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: cemetery

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

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

The Fed’s Tapering Plan: A Bumpy Road for Death Care Trusts?

Posted in Compliance, Investments, Master Trusts, Uncategorized
It has been almost ten years since the return on Government bonds fell below 5%.  But bond returns did not hit bottom until four years later when the sub-prime mortgage market collapsed.  Those conditions threatened the nation’s credit markets, and so, in 2008, the Federal Reserve Board initiated a stimulus program involving the purchase of … Continue Reading

Form 1041QFT: Reducing Tax Liabilities

Posted in Uncategorized
Tax day is only a week away, and preneed trust returns will look a little different this year.  As we reported back in December, the IRS took the position that preneed trusts are subject to the Medicare Tax used to fund the Affordable Health Care Act.  Accordingly, Federal Form 1041QFT now requires the reporting of “Net … 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

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

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

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

Cemetery Preneed Challenges: bucket accounting

Posted in Cemeteries, Preneed
As alluded to in our prior post, the cemetery’s ability to deliver burial rights and merchandise prior to death complicates the preneed transaction.  In a post, we labeled this the ‘bucket factor’ (Cemetery Preneed Oversight: the bucket factor).  In addition to burial spaces, cemeteries can deliver markers, monuments, vases, urns, outer containers and vaults prior … Continue Reading

Private Burial Grounds: better plan ahead

Posted in Cemeteries
The Internet has provided consumer advocates a valuable platform for educating the public with ‘how to’ death care information. But, for the most part, that ‘how to’ information has been confined to the funeral half of the equation. A recent Mother Earth News article provided a detailed description of the issues faced by the author … Continue Reading

Competing Mortuaries and Cemeteries: when everyone loses

Posted in Cemeteries
Mortuary Management recently ran a short editorial criticizing cemeteries, stating “we can only conclude that cemeteries will, in the long run, be the losers”, and “it may be time for a reevaluation of standards and staunch principles of the past”. The editorial is nothing more than a handful of comments from anonymous funeral directors about … Continue Reading

Informing the Consumer (and the Industry)

Posted in Funeral, Preneed, Reform
The need for better preneed oversight is obvious, but regulators often lack resources and expertise. The state of Connecticut made headlines recently for the decision to make budget cuts by de-regulating the death care industry*. Connecticut funeral directors challenged the decision, and the state issued a ‘clarification’ and withdrew the plan. (That’s correct, the funeral … Continue Reading

But who is going to bury Momma?

Posted in Cemeteries
When a cemetery operator and the regulator get crossways with each other, the threat to close the cemetery is often countered with the question of whether the regulator is going to step in and perform the burials. And when the regulator sticks to his/her guns, the results are often similar to that seen in Dunkirk, … 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