In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson explains Medicaid’s rules surrounding prepaid funerals and burial arrangement plans.
Hi! I’m Wes Coulson from Dent-Coulson Elder Law, proudly serving clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond. I’d like to welcome you to our Elder Law and Estate Planning Minute. We do these to help educate people, give them some little tips, and especially to let them know the questions they need to ask, things that they’ve maybe not thought of. Our thought on that is that we can help you best if you realize the things that you need help and that we can help you with. So I hope you enjoy. Thanks!
Let’s talk about how Medicaid treats prepaid funeral and burial, or cremation, plans. You can have one and it’s considered an exempt asset, which means it doesn’t count against the total of what they allow you to keep and still be eligible. But you have to follow some very specific rules. First of all, the contract with the funeral home has to be what’s called “irrevocable”; basically, that means it’s a done deal, you can’t cancel it, you can’t get your money back. It has to cover the services and the, what they call, “burial apparatus” which would be, if you’re being buried, it would be the casket and the vault, the urn if you are being cremated.
In Illinois, the cost of services, now that’s not the burial apparatus, the cost of services can’t be more than $6,774. Now, some people have the idea of “well, here’s a great way to protect some money. I will contract for a $15,000 funeral, but when the time comes we’ll go for the $3,000 cremation and my family will get the other $12,000. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There has to be a provision in the contract that any money that you don’t spend on the actual funeral and burial, or cremation services, goes to the state, in which that person was on Medicaid.
So, hope that helps. A lot of detail, complicated rules in this and a lot of other things. My best advice here is, this is really not something you should try to do and get exactly right by yourself. Get professional help, and, pretty obviously, we’re happy to help. Thanks!
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.