Death Care Compliance Law

Death Care Compliance Law

Preneed: A Pandora's Box of Problems

William Stalter is the founder of Stalter Legal Services and the Preneed Resource Company. Bill focuses his law practice on preneed and death care compliance, serving banks, funeral homes, crematories, and cemeteries. He has written multiple published articles

Category Archives: Cemeteries

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Cemetery Care Fund Reports: The Operator’s Vicarious Liability

Posted in Cemeteries, Fiduciary, Reporting
Typically, the standard by which a cemetery is judged to be abandoned is whether the grass is getting cut.  But for licensed cemeteries, some states’ laws may also include provisions to deem a cemetery abandoned when regulatory reports are not filed.   Care fund reports are intended to inform the cemetery regulator whether the operator is … Continue Reading

Cemetery Care Trusts: The Public Interests

Posted in Care Funds, Cemeteries
The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) made an old but persuasive argument to get the IRS to exempt cemetery care trusts from the Medicare tax that will fund ObamaCare.  As discussed in a prior post, the IRS had initially proposed to apply the tax to both cemetery care trusts and preneed trusts.  With … Continue Reading

Green Gardens: an option for the city cemetery?

Posted in Cemeteries
In its past two newsletters, my local chapter of the Funeral Consumer Alliance has reported on the difficulties in finding cemeteries that permit natural burials. In the Spring newsletter, the FCA of Greater KC reported on how the Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansas was reconsidering natural burials at one of its six cemeteries. In the … Continue Reading

The “Problem” Cemetery: The Difference a Trustee Makes

Posted in Cemeteries
As cemeteries struggle with harsh economic conditions, regulators are bound to look at their ‘problem cemeteries’ and weigh whether legal proceedings are necessary to preserve the care funds mandated by state law. To the extent such proceedings are premised in part on how capital gains are defined and whether distributions from capital gains are an … Continue Reading

Wisconsin Cemeteries: Who needs a fiduciary?

Posted in Cemeteries
Here is proof that readership of newspapers is going down. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called a few weeks back about a Wisconsin legislative bill that sought investment freedom for cemetery trust funds.  With the legislative battle that was waged a year ago in Wisconsin, we had expected the bill might represent a renewed effort to … Continue Reading

Cemeteries: the insurance void

Posted in Administration, Cemeteries, Funeral, Preneed
For obvious reasons, life insurance is the preneed funding choice for many funeral directors. One hundred percent trusting laws give proactive preneed organizations no choice but to use insurance funding. Insurance provides the commissions needed to finance marketing and a sales force, and, maybe as important, relieves the funeral home from preneed accounting and administration. … Continue Reading

Cemetery Preneed Challenges: bucket accounting

Posted in Cemeteries, Preneed
As alluded to in our prior post, the cemetery’s ability to deliver burial rights and merchandise prior to death complicates the preneed transaction.  In a post, we labeled this the ‘bucket factor’ (Cemetery Preneed Oversight: the bucket factor).  In addition to burial spaces, cemeteries can deliver markers, monuments, vases, urns, outer containers and vaults prior … Continue Reading

The Preneed Haves and Have Nots

Posted in Cemeteries, Preneed
It is no secret that the larger funeral home operators have more preneed options than the industry’s mom and pops. The large operators have the volume of business that will attract insurance companies and banks, and their program incentives and discounts. Economies of scale provide the larger operator preneed advantages when going ‘toe to toe’ … Continue Reading

Private Burial Grounds: better plan ahead

Posted in Cemeteries
The Internet has provided consumer advocates a valuable platform for educating the public with ‘how to’ death care information. But, for the most part, that ‘how to’ information has been confined to the funeral half of the equation. A recent Mother Earth News article provided a detailed description of the issues faced by the author … Continue Reading

Oak Ridge Cemetery: Netting to Make Ends Meet

Posted in Cemeteries
In relation to many of its peers, Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery could be labeled progressive. Oak Ridge maintains both an endowed care trust and a preneed trust. In contrast, a substantial number of the country’s cemeteries have neither. The fact that Oak Ridge Cemetery is owned and operated by the City of Springfield, Illinois, makes … Continue Reading

Competing Mortuaries and Cemeteries: when everyone loses

Posted in Cemeteries
Mortuary Management recently ran a short editorial criticizing cemeteries, stating “we can only conclude that cemeteries will, in the long run, be the losers”, and “it may be time for a reevaluation of standards and staunch principles of the past”. The editorial is nothing more than a handful of comments from anonymous funeral directors about … Continue Reading

KC Funeral Consumer Alliance: Cemetery Survey

Posted in Cemeteries, Consumer Advocates, Preneed, Preplanning
The funeral industry may grumble about the FTC’s Funeral Rule, but two disclosures required by that law play important roles in the preneed transaction. The general price list is often used by funeral homes as a tool for comparing prices with the competition. And when a prearranged funeral is performed, the statement of goods and services … Continue Reading

But who is going to bury Momma?

Posted in Cemeteries
When a cemetery operator and the regulator get crossways with each other, the threat to close the cemetery is often countered with the question of whether the regulator is going to step in and perform the burials. And when the regulator sticks to his/her guns, the results are often similar to that seen in Dunkirk, … Continue Reading

Kansas Cemetery Legislation: a second bite at the apple

Posted in Cemeteries, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
It is a bit of déjà vu for Kansas cemeteries. Legislation to increase preneed trusting and to require monthly reporting was introduced in the Kansas House. But HB 2240 will look familiar to those cemetery corporations that participated in 2009 and 2010 cemetery legislative meetings conducted by the Kansas Secretary of State. As previously reported … Continue Reading

Four Loaded Questions: Missouri Cemetery Preneed

Posted in Cemeteries, Missouri - SB1, Preneed
Missouri cemeteries received a brief questionnaire last week from their primary regulator. The Office of Endowed Care Cemeteries (the OECC) has responsibility for enforcement of Chapter 214, the Missouri law that governs endowed care requirements and preneed sold by licensed cemeteries. The OECC would seem to be sizing up cemeteries as candidates for Chapter 214 … Continue Reading

The Smart Deal: Federal time in the offing

Posted in Cemeteries
In the end, Clayton will likely spend many of his final days in a federal penitentiary. The Memphis Commercial Appeal outlines the plea bargain to be entered by Clayton Smart to conclude criminal investigations in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Michigan. Comments made to the Commercial Appeal story express outrage with the prosecutors and the plea bargain. … Continue Reading

Missouri Cemetery Reform: New Year’s Resolutions

Posted in Cemeteries, Missouri - SB1, Preneed, Reporting
In a move to remain autonomous from the funeral industry and its oversight, the Missouri cemetery industry met with its regulator during the summer of 2008 to discuss reform legislation. Disagreements precluded effective legislation from being passed in 2009, but extensive changes was passed in 2010, and became effective on August 28, 2010. Now, the Missouri … Continue Reading

Serving Time in Kansas: Fairlawn Burial Park

Posted in Cemeteries, Preneed
Families and funeral homes harmed by NPS will hope that company’s owners and officers have to face a judge like the Honorable Richard Rome. The Hutchinson News reported that District Judge Richard Rome rejected a plea bargain for probation, and sentenced Fairlawn Burial Park’s owner to almost 5 years in prison. A Kansas Secretary of … Continue Reading