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- Preplanning: A Precious Gift to Those You Love
- Why Preplan?
- Why Prefund?
- New York State Laws Protect Consumers
- If a Funeral Home Closes
- Special Considerations for Medicaid/SSI Applicants & Recipients
- How to Choose a Funeral Director
- The Prearrangement Conference
- After the Prearrangement Conference
- Consumer Checklist for Prefunding a Funeral
- Personal & Financial Affairs Checklist for End-of-Life Planning
Before the Internet, it was often difficult and time consuming for survivors or persons dealing with end of life issues to get the necessary facts to make informed decisions, or to explore available options. Now, it is possible to access at one's convenience a variety of Web sites that can be enormously helpful. Consumers without home computers can visit most local libraries to use the Internet and print out the information they need.
In keeping with their long-standing tradition of caring, funeral directors remain dedicated to helping families cope with end-of-life matters with quiet professionalism and attention to detail. They undergo a rigorous regimen of college-level study in mortuary arts and sciences, and funeral service. Before being licensed by the New York State Department of Health to operate as a funeral director, the aspiring funeral director must pass examinations on funeral directing and the laws, rules and regulations governing funeral directing.
This checklist has been designed to assist you in organizing important information that will be readily accessible to your survivors after your death. It will also help you preplan your funeral and leave a permanent record of these plans so that your family and/or executor will be able to fulfill your wishes. Knowing what you wanted will relieve your loved ones of making decisions at a stressful time.
It's a really good idea to write your own obituary for a variety of reasons -- you can give it your own personal touch and you can usually avoid the mistakes that sometimes occur when obituaries are hurriedly written at the time of death. The best time to prepare your obituary is when you preplan your funeral. You can leave the obituary copy with your family funeral director and give other copies to immediate family members. It can be updated as your life circumstances change. Doing this will help your family enormously at a stressful time when it might be difficult to remember all the details of your life.
New Yorkers, like all consumers, understandably want to be sure the funds they set aside in a preneed trust account are safe and secure. The following is a series of fundamentally important questions about the protection of preneed funds.
It is important to know that consumers who are eligible for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are entitled to prefund their funeral expenses by setting up what is known as an "irrevocable trust." These irrevocable trusts allow Medicaid and SSI recipients to set aside and designate funds for the sole purpose of paying their funeral and burial expenses without having to totally exhaust (spend down) their savings. Money deposited into irrevocable preneed trusts will not be counted as part of the recipient's financial resources.
This Guide addresses common questions you may have about cremation.
What happens during the cremation process?
The casket or container is placed in the cremation chamber, where the temperature is raised to approximately 1600 degrees to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. After approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours, all organic matter is consumed by heat or evaporation. The residue consisting of bone fragments is known as cremated remains. The cremated remains are then carefully removed from the cremation chamber. Any metal is removed with a magnet and later disposed of in cemetery grounds. The cremated remains are then processed into fine particles and placed in the container provided by the crematorium or an urn purchased by the family. The entire process takes approximately 3 hours. Throughout the cremation process, a carefully controlled labeling system ensures correct identification.
There are many advantages in preplanning your funeral. It's a simple procedure that doesn't take much time but ensures peace of mind and relieves your loved ones of making decisions at a stressful time. It allows you to make choices for your funeral service based on what you want. If you change your mind, preneed arrangements can be revised in accordance with new circumstances in your life.
Have you preplanned your funeral? How about your family members? Preplanning a funeral is a smart move for many reasons. It allows an individual to make specific choices for his or her funeral - which can be changed later if so desired. It relieves survivors of making decisions about a funeral at a stressful time. What kind of a service did he or she want? Where will the burial take place? With preplanning there is no guess work and no indecision. Preplanning can also set aside the funds for a prefunded funeral so the family will not have to deal with monetary considerations.
Funeral prearrangements alleviate 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:
Many people choose not only to preplan a funeral, but to prefund it as well, either by paying the full amount up front or by arranging a payment plan with the funeral home. Benefits of prefunding a funeral include:
A frequent question that consumers ask is "What happens if the funeral home closes?"
Fortunately, preneed funds are forwarded to an interest-bearing account with a separate financial institution in the purchaser's name. The purchaser remains in control of those funds at all times.
All citizens – regardless of income – are entitled to and deserving of both a proper funeral service and a burial with dignity and respect. In fact, federal and state laws support this guiding principle in a number of ways.
Schedule a time to meet with the funeral director to explore options. He/she will review the funeral home's General Price List. There are many types of special, personalized services that can be discussed at this time, including music, flowers, memorial donations, the type of service based on personal preferences, and much more.
√ Did you receive a copy of the funeral home's General Price List?
√ Did you receive a copy of the Preneed Agreement and Itemization Statement you signed with the funeral home?
Preplanning a funeral is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most important decisions you will make in your lifetime. Whether it is for you or a loved one, the first step is obtaining all the necessary information to make an informed decision. Thousands of New Yorkers are choosing to preplan/prepay their funeral and burial expenses. In doing so, they recognize that it is smart financial planning and provides great emotional relief for themselves and their loved ones. Prepaying your funeral will allow you to make your own funeral plans, but, more importantly, preplanning will spare surviving relatives and loved ones from the emotional burden of having to make decisions at a time of great stress and grief.
The practice of cremation began with the ancient Greeks who buried their dead until about 1000 BC. Cremation was first used as a practical solution when death occurred on the battlefield. Urns filled with the ashes of fallen soldiers were easier to return to grieving relatives. Ash filled urns also allowed for state funerals weeks or even months after a hero's death.
(MAY 2013) -- NYSFDA has received an increasing number of calls from member funeral firms being given inconsistent guidance from Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) regional offices regarding how a New York-based funeral home should set up a preneed account for a Medicaid applicant or recipient who resides in Connecticut. Due to the resulting confusion, NYSFDA sought to secure a definitive clarification from a senior Connecticut DSS official in Hartford. He just provided us with a current and reliable interpretation of CT law regarding these accounts. The interpretation is summarized as follows:
- A New York funeral home may set up one irrevocable account for a CT resident applying for or receiving Medicaid.
- Just like New York State, the irrevocable account has no dollar amount limitations (“cap”). (As such, a separate revocable account for burial plot items is not necessary.)
- The funds in the irrevocable trust account will be excluded as an asset when determining Medicaid eligibility.
To that end, we are appreciative of the kind and expedient assistance provided to us by CT DSS in Hartford in making this important clarification.
If you have any questions regarding this issue, please do not hesitate to contact NYSFDA at 800-291-2629.
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.