For twenty-five years, Missouri funeral directors have had it easy with regard to accounting for consumers’ preneed payments. Chapter 436 required the preneed seller to maintain 80% of the preneed contract sales price in trust. The Missouri law also allowed the preneed seller to withdraw income so long as the 80% threshold was maintained. Consequently, the seller’s trust accounting was fairly simple. However, Senate Bill No.1 has rewritten Chapter 436, and in doing so, will impose a substantial change of accounting upon the Missouri preneed industry.
To establish an audit trail, SB1 requires every payment made on a trust-funded contract to be deposited with the fiduciary institution. The law will also require the preneed trust to accrue income, which the consumer may transfer to an alternative funeral provider. Consumers can also request account information. All of this will require the preneed fiduciary to make monthly allocations to the trust’s individual preneed accounts.
To an extent, the new accounting requirements will also be incorporated into annual regulatory reports required of preneed sellers.
A new era of accountability begins in Missouri.