We do the following:

  • Protect Individual Assets
  • Maintain Benefits
  • Resolve Spend Down
  • Relieve Providers of Additional Time and Costs

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 arrangement decisions for the client?

In most cases the decisions are made by the family, caregiver or the individual's team, however in some cases, the individual himself/herself can make these decisions.   State and Federal authorities encourage caregivers and providers to have an end-of-life plan in place for individuals receiving SSI and/or Medical Assistance. 

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

Arlington's irrevocable burial trust program is flexible enough to accommodate changes at any time.  If changes are required to the 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 residing 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 incorporated into the trust or covered by the family or decision maker at the time of need.  

How are the client's funds protected?

The funds are deposited in an irrevocable burial trust with the AmeriServ Trust & Financial Company.  This is a Pennsylvania State-licensed bank authorized to accept funds for irrevocable trusts. Funds can only be released by the trust upon the presentation of a death certificate.   All checks should be made payable to AmeriServ Trust & Financial Company FBO [individual's name].

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

Arlington can consolidate different accounts into the trust.  For a burial savings account, Arlington will furnish the provider 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 client's trust) and deposited into the burial 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.    

For other accounts or additional information, please contact us.


What happens to the trust if the individual moves to another agency, to a nursing home, hospice or out of state?

The trust remains in effect.  You must notify Arlington, and we will contact the new agency, nursing home or hospice and forward copies of all the relevant paperwork to the new caseworker for the individual.    

Who should be called at the time of need?

When a client dies, please call our emergency number (215) 659-1630.  Since all the arrangements have been made ahead of time, this is the only phone call that needs to be made.   Arlington 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.  There are even options for individuals with severely limited funds. Funds can also be added at the time of need by the family, decisionmaker or agency.    

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

There are no annual fees associated with an individual's burial trust account.  There is a one time establishment fee of $250.

How does Arlington handle "re-determination" from State authorities or Social Security Administration?

Please notify Arlington Heritage Group that the State requires a letter confirming the amount in the trust.  Arlington will send you a signed letter denoting the balance either electronically via pdf or a fax transmission.