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: guaranteed

A Treasury Market Out of Whack: Insurers and Preneed Consumers

Posted in Consumer Advocates, Insurance Funded, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preneed Shortfalls, Price Protection
In a prior post, we used Allan Sloan’s article on the Treasury bond market to discuss the impact on preneed insurers and their funeral home clients.  The Treasury market has forced preneed insurers to lower their policy returns, which has a direct impact on the profitability of funeral homes.  To make insurance funding more profitable… Continue Reading

Surprise Fees? Not if You Read the Contract

Posted in Cemeteries, Compliance, Guaranteed, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Preplanning
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 to… Continue Reading

Trust Funded Preneed and Insurance Assignments

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Guaranteed, Insurance Funded, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Recordkeeping, Trust Funded
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… Continue Reading

Preneed Shortfalls: Performance Cost Increases

Posted in Preneed Shortfalls, Price Protection
In our prior post we discussed two factors to preneed shortfalls: investment returns and the operator’s performance cost increases.  The Funeral Consumer Alliance of Greater Kansas City conducts an annual survey of the region’s funeral homes to track the price increases on their General Price Lists.  A couple days after our post, the Kansas City… Continue Reading

The Factors Contributing to Preneed Shortfalls: Investment Return and Operator’s Performance Costs

Posted in Guaranteed, Insurance Funded, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preplanning, Price Protection, Price Protection, Total Return Trust, Trust Funded, Uncategorized
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… Continue Reading

Consumers Payment Options: Administrative Hurdles and Preneed Trusts

Posted in Administration, Associations, Compliance, Master Trusts, Non-guaranteed, NPS/Lincoln, Recordkeeping, Trust Funded
There are three scenarios for administration of preneed installment payments: the funeral operator collects payments, the trustee collects payments or a third party administrator collects payments.  The entity collecting installment payments must be able to apply each payment to the correct preneed account, and provide the other party (or parties) current payment balances.  If the… Continue Reading

Consumer Options and Administrative Hurdles: Market Value Allocations

Posted in Administration, Associations, Compliance, Master Trusts, Total Return Trust
The conventional guaranteed preneed transaction is premised upon investment returns offsetting performance cost increases to the funeral home.  Many funeral homes restrict consumers to single payment preneed contracts to limit their exposure to funding short falls.  If the funeral home allows the consumer to pay the preneed purchase price over 60 months, the preneed trust… Continue Reading

Preneed Contract Holders: the lonely 5%

Posted in Guaranteed, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Preneed Development, Preplanning, Uncategorized
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 surprising. … Continue Reading

My Preneed Account: Interest Alone Won’t Cut It

Posted in Non-guaranteed, Preplanning, Price Protection, Total Return Trust, Trust Funded, Uncategorized
Since President Obama unveiled the new MyRA as his plan to revive Americans’ saving habits, we have been making comparisons between funding for retirements and preneed.   Like the MyRA, the non-guaranteed preneed contract could represent more of an introduction to preplanning funding than the final preneed product.  As the AARP acknowledged a few years ago,… Continue Reading

MyPA: No Free Passes

Posted in Non-guaranteed, Preplanning, Uncategorized
Our recent post on similarities of the MyRA and non-guaranteed preneed concluded with references to how criticisms of President Obama’s new retirement account were applicable to preneed.  One such criticism relates to the lack of investment performance, but we will save that issue for a future date.  For this post we want to address the… Continue Reading

Master Trusts: Finding the Rails

Posted in Fiduciary, Guaranteed, IFDA, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1, Non-guaranteed, Preneed, Trust Funded
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… Continue Reading

Another factor in the cremation trend: preneed insurance premiums

Posted in Cremation, Guaranteed, Insurance Funded, Preneed, Preplanning, Price Protection, Price Protection
Our preneed provides peace of mind by freeing your family from the burdens of rising funeral costs and from making difficult decisions during their time of grief. Since the inception of the transaction sixty years ago, that statement has defined preneed marketing. Even the AARP recently embrace the peace of mind concept. The inflationary protection… 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

Trust Funded Preneed and Finance Charges

Posted in Preneed, Preplanning, Price Protection
The funeral director’s decision about how to fund his preneed is influenced by the state’s trusting requirement, investment returns, administrative convenience and the volume of preneed business. Essentially, there are three methods of funding preneed: the depository account, the master trust and the insurance policy. The funeral director’s use of the depository account predates all… Continue Reading

The economy and non-guaranteed preneed

Posted in Preneed
Has the economy caused consumers to put preneed on a back burner? Perhaps, but funeral directors can anticipate an increase in spend down inquiries. It is hard to turn prospective business away, but funeral directors need to consider how these transactions do not lend themselves to insurance funding or the conventional guaranteed preneed contract. In… Continue Reading

Would consumers purchase a non-guaranteed contract?

Posted in Preneed, Preplanning, Reform
Regulators and preneed sellers squared off recently over the subject of who owns the preneed trust fund: the funeral home or the consumer. Hearings to reform Missouri’s preneed law hit a wall when the issues of trusting requirements, income accrual and portability was taken up by a review committee comprised of regulators, industry representatives and consumers.   In a debate that… Continue Reading