The Caregiver's Soapbox

Volume 17    www. thedead-beat.com    Issue 2

Bill Stalter           

Dear Counselor.

By Bill Stalter

Dear Counselor,

A local cemetery sells grave markers and monuments on a preneed basis.  The cemetery will only guarantee the purchase price for 5 years, and thereafter, the price will be determined when delivery is requested.  Is that permissible?

In most Midwest states, it probably is.  Cemeteries adopt this type of policy because consumers often seek to delay placement of a marker or monument even when it is paid in full.  A grave marker serves as a reminder of mortality that most of us want to avoid.  But, the consumer’s decision to delay delivery of a marker has an economic impact on the cemetery.   The costs of granite and bronze are climbing much faster than the investment return on the cemetery’s merchandise trust.  State law will require a percentage of the marker’s purchase price to be deposited to trust.  The investment return on trusts are not keeping pace with marker costs, and so the cemetery will pass on monument costs when the consumer is refusing to accept delivery of the marker.  Some cemeteries are including provisions in their contracts to require delivery, but other cemeteries would rather give the consumer the right to defer delivery so long as they also assume the additional costs.

Bill Stalter answers our questions for educational purposes only.  It is The Dead Beat’s intent to give the reader general information about legal issues, not to provide legal advice.  If a reader needs legal advice, he or she should hire an attorney.  Reading The Dead Beat should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney.  When Bill provides legal advice he does so for Stalter Legal Services in Overland Park, Kansas.  Bill also provides consulting services through Preneed Resource Consultants, which can be found at www.preneedresource.com.

We need some questions for the  “Dear Counselor….” column.  Please send your questions to Bill’s e-mail or The Dead Beat’s and we will get some answers in future issues.  Email: wastal@swbell.net

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