Earlier this year, the New York Times ran a story that on funeral planning that raised several valid issues and recommendations.  We will use the next few blog posts to explore certain issues and recommendations in greater detail.   With this post we will start with the article’s discussion of prepaying for a preneed contract, and

A local Kansas City television station recently ran a story about a consumer’s complaint that his preneed contract did not cover “surprise fees”.   The consumer had purchased the preneed contract from a Kansas City funeral home/cemetery combo where he had also purchased a grave space.   One fact regarding the preneed contract that jumped out

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

For an industry that has been dependent on interest income, the past 9 years have been tough on the death care industry.  Interest rates started to decline 9 years ago, with the bottom hitting in 2008.   Zero interest rates forced death care fiduciaries to diversify into equity investments, but trusts have experienced a sideways market

With increasing regularity, preneed consumers are downgrading from traditional funerals to cremation services.  To accommodate the consumer, funeral homes often amend the original contract with a downgrade addendum.   An addendum is used to avoid a contract cancellation and a new contract where additional state fees might be required.    However, downgrade addendum can pose certain problems.

Funeral homes frequently allow the assignment of insurance as partial payment towards a trust funded preneed contract, but the manner in which the assignment is made can cause problems for them.  Preneed trustees will not accept an insurance policy for a host of reasons.  Insurance proceeds paid to a trust are not tax free and

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

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

Both the Memorial Business Journal and the Funeral Service Insider commented last week on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s February 7th article regarding the former executive director of the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association. Several issues were raised that should be included in future industry debate, and in particular, I would agree with Mr. Isard’s questions whether