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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Preneed Contract Forms: Worth The Paper They’re Written On?

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Funeral, Insurance Funded, Preneed, Recordkeeping, Trust Funded
With the exception of a few states, each form of preneed funding has its own statutory requirements. Consequently, different contract forms are required for each method of preneed funding. So, what does this mean for the consumer worried about the safety of funds paid to the funeral home or cemetery. Among the pecking order of… Continue Reading

Early Audit Warning: Fees and Assessments

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Funeral, Preneed
It seems paradoxical to see preneed regulators ramping up audit programs while state budgets are being slashed to the bone. Yet, several I-70 corridor states will soon implement new preneed audit programs. Missouri’s preneed funeral audits will be funded out of a combination of license fees and preneed contract fees. Missouri’s new cemetery law did… Continue Reading

Non-guaranteed preneed: time to review the duties

Posted in Compliance, Funeral, Preneed
The financial fallout from the failures of NPS and IFDA regarding compliance with state and federal laws has accelerated the decision of many funeral directors to switch to the non-guaranteed preneed contract. That non-guaranteed contract represents a fundamental change in the relationship that is established between the consumer, the funeral home and the preneed fiduciary. The… Continue Reading

Fiduciary Accountability: Illinois and the annual statement

Posted in Fiduciary, Funeral, IFDA, Preneed
Regulators in California, Missouri and Kansas have already implemented strategies that are intended to make preneed fiduciaries more accountable to the consumer. Over the past few weeks, this blog has covered new reporting requirements in Missouri and the audit drama playing out in California. In Kansas, the fiduciary for a failed cemetery has been sued for… Continue Reading

Illinois: the initial insurance premium is coming due

Posted in Fiduciary, Funeral, IFDA, Preneed
The Comptroller’s Office mailed out letters to funeral homes last week advising how to report the first contribution to the Pre-Need Funeral Consumer Protection Fund. The letter tracks the first few paragraphs of the “Senate Bill 1682 Information” page from the Comptroller’s website. The funeral home letter includes two documents: a Fee Payment Record and… Continue Reading

Preneed Salesmen: How high a bar?

Posted in Funeral, Missouri - SB1, Preneed
 NPS salesmen had quite a reputation. Commission driven, some were reported to have earned a healthy six-figure salary. And, some had no prior experience in the funeral industry. To curb the excesses committed by NPS salesmen, Missouri preneed reform bill requires preneed salesmen to be licensed, with a condition that they “have successfully passed the… 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

Sound Bite Advice

Posted in Funeral, Preneed
The question isn’t whether preneed needs to change, but how to change it. The November 2nd edition of the Funeral Insider highlights a new industry survey by Citrin Cooperman, a highly regarded accounting firm. The newsletter includes a section on preneed, and experts’ take on the survey. Their consensus is that preneed is broken. (Tell… Continue Reading

SB1 and Missouri’s Show Me Year

Posted in Funeral, Missouri - SB1
The anxiety over Missouri’s new preneed law will temporarily peak this Friday with the passing of the due dates for annual reports and license applications. To give the industry a breather, and to assess SB1’s flaws, the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors reached an informal agreement on October 20th to table any… Continue Reading

Third time’s the Charm: Preneed Legislation

Posted in Cemeteries, Funeral, IFDA, Legislation, Missouri - SB1, Preneed, Reform
The old axiom was that it would take three consecutive legislative sessions to get a preneed bill passed. If Missouri and Illinois are indicators of the current preneed reform movement, the charm may be based not on attempts but actual bills passed by the legislature. The Illinois Comptroller’s proposal for preneed reform, SB1682, is progressing… Continue Reading

Confusion over the California Master Trust

Posted in Funeral, Preneed
The September edition of the Mortuary Management ran an excerpt from a Funeral Monitor article about the California Master Trust suffering a deficit.  If the story is accurate about the master trust’s shortage, the author’s speculation about the reasons for the deficit omits a possible factor that has existed for years: the 4% administration fee.  As explained by… Continue Reading

The First Week Under SB1

Posted in Funeral, Legislation, Missouri - SB1, Preneed
The first week under the new preneed law was a confusing one for the Missouri funeral industry. SB1 has many drafting conflicts and ambiguities, and that has give rise to different interpretations from the Attorney General’s Office, the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, and the death care industry. The State Board and the… Continue Reading

The Informant: Randall Sutton

Posted in Funeral, NPS/Lincoln, Preneed
News of Randy Sutton’s arrest was greeted by honking hearses in Missouri, Texas, Illinois, and a dozen or so other states. But, the question funeral directors are asking: What about the Cassity family? Federal investigators need for someone to rollover and give up the Cassity crew, and apparently, Mr. Sutton is their choice. Matt Damon’s… Continue Reading

Cemeteries, funeral homes, and conflicts

Posted in Cemeteries, Funeral
John Penton has a valid point. Funeral homes and cemeteries compete for the vault sale. And, the price of a grave space will impact what a family will pay for a traditional funeral and burial. So, when a cemetery faces economic challenges that impact the maintenance of graves, should competing funeral directors be allowed to… Continue Reading

Déjà vu: Missouri’s Latest Reform Effort

Posted in Funeral, Legislation, NPS/Lincoln, Preneed, Reform
The Missouri Senate Committee assigned the task of preneed funeral reform posted a substitute bill to the Legislature’s website on February 6th: SCS SB1. For those who participated in the Chapter 436 Working Group meetings last summer, this bill may seem vaguely familiar. During those meetings, the Division of Professional Registration circulated a 41-page draft… Continue Reading

Texas Preneed Reform

Posted in Funeral, Legislation, NPS/Lincoln, Preneed
In terms of the toxic NPS fallout, Texas ranks a close second to Missouri.  In response, the Texas Department of Banking has released a legislative proposal aimed at closing what it perceives are the loopholes in Chapter 154 of the Texas Finance Code.  To facilitate discussion of the issues with death care operators, insurance companies and fiduciaries,… 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: work in progress

Posted in Fiduciary, Funeral, Legislation, NPS/Lincoln, Preneed, Reform
 While the completion of the document may have felt like a birthing process to the staff of Missouri’s Division of Professional Registration, the Chapter 436 Working Group Recommendations more accurately reflects an industry position paper that has yet to be completed.   Faced with a deadline imposed by the Missouri legislature, the Division ‘finalized’ the Recommendations in an… Continue Reading