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: Funeral Home Business Practices

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Determining Preneed Trust Investment Returns: A Quick and Simple Method

Posted in Preneed Shortfalls, Total Return Trust
Most funeral directors would be hard pressed to calculate what investment return their preneed trust is producing.  Regular deposit and distribution activity makes computation of investment returns difficult.  The more frequent the activity, the harder it is to compute the return.  Accordingly, it would be easier for the funeral director to look at paid in… Continue Reading

Preneed Trusts and Value Allocations: Total Return vs Income Return

Posted in Administration, Compliance, Investments, Total Return Trust
As discussed in our prior post, funeral homes are becoming increasingly dependent upon their preneed trustee for individual account administration.  Many trustees that provide account administration rely upon programs that use tax cost basis accounting.  (For a prior discussion of tax cost basis see “Consumer Options and Administrative Hurdles: Market Value Allocations”.)    Tax cost accounting… 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

A Treasury Market Out of Whack: Preneed Insurers and Preneed Sellers

Posted in Insurance Funded, Investments, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preneed Development, Preneed Shortfalls, Price Protection, Price Protection, Uncategorized
In our last post, we used Allan Sloan’s article on the Treasury bond market to highlight the investment exposures to death care trusts.  Today we will look at how the Treasury market is also impacting funeral homes that rely upon insurance for preneed funding.  Mr. Sloan’s article alluded to insurance companies being required by statute… Continue Reading

Installment Payments and Preneed: At the cost of the seller

Posted in Guaranteed, Non-guaranteed, Preneed Development, Preneed Shortfalls, Price Protection
A preneed client recently complained about preneed shortfalls they were experiencing on trust funded contracts.  We went back to our 2014 blog post (The Factors Contributing to Preneed Shortfalls: Investment Return and Operator’s Performance Costs) and began an analysis of those factors.  Since the ‘culprit’ is usually poor investment returns, we started with a review… Continue Reading

Missouri and Preneed Deficiencies: What is a shortage?

Posted in Legislation, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1, Preneed Shortfalls, Reporting, Trust Funded
At its June meeting, the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors gave instructions to their staff to draft legislation that would provide the Board powers to force preneed sellers to contribute funds to their trusts to cover ‘shortages’.   The instruction was not without some controversy as one Board member questioned why he was… Continue Reading

Preneed Shortfalls: Installment Payments

Posted in Funeral Home Business Practices, Preneed Shortfalls
In prior posts, we discussed the impact that investment return and performance cost increases have on preneed shortfalls.  In this post we will look at how installment payment options impact the funeral and cemetery operator. Many funeral homes do not offer installment payment options because those monthly payments cut directly into the trust earnings that… Continue Reading

Preneed Shortfalls: Performance Cost Increases

Posted in Preneed Shortfalls, Price Protection
In our prior post we discussed two factors to preneed shortfalls: investment returns and the operator’s performance cost increases.  The Funeral Consumer Alliance of Greater Kansas City conducts an annual survey of the region’s funeral homes to track the price increases on their General Price Lists.  A couple days after our post, the Kansas City… Continue Reading

The Factors Contributing to Preneed Shortfalls: Investment Return and Operator’s Performance Costs

Posted in Guaranteed, Insurance Funded, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preplanning, Price Protection, Price Protection, Total Return Trust, Trust Funded, Uncategorized
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… Continue Reading

Consumer Options and Administrative Hurdles: Market Value Allocations

Posted in Administration, Associations, Compliance, Master Trusts, Total Return Trust
The conventional guaranteed preneed transaction is premised upon investment returns offsetting performance cost increases to the funeral home.  Many funeral homes restrict consumers to single payment preneed contracts to limit their exposure to funding short falls.  If the funeral home allows the consumer to pay the preneed purchase price over 60 months, the preneed trust… Continue Reading

Preneed Contract Holders: the lonely 5%

Posted in Guaranteed, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preplanning, Uncategorized
The Memorial Business Journal recently reported on findings from the NFDA’s 2014 Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study.   Some of the findings may not come as much of a surprise to funeral directors, such as consumer demands are changing.  But, findings regarding how many respondents have made efforts to prearrange, and prepay, for funerals were surprising. … Continue Reading

My Preneed Account: Interest Alone Won’t Cut It

Posted in Non-guaranteed, Preplanning, Price Protection, Total Return Trust, Trust Funded, Uncategorized
Since President Obama unveiled the new MyRA as his plan to revive Americans’ saving habits, we have been making comparisons between funding for retirements and preneed.   Like the MyRA, the non-guaranteed preneed contract could represent more of an introduction to preplanning funding than the final preneed product.  As the AARP acknowledged a few years ago,… Continue Reading

MyRA: Is preneed headed in a similar direction?

Posted in Funeral, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preplanning
President Obama used his State of the Union address to unveil a new type of retirement account dubbed “MyRA”.  Recognizing that Americans are woefully unprepared for their retirement years, the President believes the MyRA offers individuals a safe option to induce them to begin saving for those golden years.  A CNBC report provides an explanation… Continue Reading

The Right of Sepulcher and Nebraska: Giving the Preneed Contract a Higher Dignity

Posted in Associations, Funeral Home Business Practices, Supulcher/Preference Laws
Representatives from Nebraska’s death care industry will be meeting this fall to discuss the Department of Insurance’s preneed legislative proposal, and the right of sepulcher will be among the issues for discussion. Nebraska is among the states that have statutory provisions defining the priority of individuals who may claim the right of sepulcher (which is… Continue Reading

Another factor in the cremation trend: preneed insurance premiums

Posted in Cremation, Guaranteed, Insurance Funded, Preneed, Preplanning, Price Protection, Price Protection
Our preneed provides peace of mind by freeing your family from the burdens of rising funeral costs and from making difficult decisions during their time of grief. Since the inception of the transaction sixty years ago, that statement has defined preneed marketing. Even the AARP recently embrace the peace of mind concept. The inflationary protection… Continue Reading

Trust Funded Preneed and Finance Charges

Posted in Preneed, Preplanning, Price Protection
The funeral director’s decision about how to fund his preneed is influenced by the state’s trusting requirement, investment returns, administrative convenience and the volume of preneed business. Essentially, there are three methods of funding preneed: the depository account, the master trust and the insurance policy. The funeral director’s use of the depository account predates all… Continue Reading