FAQ's For Burial Trusts

The following are the most commonly asked questions regarding burial trust costs and procedures.  If you have a question that is not addressed, please visit our contact page to submit it.

Who makes the burial arrangements decisions for the client?

In most cases the decisions are made by the family or caregiver, however in some cases the individual himself/herself make the decisions.

What if the family or the decision-maker wants to make changes to the funeral arrangements?

Yes, if changes are required to the funeral arrangements during the individual’s lifetime, they can be made with Arlington Heritage Group.  If for any reason another funeral director is chosen after the contracts are signed, the funds will be released at the time of need to the funeral home performing the services. 

Because this is an irrevocable trust, any excess due to a change in services cannot be returned to an individual’s family after the client’s death.  Funds are only to be used for the individual's funeral expenses. Excess funds are returned to the State's Estate Recovery Department.

Can the family or the decision maker choose their own funeral director?

A different funeral director can be designated at any time.  However, should the family wish to use a funeral director of their choosing, any additional expenses charged by that funeral director will have to be covered by the family or decision maker. 

How are the client's funds protected?

The funds are deposited in an irrevocable trust with AmeriSer Trust Company.  This is a state bank authorized to accept funds for irrevocable burial trusts. Funds can only be released by the trustee upon the presentation of a death certificate.   All checks should be made payable to AmeriServ Trust Company.

If the individual has an irrevocable burial savings or an insurance policy, how does Arlington transfer them to the burial trust?

For a burial savings account, Arlington will furnish the agency with transfer letters for the individual to sign.  These letters are then notarized and sent to the client’s bank.  A Cashier's Check will be sent to Arlington (made out to AmeriServ for the benefit of the client) and deposited into the client’s trust.  A copy of the check is sent to the agency to keep with the client’s file. 

For an insurance policy, the owner of the policy will ask the insurance company to change the policy to a “Paid-Up Policy.” Then, a Change of Beneficiary form is used to make the beneficiary the client's trust account.  In this manner, the policy will no longer require premium payments and the proceeds can be used to help fund the client’s funeral.         

Can the individual, family or caregiver add extra services or merchandise to the burial trust?

Yes, items can be added to the burial trust at any time.  The cost for these items will be added to the existing total of the burial trust. 

Who should be called at the time of need?

When an individual passes away, please call our emergency number (215) 659-1630, which is the phone number for Jeff Thompson, FD.  Since all the arrangements have been made ahead of time, this is the only phone call that needs to be made.   Jeff will work with the family or decision-maker regarding the timing, services and location of the final arrangements.  If there are last minute changes, they can be discussed at that time. 

What happens if an individual dies and the trust has not been funded or there is not enough money in the trust to pay for the funeral type selected?

Arlington will work with the family, caregiver or decision maker to perform a service with the funds in the trust.  Often, this entails changing the service to a less costly alternative; such as opting for a Cremation instead of a Traditional Burial.  There are even options for individuals with severely limited funds. Funds can also be added at the time of need by the family, caregiver, or decision-maker.   

What if there are extra funds in the individual's trust account?

An individual may have additional funds in his/her account and these can be used for extra services or merchandise, such as a marker, headstone, flowers, luncheon, etc.  

Is there a cost to open a burial trust and are there annual fees?

Yes.  There is a one time opening fee of $250, and no annual fees.