Pre-arrangement and ‘PrePlan’
I am thinking about preplanning, what should be my first step?
First things first, Contact the funeral home. A licensed funeral director will answer any questions you may have, as well as set up a convenient time for you to come in. Funeral directors are here to assist you during normal business hours, 7 days a week.
Making Funeral prearrangements prior to a loved ones passing alleviates the burden on family members to make difficult decisions during a stressful time when they are not best prepared to do so and provide peace of mind. Many people think of funeral planning as part of their estate planning. Benefits of preplanning include:
- Allows individuals the opportunity to make personal and specific selections for the funeral service that most closely meets their needs;
- Spares loved ones from having to second-guess the wishes of the deceased at the time of need;
- Allows for time to build a relationship with our family. With years of experience in the funeral industry, our 4th and 5th generation funeral directors can assist you in making the proper choices for a funeral. We are more than happy to make suggestions and guide you towards a meaningful funeral.
- Provides an option to set aside funds for final expenses, relieving family members of an unexpected financial burden; Medicaid/SSI recipients may set aside money to fund the service of their choice before their funds are exhausted down to necessary eligibility levels.
More than any other state, consumers in New York who prefund their funerals have their funds protected by the strongest preneed laws in the nation. It is important to remember that the funds in a preneed account belong to the purchaser, who may change their selection of funeral homes or funeral arrangements at any time.
The law requires that:
- The purchaser shall receive a general price list, preneed agreement and an itemized statement of goods and services selected;
- The funeral director must deposit the funds in a financial institution or trust in a U.S. government-backed investment within 10 business days;
- In New York State, a funeral director cannot charge a consumer any fee for prearranging a funeral;
- The purchaser shall be notified of the institution where the deposit was made within 30 business days of the initial deposit;
- Each year, the purchaser shall be notified by written statement of all account activity and interest earned;
- All monies paid and interest earned on a revocable agreement shall be returned, upon written request, to the purchaser.
Why Prepay? Is there any advantage in doing so?
Yes. Aside from alleviating family members from a financial burden at the time of their loved ones passing, this allows you to lock yourself into current funeral home prices if you paid in full. At our family’s funeral home, when the entire pre-planned funeral is paid in full, the prices are guaranteed minus the Cash Advances (which include cemetery, clergy, death certificates, etc.). The money is placed into the trust account and the interest earned will keep pace with inflation to cover the cost of the funeral (at future prices) when the death occurs.
If my loved one is going on Medicaid, can you help?
Any person applying for Medicaid/SSI can set aside funds for the sole purpose of paying their funeral/burial expenses as part of the spend-down process to Medicaid/SSI eligibility. The funeral/burial funds set aside will not be counted as part of the individual’s financial resources.
New York State law requires that 100% of these funeral/burial funds be placed in an irrevocable trust account (PrePlan), making certain that they will be available when needed and used for no other purpose than what they were intended. A trust which is titled ‘irrevocable’ means that any refund or withdrawal, for any purpose, will and must legally be refused by the funeral director and/or funeral trust or financial institution.