The purpose for a record keeping rule is to inform licensees what reports and documents that they must either maintain, or create, to enable the preneed examiner to determine compliance with state law requirements. But, the opening paragraph of the proposal given the Missouri State Board puts the cart in front of the horse:
A seller shall maintain a copy of each fully executed preneed contract and all records with regard to all preneed contracts related to the receipt, the deposit, the disbursement of preneed funds, and the performance of the preneed contract and to comply with applicable statutes and regulations.
Funeral directors have complained that this provision (and similar language included in prior proposals) would render every document, report, letter, communication or piece of paper that relates in any manner to their preneed program as a “record” that must be retained for examination purposes. And, those funeral directors have a valid objection. The proposal’s first course of action should be to describe or define what constitutes a record for purposes of compliance.
Funeral directors are also questioning the purpose for requiring records regarding the disbursement of preneed funds or the performance of preneed contracts. We could support a requirement for disbursement and performance records if the State Board were proactive in prosecuting sellers that divert consumer funds to their operating accounts. But, that has not been case. Disbursement records could also be relevant to determining if fiduciaries are discharging their duties, but does the State Board have jurisdiction over fiduciaries?