When Missouri’s Chapter 436/NPS reform legislation began to take shape last summer, the state’s cemetery industry sought to get out of the train’s way by incorporating new preneed provisions into a Chapter 214 bill. To clarify that cemeteries could establish preneed programs that would be regulated exclusively under Chapter 214, and not Chapter 436, statutory exceptions were drafted into Senate Bill 1 not once, but twice. To add a belt to those suspenders, a statutory exception for cemeteries was also drafted into the Chapter 214 bill. But alas, there has been a small slip between the cusp and the lips.
SB1’s two ‘cemetery exemptions’ are found at Section 333.310 and Section 436.410. Section 333.310 was intended to exempt cemeteries from the State Funeral Board jurisdiction and Section 436.410 was intended to exempt cemeteries from Chapter 436.
333.310 The provisions of sections 333.310 to 333.340 shall not apply to a cemetery operator who sells contracts or arrangements for services for which payments received by, or on behalf of, the purchaser are required to be placed in an endowed care fund or for which a deposit into a segregated account is required under chapter 214, RSMo; provided that a cemetery operator shall comply with sections 333.310 to 333.340 if the contract or arrangement sold by the operator includes services that may only be provided by a licensed funeral director or embalmer.
436.410. The provisions of sections 436.400 to 436.520 shall not apply to any contract or other arrangement sold by a cemetery operator for which payments received by or on behalf of the purchaser are required to be placed in an endowed care fund or for which a deposit into a segregated account is required under chapter 214, RSMo; provided that a cemetery operator shall comply with sections 436.400 to 436.520 if the contract or arrangement sold by the operator includes services that may only be provided by a licensed funeral director or embalmer.
Both exemptions define a cemetery preneed arrangement where the purchaser’s payments must be deposited to an endowed care fund or a segregated account. One problem with this is that endowed care trusts cannot be used for preneed payments. A second problem is that the segregated account arrangement was eliminated from the final version of SB296. The Missouri cemetery industry’s last chance for a statutory exemption, a new Section 214.320.5, fell victim to a last minute deletion from SB296.
Missouri cemeteries now face an uncertain future with a new Chapter 436, and an expanded Chapter 333.