We know there are many things to consider when planning funeral arrangements. We took the time to answer your most common questions about the pre-planning process.
Why are so many families pre-planning their funeral arrangements?
To personalize their funeral
To reduce the emotional stress and financial burden of surviving family members
To protect against rising funeral costs
For peace of mind
To provide for final expenses due to Medicaid regulations
Do I have to prepay for my funeral now?
No. Many people just want to have their final arrangement known in advance, even decide upon the type of ceremony and casket, without actually paying for these items. Getting your wishes down in writing is the most important thing. That way, there is no confusion about your intentions at the time of your death.
What is the advantage of pre-planning?
Federal and state law provide that properly trusted assets intended for the payment of funeral expenses will not be considered a resource when SSI/Medicaid eligibility is determined. This allows Medicaid recipients to preserve assets that would normally be exhausted and in so doing ensure their funeral will be paid.
Only SSI or Medicaid recipients, or applicants, can establish an irrevocable account. Applicants/Recipients of SSI/Medicaid who wish to pre-fund their funeral during the spend down process may set up one irrevocable burial trust. This trust is inclusive of funeral service and merchandise with no dollar limit as long as the monies are put aside for legitimate funeral expenses. What makes the account irrevocable is the fact that consumers or the funeral director may not remove funds prior to the occurrence of death. Our funeral home guarantees that the interest generated in these accounts will cover any price increases that may happen over time if the funeral is prepaid in full. Should there be more money in the account than what is owed to the funeral home at the time of death, overages must be forwarded to the local County Indigent Burial Fund and cannot be refunded to the family.
You can still repay your funeral even if you are not on Medicaid, using a more flexible account, which is a revocable trust account. This means that the consumer can remove funds at any time prior to death including the principal and interest without incurring a penalty. It works very similar to a savings account with your local bank except that the fund we use (PrePlan) has a much higher interest rate. If the funeral is prepaid in full, our funeral home guarantees that the interest generated in the account will cover any price increases in our funeral home charges that may happen over time (excluding cash advances). Should there be more money in the account than what is owed to the funeral home at time of death, any overage can then either be used for additional upgrades to the funeral or simply refunded to the person’s estate.
Are my prepaid funeral funds secure?
Any funds received towards a prepaid funeral are placed into a Revocable Trust Account in accordance with state law. New York State features the strongest laws in the nation when it comes to safeguarding and protecting the funds consumers have set aside to pay for their own burial and funeral cost. This legal protection guarantees that a consumer may transfer their arrangements and funds to any other funeral home, and even to another state. All funds are under the control and direction of the consumer.
Contact us to learn more about pre-planning options.