MassHealth Planning and Prepaid Funeral Accounts

by Matthew Karr, Esq. on June 7, 2011

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Funerals are never a fun thing to think about, especially when it’s your own. Nevertheless, failure to make plans for this inevitability can have negative consequences for you and your family both now and in the future. Prepaid funeral accounts can be a prudent part of your estate plan and can assist you in protecting assets when applying for MassHealth.

When a loved one dies emotions are high and the last thing on people’s mind is dealing with the financial implications of a funeral. However, funeral expenses can be costly and without a plan family members are often left to shoulder this burden. By incorporating prepaid funeral accounts into your estate plan, you can lift this burden off of their shoulders as well as protect some of your hard earned assets from the costs of long-term care, should it become a necessity.

If an individual applies to MassHealth for help paying the huge costs associated with nursing home care, MassHealth asset limits allow the individual to have only $2000 in his or her name while their spouse can have only about $109,000. However, certain “non-countable assets” are also allowed including an irrevocable prepaid funeral contract or trust, and/or a $1,500 burial bank account. If a couple has more than the MassHealth asset limits allow, using some of the excess funds to pay for future funeral expenses through one of these financial vehicles is a wise investment, allowing you to spend down to the requisite asset limits, while preparing for an inevitable expense.

If you plan for your funeral expenses now, you also spare your family the burden of having to plan and pay for funeral arrangements while in an emotionally raw state. Often, in the emotionally charged atmosphere following the death of a loved one, people are inclined to spend excessively on funeral arrangements when they could use that money for support, education, and other important parts of living. By planning ahead, you are able to make your wishes known, allowing your family the time and space they need during the grieving process.

{ 1 comment }

Don Smith December 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm

My wife and I are trying to locate/establish a burial expense account to cover unexpected costs associated with my wife’s mother whose health is failing. It is my understanding that such an account is accepted/approved by Medicare and reduces the deceased estate. Also, such an account is only accessible when death occurs of the “insured”. We have purchased a funeral account to deal with embalming, burial and other items associated with the passing of the mother-in-law when such occurs. We live in Florida. In speaking with local banks they do not seem to know of any such account. Thanks,

Don and Dottie Smith

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