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: Consumer Advocates

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NPR’s Stories on the Funeral Industry: On Line Shopping

Posted in Churches/Ritual, Consumer Advocates, Preplanning
NPR’s second story on the funeral industry suggests that preplanning a funeral will typically require visits to multiple funeral homes. NPR led their story with a consumer attorney sharing his frustrations with getting price information from funeral homes near his father.  To the attorney’s surprise, many of the funeral homes did not include general price… Continue Reading

A Treasury Market Out of Whack: Insurers and Preneed Consumers

Posted in Consumer Advocates, Insurance Funded, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preneed Shortfalls, Price Protection
In a prior post, we used Allan Sloan’s article on the Treasury bond market to discuss the impact on preneed insurers and their funeral home clients.  The Treasury market has forced preneed insurers to lower their policy returns, which has a direct impact on the profitability of funeral homes.  To make insurance funding more profitable… Continue Reading

Active Supervision of An Industry Board: Let’s Start with What it Ain’t.

Posted in Consumer Advocates, Funeral, Missouri - SB1
Last week we posted the Federal Trade Commission’s Active Supervision Guidelines for industry boards. The Guidelines set some substantial standards for the independent state agency or attorney general that provides supervision over an industry board. When that agency or attorney fails to satisfy the supervision requirements, the industry members are exposed to personal liability when… Continue Reading

Individual Funeral Trusts: Are the costs too high?

Posted in Consumer Advocates, Preneed
The Missouri law governing means testing for public assistance (RSMo. Section 214.010) was amended this past August to allow an individual to set up an ‘irrevocable funeral trust account’ and exclude $9,999 of funds for funeral and burial expenses.  This legislation was sought by a funeral director that wanted to offer families an alternative to regulated… Continue Reading

KC Funeral Consumer Alliance: Cemetery Survey

Posted in Cemeteries, Consumer Advocates, Preneed, Preplanning
The funeral industry may grumble about the FTC’s Funeral Rule, but two disclosures required by that law play important roles in the preneed transaction. The general price list is often used by funeral homes as a tool for comparing prices with the competition. And when a prearranged funeral is performed, the statement of goods and services… Continue Reading

Preneed: down but not dead?

Posted in Consumer Advocates, Funeral, Preneed
With some industry members having already declared the preneed transaction dead, a recent AARP bulletin reports that the patient is not only alive, but it is regaining its strength. But, the reason for increasing preneed sales will only bedevil many death care operators: the rising costs of funerals. Operators who face preneed competition will have… Continue Reading

Consumer Advocacy: Pulling Punches

Posted in Cemeteries, Consumer Advocates, Funeral, Legislation, Preneed
Funeral homes and cemeteries are businesses that serve families when they are most vulnerable. To guard against exploitation, the death care industry establishes standards of professionalism, and state governments pass laws and regulations. Consumer advocacy plays an important role in educating consumers about these standards, and providing families tools in evaluating death care operators. To… Continue Reading

Missouri Preneed Reform: Show Me

Posted in Consumer Advocates, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
With two reform bills (HB 2469 and HB 2594) already introduced into the legislature, and two substitute proposals in the works, Missouri legislators and regulators are committed to fixing a law that allowed NPS to exploit consumers and funeral homes. However, consumers and the death care industry are both having difficulty analyzing the specifics of the various… Continue Reading

Tennessee’s Preneed Legislation: the cost of doing business

Posted in Consumer Advocates, Fiduciary, Funeral, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
The preneed bill that angered the Funeral Consumers Alliance in February continues to advance within the Tennessee legislature. SB 2705/HB 2763 has been placed on the calendar for the Commerce Committee for April 1st. If passed, the legislation may well make Tennessee the first state to lower its preneed trusting requirement. Despite the need for better consumer protections,… Continue Reading

Maryland’s Proposed Preneed Protection Fund: all things considered

Posted in Compliance, Consumer Advocates, Fiduciary, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
It must be spring: preneed reform bills are sprouting like crocus.    The direction taken by the Maryland and Tennessee legislatures in proposing protection funds drew recent criticism from the Funeral Consumers Alliance. While consumer advocates have some valid points regarding these legislative efforts, the obstacles facing states are far more complex than what most outsiders… Continue Reading

Non-guaranteed Preneed – The Hurdles

Posted in Consumer Advocates, Preneed, Preplanning
Death Care trade publications such as the Funeral Service Insider and the FuneralWire advocate that funeral homes revisit the non-guaranteed preneed contract.  I agree that funeral homes should reconsider the non-guaranteed preneed contract, but for reasons different from those expressed by other authors. The non-guaranteed preneed contract affords flexibility and portability to the individual who wants to do more… Continue Reading

Get Smart! The Missing Fiduciary

Posted in Consumer Advocates, Fiduciary, Preneed
The Clayton Smart debacle has been, and will continue to be, the subject of articles calling for preneed reform. A recent AARP article titled R.I.P. Off  will be one of the more controversial (leading to frequent citations by consumer advocates).   While the article is biased and should be rebuked by the death care industry for its various… Continue Reading