There are many reasons to pre-plan funeral arrangements. For some, it’s a relief to know that they have lifted a terrible burden from their loved ones. For others, it is a question of selecting what you would want done for yourself rather than leaving these decisions to others. Many people today preplan due to Medicaid reasons — a “use it or lose it” concept, where if available funds are not utilized for pre-funding a funeral, the funds are taken and the family becomes responsible for the funeral expenses at the time of need. Regardless of your reasons, there are certain things you should know to help you make good decisions when it comes to pre-planning a funeral:
YOUR MONEY IS SAFE! New York State law provides that any prepaid plan-ahead funeral expenses must be placed in a trust account. Star of David Memorial Chapel uses Preplan, the New York State Funded Funeral Directors Trust. Monies placed with Preplan are deposited in an F.D.I.C. insured account at Chase Bank.
The principal sits in this account, which is held in the purchaser’s name, and accumulates interest. This interest and the original principal amount continue to belong to the purchaser. Only when the funeral has taken place and all of our obligations are met do we gain access to the trust. The accumulated interest allows us to guarantee today’s price into the future.
All monies paid in advance with the exception of Irrevocable trusts set up for Medicaid purposes, are fully refundable at any time prior to the funeral. If you pay in advance, you can request a refund of all of the money that is held in the trust-principal and interest.
Funerals can be pre-planned but they do not have to be pre-funded. This method enables you to map out a plan for when the time comes. Simply knowing whom to call and what the arrangements are at the time of need is not necessarily as beneficial as locking in on today’s prices but surely better than having nothing planned at all. If you are not inclined to pay in advance at this time, it still makes a lot of sense to explore all of the options available to you ahead of time.
Irrevocable trusts can be opened to comply with Medicaid obligations. A pre-funded funeral arrangement is not considered a countable asset when Medicaid looks at the assets of the applicant. By opening up an irrevocable trust, you can take advantage of this “shelter” by using funds that will be depleted anyway, thereby avoiding using your own funds to pay for a funeral when the need arises.
Star of David Memorial Chapel has a payment program tailored for everyone. If you want to take advantage of the benefits of pre-funding, we will design a program that is right for you. We think preplanning is a very logical strategy.
Listed below are links to the (NYSFDA) New York State Funeral Directors Association. They offer information and tips on preplanning funerals that you may find helpful.