Our previous post discussed care fund audits and the tracking of a cemetery’s property sales and care fund liability. The next step of the audit process is following the money to the care fund trust (and the back from the trust to the cemetery). For these purposes, the Missouri audit notice requests trust statements from the bank or trust company that administers the trust. The trust statements are critical to the auditor’s confirmation that the cemetery deposited the correct amounts in a timely manner. The auditor also needs the trust statement to verify the trustee’s distributions comply with Missouri law. We do not have a criticism of what is sought, but rather how much and when it is sought.
In the document request we linked to our prior post (and provided here) the auditor is seeking 7 years of trust statements. Many fiduciaries archive trust records after two years. Consequently, the trustee may not be able to produce trust statements from 5 or 6 years in the past. Yes, cemeteries should archive trust statement on an annual basis. But it would make more sense for the Missouri Office of Endowed Care Cemeteries to require a trust statement be included with the cemetery’s annual report. When scheduling a cemetery for audit, the OECC could then provide copies of the trust statements and annual reports filed by the cemetery. Having current trust statements would also enable the OECC to spot irregularities and prioritize audits.