For the past fifteen years or so, Missouri cemeteries could sell markers and memorials on a preneed basis without making delivery of the marker, or depositing purchaser payments into a trust. RSMo. Section 214.387 authorized cemeteries to use a segregated account to hold an amount equal to 110% of the marker’s wholesale cost. If the purchaser did not want the marker delivered, the cemetery could set up a bank account to hold the required amount. The procedure was easier and cheaper than establishing a trust account. But, the cemetery’s authority to use the segregated account came to an end on August 28th with the effective date of SB296.
If delivery is not made within a “reasonable time”, the cemetery must now deposit 80% of a purchaser’s payments on cemetery merchandise (including markers) to a trust account or an escrow account.
The elimination of the segregated account also had theunintended consequence of subjecting the preneed cemetery merchandise sales to the jurisdiction of the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.
To the extent cemeteries are subject to licensure by the Office of Endowed Care Cemeteries, the State Board has tentatively approved an emergency rule that exempts preneed merchandise sales that are made in conjunction with a burial space with endowed care. Ostensibly, cemeteries that are either non-endowed (or exempt from Chapter 214 licensure) would be subject to Chapter 436 if they sell merchandise on a preneed basis.