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: IFDA

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Illinois Tax Blues: when a loss is not a loss

Posted in IFDA
For many Illinois funeral homes, April 15th served as a bitter reminder of Merrill Lynch and the financial losses suffered by the IFDA master trust. The final Merrill Lynch settlements (approximately $41 million) were received in 2012, and taxes had to be paid on those funds this past tax day. Funeral directors have questioned how … Continue Reading

Master Trusts: Finding the Rails

Posted in Fiduciary, Guaranteed, IFDA, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Trust Funded
Both the Memorial Business Journal and the Funeral Service Insider commented last week on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s February 7th article regarding the former executive director of the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association. Several issues were raised that should be included in future industry debate, and in particular, I would agree with Mr. Isard’s questions whether … Continue Reading

A Peace Offering: Fiducary Partners and the WFDA Receiver

Posted in Fiduciary, IFDA, Master Trusts
Fiduciary Partners, the corporate fiduciary for the Wisconsin and Illinois master trusts, broke its silence this week with a statement to the Funeral Service Insider. The statement was made in response to criticisms previously reported by FSI, and reflects the receiver and fiduciary working together to get their “message” out and avoid the kind of … 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

The IFDA: Charting a Correcting Course

Posted in IFDA
As reported by the Memorial Business Journal*, the Illinois Funeral Directors Association has taken back the helm. For the past three years, the IFDA has been a floundering ship in risk of sinking. The master trust that paved the Association’s growth, has been threatening to bring it down. The IFDA took a crucial step to … Continue Reading

Comptroller: It’s Not My Call

Posted in Funeral, IFDA, Preneed
For a brief period, the Illinois Comptroller posted a notice that sidestepped the inquiries made by funeral directors about the application of their Merrill Lynch settlements. The OIC website has since be revised. One of the inquiries to the OIC may have involved whether the settlement funds could be applied to the litigation costs for … Continue Reading

Preneed Reporting: drilling down to each consumer

Posted in Administration, Funeral, IFDA, Preneed, Recordkeeping, Reporting
For most Illinois funeral homes, March 15th is the due date for the filing of their preneed data with the Comptroller’s office. For those funeral homes that bolted from the IFDA after the master trust melt down, this has been an extremely frustrating process. The majority of funeral homes must file on line, with supporting … Continue Reading

The Next Twist in the IFDA/Merrill Lynch saga

Posted in Funeral, IFDA
The Springfield Journal-Register reported last week on the latest lawsuit to hit Merrill Lynch, the IFDA and the law firm that represented the Association. One aspect of the lawsuit focuses upon the claim that the key man insurance policies sold to the master trust were not suitable investments. Without an insurable interest, the policies could … Continue Reading

The Illinois Consumer Statement: Trust Expense Disclosures

Posted in IFDA, Reporting, Trust Funded
If their preneed contract is trust funded, Illinois consumers should soon be receiving statements from the bank or trust company that administers their account. These statements are one of the new requirements imposed by SB1682. The contents of the statements are governed by Section 2.h of the Funeral or Burial Funds Act. The Comptroller’s Office … Continue Reading

The Comptroller’s Annual Report: a broken trail

Posted in Funeral, IFDA, Preneed, Reporting
This blog commented a few weeks ago on Dan Hynes’ failure to follow through on his own legislation. Since that post, the new Comptroller revised the Annual Report to eliminate references to self-trusted funds. However, funeral homes that transferred out of the IFDA master trust will still find the report difficult to complete. The Comptroller’s … Continue Reading

Dropping A Dime in the Land of Lincoln

Posted in Funeral, IFDA
A few years ago, a past president of the NFDA wrote in The Director that funeral directors should begin blowing the whistle on industry cheaters. This blog raised a concern over whether funeral directors understood applicable preneed laws well enough to become whistleblowers. A recent news article in the Morris Daily Herald contains facts to … Continue Reading

The Comptroller’s Preneed Report: poor follow through

Posted in Compliance, IFDA, Preneed, Reporting
While the Comptroller succeeded in getting SB1682 passed, and into law this past February, the office hasn’t revised its annual preneed reporting form to reflect the law’s changes. The report contemplates depository accounts and self-trusted accounts, which were eliminated by SB1682. Funeral directors, accustom to the IFDA’s assistance, may also find the trust report section … Continue Reading

A Christmas Carol: the future of the IFDA

Posted in IFDA
The Illinois Funeral Directors Association is living out its own version of A Christmas Carol, with the Ghost of Yet to Come having painted a fate similar to that of Scrooge. The court decision reported by the Memorial Business Journal* has all but sealed the fate of the Association. While the attorneys can continue to … Continue Reading

Fiduciary Accountability: Illinois and the annual statement

Posted in Fiduciary, Funeral, IFDA, Preneed
Regulators in California, Missouri and Kansas have already implemented strategies that are intended to make preneed fiduciaries more accountable to the consumer. Over the past few weeks, this blog has covered new reporting requirements in Missouri and the audit drama playing out in California. In Kansas, the fiduciary for a failed cemetery has been sued for … Continue Reading

California’s Pending Consumer Refund

Posted in Fiduciary, IFDA, Preneed
California funeral directors face a September 13th deadline that could have substantial financial consequences, including the repayment of trust distributions. A July 1st letter sent by the California’s Cemetery & Funeral Bureau to funeral homes in the California Master Trust outlined the regulator’s rejection of the Association responses regarding the Master Trust audit. An impatient … Continue Reading

Illinois: the initial insurance premium is coming due

Posted in Fiduciary, Funeral, IFDA, Preneed
The Comptroller’s Office mailed out letters to funeral homes last week advising how to report the first contribution to the Pre-Need Funeral Consumer Protection Fund. The letter tracks the first few paragraphs of the “Senate Bill 1682 Information” page from the Comptroller’s website. The funeral home letter includes two documents: a Fee Payment Record and … Continue Reading

Investment Restrictions: who’s guaranty?

Posted in IFDA, Investments, Preneed, Reform
The Springfield Journal-Register recently reported that Illinois’ Cemetery Oversight Task Force made a recommendation to restrict preneed trusts to investing in government-backed securities.   While its difficult to actually find that recommendation in the Task Force’s report, it is not a bad idea for the consumers who purchased a non-guaranteed preneed contract.  However, that type of restriction would hinder funeral homes that offer guaranteed contracts. The … Continue Reading