Many people only plan a funeral when faced with a crisis: an imminent death, during elder nursing home care or when a Medicaid spend down is advised.
Death, or planning for its eventuality, may not be something we typically want to think about though anticipating funeral arrangements is an important aspect of the estate planning process and best considered before the time of need.
There are two basic elements to preplanning: 1) indicating your wishes in writing and 2) prefunding.
Benefits of preplanning:
- Designates a person you trust as ‘Agent’ and ensures this person maintains absolute control to carry out your wishes.
- Make desired personal selections for the funeral service.
- Ability to research funeral homes, burial and financial options.
- Opportunity to set aside funds for final expenses, relieving family members of an unexpected financial burden.
Benefits of prefunding a funeral:
- Places the cost of funeral in an interest bearing, inflation-hedged investment vehicle to cover final expenses.
- Prevents life insurance policies from being depleted at the time of death.
- Relieves unexpected funeral costs during a stressful and emotional time.
- Medicaid/SSI recipients may set aside funds for their funeral expenses in an irrevocable trust.
Funeral planning is a topic with many details. Please contact us to discuss your needs and important end-of-life issues.
Prefunded consumers in New York are protected by the nation’s strongest preneed laws.
These laws require 100% of preneed funds be deposited in an interest bearing, government-backed trust account (principal and interest earned remain the property of the consumer).
The purchaser remains in control of the preneed account. If the account is revocable a purchaser may request a full refund of the principal and interest earned at any time, for any reason, and without penalty.
The purchaser may select a new funeral home at any time.
New York State law mandates full disclosure to the consumer by requiring written statements be sent containing information on the custodial account, funds deposited to-date and amount of interest earned.
Under New York State law applicants or recipients of Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may set aside funds in an irrevocable trust account for the sole purpose of paying their funeral and burial expenses plus those of their family members.
The funds in an irrevocable funeral trust are exempt from being counted as a resource. By law the balance in an irrevocable trust account cannot be refunded though the purchaser may select a different funeral home at any time.