The July 25th Marketplace Morning Report on National Public Radio included a segment called Allan Sloan’s lessons on bond investments. Mr. Sloan is a business columnist for the Washington Post who recently wrote that the current Treasury bond market is “out of whack”, and poses a risker investment than the stock markets. Mr. Sloan

A local Kansas City television station recently ran a story about a consumer’s complaint that his preneed contract did not cover “surprise fees”.   The consumer had purchased the preneed contract from a Kansas City funeral home/cemetery combo where he had also purchased a grave space.   One fact regarding the preneed contract that jumped out

Preneed planning often begins with the purchase of a cemetery plot or cremation niche.  If that purchase includes a marker or monument, the cemetery will typically seek to deliver the marker so that it may avoid cost increases incurred with regard to granite and bronze.  But, many of us do not like to be reminded

In an unusual move for a death care regulator, the Federal Trade Commission weighed in on the preneed turf war that has erupted between Pennsylvania funeral directors and StoneMor Partners.   At the request of the chairman for a Pennsylvania legislative committee, the FTC responded with a detailed letter warning against various bill proposals aimed at

When the Federal Reserve recently announced the end of the quantitative easing program, it did so with a hint that any increase in interest rates could be a considerable time off.  Several global factors may now cause interest rates to remain at unprecedented lows for longer than what the Fed had suggested last December.  As

Legislation was introduced this week in the Kansas Legislature, and one of the bill’s changes seeks to clarify how cemetery care fund requirements can be computed. We have found this a source of confusion for cemeteries and regulators in many states. Depending upon the type of interment right purchased, the care fund requirement is often

The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) made an old but persuasive argument to get the IRS to exempt cemetery care trusts from the Medicare tax that will fund ObamaCare.  As discussed in a prior post, the IRS had initially proposed to apply the tax to both cemetery care trusts and preneed trusts.  With

 A cemetery operator recently expressed his frustration with the trust officer of his care fund trust.   An examination of the trust had cited the operator for inappropriate distributions from principal with regard to expense payments.  We suggested to the operator that it is very common for trustees to set up care fund accounts with

In its past two newsletters, my local chapter of the Funeral Consumer Alliance has reported on the difficulties in finding cemeteries that permit natural burials. In the Spring newsletter, the FCA of Greater KC reported on how the Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansas was reconsidering natural burials at one of its six cemeteries. In