The Benefits of Planning Your Funeral and Burial when You Plan the Distribution of Your Estate

When a loved one dies, everything you know changes. The feeling of loss can be intensified if there are uncertainties about what type of funeral or burial your loved one wanted, or about what will happen to their assets. That’s one of the most compelling reasons to create and implement an effective estate plan. It also speaks to the benefit of preplanning your funeral. When all those matters have been addressed and are clearly set forth, your survivors can devote their energy and attention to experiencing their grief and celebrating your life.

The Benefits of Preplanning Your Funeral and Burial

Preplanning offers a wide range of benefits, both financial and personal:

  • Maximum control—You’ll be able to determine your legacy, both at your service and burial, but also in the ways that people make memorial gifts. A preplan lets you look at all your options in advance, from the choice of funeral home to the cost of funeral and burial services.
  • You’ll minimize the stress on your loved ones—There are endless details that must be addressed when someone dies—more than 70 items to be resolved, according to one source. You don’t want your loved ones spending the immediate hours and days handling all those matters. A preplan will avoid that.
  • A preplan lets you pay for as much as you want in advance—Your family members won’t have to worry about financial matters, either
  • If you’re a Medicaid or SSI recipient, you can set aside money for your funeral or burial without impact on your eligibility

Preplanning in New York

The state of New York has a long history of protecting consumers who choose to preplan a funeral and burial. According to New York laws,

  • When you inquire about preplanning a funeral, you must be given a general price list
  • For a preplanning arrangement to be valid, you must have a written itemization of all products and services included in the preplan
  • All funds contributed to the preplan are still your property, simply held in trust
  • All funds you contribute to a preplanning account must be deposited into a trust or financial institution in the United States within 10 business days. You are also entitled to know where and when the deposit was made
  • You must be notified whenever there is any activity related to your preplan account
  • Your funeral director may not charge a separate fee for preplanning your funeral or burial

You may revoke your New York preplanning agreement any time before your death. If you do, all funds deposited and all interest must be returned to you (unless you are a Medicaid recipient). If you are receiving Medicaid, your preplan may be irrevocable, but can still be transferred to another funeral home.

You also have the right, when preplanning your funeral in New York, to designate someone who will have the responsibility for ensuring that your plan is followed. That person must be at least 18 years of age.

The Interrelationship between a Funeral Pre-plan and an Estate Plan

A funeral pre-plan does not need to be a part of your estate planning. However, there are benefits to considering your funeral and burial needs when you are determining the distribution of assets upon your death. In preparation for your estate planning, you’ll typically document your financial situation, so that you know what you have available for funeral and burial expenses and what you have to pass on to your heirs. The estate planning process and the preplanning process share a common goal, too—the alleviation of stress and anxiety among your surviving family members. By combining the two, you can eliminate concerns that your death will cause unnecessary worry or confusion at the time of death.

Gutterman’s—Serving the Jewish Community in New York for More than 125 Years

At Gutterman’s, we offer comprehensive funeral and burial services to individuals and families throughout the state of New York. We have an extensive knowledge of Jewish customs and will help you take care of every detail, from the memorial service and burial to the selection of a casket or monument. We can also advise you regarding Shiva practices and other remembrances, and will help you set up a Yahrzeit calendar.

We know that times are difficult—the necessary precautions we must take to minimize the spread of COVID-19 makes it challenging to gather and fully express and experience our grief. We will take the time to help you find ways to pay respects to loved ones while maximizing your safety and the safety of our employees. We strictly adhere to the recommendations of state and public health officials regarding social distancing and other safety measures. To see a statement of our current safety measures, visit our website.

To learn how we can assist you after the death of a loved one, call us at one of the numbers provided below. We are currently available to consult with you by phone, text message or videoconferencing. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.