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

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Missouri’s desk audit: the first look will take the longest

Posted in Exams/audits, Funeral, Missouri - SB1, Preneed
As discussed in prior posts, the Missouri preneed audit process begins with a notice to the preneed seller for the production of documents and data. After a review is made of the documents, data and the annual reports filed with the State Board, an on-site examination is scheduled with the seller. Most Missouri preneed sellers… Continue Reading

Informing the Consumer (and the Industry)

Posted in Funeral, Preneed, Reform
The need for better preneed oversight is obvious, but regulators often lack resources and expertise. The state of Connecticut made headlines recently for the decision to make budget cuts by de-regulating the death care industry*. Connecticut funeral directors challenged the decision, and the state issued a ‘clarification’ and withdrew the plan. (That’s correct, the funeral… Continue Reading

Foreclosed: preneed funds

Posted in Funeral, Preneed
The economy has preneed regulators concerned about depository accounts used for preneed funding.  A story reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution underscores the reason for this worry.  When a funeral home fails, consumers have little chance of defending the depository account from creditors’ claims.  Insurance and trusts offer the consumer better protection when the creditors come knocking. … Continue Reading

Cooperation with Clergy

Posted in Churches/Ritual, Cremation, Funeral
The Saturday edition of the Kansas City Star includes a section titled “Faith” that is devoted to the issues of religion. A few weeks ago, Star reporter Helen Gray wrote two different Faith articles regarding local funeral trends: cremation and one funeral operation’s focus on working closer with churches. The cremation article offered the observations… Continue Reading

Dark Clouds and Preneed

Posted in Funeral, Insurance Funded, Preneed, Trust Funded
Not that close, even from the 30,000-foot view. That’s our assessment of the Morningstar analysis of preneed and its impact on the death care industry. In “Dark Clouds for the Death-Care Industry”, a stock analyst attempted to explain the preneed transaction, and then provide an assessment of the impact of preneed on the profitability of… Continue Reading

Continuing the search for preneed exams

Posted in Exams/audits, Funeral, Missouri - SB1, Preneed
The Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors staff has some new faces, and in contrast to most rookies, these newcomers are playing pivotal roles in developing examination procedures for the state’s preneed funeral sellers. The Division of Professional Registration chose personnel with prior auditing experience, but as these ‘rookies’ are learning, there is… Continue Reading

Comptroller: It’s Not My Call

Posted in Funeral, IFDA, Preneed
For a brief period, the Illinois Comptroller posted a notice that sidestepped the inquiries made by funeral directors about the application of their Merrill Lynch settlements. The OIC website has since be revised. One of the inquiries to the OIC may have involved whether the settlement funds could be applied to the litigation costs for… Continue Reading

Preneed Reporting: drilling down to each consumer

Posted in Administration, Funeral, IFDA, Preneed, Recordkeeping, Reporting
For most Illinois funeral homes, March 15th is the due date for the filing of their preneed data with the Comptroller’s office. For those funeral homes that bolted from the IFDA after the master trust melt down, this has been an extremely frustrating process. The majority of funeral homes must file on line, with supporting… Continue Reading

The Next Twist in the IFDA/Merrill Lynch saga

Posted in Funeral, IFDA
The Springfield Journal-Register reported last week on the latest lawsuit to hit Merrill Lynch, the IFDA and the law firm that represented the Association. One aspect of the lawsuit focuses upon the claim that the key man insurance policies sold to the master trust were not suitable investments. Without an insurable interest, the policies could… Continue Reading

Groundhog Day in Missouri: Preneed Exams before Spring

Posted in Exams/audits, Funeral, Missouri - SB1, Preneed, Reporting
The start of Missouri’s new era of preneed oversight began when document requests were mailed to sellers on January 3rd. Sellers were requested to provide the following documents by January 28th: · A current statement from your state or federally chartered financial institution’s authorized to exercise trust powers in Missouri of any preneed trust accounts… Continue Reading

The Comptroller’s Annual Report: a broken trail

Posted in Funeral, IFDA, Preneed, Reporting
This blog commented a few weeks ago on Dan Hynes’ failure to follow through on his own legislation. Since that post, the new Comptroller revised the Annual Report to eliminate references to self-trusted funds. However, funeral homes that transferred out of the IFDA master trust will still find the report difficult to complete. The Comptroller’s… Continue Reading

Dropping A Dime in the Land of Lincoln

Posted in Funeral, IFDA
A few years ago, a past president of the NFDA wrote in The Director that funeral directors should begin blowing the whistle on industry cheaters. This blog raised a concern over whether funeral directors understood applicable preneed laws well enough to become whistleblowers. A recent news article in the Morris Daily Herald contains facts to… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Trust Funded Report: perserving self regulation

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Funeral, Missouri - SB1, Preneed, Recordkeeping, Reporting
The ‘deadline’ for Missouri preneed sellers to ‘voluntarily’ report their pre-SB1 trust funded sales is a mere two weeks away. Again, this is a voluntary report. As such, missing the ‘deadline’ or failing to use the Board’s form carries no penalty to the preneed seller. So, why file? The reason expressed by one State Board… Continue Reading

Succession Planning Gone Bad

Posted in Funeral
At age 78, Darrell Bennett should be spending his days on a Florida golf course. Instead, he is back in Michigan trying to salvage his life’s work. Like so many funeral home owners, Mr. Bennett handed over the keys to someone he trusted and took back a note for the purchase price. According to stories… Continue Reading

Not your typical Christmas wish list: Missouri legislation

Posted in Funeral, Legislation, Missouri - SB1, Preneed, Reform
Triggered by the NPS collapse, preneed reform rolled out of the Missouri legislature like a tsunami. When the funeral industry was slow to organize and respond to the situation, legislators worked with state officials to imposed sweeping changes. While SB1 does reflect input provided to the State Board by the industry, the law has flaws… Continue Reading

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine: the statement of goods and services

Posted in Compliance, Funeral, Preneed, Recordkeeping
When funeral arrangements are made subsequent to the death of a family member, the meeting with a funeral director can be very emotional. Addressing the paperwork required by law often adds to the stress of the arrangement meeting. Sensitive to the individual needs of the family, funeral directors attempt to balance legal requirements with the… Continue Reading

An Educational Process

Posted in Funeral, Missouri - SB1, Preneed
Missouri is one of the few states that does not impose a continuing education requirement for funeral directors. Where continuing education is required, the state funeral director association typically sponsors programs that satisfy the CE requirements, and provides revenues needed to supplement the association’s budget needs. The passage of SB1 has provided the Missouri Funeral… Continue Reading