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: Preplanning

Subscribe to Preplanning RSS Feed

Preneed Contract Holders: the lonely 5%

Posted in Guaranteed, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preplanning, Uncategorized
The Memorial Business Journal recently reported on findings from the NFDA’s 2014 Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study.   Some of the findings may not come as much of a surprise to funeral directors, such as consumer demands are changing.  But, findings regarding how many respondents have made efforts to prearrange, and prepay, for funerals were surprising.  … Continue Reading

My Preneed Account: Interest Alone Won’t Cut It

Posted in Non-guaranteed, Preplanning, Trust Funded, Uncategorized
Since President Obama unveiled the new MyRA as his plan to revive Americans’ saving habits, we have been making comparisons between funding for retirements and preneed.   Like the MyRA, the non-guaranteed preneed contract could represent more of an introduction to preplanning funding than the final preneed product.  As the AARP acknowledged a few years ago, … Continue Reading

MyPA: No Free Passes

Posted in Non-guaranteed, Preplanning, Uncategorized
Our recent post on similarities of the MyRA and non-guaranteed preneed concluded with references to how criticisms of President Obama’s new retirement account were applicable to preneed.  One such criticism relates to the lack of investment performance, but we will save that issue for a future date.  For this post we want to address the … Continue Reading

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

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

Missouri’s First Preneed Regulation: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

Posted in Missouri - SB1, Preneed, Preplanning
More than one funeral director has expressed the opinion that the State Board should never have been given rule making authority. We’ll never know, but if the State Board had rulemaking authority 22 years ago, it could have implemented rules to help enforce NPS’ 1990 settlement agreement, and thereby avoided that company’s collapse. But equally … Continue Reading

Another factor in the cremation trend: preneed insurance premiums

Posted in Cremation, Guaranteed, Insurance Funded, Preneed, Preplanning
Our preneed provides peace of mind by freeing your family from the burdens of rising funeral costs and from making difficult decisions during their time of grief. Since the inception of the transaction sixty years ago, that statement has defined preneed marketing. Even the AARP recently embrace the peace of mind concept. The inflationary protection … 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

Misinformation from the highest source

Posted in Preneed, Preplanning
The Wall Street Journal has long been viewed as a leading source of business and investment news. But last weekend, the WSJ ran a short article on preneed, and demonstrated its lack of understanding of the transaction. The article attempts to characterize preneed as an investment, and then explores issues such as cash surrender charges, … Continue Reading

Consumers: Reading the Bold Print

Posted in IFDA, Preneed, Preplanning
A recent news report titled “Broken Trust” served to fan the emotions of Illinois residents who purchased a preneed contract from the Illinois Funeral Directors Association. The facts involve a 103 year old lady who purchased the contract 16 years ago, and experienced a 32% drop in the contract’s value in one year. The news … Continue Reading

When is the Spend Down preneed?

Posted in Preneed, Preplanning
A “Spend Down” is the transaction where a person seeking public assistance transfers money or insurance to a funeral home to avoid having the “asset” count as a resource. It is a commonly held perception that the Spend Down accounts for many preneed contract purchases. But should all Spend Downs trigger the state preneed law … Continue Reading

Trust Funded Preneed and Finance Charges

Posted in Preneed, Preplanning
The funeral director’s decision about how to fund his preneed is influenced by the state’s trusting requirement, investment returns, administrative convenience and the volume of preneed business. Essentially, there are three methods of funding preneed: the depository account, the master trust and the insurance policy. The funeral director’s use of the depository account predates all … Continue Reading

Would consumers purchase a non-guaranteed contract?

Posted in Preneed, Preplanning, Reform
Regulators and preneed sellers squared off recently over the subject of who owns the preneed trust fund: the funeral home or the consumer. Hearings to reform Missouri’s preneed law hit a wall when the issues of trusting requirements, income accrual and portability was taken up by a review committee comprised of regulators, industry representatives and consumers.   In a debate that … Continue Reading

NPS throws in the towel

Posted in NPS/Lincoln, Preneed, Preplanning
NPS, beleaguered by state regulatory proceedings in Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Texas and Iowa, has called it quits.    NO MAS!    ENOUGH!    Much to the surprise of industry leaders, NPS has suggested it will do what’s in the best interests of the consumers.  Could this mean a refund to everyone?   April Fools Day!   … Continue Reading

The Fork in the Road: personalization vs religious rituals

Posted in Churches/Ritual, Funeral, Preplanning
Two recent newspaper articles help to underscore the distinct directions the funeral ritual seems headed.  The Kansas City Star reported on how more families are opting for personalization over formal funeral rituals.  As the article indicates, personalization often requires the funeral director to spend more time with the family planning a memorial that is unique … Continue Reading

Iowa Personal Preference Legislation – Whose Funeral is it?

Posted in Churches/Ritual, Legislation, Preneed, Preplanning, Supulcher/Preference Laws
The Iowa had not one, but two personal preference bills pending before its Legislature for the 2007/08 term: SF 473 and HF 2088.   The Senate version, SF 473, was backed by Iowa’s attorneys, and the House version, HF 2088, was backed by the Iowa Funeral Directors Association.  What caught my attention about these bills was the … Continue Reading

Non-guaranteed Preneed – The Hurdles

Posted in Consumer Advocates, Preneed, Preplanning
Death Care trade publications such as the Funeral Service Insider and the FuneralWire advocate that funeral homes revisit the non-guaranteed preneed contract.  I agree that funeral homes should reconsider the non-guaranteed preneed contract, but for reasons different from those expressed by other authors. The non-guaranteed preneed contract affords flexibility and portability to the individual who wants to do more … Continue Reading