Allowable Funeral Expenses – What Estate Expenses Can I Pay as Executor?

HNWAppealing the Denial of Medicaid, Estate Administration and Probate

funeral expensesWhen a loved one dies, is nine or ten thousand dollars to pay for a funeral enough?  Planning a funeral is the last thing anyone wants to think about.  But in the Medicaid world, putting money aside to prepay a funeral trust gives a family peace of mind that a loved one will get a proper funeral.  Not only that, for someone with limited resources who needs the services of a nursing home or home health aide, it is an excellent way to spend down his or her assets to qualify for Medicaid.

What many families don’t know is that not every expense of a funeral is an eligible expense in NJ.  The following is a list of funeral expenses that should not be paid in advance if Medicaid is contemplated:

  • Flowers and/or a vehicle to transport flowers
  • Expenses for the benefit of the living, including travel expenses for family members to and from the funeral home and burial grounds, clothing, jewelry, shoes, printed and digital memorial products, keepsakes and jewelry, musicians, & repasts
  • Gratuities

Any payments made for these purposes can jeopardize Medicaid eligibility and potentially render the applicant as ineligible for Medicaid.  Furthermore, leftover funds in a pre-paid funeral trust are not refunded to the deceased person’s estate once paid.  These funds go to the State of New Jersey.

While a properly funded funeral trust can save a person from a pauper’s grave, they need to be used wisely, or the benefit gained may be voided by Medicaid.

If you are looking for additional details on this topic or if you require advice about your situation, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.

Written by Stephen W. Kornas, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright

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