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: Reform

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Rulemaking Procedures: The Due Diligence Factor

Posted in Legislation, Reform
Because, that is our Policy. The death care industry is hearing that more frequently these days.   Last July, an Illinois client was advised by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services that his preneed contract would have to be revised to comply with the Department’s new policy about excess preneed funds.  A few clients in… 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

Kansas Cemetery Legislation: a second bite at the apple

Posted in Cemeteries, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
It is a bit of déjà vu for Kansas cemeteries. Legislation to increase preneed trusting and to require monthly reporting was introduced in the Kansas House. But HB 2240 will look familiar to those cemetery corporations that participated in 2009 and 2010 cemetery legislative meetings conducted by the Kansas Secretary of State. As previously reported… 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

Will there be an Exhibitor’s hall?

Posted in Reform
Conventions and seminars provide trade associations and trade journals important sources of revenue. Accordingly, the death care industry has plenty of ‘retreat opportunities’ to choose from. However, there will be a death care convention held in Montgomery Alabama this weekend that will be off limits to funeral directors, cemeterians and their legions of industry vendors. Death care… Continue Reading

The Preneed Tax

Posted in Compliance, Preneed, Reform
Several states have passed laws in the past few years mandating greater preneed oversight. But with state budgets in decline after the 2008 market crash, regulators are hard pressed to find a way to pay for consumer protection. Colorado’s new law simply states that the contract seller shall bear the cost of its examination. In… Continue Reading

Investment Restrictions: who’s guaranty?

Posted in IFDA, Investments, Preneed, Reform
The Springfield Journal-Register recently reported that Illinois’ Cemetery Oversight Task Force made a recommendation to restrict preneed trusts to investing in government-backed securities.   While its difficult to actually find that recommendation in the Task Force’s report, it is not a bad idea for the consumers who purchased a non-guaranteed preneed contract.  However, that type of restriction would hinder funeral homes that offer guaranteed contracts. The… Continue Reading

March Madness: Kansas cemetery legislation

Posted in Cemeteries, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
With two of the nation’s top ten college basketball teams, Kansans are exhibiting clear symptoms of March Madness. With Topeka located between Lawrence and Manhattan, bipartisanship may be tested as tensions mount this week with the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA seedings announcement on Sunday. When Kansas legislators resume their meetings the week of… Continue Reading

Cemetery Legislation in the Heartland

Posted in Cemeteries, Legislation, Reform
Regulators in Missouri and Kansas will be pursuing legislation this spring for more authority in providing oversight to cemeteries. With its Burr Oak problems, Illinois can’t be too far behind. Whether it is the economy or the unscrupulous owner, regulators are finding they lack both the expertise and authority to properly protect the cemetery consumer.… 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

How much is too much: Missouri’s Preneed Contract Fee

Posted in Missouri - SB1, Preneed, Reform
The emergency rule that implements Missouri’s $36 per contract fee becomes ‘official’ on October 4th.  Missouri funeral directors question whether the fee is too high, and whether it will contribute to the decline in preneed sales. The analysis required for the emergency rule reports that the fee is expected to generate $612,000 of revenues that will… Continue Reading

An August 28th To Do List: Missouri’s Preneed Industry

Posted in Legislation, Missouri - SB1, Preneed, Reform
The Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors meets August 25th to vote on emergency rules that are intended to keep the preneed industry functioning when SB1 goes into effect on August 28th. While numerous issues have been identified to the State Board as deserving of emergency status, four stand out above the rest:… Continue Reading

Missouri’s New Preneed Deposit Requirement

Posted in Preneed, Reform
Governor Nixon signed Senate Bill No. 1 on July 16th, giving Missouri preneed sellers six weeks to prepare for Chapter 436’s new requirements. For trust-funded contracts, one of those requirements will be the deposit of all preneed payments to trust. Section 436.430.2 provides in part: A seller must deposit all payments received on a preneed… Continue Reading

A Change in Accounting: Missouri’s new preneed law

Posted in Fiduciary, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
For twenty-five years, Missouri funeral directors have had it easy with regard to accounting for consumers’ preneed payments. Chapter 436 required the preneed seller to maintain 80% of the preneed contract sales price in trust. The Missouri law also allowed the preneed seller to withdraw income so long as the 80% threshold was maintained. Consequently,… Continue Reading

Missouri Death Care Legislation: A Whole New Ballgame

Posted in Legislation, Preneed, Reform
At the risk of plagiarizing the Missouri Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association, Missouri preneed funeral sellers, providers, fiduciaries and insurers face a new ballgame that will begin August 29th without a complete set of rules and guidelines. Funeral directors have a general idea where the game will be played, but they’re not quite sure what… Continue Reading

A shotgun wedding: The Comptroller’s elimination of the self-trusted arrangement

Posted in IFDA, Legislation, Preneed, Reform
The battle to reform Illinois’ preneed funeral law was renewed by the Comptroller’s office with the release of his Amendment to Senate Bill 1862. Reform in Illinois will take months, and the final product may differ substantially from the Comptroller’s proposal. However, SB 1862 flags Mr. Hynes’ priorities, and one of those priorities could force… Continue Reading