GRANDVIEW, Mo. (WDAF) — A Missouri woman says it has been almost three months since her husband was laid to rest and still there’s no headstone.
Colleen and Bennie Asberry prepaid for burial services at 12 Gates Memorial Gardens in Kansas City, Missouri. They wanted to be side-by-side, sharing a headstone.
But Colleen Asberry was told because of how the contracts were written, the cemetery cannot place the headstone there until she, too, dies.
“He was the light of my life,” Colleen Asberry said. “We’d been married 28 years. We’ve been together 35, and we did everything together.”
But in May, Bennie Asberry died.
“We all were there when he took his last breath, and it was just — It still hurts me to talk about, you know, to see him go like that,” Colleen Asberry said.
Less than two weeks later, Bennie Asberry was buried at 12 Gates.
“That’s when I was informed that the headstone would not be laid until after I died,” Colleen Asberry said. “That doesn’t make sense to me. When I took out the policy neither one of us knew who was going to go first.”
Each person had a prefunded funeral agreement done through insurance. Each was paid in full.
In Colleen Asberry’s contract, there is a $980.80 charge for a “gray grass marker.”
It’s not on Bennie Asberry’s, and that’s the problem.
Todd DeMint of Meyers Funeral Chapel, which is not involved in the Asberry case, said prepaid burials are beneficial. But he said items like the headstone should be paid for separately, perhaps put in a third contract with each of the two names.
“If they wrote separate contracts, which they have to do in the state of Missouri, if they put the headstone under one of them, then you’ve got to have the right person pass away first for that headstone to be completed,” DeMint said.
DeMint said people need to know specifically what they’re asking for and vocalize it when arranging prepaid services.
“When you’re purchasing something, and you have goods and services, it needs to be in black and white what those goods and services are, and you need to know what your expectations are once it’s time to fulfill that contract,” DeMint said.
Nexstar’s WDAF spoke with the cemetery Monday and was told Colleen Asberry could cash-surrender her policy and use some of that money to pay for a new headstone. The cemetery said the remainder of the cash would go back into the pre-need policy.
But Colleen Asberry fears cashing out will cost her money, and she’s not spending another dime out-of-pocket.
The cemetery declined to be interviewed.
“I just want the best for him,” she said.