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

Tag Archives: care

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 Bernanke Factor: The New Volatility for Death Care Trusts

Posted in Investments, Master Trusts, Preneed
A Missouri preneed auditor recently requested an explanation from a client why certain accounts were underfunded.  The handful of accounts were “underfunded” by varying amounts of a few dollars to twenty dollars.  The common fact with each was an initial deposit or substantial deposit in the month preceding the Federal Chairman’s remarks that sent 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

Checks and Balances: Who has your back?

Posted in Administration, Fiduciary, Master Trusts, Preneed
In the days that followed the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association being placed into receivership, some of the WFDA’s sister associations were quick to point out they had ‘checks and balances’ that would protect consumers’ funds from the problems that tripped up the Wisconsin Funeral Trust. As we reported in our last post, a crucial ‘check … Continue Reading

Dark Clouds and Preneed

Posted in Funeral, Insurance Funded, Preneed, Trust Funded
Not that close, even from the 30,000-foot view. That’s our assessment of the Morningstar analysis of preneed and its impact on the death care industry. In “Dark Clouds for the Death-Care Industry”, a stock analyst attempted to explain the preneed transaction, and then provide an assessment of the impact of preneed on the profitability of … 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

Will there be an Exhibitor’s hall?

Posted in Reform
Conventions and seminars provide trade associations and trade journals important sources of revenue. Accordingly, the death care industry has plenty of ‘retreat opportunities’ to choose from. However, there will be a death care convention held in Montgomery Alabama this weekend that will be off limits to funeral directors, cemeterians and their legions of industry vendors. Death care … Continue Reading

Annual Investment Reviews: the need to diversify

Posted in Fiduciary, Preneed
The ICCFA’s November Magazine included an article by Craig Martin that provides good advice for all death care trusts. Death care trusts are notoriously bad performers, and if operators are to improve investment performance they need to work more closely with their fiduciaries and portfolio managers. Mr. Martin offers 5 tips that are equally applicable … Continue Reading

But for the veterans

Posted in Cemeteries
Veterans Day invariably results in a few newspaper articles similar to the one written about the Pittston City Cemetery. Out of respect for veterans’ graves, this small Pennsylvania town is seeking volunteers to provide care to its cemetery. Budget cuts and personnel cuts have left Pittston without the resources to provide maintenance to the cemetery. … Continue Reading

The long, winding road to reform: Michigan

Posted in Cemeteries, Legislation, Reform
Even when the need for reform is apparent to all, the legislative process can take years. With the Michigan Senate having approved a House substitute, that state’s cemeteries are a step closer to reform that could have avoided Clayton Smart’s pillaging of $70 million dollars of endowed care funds. The Michigan Legislature’s website provides the … Continue Reading

Grandview Memorial Gardens: Round up the suspects

Posted in Cemeteries, Fiduciary, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
The families of those buried at Grandview Memorial Gardens are angry.  First they are advised that the trusts meant to fund future burials and the care for those graves are not properly funded. Next, they learn that some of the cemetery’s gardens have a problem with grave spaces flooding with water. When Indiana regulators and prosecutors reported … Continue Reading

Cemetery Oversight – Delaware Legislation

Posted in Cemeteries
For the second time in 7 years, the Delaware legislature is taking up the issue of cemetery oversight. As with most death care legislation, Delaware’s Cemetery Study Committee faces two hurdles: finding answers for aging cemeteries that lack revenues for maintenance, and reconciling the conflicting goals of cemeterians, funeral homes, monument vendors, local governments and the public.   Neglect … Continue Reading