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: missouri

Missouri Preneed Seller Records: Receipt Journal

Posted in Compliance, Recordkeeping
The first record described in the proposed Missouri recordkeeping regulation could actually require preneed sellers to maintain three, maybe four, sets of journals: (1) receipt and disbursement journals containing a record of deposits to and withdrawals from both preneed trusts and preneed joint accounts, specifically identifying the date, source, and description of each item deposited… Continue Reading

A Missouri Mid-Semester Cram: the March agenda

Posted in Compliance, Recordkeeping
The staff for the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors posted the 779 page agenda for next week’s meetings.  Doesn’t the state have a policy against the waste of natural resources?  Granted the agenda includes minutes and regulation proposals from several prior meetings, but a Cliff’s Notes would be helpful to know what’s… Continue Reading

FTC’s Active Supervision Guidelines: A Regulatory Board Exercising Adjudicatory Powers

Posted in Preneed
In its Active Supervision Guidelines, the Federal Trade Commission staff discusses how regulatory boards frequently act in an adjudicatory capacity by seeking to impose discipline on a licensee or by seeking to enjoin an unlicensed individual. While such actions may have an anti-competitive effect, those actions will not necessarily expose the board members to personal… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Second Round of Exams: The Committee’s Role

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
In September we posted about a regulation proposal that sought to define the role of a sub-committee of the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors (Missouri’s Financial Examination Committee: What Role?).   While the Board eventually gave its staff instructions to revise that proposal, the regulation has yet to resurface.  Instead, the Staff Recommendations include… Continue Reading

New Missouri Preneed Recordkeeping Requirements: base records and uniformity

Posted in Administration, Compliance, Exams/audits, Recordkeeping, Reporting
The Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors will meet December 9th, and their agenda includes a proposed regulation for new preneed recordkeeping requirements. Borrowing perhaps from other states’ preneed audit manuals, the regulation sets out a list of journals, ledgers, documents that a preneed seller would be required to maintain. For an industry… Continue Reading

The Missouri Fund Manager: What was Grandfathered?

Posted in Associations, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1
There seems to be some confusion in Missouri over the permissible contractual relationships among the preneed seller, the preneed trustee and the independent investment advisor. Prior to the collapse of NPS, and the subsequent amendment of Missouri’s preneed law, Chapter 436 allowed the preneed seller to incorporate provisions in its preneed trust agreement to instruct… Continue Reading

Chasing Preneed’s Bad Apples

Posted in Associations, Exams/audits
In September of last year, the Columbus Dispatch published a story critical of the Ohio State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.  Examining the Board’s efforts to address preneed fraud, the story reported that prosecutions of funeral directors were more the result of consumer complaints than Board inspections.  That must have struck a nerve with… Continue Reading

The Missouri Funeral Trust and its Catch-22

Posted in Compliance, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping
A status hearing is scheduled for September 28th in the lawsuit filed by the Missouri Funeral Trust against the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors and Catholic Fraternal Life.   The lawsuit is now 4 months removed from the request for a temporary restraining order that, among other relief sought, would stay the financial examination… Continue Reading

The MFT Lawsuit Claims: The Client List

Posted in Associations, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1, Preneed
The lawsuit brought by the Missouri Funeral Trust against the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors and CFL Pre-Need includes  a number of unique and dubious claims.  For example, the lawsuit defines CFL Pre-Need, an insurance company, as a competitor but not funeral home clients that are licensed as a preneed seller.  The… Continue Reading

The High Cost of Litigation: Copy Charges

Posted in NPS/Lincoln
The Special Deputy Receiver for National Prearranged Services recently filed a Bill of Costs with the Federal trial court.  The Bill of Costs seeks to recover copy charges of more than $500,000 from a former NPS trustee.  Those costs do not include attorneys’ fees.  Litigation can be very costly. Missouri’s preneed regulators are keenly aware of the costs of… Continue Reading

Preneed Trust Shortages: Investment Management Fees

Posted in Associations, Compliance, Investments, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1
One strength of the state association master trust is that it can provide the ‘critical mass’ required for economies of scale to reduce trust management costs.  As the state master trust grows in size, the association can better negotiate asset management arrangements.  However, the reality has been very different for these programs.  The reorganization of… Continue Reading

Preneed Trust Shortages: Deposit Plus Accounting

Posted in Administration, Compliance, Legislation, Missouri - SB1
During its state convention, the executive director for the Missouri Funeral Director and Embalmers Association stated that their master trust program would have a $3 million dollar surplus if all preneed contract beneficiaries were to die that day.  If the Missouri program were being administered pursuant to common trust fund rules, there should not be… Continue Reading

The Missouri Agenda: a few clean up provisions

Posted in Missouri - SB1
The Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors will meet to July 21st to discuss “a short slate” of legislation and regulation proposals.   While many of the proposals have been previously discussed, some, such as the preneed shortage funding requirement, are new.  We also note regulation proposals regarding when forms and reports are deemed… Continue Reading

Preneed Trust Shortages: Missouri’s Income Withdrawals

Posted in Exams/audits, Investments, Legislation, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping, Reporting, Trust Funded
Prior to Missouri re-writing its preneed law in 2009, preneed sellers could draw off realized income so long as the withdrawal did not reduce the trust’s fair market value below trust deposits.   Seeking income, many Missouri sellers directed their trustees to invest in bonds.  As interest rates declined during the early part of the prior… Continue Reading

Missouri and Preneed Deficiencies: What is a shortage?

Posted in Legislation, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1, Preneed Shortfalls, Reporting, Trust Funded
At its June meeting, the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors gave instructions to their staff to draft legislation that would provide the Board powers to force preneed sellers to contribute funds to their trusts to cover ‘shortages’.   The instruction was not without some controversy as one Board member questioned why he was… Continue Reading

Association Master Trusts: De Facto Trustees

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Fiduciary, Investments, Master Trusts
According to court filings, the reorganization plans for the Wisconsin Master Trust and California Master Trust each seek to eliminate ‘de facto trustee’ relationships that allowed the respective associations’ executives to ‘misuse, misspend, and mismanage millions of dollars’ of trust funds, and to direct funds towards inappropriate and unsuitable investments that served the association’s, rather… Continue Reading

Transparency:The Curious Case of the Missouri Funeral Trust

Posted in Master Trusts
In his final report to the court, the Wisconsin Master Trust receiver proposed a new trust agreement that is intended to provide “transparency, accountability, oversight and prudence”.   Similarly, the California Attorney General seeks to provide transparency through express reporting requirements included in the trust agreement proposed to the court presiding over the California Master Trust. … Continue Reading

NPS’ Legacy of Damages: No One Knows How Deep the Waters Were

Posted in Associations, Exams/audits, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1, NPS/Lincoln, Recordkeeping
When NPS first collapsed, the estimate of the company’s liabilities to funeral homes was reported to have been as much as a billion dollars.  When the SDR finally brought the case to trial, the damages awarded by the jury were less than half of the original estimate.   While this author believes the actual damages are… Continue Reading

NPS Trustees: Standard of Care for Preneed Administration

Posted in Administration, Compliance, Missouri - SB1, NPS/Lincoln, Recordkeeping
Final arguments were heard in the NPS civil trial this past Friday.  With the SDR having presented evidence through the prior Friday, the defendant trustees presented their case in less than a week.  This may reflect that the NPS trustees had viewed their duties as having been defined by Chapter 436 as relatively low.  As… Continue Reading