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: investment

Investment Advisors: How Independent?

Posted in Compliance, Investments, Master Trusts, NPS/Lincoln
In a motion for rulings of law, the NPS Special Deputy Receiver seeks a judicial determination of two legal issues that could impact preneed trustees subject to the jurisdiction of the Eighth Circuit of Federal Court of Appeals: the beneficiary status of preneed purchasers (and funeral homes) and the required independence of investment advisors.  These two … 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

The Wisconsin Master Trust: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Posted in Funeral, Master Trusts, Preneed
In a motion to convert the Wisconsin Master Trust from a preneed trust to a liquidating trust, the Receiver outlined to the court why the trust cannot keep its promises to consumers and comply with Wisconsin’s preneed law. Section 445.125 restricts preneed funeral trusts to depository accounts, and CD returns won’t even pay the Master … Continue Reading

Coming This August: The Nuremberg Trial

Posted in NPS/Lincoln
 Once again, I have spoken too quickly. After lamenting to the Memorial Business Journal that the NPS plea bargains will deprive consumers and the industry the opportunity to hear how Doug and his crew perpetrated so many frauds, the sole remaining NPS defendant may grant my wish. As the Funeral Service Insider reports that Herr … 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

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

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 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

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

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

Preneed Fund Manager: Is your O&E coverage current?

Posted in Fiduciary, Master Trusts, Preneed
Many state preneed regulators share the point of view that the payments made toward a preneed contract belong to the consumer until the prearranged funeral is provided. This perspective was adopted by the California Attorney General in its Eighth Cause of Action brought against the California Funeral Directors Association and its Master Trust. The AG … 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

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

NPS, AIG, WaMu and those preneed funds

Posted in Preneed
During the long and tedious Chapter 436 hearings, some Missouri funeral directors joined consumer advocates in using the NPS failure as reason for recommending that legislators impose 100% trusting on the preneed transaction.  Those funeral directors generally advocated the use of insurance or joint accounts as safer methods of preneed funding.  During regulatory meetings, comments were also made about how … Continue Reading