocable trust or insurance policy, and those funds will not count toward a person’s assts for Medicare and MediCal eligibility purposes, based on current Medicare and MediCal rules.

  • Q. If I make an advance plan with Sinai, what happens to the plan itself?

    A. You should keep a copy of the paperwork in a place that your family knows about. It is not advisable to keep it in a safe deposit box unless a family member has ready access to it. In addition, Sinai Memorial Chapel will keep a copy on file.

  • Q: WWhat happens if I die out of town?

    A: If you are going to be buried in the Bay Area but die while traveling, if you regularly spend a portion of the year elsewhere, or if you move out of the area, make sure your family knows to call Sinai Memorial Chapel directly. The professional staff at Sinai will make all the arrangements to transfer your body back to the Bay Area and provide funeral services.

  • Q. Once I make advance plans, can I change them?

    A. In most cases it is very simple to revise your advance plans. Sinai Memorial Chapel’s Advance Planning Counselors will review your plans as part of our no-cost planning services whenever you wish.

  • Q. How can I be absolutely sure that my wishes will be carried out?

    An established fully funded Preneed Funeral Trust or Preneed Insurance Policy is a legally binding document, and the plans must be carried out after the person’s death. Sinai Memorial Chapel is entrusted in such cases to carry out these plans. The choices made, such as burial rather than cremation, or vice-versa, cannot be changed if a fully funded Preneed Funeral Trust or Preneed Insurance Policy is in place.

  • Q. Can I include my wishes about organ donation or donating my body for medical research?

    A. Yes. Once you make arrangements, that information can be included in your plan. However, you should also convey that information to your family and physician as soon as you have decided what you want to do, so that they know to contact the appropriate institution either when death is imminent or immediately following death. You should also register as an organ donor with your state’s registry. To register as an organ donor in California, click here.

  • Q: Are pre-planned funerals regulated by any government body?

    A: Yes. The Department of Consumer Affairs, Cemetery & Funeral Bureau (1625 North Market Blvd., Suite S-208, Sacramento, CA 95834) oversees pre-funded funerals in accordance with the laws established by the State of California, as does the Department of Insurance (300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1700, Sacramento, CA 95814).