In our third post on Missouri’s endowed care cemetery audits we look at the request for the cemetery’s legal documents. The current audit notice requests copies of the cemetery’s trust agreement, rules and regulations, contract forms, deed forms, brochures and any other materials making an endowed care representation. In essence, the audit is going to review these materials for compliance with Chapter 214. It has been suggested that this review is central to determining whether the cemetery’s documents include certain disclosures about its care fund. While the Office of Endowed Care Cemeteries has statutory authority to approve endowed care trust agreement, it does not have authority to review the other documents sought in the audit notice. In that the trust agreement must be submitted to the OECC, it is redundant to include that agreement in the audit process.
What is missing from the OECC audit process is the examination of non-endowed care cemeteries. Chapter 214 does not require a cemetery to maintain a care fund trust for future maintenance of the cemetery. However, Chapter 214 was passed to require the non-endowed care cemetery to make very specific disclosures to consumers if chose not to establish a regulated care fund trust. RSMo. Section 214.370 requires non-endowed cemeteries to post signs and incorporate disclosures in their forms. Rather than review endowed care cemetery forms, OECC audits should be visiting non-endowed cemeteries to ensure they are making the appropriate disclosures to consumers.