Developmental Services - Case Management Manual

Mortuary Trusts    

When individual consumers have assets that may offset their eligibility or continued eligibility for SSI and/or Medicaid Benefits it may be appropriate and prudent to consider a Pre-arranged and Pre-financed funeral arrangement, better known as a (Mortuary Trust Fund), as a means of protecting those assets. As these assets are considered to be assets of the Trust not the individual they are protected when qualifying for SSI and/or Medicaid.

A Mortuary Trust Agreement is an irrevocable written agreement between an individual or their guardian, the (Donor), and a Funeral Home which becomes the TRUSTEE for that trust that authorizes the funeral home to establish an interest bearing account to cover the costs of funeral services upon the death of the individual named as recipient of the trust. All funds received by the Funeral Home and all interest that accumulates in the account can only be withdrawn upon the death of the individual named by the trust.

Depending on the specific circumstances, such as the age and health of the individual, $1,400 to $2,000 would be a reasonable amount to set aside in a Mortuary Trust and may be endowed either as a single deposit or on installments.

The following procedure is suggested when establishing a Mortuary Trust Fund:

  1. Where appropriate, potential arrangements should be discussed with the individual and his/her family members and their wishes should be incorporated into the plan. This should include choice of funeral home, burial site and type of service. 
  2. Contact the funeral home to develop the specific Trust agreement that should include a clause requiring the home to advise the individual of the discontinuation of the trust or transfer to a different Funeral Home.
  3. The Trust Agreement needs to contain at least the following provisions:
    1. That the Trust is irrevocable.
    2. The specific services to be provided.
    3. The name of the Financial Institution where the proceeds and interest of Trust will be maintained.