Financial relief is coming to Missouri counties with cemeteries. House Bill 443 would allow county commissioners to withdraw principal from perpetual care funds to pay for cemetery maintenance. When combined with the authorities granted counties four years ago by HB 51, Missouri county commissioners can now diversify cemetery perpetual care trusts and restate those trusts to allow fixed distributions of up to 5% of the trust’s value. The county cemetery would then no longer be restricted to distributions of net income.
In stark contrast, Missouri cities can neither diversify cemetery perpetual care trusts nor make a fixed distribution. Prior to 2017, Missouri cemetery laws restricted how counties and cities could invest their perpetual care trusts. With HB 51, the Missouri Legislature authorized the diversification of county care trusts. (Follow this hyperlink to our 2017 post about HB 51.) However, Missouri’s cities missed that boat and remain subject to RSMo. Section 214.020. City perpetual care trusts are still restricted to investing in government bonds.
Missouri’s cities need the same authorities granted to counties by HB 443 and HB 51. As we have been reporting over the past several months, cities need more flexibility in how they can administer cemetery care trusts.