As discussed in prior posts, the Missouri preneed audit process begins with a notice to the preneed seller for the production of documents and data. After a review is made of the documents, data and the annual reports filed with the State Board, an on-site examination is scheduled with the seller. Most Missouri preneed sellers are unsure of what to expect. To an extent, Missouri has borrowed from the Texas Department of Banking examination manual in developing preneed audit procedures. However, Texas has the benefit of years of reporting and exams. Missouri is playing catch up, and the desk audit of the seller’s documents, data and annual reports are the State Board’s first in depth look at how funeral homes have structured their preneed programs.
SB1 made substantial changes to Missouri’s trusting requirements, and one purpose for the desk audit is to determine if the seller’s preneed contract form and trust agreement are compliant. But, the desk audit will also be used to match trustee reports to outstanding contracts, and determine whether the proper funding has been maintained.
For the State Board examiners, the first look at a seller’s records includes all outstanding preneed contracts. Missouri’s first preneed law was written in 1965, and some funeral homes have contracts dating back that far. Consequently, the initial desk audit could be a lengthy process for Missouri’s larger funeral operators.