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: NPS/Lincoln

Missouri Second Round of Exams: 100% Reviews

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Missouri - SB1
The Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors and the Board’s staff are engaged in an awkward exercise of establishing audit policies for the state’s preneed industry. The staff, employees of the Division of Professional Registration, must take the lead in making recommendations to the Board. The Board then must approve the recommendations, or… Continue Reading

NPS Trustees: Standard of Care for Preneed Administration

Posted in Administration, Compliance, Missouri - SB1, NPS/Lincoln, Recordkeeping
Final arguments were heard in the NPS civil trial this past Friday.  With the SDR having presented evidence through the prior Friday, the defendant trustees presented their case in less than a week.  This may reflect that the NPS trustees had viewed their duties as having been defined by Chapter 436 as relatively low.  As… Continue Reading

NPS Trustees: Pre-acceptance Due Diligence

Posted in Compliance, Fiduciary, Missouri - SB1, NPS/Lincoln
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the OCC) supervises the fiduciary activities of national chartered banks, and in February, updated the guidelines used by its examiners.  The “Personal Fiduciary Activities” booklet includes a section on pre-acceptance due diligence that fiduciaries should conduct before agreeing to serve as trustee for an account.  Page 7… Continue Reading

The Cassity Plea Agreement: Extenuating Circumstances

Posted in NPS/Lincoln
I have only scanned Doug Cassity’s plea agreement once, but two issues jumped out from that document.  The plea agreement is based on the US Sentencing Guidelines, and Page 28 of agreement explains that the Government and the defendant did not agree as to whether guidelines relating to economic losses should be applicable to Mr.… Continue Reading

The NPS Criminal Trial: Vicarious Liability?

Posted in Fiduciary, Investments, Master Trusts, NPS/Lincoln, Preneed
David Wulf may stand alone in the crosshairs of the criminal prosecutors, but his fate will impact the NPS preneed trustees (and possibly other registered investment advisors who manage death care funds). Mr. Wulf had a situation that is unique from what existed in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, but is familiar to other death care… Continue Reading

Coming This August: The Nuremberg Trial

Posted in NPS/Lincoln
 Once again, I have spoken too quickly. After lamenting to the Memorial Business Journal that the NPS plea bargains will deprive consumers and the industry the opportunity to hear how Doug and his crew perpetrated so many frauds, the sole remaining NPS defendant may grant my wish. As the Funeral Service Insider reports that Herr… Continue Reading

The Cassity Plea: A new shell game?

Posted in NPS/Lincoln, Preneed
 This was not the ending that most expected. After decades of playing shell games with regulators and funeral homes, Doug Cassity accepted a plea bargain rather than go to trial. Brent Cassity also accepted a plea bargain, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that attorneys for one of the remaining defendants were scurrying to… Continue Reading

The NPS Recovery Plan: Grounded!

Posted in Legislation, NPS/Lincoln
In our prior post, we commented on the lack of detail provided by the Consumer Funeral Assurance group regarding their NPS recovery plan.  We have obtained a copy of the plan, and redacted from the document correspondence that reflect names and/or contact information of recipient organizations or legislators. What is left includes a summary of… Continue Reading

Addressing the NPS aftermath: a hard sell

Posted in Legislation, Missouri - SB1, NPS/Lincoln
Per capita, Missouri funeral directors were hit hardest by the collapse of National Prearranged Services.  And those funeral directors who suffered the greatest losses continue to demand help from the State of Missouri.  Although Missouri re-wrote its preneed law just 3 years ago, the Legislature begins hearings today on whether more legislation is needed. With… Continue Reading

SB340: Missouri’s 2011 Preneed Patch

Posted in Legislation, Missouri - SB1, NPS/Lincoln, Preneed
Continuing the theme that effective preneed regulation requires the occasional update, the Missouri legislature is poised to pass the first ‘patch’ to SB1, the 2009 legislation that ‘re-wrote’ Chapter 436. Senate Bill No. 340 will make four noteworthy changes to Chapter 436. Concerned that preneed sellers would use variable annuities to fund preneed contracts, Missouri’s… Continue Reading

The thorn that will not go away: NPS and Missouri’s Governor

Posted in Missouri - SB1, NPS/Lincoln
Yesterday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported on the federal indictments handed down against six NPS officials. The article includes two statements that hint at the legal strategies to be employed by NPS and federal prosecutors. "We have anticipated this (indictment) for a number of years, and he is looking forward to finally confronting these… Continue Reading

Mt. Washington: More NPS Fallout

Posted in Cemeteries, NPS/Lincoln
Almost a year to the date after SB1 was signed into law, one of the NPS sister companies was forced to close its doors. The recent Kansas City Star article about Mt. Washington Forever Funeral Home and Cemetery describes a situation that confused and disheartened the families who purchased Mt. Washington preneed contracts. The Missouri… Continue Reading

The Zeal for Independence: The NPS investment advisor

Posted in NPS/Lincoln
The wait for Ms. Garrett’s lawsuit against NPS, the Cassity family (and anyone remotely connected with the Cassity Consortium) ended on August 7th. If half of the allegations made in the NPS Complaint are true, the misconduct perpetrated on funeral homes and consumers is shocking to say the least. The Complaint provides a bevy of… Continue Reading

The Informant: Randall Sutton

Posted in Funeral, NPS/Lincoln, Preneed
News of Randy Sutton’s arrest was greeted by honking hearses in Missouri, Texas, Illinois, and a dozen or so other states. But, the question funeral directors are asking: What about the Cassity family? Federal investigators need for someone to rollover and give up the Cassity crew, and apparently, Mr. Sutton is their choice. Matt Damon’s… Continue Reading

Houston, we have a problem

Posted in Cemeteries, Legislation, NPS/Lincoln, Preneed
When Missouri’s Chapter 436/NPS reform legislation began to take shape last summer, the state’s cemetery industry sought to get out of the train’s way by incorporating new preneed provisions into a Chapter 214 bill. To clarify that cemeteries could establish preneed programs that would be regulated exclusively under Chapter 214, and not Chapter 436, statutory… Continue Reading

Missouri and NPS’ Orphaned Contracts

Posted in NPS/Lincoln, Preneed
While the settlement negotiated with the National Organization of Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations (“NOLHGA”) provides funding for the vast majority of NPS preneed contracts, there could be as many as 7,500 NPS preneed contracts that fall outside this coverage. For one of a couple of reasons, NPS never purchased an insurance policy for… Continue Reading

This legislation may have warts, but the piper wants to be paid.

Posted in Legislation, NPS/Lincoln, Preneed, Reform
Officially, its called House Committee Substitute for Senate Substitute for Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 1.   Some of the ‘unofficial’ titles given this bill are not fit for publication. It doesn’t matter who you talk to about Missouri’s current preneed reform bill, everyone has a complaint.  Even the consumer advocates.  Under normal circumstances, this… Continue Reading

It’s not my job, man.

Posted in IFDA, Legislation, NPS/Lincoln, Preneed, Reform
Illinois and Missouri have more in common than they may realize. Consumers and funeral directors are blaming state regulators for their current preneed problems. Looking to avoid that hot seat, regulators have been stating their excuses/defenses. If legislators are to correct the flaws in their state’s preneed oversight, they need to put partisan politics aside… Continue Reading