A recent news report titled “Broken Trust” served to fan the emotions of Illinois residents who purchased a preneed contract from the Illinois Funeral Directors Association. The facts involve a 103 year old lady who purchased the contract 16 years ago, and experienced a 32% drop in the contract’s value in one year.

A “Spend Down” is the transaction where a person seeking public assistance transfers money or insurance to a funeral home to avoid having the “asset” count as a resource. It is a commonly held perception that the Spend Down accounts for many preneed contract purchases. But should all Spend Downs trigger the state preneed law

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

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

NPS, beleaguered by state regulatory proceedings in Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Texas and Iowa, has called it quits. 



Much to the surprise of industry leaders, NPS has suggested it will do what’s in the best interests of the consumers.  Could this mean a refund to everyone?


Two recent newspaper articles help to underscore the distinct directions the funeral ritual seems headed.

The Kansas City Star reported on how more families are opting for personalization over formal funeral rituals.  As the article indicates, personalization often requires the funeral director to spend more time with the family planning a memorial that is

The Iowa had not one, but two personal preference bills pending before its Legislature for the 2007/08 term: SF 473 and HF 2088.   The Senate version, SF 473, was backed by Iowa’s attorneys, and the House version, HF 2088, was backed by the Iowa Funeral Directors Association. 

What caught my attention about these bills

Death Care trade publications such as the Funeral Service Insider and the FuneralWire advocate that funeral homes revisit the non-guaranteed preneed contract.  I agree that funeral homes should reconsider the non-guaranteed preneed contract, but for reasons different from those expressed by other authors.

The non-guaranteed preneed contract affords flexibility and portability to the individual who wants to do more