New bill proposes more oversight on funeral industry

Saturday, February 7, 2009 | 4:17 p.m. CST; updated 5:02 p.m. CST, Saturday, February 7, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri lawmakers want to impose more oversight on the funeral industry.

Legislation that could be debated next week in the Senate would subject funeral contract sellers to regular and random state audits. It also would require them to keep larger amounts of money in trust and to ensure consumers greater refunds if they cancel their contracts.

The bill was prompted by the collapse of St. Louis-based National Prearranged Services and its affiliated Texas-based insurance companies. Those companies are now being investigated by the FBI.

Funeral homes want a stronger law to protect both their reputation and their customers. But the legislation has prompted division among funeral directors. Some say the bill isn't tough enough; others fear it's too strict.


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Warren Stetson February 8, 2009 | 11:30 a.m.

You should NEVER prepay for funeral goods or services, there are countless examples of abuse and if you feel that you have been wronged you should complain to the Federal Trade Commission - not to the people who wronged you in the first place. A good rule of thumb is to use a consumer advocacy service that specializes in funeral related issues to help weed out disreputable businesses and ensure that you are not spending any more than you truly want to, or on services that you really didn't need. And never prepay for funeral goods. Remember, preplanning is good, prepaying is bad. The Funeral Consumers Alliance is a great free resource available at, or if you're not the do it yourself type you can use an inexpensive service such as Funeral Planners Inc located at

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