Frequently Asked Questions

faq_keyWhat is a trust?

An entity created to safe guard funds for a designated future use.

What is a Pre-need Funeral Trust?

It is a trust established in advance for funeral arrangements.

What is a Master Trust?

A Master Trust means that a number of trusts are under one administration.

Who serves as trustee for CMT?

Comerica Bank has served as Trustee of the California Master Trust since 2002. It is a national banking institution legally authorized to act as a trustee handling trust funds in California.

How is the California Master Trust regulated?

The California Master Trust is operated in accordance with applicable State and Federal Laws. As required by law, it is independently audited every year by a licensed public accountant whose report is submitted to the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau along with other financial reports.

How long has the Trust been in existence?

The California Funeral Directors Association created the California Master Trust in 1985 to meet the needs of families wanting to set aside funds to pay for funerals.

How can I set up a trust?

Your funeral director can help you establish a trust.

How is the trust different from insurance?

There are no health or age limits. Trust funds are set aside based on the actual funeral cost. With insurance, your payments, over time, may exceed the cost of funeral arrangements. Trust funds belong to you. If the trust is revocable, you may remove the funds and earnings.

What is a guaranteed plan?

With a guaranteed plan, the funeral home guarantees that the goods and services you select will be provided and paid for with whatever funds are in the trust, provided that the contract is fully paid according to the terms of the agreement.

What is a non-guaranteed plan?

With this type of plan, all deposits and accumulated net earnings are available at the time of death to help pay for funeral expenses. There is, however, no price guarantee of the funeral goods and services selected.

Do I pay for the trust in full or can I make payments?

Most funeral homes offer the option of paying in full or making payments. The minimum down payment is $100 with minimum additional payments of $25.

What is an irrevocable trust?

An irrevocable trust is established to meet public assistance requirements. When it is established, the funds are inaccessible until they are needed to pay for the funeral.

What is a revocable trust?

A revocable trust allows the owner the option of canceling the trust.

What are “burial funds?”

“Burial funds” are used to pay for services such as transportation, viewing, memorial services and cremation.

What are “burial space” items?

If paid in full, burial space items are exempt from funding limits when applying for SSI and MediCal. The funds may be used to pay for items such as burial plots, caskets, and urns; headstones, markers and plaques; the cost of opening and closing the grave; and the fee for perpetual care of the space.

What if there are excess funds after paying for the funeral?

When a non-guaranteed account is disbursed, excess funds go to whoever was designated at the time the trust was established.

Can I take money out of the trust?

If the trust is revocable, the trustor can remove the funds if necessary, however, there may be a revocation fee.


The information above is only a summary and the language in the California Master Trust Contract will prevail.

To find a funeral home near you that can answer more questions, request a brochure or ask additional questions, or you may contact the California Master Trust by callingĀ (800) 322-4268 or e-mail, .