The Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors meets August 25th to vote on emergency rules that are intended to keep the preneed industry functioning when SB1 goes into effect on August 28th. While numerous issues have been identified to the State Board as deserving of emergency status, four stand out above the rest: licenses, the new trusting of all payments, preneed contract requirements and the cemetery exemptions.
To sell preneed after Thursday, funeral homes must have a license. It doesn’t matter whether the funeral home is offering joint account contracts, trust-funded contracts or insurance-funded contracts, a seller license is required. The same is true if the funeral home intends to honor a preneed contract sold after Thursday. A preneed provider license is required. A preneed agent registration will also be needed for each individual that sells a preneed contract.
But, the State Board does not have the authority to issue a license until Friday. So, the State Board will vote on a special form called the Notice of Intent to Apply for Licensure/Registration that will be used for both licenses and the preneed agent registration.
Once the form is approved, the State Board will place it on their website for downloading. Applicants should consider executing the form in duplicate.
Completed copies of the form could be emailed (in a PDF format) or faxed to the State Board (save the transmission as evidence of the filing). An original copy will have to be mailed to the State Board. The other original copy should then be posted where the funeral home would normally display its establishment license.
It will be near to impossible for preneed sellers to establish new trusts in time for business written after Thursday. Accordingly, the State Board will consider whether to allow newly ‘licensed’ sellers to establish an account with a bank for use as a clearing account for purchaser payments on contracts sold after August 27th.
The new law also will require changes in the preneed contracts sold after Thursday. Most of the Missouri preneed industry utilizes printed contract forms that can take weeks to prepare. Consequently, the State Board is considering a rule to permit continued use of those old contract forms.
Finally, Missouri’s cemeteries are waiting to hear the State Board’s interpretation of the cemetery exemptions from licensing and Chapter 436 compliance. Cemeteries will have their own licensing and trusting requirements under Missouri’s Chapter 214.