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Mesa woman questions prepaid funeral policy

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Adelita Quijada bought a prepaid funeral policy but when the funeral home went out of business, she wonders what will happen to his policy. (Source: 3TV) Adelita Quijada bought a prepaid funeral policy but when the funeral home went out of business, she wonders what will happen to his policy. (Source: 3TV)

When Adelita Quijada holds up a picture of her mom Rosie Macias, it's hard to tell them apart.

"You guys are almost like identical twins," 3 On Your Side tells her.

"Well, when I go to California and people see me and my aunt together, they think we're all three sisters," Quijada said.

Unfortunately, though, 84-year-old Macias is suffering from dementia and Quijada dreads the day when she will eventually die.

However, Quijada says her mom prepared for her own funeral by taking out a prepaid funeral policy through a company called Great Western Insurance and made $89 monthly payments.  

"She paid $89 from 2001 to 2007 and then it was paid off. They even sent us a letter saying it was all paid off," Quijada told 3 On Your Side.

According to Quijada, the insurance policy will pay for her mother's services in full at La Paz Funeral Home in Phoenix.

The policy even covers her casket.

But, La Paz Funeral Home recently shut down and is out of business.

When 3 On Your Side went to the funeral home, there was absolutely nothing inside.

As a result, Quijada says her mother's funeral policy that's paid in full is basically worthless.

She says Great Western Insurance told her to simply find another funeral home that will accept the policy but Quijada says all other funeral homes tell her the same thing.

"They told me that they won't accept the contract," Quijada said.

3 On Your Side got involved and we contacted Great Western Insurance to see what happens to a policy when a funeral home, like La Paz, shuts down.

Great Western indicated they would look into the matter and get back to 3 On Your Side.

But as we wait for an answer, Quijada says she's worried and wonders if prepaying for a funeral is really a good idea.

She also wonders if she'll now be responsible for paying for her mother's funeral when the time comes.  

"If I have to pay something when she passes, I'm not going to have that kind of money. I don't make that much money," she said.

3 On Your Side is waiting for Great Western Insurance Company to investigate the issue get back with us with answers.  

[UPDATE: Funeral homes will accept competitors' paid-in-full contracts]

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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