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Question for the Money Doctors

Question submitted on Apr 15, 2014.

Question

I am required to establish an Irrevocable Trust for my mother's funeral expenses. My concern is that these funds appear to be usable at the discretion of the funeral home. What prevents them from misuse and what protection do I have?

Answer

I'm assuming that the reason that you're required to establish a trust is to qualify your mother for Medicaid. If you are required to enter into an agreement with a funeral home, you may wish to have the agreement reviewed by an elder law attorney before you sign it or give any money to a funeral home. Some states allow people to create an irrevocable burial account at a financial institution which could accomplish the same purpose but keep the funds under your control until the need arises. An elder law attorney who practices near where your mother lives can advise you of any other options that might be available to you, what protection is either built in to these arrangements or can be negotiated, and what recourse you would have if problems arise.


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