20 CFR 416.1201(a)
The standard "Agreement for Pre-Paid Funeral used in Minnesota contains the following language:
Funds used to make payments for a burial trust containing the above language should be treated as resources of the depositor of the funds for the purpose of determining eligibility for SSI in Minnesota. This is because the agreement and the cited Statute, also contained at Minnesota Statutes Annotated §§ 149.11 - 149.14, allow a refund to be made to the person who made the payment or payments upon his demand, and are therefore revocable by the depositor of the funds.
Also for consideration were two agreements that were submitted on standard forms, however, these forms were modified in that they refer to the Funeral Director and purchaser rather than to the Trustee and Beneficiary. Moreover, the words "held in trust" have been inserted throughout one of the agreements and in the other agreement, reference is made to a Certificate of Deposit.
Although an evaluation of the two modified agreements would be less clear-cut than an evaluation of the standard agreement, the funds used to make payments under the modified agreements should also be treated as resources of the depositor of the funds for the purpose of determining eligibility for SSI benefits in Minnesota.
Generally, we look to State law to determine whether a particular arrangement is revocable or irrevocable, however, such laws are not dispositive of issues involving whether a person's property interest in a prepaid funeral arrangement is or is not an includable resource for purposes of determining eligibility for SSI benefits.
Notwithstanding the fact that the modified agreements made no reference to the laws of Minnesota, 1953, Chapter 481, also contained at Minnesota Statutes Annotated §§ 149.11 - 149.14, they are subject to the requirements of that law. Minnesota Statutes Annotated § 149.11 read as follows:
The above Statute clearly covers all prearranged funeral plans, whether they be styled as trust agreements, contracts, or other modes of transaction. The substance of the arrangements cause the requirements of the Statute to apply, rather than the form by which such arrangements are made. Whenever the substance of a contract is a funeral plan, the Statute directs that the funds paid are to be held in trust until the contract has been fulfilled or the money is refunded to the depositor of the funds upon his demand. We therefore conclude that the funeral plans created under the modified agreement forms are subject to the requirements of Minnesota Statutes Annotated § 14.11, and that revocable trusts are created thereunder.
Back to Table of Contents