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: Funeral

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MyRA: Is preneed headed in a similar direction?

Posted in Funeral, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preplanning
President Obama used his State of the Union address to unveil a new type of retirement account dubbed “MyRA”.  Recognizing that Americans are woefully unprepared for their retirement years, the President believes the MyRA offers individuals a safe option to induce them to begin saving for those golden years.  A CNBC report provides an explanation … Continue Reading

Missouri and the Investment Advisor: A Chinese Wall

Posted in Fiduciary, Funeral, Investments, Missouri - SB1, Preneed
Among the rule proposals suggested by the Division of Professional Registration to the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors was the following definition of “External Investment Advisor”: any licensed, qualified investment advisor approved and authorized by the trustee of the preneed trust and who holds no personal interest in any assets of the preneed … Continue Reading

Accepting Final Expense Policies: More Than an Accommodation

Posted in Funeral, Preplanning
Many funeral homes have an informal practice of accepting small insurance policies from individuals who want to know their funeral expense will be taken care of at the time of death. Often, the individual may not be comfortable discussing their funeral preferences with family, and trust the funeral director to apply the insurance proceeds appropriately. … Continue Reading

The Wisconsin Master Trust: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Posted in Funeral, Master Trusts, Preneed
In a motion to convert the Wisconsin Master Trust from a preneed trust to a liquidating trust, the Receiver outlined to the court why the trust cannot keep its promises to consumers and comply with Wisconsin’s preneed law. Section 445.125 restricts preneed funeral trusts to depository accounts, and CD returns won’t even pay the Master … Continue Reading

Wisconsin: Breaking the Settlement Logjam

Posted in Funeral, Master Trusts, Preneed
In prior posts we have documented certain similarities between the old IFDA master trust and the Wisconsin master trust, and our Illinois clients have expressed sympathy for their colleagues to the north. But, key differences exist between the two master trusts, and the recent settlement agreement offered to Wisconsin funeral homes is an indication that … Continue Reading

Michigan’s Plan: Target Date Investment Strategy

Posted in Fiduciary, Funeral, Investments, Preneed
I stand corrected. A representative of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association advises that their request for proposal for a new investment advisor for the master trust has resulted in the selection of a firm that will not only assume a true fiduciary relationship to funeral directors and consumers, but that will also guide the Association … Continue Reading

A False Sense of Security: the hold harmless for investment oversight

Posted in Funeral, Master Trusts, Preneed
We previously discussed how the funeral home or cemetery assumes most of a preneed trust’s investment risk when selling a guaranteed preneed contract, and therefore should be afforded a role in the trust’s investment decisions (Fund Managers: Is Your O&E Coverage Current?). But in that same post, we were careful to point out that there … Continue Reading

Wisconsin: borrowing from the NPS playbook

Posted in Funeral, Master Trusts, Preneed
Recent document disclosures are reflecting that several factors contributed to the WFDA’s master trust deficiency (and the appointment of a receiver). Certain of those factors relate to the fees paid to fund managers and the association’s sponsorship charges. Those factors are relevant to other association master trusts, and we will explore them in subsequent posts. … Continue Reading

Wisconsin: Where is the Love?

Posted in Funeral, Master Trusts
When news of the Wisconsin receivership was made public, I anticipated some signs of support from other state associations. The strength of a professional relationship can be measured by the support given subsequent to a public indictment. But, when that support comes in the form of hackneyed advice, the accused is left to wonder about … Continue Reading

One Too Many Guarantees: Wisconsin and the SEC

Posted in Fiduciary, Funeral, Master Trusts
When news that the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association and its master trust had been put into receivership, I anticipated that the association may have fallen victim to a perfect storm: when an antiquated preneed law collides with a volatile investment market. But, subsequent news accounts are painting a bleak picture of poor planning and poor … Continue Reading

Being Hung out to Dry: The Pennsylvania Board of Funeral Directors

Posted in Funeral, IFDA, Legislation
Federal Judge John Jones III has teed off (again) on the Pennsylvania Board of Funeral Directors. Awarding attorneys fees of more than a million dollars and issuing a permanent injunction against the State Board, Judge Jones rebuked Board members for their failure to show initiative towards a legislative fix to a Truman era problem. And, … 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

Pennsylvania: knocking down fences

Posted in Cremation, Funeral
Heritage is the term that the death care industry uses to describe the relationship each funeral home or cemetery attempts to forge with the community through years of service. Heritage reflects a commitment to the community, and through that commitment, the operator can expect the community’s business. Initially, the vast majority of funeral directors fought … Continue Reading

Missouri’s desk audit: the first look will take the longest

Posted in Exams/audits, Funeral, Missouri - SB1, Preneed
As discussed in prior posts, the Missouri preneed audit process begins with a notice to the preneed seller for the production of documents and data. After a review is made of the documents, data and the annual reports filed with the State Board, an on-site examination is scheduled with the seller. Most Missouri preneed sellers … Continue Reading