An irrevocable funeral trust allows you to save for your end-of-life costs. It can be an excellent way to make arrangements for your burial. However, there are benefits and drawbacks to a irrevocable funeral trust. Be sure you have the flexibility you need since irrevocable trusts can’t be modified after they go into effect.
The main point is that you cover the costs yourself. Remember that even if your will leaves behind money to pay for your funeral, it must go through the probate process. Your heirs may still be required to pay for your funeral upfront and hope to collect reimbursement from your will. But with a funeral trust, these payments are handled automatically.
The next point is that you (or your heirs) can pay less. The funeral trust pays for your funeral with the proceeds of its life insurance policy or other investments. This means that you may pay less upfront than you would otherwise, explains Yahoo Finance’s recent article, “Pros and Cons of an Irrevocable Funeral Trust.”
The details of those costs are varied based on the individual trust fund. Some funeral trusts only cover basic services, like a casket, burial, or cremation. But others will pay for a full funeral ceremony, with any associated officiants, transportation, and other costs. This can make the planning process easier for your family because if you set up a funeral trust that comes with specific, pre-arranged costs and services, all of those details will already be arranged when you pass away. Your family won’t have to go through finding a funeral home and making arrangements.
Another benefit to an irrevocable funeral trust is Medicaid eligibility. Because you no longer own these assets, they won’t count against your net worth when determining Medicaid coverage and any other government benefits. But that’s true only for irrevocable trusts. The money in a revocable trust is still legally yours. As a result, it counts against eligibility determinations.
As with all irrevocable trusts, you should know that once this money is in the trust, it’s no longer under your control. So be sure this is money with which you can comfortably part. Also, confirm these plans with your family if you set up a funeral trust with pre-arranged services. Be sure they’ll want what you’ve planned because this will be for their comfort.
Finally, you can lose all the money if you set up this trust with a funeral home that goes out of business or has financial issues. And these trusts aren’t always portable, which can also be a problem. Remember, there are both benefits and drawbacks to a funeral trust. Discuss these potential outcomes with your estate planning attorney to decide if a funeral trust is a good option for you. If you would like to learn more about irrevocable trusts, please visit our previous posts.
Reference: Yahoo Finance (April 29, 2023) “Pros and Cons of an Irrevocable Funeral Trust”
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