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: kansas

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 “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

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

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

Preneed Reporting: drilling down to each consumer

Posted in Administration, Funeral, IFDA, Preneed, Recordkeeping, Reporting
For most Illinois funeral homes, March 15th is the due date for the filing of their preneed data with the Comptroller’s office. For those funeral homes that bolted from the IFDA after the master trust melt down, this has been an extremely frustrating process. The majority of funeral homes must file on line, with supporting … Continue Reading

Delegating Preneed Prosecution

Posted in Exams/audits, Preneed, Reporting
Maybe it’s a response to shrinking state budgets, or the fact that the tracking of preneed funds is becoming more effective, but state and local prosecutors are assuming an expanding role in the enforcement of preneed laws. While a recent report released by the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors reflects a drop … Continue Reading

Kansas Cemetery Legislation: a second bite at the apple

Posted in Cemeteries, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
It is a bit of déjà vu for Kansas cemeteries. Legislation to increase preneed trusting and to require monthly reporting was introduced in the Kansas House. But HB 2240 will look familiar to those cemetery corporations that participated in 2009 and 2010 cemetery legislative meetings conducted by the Kansas Secretary of State. As previously reported … Continue Reading

Who’s the Boss?

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Reporting
That’s the question a member of the Missouri State Board asked of his staff last Wednesday during a discussion of controversial examination procedures. Prior to the NPS fiasco, the answer to that question would have been “the Board is”. While SB1 (appropriately) continued to vest preneed supervision in the State Board, the new law also … Continue Reading

Early Audit Warning: Fees and Assessments

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Funeral, Preneed
It seems paradoxical to see preneed regulators ramping up audit programs while state budgets are being slashed to the bone. Yet, several I-70 corridor states will soon implement new preneed audit programs. Missouri’s preneed funeral audits will be funded out of a combination of license fees and preneed contract fees. Missouri’s new cemetery law did … Continue Reading

Serving Time in Kansas: Fairlawn Burial Park

Posted in Cemeteries, Preneed
Families and funeral homes harmed by NPS will hope that company’s owners and officers have to face a judge like the Honorable Richard Rome. The Hutchinson News reported that District Judge Richard Rome rejected a plea bargain for probation, and sentenced Fairlawn Burial Park’s owner to almost 5 years in prison. A Kansas Secretary of … Continue Reading

The Preneed Tax

Posted in Compliance, Preneed, Reform
Several states have passed laws in the past few years mandating greater preneed oversight. But with state budgets in decline after the 2008 market crash, regulators are hard pressed to find a way to pay for consumer protection. Colorado’s new law simply states that the contract seller shall bear the cost of its examination. In … Continue Reading

Under New Management!

Posted in Cemeteries
Kansas regulators want to be able to put a new sign in front of a troubled Hutchison cemetery: Under New Management! And, it would please the state of Kansas and the city of Hutchison if that new management team does not include them. State and local officials appreciate that the grave lot owners, and the … Continue Reading

Regulatory Intervention: the Kansas plan

Posted in Cemeteries, Legislation
The Topeka Capital-Journal has identified the essence of the Secretary of State’s plan for Kansas cemetery regulation: addressing cemetery problems before the trusts go upside down. There are two types of cemetery trusts: perpetual care trusts and preneed trusts. Perpetual care trusts (or permanent maintenance trusts) provide the cemetery crucial funding for mowing, and the … Continue Reading

March Madness: Kansas cemetery legislation

Posted in Cemeteries, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
With two of the nation’s top ten college basketball teams, Kansans are exhibiting clear symptoms of March Madness. With Topeka located between Lawrence and Manhattan, bipartisanship may be tested as tensions mount this week with the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA seedings announcement on Sunday. When Kansas legislators resume their meetings the week of … Continue Reading

Cemetery Legislation in the Heartland

Posted in Cemeteries, Legislation, Reform
Regulators in Missouri and Kansas will be pursuing legislation this spring for more authority in providing oversight to cemeteries. With its Burr Oak problems, Illinois can’t be too far behind. Whether it is the economy or the unscrupulous owner, regulators are finding they lack both the expertise and authority to properly protect the cemetery consumer. … Continue Reading

But, I was going to pay it back..

Posted in Cemeteries
Death care regulators seem to believe that the majority of funeral home and cemetery operators are honest and well intended.  But, the regulators must contend with the occasional operator who views trust funds as their own.  Before taking offense with the regulator’s skepticism, operators need to reflect on the arrogance of operators such as those reflected in a … Continue Reading