Family wants to bring awareness to pre planned funeral arrangements

Couple paid $14,000 were told they were owed another $20,000

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter

Mervin Humphrey wanted to take the guess work, shock and cost out of dying.

Humphrey began making funeral arrangements for him and his wife when he was in his 80s.

He paid for both of their funerals... or so he thought.

"He said, 'I don't want to leave you all with that burden.'

[Web extra: Federal Trade Commission: Planning your own funeral]

I thought, 'How wonderful,'” Ruan Humphrey, one of Humphrey’s two daughters, told News 6.

The Humphrey’s now have dementia, so their daughters are telling their stories in hopes it will prevent this from happening to others.

The couple went to Baldwin-Fairchild and chose a plan ... the Simplicity Plan.

The receipts show that the Humphrey’s picked out their caskets and their final resting place at a mausoleum next to family members.

According to the receipts and emails the family shared with News 6, the family paid more than $14,000 in installments.

But years later family members said Mervin Humphrey, who is now in his 90s, got an unbelievable phone call from Baldwin-Fairchild, who has now been bought out by the company Dignity.

"They said,'Yes, you paid for this and this, but to be finished completely you would have to pay another $20,000,'" Ruan Humphrey said.

"It was very upsetting, I mean there were nights I didn't get sleep went to be crying wondering 'What are we going to do?'" Charlene Humphrey told News 6.

The Humphreys said they were told they had not paid for an actual funeral service, but rather everything else.

According to some experts, the average cost of a funeral is between $7,000 and $10,000.

"If you paid out $14,000, you would think everything is taken care of for that kind of money,” Charlene Humphrey said.

"I was very upset about it because I felt they were being taken advantage of," she said.

News 6 contacted a spokesperson for Baldwin-Fairchild, who didn’t offer much explanation about the mix-up.

In a statement the company said, "It is our policy to work to resolve any possible concerns directly with client families."

The Humphreys said that didn’t happen and they want others to know.

"I don't want it to happen to other families, they need to know what's going on," Charlene Humphrey said.

The family ended up getting the funeral services taken care of for much less money.

It's important to know that funeral costs can vary greatly from one funeral home to the other- soit's very important to shop around.

And compare family-owned funeral homes to corporate ones.

Also, the Federal Trade Commission recommended that you get an itemized price list when visiting a funeral home.

And take a close friend or family member with you to make sure you both have a clear understanding of what you're purchasing.

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