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

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Estate Planning and Funeral Arrangements: A Will will be too Late

Posted in Preplanning, Right of Sepulcher, Transition Documents
Funeral and burial preplanning should be a part of every estate plan, but some web pages promoting estate planning can be misleading or impractical.   The estate planning page sponsored by Lawyers.com suggests that funeral arrangement preferences can be incorporated into a will or health care power of attorney to alleviate the financial and emotional burdens… Continue Reading

NPR’s Stories on the Funeral Industry: On Line Shopping

Posted in Churches/Ritual, Consumer Advocates, Preplanning
NPR’s second story on the funeral industry suggests that preplanning a funeral will typically require visits to multiple funeral homes. NPR led their story with a consumer attorney sharing his frustrations with getting price information from funeral homes near his father.  To the attorney’s surprise, many of the funeral homes did not include general price… Continue Reading

Surprise Fees? Not if You Read the Contract

Posted in Cemeteries, Compliance, Guaranteed, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Preplanning
A local Kansas City television station recently ran a story about a consumer’s complaint that his preneed contract did not cover “surprise fees”.   The consumer had purchased the preneed contract from a Kansas City funeral home/cemetery combo where he had also purchased a grave space.   One fact regarding the preneed contract that jumped out to… Continue Reading

The Right of Sepulcher: One Hurdle to the Final Resting Place

Posted in Cremation, Preplanning, Right of Sepulcher, Supulcher/Preference Laws, Transition Documents
A Kansas City Star article reported on the role of the Missing in Action Project in getting Major Rombauer to his final resting place.  Much of the work of the MIA Project goes unreported, but this story was found noteworthy because Major Rombauer’s cremains had been sitting on a shelf at the crematory for 102… Continue Reading

The Factors Contributing to Preneed Shortfalls: Investment Return and Operator’s Performance Costs

Posted in Guaranteed, Insurance Funded, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preplanning, Price Protection, Total Return Trust, Trust Funded, Uncategorized
When the Federal Reserve recently announced the end of the quantitative easing program, it did so with a hint that any increase in interest rates could be a considerable time off.  Several global factors may now cause interest rates to remain at unprecedented lows for longer than what the Fed had suggested last December.  As… Continue Reading

Talk of a Lifetime: Restarting the Prearrangment Process

Posted in Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Preplanning, Uncategorized
One message that can be taken from the FAMIC’s Talk of a Lifetime campaign is that funeral directors need to re-think their prearrangement procedures.  Perhaps too much emphasis has been given to preneed, and not enough to the planning process.  Prearrangement marketing and procedures have often been crafted by the funeral home’s preneed funding agent. … Continue Reading

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, Total Return Trust, 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, Price Protection
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