About Funeral Planning CHOICES

Commonly referred to as Funeral Planning CHOICES, the New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund is the leading funeral prefunding product in New Jersey and one of the largest prepaid funeral trusts in the country.

Endorsed by the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, Funeral Planning CHOICES has offered consumers a reliable method to prefund funerals since 1981. The trust fund currently administers 48,000 consumer accounts, provided through 600 New Jersey funeral home locations.

Benefits of Funeral Planning CHOICES

Funeral Planning CHOICES provides a safe, well-managed trust earning competitive interest rates. Without Funeral Planning CHOICES, most funeral directors would have to deposit prepayments into individual trust accounts and manage each account separately.

With Funeral Planning CHOICES, your funds are pooled with thousands of other accounts in secure, jumbo certificates of deposit to earn the highest possible rate of return. Interest earned over time can help offset any future price increases in funeral home prices.  One hundred percent of the principal and interest accrues to the benefit of the intended funeral recipient, minus a management fee of 1 percent.

All trust deposits are placed into an account insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), ensuring the safety of your money. Funds stay in your name as the recipient and are completely refundable, with interest and without penalty, except in the case of an irrevocable account opened for SSI/Medicaid eligibility purposes.

All Funeral Planning CHOICES accounts are fully portable, meaning you may transfer your account to another participating funeral home at any time.  And unlike traditional saving accounts which may close or become inaccessible at your time of death, your Funeral Planning CHOICES account will be available immediately to apply toward or pay for final funeral expenses.

Funeral Planning CHOICES provides consumers with full transparency through the provision of annual account statements and up-to-date account balance information. This information is available online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year or by calling 800.286.3628 Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

How it Works

  • Select a funeral home that participates in Funeral Planning CHOICES and meet with a funeral director to prearrange desired funeral services and merchandise.
  • Your funeral director will provide you with an itemized statement of the goods and services you selected and either a revocable or irrevocable prepaid funeral agreement.
  • You will be asked to review, sign and retain copies of all documents.
  • Make a check payable to the New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund.
  • Upon receipt of your payment, Funeral Planning CHOICES will send you a confirmation notice of your account.
  • Annual statements, along with a summary of your account and interest earned, will be mailed by January 31 every year.
  • Once funeral goods and services are provided, funds will be paid directly to the funeral home, with any excess funds forwarded to the account purchaser or to the State of New Jersey (SSI/Medicaid recipients only).

To check online balances, consumers can visit the Check CHOICES Balances and Tax Statements section. You’ll need the CHOICES contract ID or account number and the last four digits of the Social Security number used to open the account. Online balance information is updated daily and reflects all deposits and interest earned.

Governance

The New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund is managed and governed by a knowledgeable and professional staff and a volunteer Board of Trustees made up of member funeral directors of the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association.  The Trustees set investment and administrative policies and monitor adherence to those policies, ensuring consumer protections and the integrity of the trust fund.

The New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund is committed to complete transparency and full compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations, as well as the highest ethical standards in its operations.  Participation in the New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund is limited to funeral directors who are members in good standing of the NJSFDA and who have agreed to abide by the high consumer protection standards set by the Trustees. 

To ensure compliance with established internal controls and accounting standards, the trust fund is audited by an independent CPA firm six times a year.

The Board of Trustees includes:

  • Samuel Arnold, Chair
  • John K. Baltz
  • Frank Galante
  • Mary Ann Gosselin, CFSP
  • Franklin P. Jackson 5th, CFSP

Management:

  • George R. Kelder Jr., CFSP, NJSFDA CEO/Executive Director
  • Barbara Guinta, NJSFDA Chief Operating and Financial Officer

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