Death Care Compliance Law

Death Care Compliance Law

Preneed: A Pandora's Box of Problems

William Stalter is the founder of Stalter Legal Services and the Preneed Resource Company. Bill focuses his law practice on preneed and death care compliance, serving banks, funeral homes, crematories, and cemeteries. He has written multiple published articles

Category Archives: Exams/audits

Subscribe to Exams/audits RSS Feed

Missouri’s Exam Handbook: The Four Corners of the Manual

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
Our next criticism of Missouri’s pending Exam Handbook is its violation of the Four Corners Rule, which requires a document to stand on its own when being interpreted and applied.  Common law precludes parties from going to outside sources when applying the document to different situations.  While the Handbook gives lip service to the Four Corners… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Exam Handbook: Reviewing All Contracts for What Purposes?

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Uncategorized
The newest edition of the Missouri Preneed Exam Handbook has some significant problems.  The one we will discuss today is ambiguous instructions regarding the review of preneed contracts.  Paragraph 13 of the Handbook’s scope of financial examination states: 13) Staff shall look at 100% of all active preneed contracts that have been sold since the period… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Preneed Exam: Prioritizing the Exceptions

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
“Nitpicking” was one of the terms frequently used by Missouri funeral directors when referencing their preneed exam exceptions report.  (Other descriptions are not appropriate for print.)  The initial exam guideline provided no guidance to examiners for prioritizing problems found in preneed contracts and records.  It was common to see exception reports with dozens, even hundreds,… Continue Reading

Missouri Preneed Exam Procedures: New Receipt and Transmission Records

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping
Missouri’s pending preneed exam handbook will establish a new record keeping requirement for the state’s preneed sellers: monthly records of consumer payment receipts and the transmission of those funds to the preneed funding agent.  Seller record keeping proposals are not new to the Board.   (Missouri Seller Records: The State Board Proposal) The Board’s staff proposed… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Preneed Exam Handbook: How to Spot the Cheaters

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
The Missouri State Board’s proposed exam handbook places a new emphasis on tracking consumer payments to funeral homes.  There are two elements to the Board’s strategy: confirming the consumer’s funds make it to the appropriate funding agent, and that those funds are remitted to that funding agent within the time periods required by Chapter 436. … Continue Reading

Missouri’s Next Preneed Exam Manual: Start Following the Money

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping, Uncategorized
The Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors introduced a new preneed examination handbook at its October meeting.  (Click the following hyperlink to access the preneed handbook.)  The proposed handbook would change the emphasis of the preneed exams from contract and recordkeeping compliance to tracking consumer funds paid to the funeral home. For most… Continue Reading

The Missouri State Board: But Will the Division Change its Ways?

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
The rift between the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors and their Executive Director culminated in her resignation effective June 30th.    Over the course of the past several years, the State Board drew the ire of the industry in a number of ways.   The staff implemented regulation proposals before they were officially promulgated,… Continue Reading

Missouri Preneed Exam Procedures: Industry Expertise

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Uncategorized
Our first recommendation to the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors is that they assume, and maintain, control over the preneed examination procedures.    The exam procedures implemented two years ago were never submitted to the Board for review and approval.  Accordingly, the examination procedures handbook should remind the staff that any change made… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Adequate Preneed Records: Performance and Cancellation Records

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping
When the State Board approved a new “adequate seller records” rule on April 25th, there wasn’t much discussion of the documents or reports to be maintained for performed and canceled preneed contracts.  In a sense, the Board may not need to expand beyond the FTC’s statement of goods and services requirement.  If a funeral home… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Adequate Preneed Records: Receipt and Transmittal Records

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
The Missouri funeral industry has haggled with the State Board for two years over preneed record requirements.  But on April 25th, the State Board scrapped the staff’s adequate record proposal, and instead, adopted a brief definition of ‘seller records’.   The State Board’s approach will afford funeral homes more flexibility in documenting the receipt of consumer… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Funeral Board: Taking Back the Reins

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
The April 25th meeting of the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors marked an important transition where industry members assumed control over the protection of consumers’ preneed funds.   After the first round of financial examinations, the Board’s procedures for the second round were defined by the Board’s staff, and never submitted to the… Continue Reading

Missouri Preneed Examinations: The Doctrine of Semi-Absurd Statutory Construction

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
Missouri funeral homes are frustrated with the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.  The second round of preneed examinations has begun, and the Board’s staff is citing sellers for “new” contract form violations on “old” contracts.  Examiners are reviewing all outstanding contracts, including those covered in the seller’s first examination, and now citing the… Continue Reading

Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors: Ten Years after NPS

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
Ten years after the collapse of NPS, the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors has a confidence problem with licensees and legislators.  Licensees see a regulator that is obsessed with DBAs, renewal reports, and exams that focus on contract provisions.  Legislators see a regulator that will not fulfill the SB1 mandate to protect… Continue Reading

The Missouri Board Chairman’s Rally Cry: Follow Me, Boys!

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping, Reporting, Uncategorized
Pursuant to a notice that may, or may not, satisfy state law, the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors met in closed session this morning.   At the State Board’s December meeting, Division counsel advised that 24 hours’ notice to the public was required to amend the Board’s agenda.   Notice of this 9:00 am… Continue Reading

The Missouri Funeral Board: Cures for Memory Loss

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping, Uncategorized
With its January 9th and 10th agenda, the Missouri State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers exhibited yet another example of memory loss.  Just weeks prior, the State Board voted to have one or more special meetings on seller records and the financial examination process.  The motion approved by the Board was to have those… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Record Keeping Meeting(s): A Date to Be Determined

Posted in Associations, Exams/audits, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping
In preceding posts, we have outlined recommendations to the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors regarding the preneed examination process and record keeping requirements.  While our correspondence was not included on the Board’s December 13th agenda, the Board entertained a motion to amend the agenda to include our correspondence on the afternoon open… Continue Reading

Missouri Seller Records: The Starting Point for an Audit Trail

Posted in Exams/audits, Recordkeeping, Uncategorized
The last time the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors took up the issue of preneed seller record keeping requirements, the staff proposal emphasized a contract ledger approach.  The proposal sought to require a contract record that reflected the amount and date of each payment received and the corresponding dates and amounts deposited… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Preneed Examination Process: A New Focus

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
For the first round of Missouri preneed examinations, the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors had no choice but to jump into preneed sellers’ records and files.  Hundreds of funeral home had been selling preneed for decades without supervision or record keeping requirements.   So, the first exam objective was to look at everything and… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Funeral Board: Returning to the Scene of the Crime

Posted in Exams/audits, Recordkeeping
Two years ago, the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors met in Independence to discuss their staff’s recommendations for seller record keeping requirements and the scope of preneed examinations.  As the minutes somewhat reflect, the staff proposals were met with strong public opposition.   (This blog documented those issues in prior posts that are listed… Continue Reading

Missouri Preneed Examinations: An Important Pivot

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Uncategorized
In their last meeting, the members of the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors took a small, but important pivot in the preneed examination process.  The State Board approved a recommendation made by the Financial Examination Committee that the Committee review each examination report and prepare the letter that accompanies the report to… Continue Reading