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

Tag Archives: audits

Missouri’s Exam Handbook: The Four Corners of the Manual

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
Our next criticism of Missouri’s pending Exam Handbook is its violation of the Four Corners Rule, which requires a document to stand on its own when being interpreted and applied.  Common law precludes parties from going to outside sources when applying the document to different situations.  While the Handbook gives lip service to the Four Corners… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Exam Handbook: Reviewing All Contracts for What Purposes?

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Uncategorized
The newest edition of the Missouri Preneed Exam Handbook has some significant problems.  The one we will discuss today is ambiguous instructions regarding the review of preneed contracts.  Paragraph 13 of the Handbook’s scope of financial examination states: 13) Staff shall look at 100% of all active preneed contracts that have been sold since the period… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Preneed Exam: Prioritizing the Exceptions

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
“Nitpicking” was one of the terms frequently used by Missouri funeral directors when referencing their preneed exam exceptions report.  (Other descriptions are not appropriate for print.)  The initial exam guideline provided no guidance to examiners for prioritizing problems found in preneed contracts and records.  It was common to see exception reports with dozens, even hundreds,… Continue Reading

Missouri Preneed Exam Procedures: New Receipt and Transmission Records

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping
Missouri’s pending preneed exam handbook will establish a new record keeping requirement for the state’s preneed sellers: monthly records of consumer payment receipts and the transmission of those funds to the preneed funding agent.  Seller record keeping proposals are not new to the Board.   (Missouri Seller Records: The State Board Proposal) The Board’s staff proposed… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Preneed Exam Handbook: How to Spot the Cheaters

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
The Missouri State Board’s proposed exam handbook places a new emphasis on tracking consumer payments to funeral homes.  There are two elements to the Board’s strategy: confirming the consumer’s funds make it to the appropriate funding agent, and that those funds are remitted to that funding agent within the time periods required by Chapter 436. … Continue Reading

Missouri Preneed Examinations: The Doctrine of Semi-Absurd Statutory Construction

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
Missouri funeral homes are frustrated with the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.  The second round of preneed examinations has begun, and the Board’s staff is citing sellers for “new” contract form violations on “old” contracts.  Examiners are reviewing all outstanding contracts, including those covered in the seller’s first examination, and now citing the… Continue Reading

The Missouri Funeral Board: Cures for Memory Loss

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping, Uncategorized
With its January 9th and 10th agenda, the Missouri State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers exhibited yet another example of memory loss.  Just weeks prior, the State Board voted to have one or more special meetings on seller records and the financial examination process.  The motion approved by the Board was to have those… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Preneed Examination Process: A New Focus

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
For the first round of Missouri preneed examinations, the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors had no choice but to jump into preneed sellers’ records and files.  Hundreds of funeral home had been selling preneed for decades without supervision or record keeping requirements.   So, the first exam objective was to look at everything and… Continue Reading

The Proceeding against The Missouri Funeral Trust: The Long Build Up

Posted in Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping, Uncategorized
We start our review of the case against the Missouri Funeral Trust with the procedural issues raised in the State Board’s Complaint and MFT’s Answer.   From the Answer, we learn that the preneed financial examination was initiated on January 20, 2011.  But, it was almost three years before an examination report was sent by the… Continue Reading

Missouri Seller Records: The Hidden Drawer

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Recordkeeping
The next section of Missouri’s seller records rule proposal seeks the following documents: D.  For all fulfilled preneed contracts: (1)   Records showing seller’s performance for fulfilled preneed contracts including: (a)  Written certificate(s) of performance for each preneed contract fulfilled; (b)  Requests to the financial institution and/or insurance company for payment; (c) Evidence of the date… Continue Reading

Missouri Preneed Seller Records: Trustee Disbursement Records

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Recordkeeping
The next section of Missouri’s preneed record keeping proposal  targets trust disbursements made for purposes other than preneed contract performances or cancellations: (5)          Records showing any disbursement from a preneed trust or joint account for any purpose other than cancellation or fulfillment of a preneed contract with a description of the purpose for the… Continue Reading

Missouri Preneed Seller Records: Access to Trustee Deposit Records

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Recordkeeping
Many Missouri preneed sellers have become dependent upon their trustee for the individual contract accounting required by law changes implemented in 2009.  Some of those same funeral homes also have consumers make their preneed contract payments directly to the trustee.  As a consequence, the seller does not handle consumer funds, and is unable to document… Continue Reading

Missouri Seller Record Keeping: A Misstep Right out of the Box

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1, Recordkeeping
The purpose for a record keeping rule is to inform licensees what reports and documents that they must either maintain, or create, to enable the preneed examiner to determine compliance with state law requirements.  But, the opening paragraph of the proposal given the Missouri State Board puts the cart in front of the horse: A… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Second Round of Exams: The Committee’s Role

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
In September we posted about a regulation proposal that sought to define the role of a sub-committee of the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors (Missouri’s Financial Examination Committee: What Role?).   While the Board eventually gave its staff instructions to revise that proposal, the regulation has yet to resurface.  Instead, the Staff Recommendations include… Continue Reading

Missouri’s Second Round of Exams: Exit Interviews

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
In a prior post we alluded to Missouri preneed sellers’ complaints about the examination process, and that the follow up process to the on-site review has been unnecessarily burdensome.  Subsequent to the examiner’s departure from the funeral home, the seller received an exception list of missing contracts or documents, which the seller can often quickly locate. … Continue Reading

Transferee Liability: Hidden Obligations

Posted in Missouri - SB1
The Dead Beat recently published a letter from a Missouri funeral home operator that was critical of the ‘handling of the NPS debacle’ by the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. The operator questioned how the Board could ‘allow’ his firm to sign official documents requiring that NPS contracts be honored. The official… Continue Reading

Missouri and Mrs. Smith’s insurance policy: Where to draw the line?

Posted in Insurance Funded, Missouri - SB1, Preneed
Every funeral director has faced the situation where Mrs. Smith comes in with an insurance policy and her funeral plans. Often, Mrs. Smith has gone to trouble of designating the funeral home as the policy beneficiary before having discussed her plans with the director. Often funeral directors file the policy and plan away until Mrs.… Continue Reading