• The first step is to select a funeral home. Think of choosing one the same way you would a doctor or attorney. Get recommendations from family, friends and neighbors, or contact the New York State Funeral Directors Association at 1-866-644-PLAN for a list of member funeral homes in your community.

    Schedule a pre-arrangement conference with the funeral home you’ve chosen. Your funeral director will help you explore your options and once you have selected services and merchandise, (s)he will prepare a preneed agreement and fully itemized statement for your review. Your funeral director will also discuss payment options – many people choose to prepay in full, or you can often work out a payment schedule.

  • Consumers in New York State who prepay their funerals enjoy the full benefit of having their funds protected by the strongest preneed laws in the nation. These laws require that 100% of such funds be deposited into an interest-bearing, government-backed trust account where the principal and all accumulated interest remain the property of the consumer. Each accountholder in PrePlan, the master trust program of the New York State Funeral Directors Association, is FDIC insured up to the limit provided by Federal law (currently $250,000).

  • Until the funeral home has actually provided the merchandise and services, the purchaser whose funds were used to open the account remains in control of the account and can change arrangements and/or their choice of funeral home at any time. If the account is ‘revocable,’ a purchaser may request a full refund of the principal and interest earned at any time, for any reason, without penalty.

  • Yes, New York State allows an individual applying for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to set aside funds in an ‘irrevocable’ account for their funeral and burial expenses. These funds are considered an ‘excludable asset,’ meaning they are not counted as a resource when determining eligibility. However, any funds set aside in an irrevocable account may not, by law, be refunded to the purchaser. In addition, any overage in funds remaining in the account after expenses are paid must be sent to the appropriate department of the county where the beneficiary was living at the time of his/her death. A Medicaid/SSI applicant also has the option of setting funds aside to pay the funeral/burial expenses of certain family members. Any account established for the benefit of a family member must, under New York State law, also be irrevocable, as any and all funds in such account would be an ‘excludable asset’ as well.

  • Any funds remaining in a revocable account must be remitted to the purchaser, if different from beneficiary, or to the estate of the beneficiary (decedent).

  • The funeral home must, by law, inform each individual who has prefunded a funeral with them of this fact. They must also advise the consumer of their right to transfer their prearrangements to any other funeral home they choose or, if revocable, receive a refund of their total deposited amount plus all interest earned. The NYS Bureau of Funeral Directing may also be of assistance if the funeral home goes out of business.