Are prepaid cremation plans tax deductible?

1 answer | Last updated: Jul 20, 2011
Bill woody asked...

Are prepaid cremation plans tax deductible?


Expert Answers

Ed Markin, BS, MBA, PhD, is the director of research for the Alzheimer's Disease Research Foundation and author of more than a dozen books. For the past 15 years, Markin has operated the Funeral Help Program.

Funeral arrangements of any sort are not typically tax deductible on the Federal level. State tax codes vary widely but think, what would you list it under on a tax form? Too late to be a medical expense. Too cheeky to refer to it as a second home. Perhaps as a 'relocation expense'?
On a more serious note, there have been cases of unscrupulous establishments offering to arrange a lavish pre-paid funeral to 'spend down' an elderly person's assets so he/she can qualify for assistance programs. The understanding being that once death occurs, the family can opt for something less expensive and pocket the difference. This is known as fraud and has landed folks in jail. Have a lawyer review any prepayment program and, the best benefit of a prepaid cremation is the peace of mind one feels knowing the family will be spared that chore.