faq

We compiled a list of questions that families frequently ask us. The questions are grouped into two main sections.

  • General
  • Preneed

If you have a more specific question, please email info@chicagojewishfunerals.com.

We hope you find this helpful.

Are food or drinks allowed at the funeral home?

We do not permit food or drinks to be brought. If you are attending a Shiva at one of our chapels, the food and drinks will be catered.

Are there any benefits for being a veteran?

Yes there are VA benefits that are available and we will help your family fill out the necessary documents to make a claim after the funeral. The VA will reimburse for funeral as well as cemetery expenses, however it is not likely to cover all charges. Please visit www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/claims-special-burial.asp for more information.

Do you sell gravestones or monuments?

Since we are not licensed to sell gravestones or monuments, we refer families to Monumental Art Works. They are conveniently located across the street from our chapel in Skokie and can be contacted at www.monumentalartworks.com.

Is there any financial assistance for COVID-19 related deaths?

On April 12, 2021, FEMA began offering financial reimbursement for families who experienced a death attributed to COVID-19.
To begin the application process, please contact the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number at:
844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585.

You can also start the application by visiting:
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

Please feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions or if you require copies of necessary documents.

Who holds the funds for pre-arrangements?

Funds are held in a whole-life insurance policy with National Guardian Life Insurance Company. This is in accordance with Illinois law. With over 100 years of experience, we trust NGL to serve the families who come to us.

I already have life insurance, why should I pre-arrange?

Life Insurance is good to have, but the policy can lapse or be terminated for any number of reasons. These policies can take weeks or months to pay out, leaving your family to pay for expenses out of pocket. Life insurance also does not guarantee any charges, whereas funeral arrangements are forever no matter what the financial circumstances are in the future. The prices are frozen so that you are protected from potentially decades of costs increases. It makes sense to view pre-arranging as an investment.

How are non-guaranteed charges handled if prepaid? (newspaper notices, airfare, etc.)

Certain items are beyond our control and need to be estimated when establishing pre-arrangements. These charges are reconciled at the time of service, presenting either a balance or a refund owed to your family, and can include newspaper notices, clergy honoraria, or airfare.

What if there are excess funds in the policy at the time of death?

This can often happen if the growth of the policy outpaces the increase in charges. Funeral homes are entitled by law to keep a portion of the growth, however we have never done this and any unused funds are returned to the family at the time of service.

What is a spenddown (for public aid)?

Prepaid funeral arrangements are exempt when applying for public-aid. You can prepay for funeral services in order to spend down assets to reach the allowable amount. Any excess funds in the policy will be returned to the State of Illinois at the time of death, so it is important to make sure this is done properly.

Is a pre-arrangement policy tax-deductible?

The policy is just like any other life insurance policy and therefore is not tax-deductible.

Are there payment plans available?

Yes, the insurance company offers 3, 5, 10 or 20 year payment plans depending on your age and answer to 2 health questions. While most families choose to pay with a single premium, payment plans are available and might be a smart financial decision.

Who should be aware of my pre-arrangements?

We recommend letting any family members know that you have made pre-arrangements. It is a good idea to provide at least one other person with a copy of your contract or a summary of what was arranged. Families will also notify lawyers, doctors, hospice, or financial advisors accordingly.

Can my family change the arrangements I make?

Your survivors will be able to review the arrangements at the time of need and make any changes at that time. Except for certain special circumstances, the next of kin has the legal authority to amend the arrangements however they so choose.

Can pre-arrangements be transferred to someone else?

Since pre-arrangements are funded by life insurance, the policy cannot be transferred to anyone else.

What if Chicago Jewish Funerals goes out of business?

Even though you pre-arranged with us, National Guardian Life Insurance Company is holding the funds and said funds would not be affected by such a circumstance. The policy would remain in effect and be transferrable to another funeral home, however the services selected would not be guaranteed and would likely be reconciled against that funeral home’s charges.

What happens if I move or die out of state?

The policy remains in effect. Another funeral home of the family’s choosing can deliver the services, however the new funeral home is not required to honor the initial contract written with Chicago Jewish Funerals. If you die out of the state, additional charges may be required to bring you under our care.

Can I change or cancel my pre-arrangements?

Yes, we can always make changes to the arrangements. We are often contacted by families who have pre-arranged in order to update their wishes or make changes.  The insurance policy can be cancelled and refunded in its entirety within 30 days. You can also cancel the policy at any time thereafter for the cash value.

I already pre-arranged somewhere else, can I transfer the arrangements to you?

Yes – this happens frequently. It is a simple process of contacting the insurance company to change the funeral home assigned on the policy. Plese let us know if you need help transferring your policy to us.