Recent problems in Illinois and Kansas have prompted funeral directors, and funeral regulators, to recommend that more regulation should be required of cemeteries, including licensing. What’s good for us is good for you.

When the Illinois Comptroller assured the public that the state was acting promptly to revoke Burr Oak’s license, many distraught families could have reasonably assumed Mr. Hynes was taking drastic action against the cemetery. When a regulator ‘jerks’ a funeral home license, the action puts that establishment out of business. Not so for the cemetery licenses required by Illinois and Missouri.

The licenses granted by these states authorize the cemetery to receive and administer funds for endowed care or preneed. Under Missouri’s cemetery law, compliance with the endowed care requirements is voluntary. If a cemetery wants to hold itself out to the public as having an endowed care fund, then it must comply with Chapter 214. If the cemetery doesn’t want the hassle of maintaining a trust and filing reports, it can operate as a non-endowed cemetery by making certain disclosures. The vast majority of Missouri’s cemeteries operate as non-endowed cemeteries.

So when Mr. Hynes jerks Burr Oaks’ license that means the cemetery can’t accept preneed funds or endowed care contributions. It doesn’t mean the cemetery has been closed for business. In fact, regulators like Mr. Hynes face a dilemma when the encounter a Burr Oak Cemetery, or a Valley View Cemetery: there are still burials to be made.