Dear Sun Spots: We have been getting information for prearranged funerals from our parents. We get different information from different funeral homes. Is there a set way of doing this? Does the funeral home send any statements on the accounts to date? How can we make sure the account is getting interest? Can we go to the bank that the funeral home is affiliated with and find out what is in the account? We were told that some funeral homes do send statements yearly, and some do not. Your help in this matter would be appreciated. – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
Sun Spots spoke with Gerald W. Burpee Jr. of Albert & Burpee Funeral Home, 253 Pine St., Lewiston, (207) 782-7201, who says Maine law is very rigid and controlling, which is a good thing he notes because it protects both consumers and funeral homes. For instance, the home has 10 days within which to deposit funds deposited for future funeral expenses as well as apply for a tax identification number to open up an account.

There are two types of prepaid accounts at Burpee: “Full Account” or “Guarantee Price/Credit for Service.”

The Guarantee Price Trust allows you to pick out the church, casket and other funeral goods and services for a set price, say $6,000 today. You sign a mortuary trust agreement and the $6,000 is then deposited into an account. Even if the price of the funeral increases over the years, the home would absorb the cost. Should the interest rate go up and there be a credit in the account, that money would go to the funeral home.

With the “Credit for Service” you don’t have to pick out everything. For instance, if you wanted to just start up the account you could do so with about $2,000. In this case, excess money is credited to the family or beneficiary. However, if there isn’t enough money in this account to cover the goods and services rendered, the family pays the difference. If signing either of these agreements, you should note that funeral costs or cash disbursements – such as the cost of the obituary, opening the grave and cemetery services – may not be included. You should ensure they are so that the family does not have unforeseen costs they had not planned for.

Burpee says a statement is sent out by the funeral home’s bank in late January or early February. In this case, it would be from Peoples. The home issues a K1 statement to the account holder or whomever has the power of attorney. Oftentimes, Burpees will also provide a balance to a caller over the phone, if requested.

For more information, you may want to contact the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Office of Licensing & Registration in Augusta, which oversees the financial regulations. You can reach them at #35 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0035, (207) 624-8623, TTY (Hearing Impaired) (207) 624-8563 or via fax at (207) 624-8637.

Dear Sun Spots: Can you please find the name and address of a music publishing company that accepts songs, like the ones Perry Como and Bing Crosby used to sing? I appreciate your help through the year. – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
In addition to responses from readers, you might be interested in checking out the following online resources: The Muse’s Muse: A Songwriter’s Resource (http://www.musesmuse.com); National Academy of Songwriters & Songwriters Guild of America (http://www.songwriters.org); Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) (http://www.nashvillesongwriters.com), American Society of Composers, Authors, & Publishers (http://www.ascap.com/index.html); Broadcast Music Inc., (http://www.bmi.com/home.asp); and National Music Publishers Association (http://www.nmpa.org/).

You may also want to purchase a Songwriters Market book, which lists potential markets and places where you can submit your music. You should check your local bookstore to see if they carry it or can special order it. Here in Lewiston you might want to contact Mr. Paperback, 855 Lisbon St., (207) 783-2273. In Auburn you should contact The Book Burrow, 1 Great Falls Plaza, (207) 344-6090. In Oxford you may want to contact Books-N-Things, 1570 Main St., Suite 3 Oxford Plaza, (207) 743-7197.

Also: Devaney, Doak & Garrett, Booksellers, 193 Broadway, Farmington, (207) 778-3454.

Gulf of Maine Books, 134 Maine St., Brunswick, (207) 729-5083.

Brunswick Bookland, Cooks Corner Shopping Center, (207) 725-2313.

Bridgton Books, 52 Main St., Bridgton, (207) 647-2122.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Inform Us section under Press Release.


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