On September 9th, Missouri’s State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors conducted its first public meeting since forwarding new (and extensive) reporting requirements to preneed funeral sellers and providers. In no mood to entertain complaints from the industry, the Board advised licensees to “do their best”. In response to criticism of the new trust reporting requirements, the Board advised that fiduciaries are only being required to certify individual account data regarding transactions for which they have oversight responsibilities. Fiduciaries are not being required to certify the preneed contract data for which the seller is responsible (purchaser and beneficiary names and addresses).

What the preneed fiduciary is being required to certify is aggregate trust data regarding deposits, income and expenses. With regard to each preneed contract, the trustee must also certify the 5% origination fee and 10% sales expense that have been paid to the seller, and the market value of each contract. The State Board advised the industry that these reporting requirements will likely change next year. For example, the current report does not contemplate the amount deposited to trust per contract, or whether the preneed contract is guaranteed or not (which is necessary to determine whether the 10% sales expense is appropriate).

The course of reporting requirement changes will be influenced by the industry’s efforts as a whole to comply with the October 31st renewal requirements, and the January 31st voluntary reporting request.