In an unusual move for a death care regulator, the Federal Trade Commission weighed in on the preneed turf war that has erupted between Pennsylvania funeral directors and StoneMor Partners.   At the request of the chairman for a Pennsylvania legislative committee, the FTC responded with a detailed letter warning against various bill proposals aimed at

Prior to Missouri re-writing its preneed law in 2009, preneed sellers could draw off realized income so long as the withdrawal did not reduce the trust’s fair market value below trust deposits.   Seeking income, many Missouri sellers directed their trustees to invest in bonds.  As interest rates declined during the early part of the prior

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

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

For Fed watchers, last week’s announcement signaled a subtle warning that interest rates will likely begin rising by the Summer of 2015.  Since September of 2012, Federal Reserve statements have warned that interest rates would remain unchanged for “a considerable time” after the nation’s economic recovery strengthened.  The reference to “a considerable time” was dropped