Administration of the Trust

Is the Trust accepting new accounts?

No, the Trust is not currently accepting new accounts. The Trust is frozen except for distributions in connection with funeral services for a consumer-depositor and for payment of the costs of administering the Trust. The Trust would need to be totally restructured to comply with existing law in order to accept new accounts, and that has not happened. Otherwise, new accounts would be subject to the same problems that face existing accounts.

May a consumer-depositor add to his or her existing account?

No, a consumer-depositor may not add to his or her account at this time. The Trust is frozen except for distributions in connection with funeral services for a consumer-depositor and for payment of the costs of administering the Trust. The Trust would need to be totally restructured to comply with existing law in order to accept additional deposits to existing accounts, and that has not happened. Otherwise, additions to existing accounts would be subject to the same problems that face current deposits.

What will happen if a consumer-depositor dies and the funds invested in the Trust are needed to pay for a funeral?

The survivors of the deceased consumer-depositor should contact the funeral home where they made the funeral agreement, and request that the funeral home provide the contracted service. The funeral home is expected to provide 100% of the services promised. The funeral home can then contact the Trust’s administrator to apply for the deposited funds.

Each funeral home is obligated for the full amount of the consumer-depositor’s account balance as reported by the Trust (principal plus interest accrued through the date of death).

If the funeral home provides services at least equal to the consumer-depositor’s account balance as reported by the Trust (principal plus interest accrued through the date of death), the Trust will initially reimburse the funeral home for 65% of such amount, which amount is subject to adjustment depending upon the financial condition of the Trust.

What will happen if a consumer-depositor dies and the balance of his or her account is greater than the amount necessary to pay for funeral services?

Funeral homes are required to provide funeral services for consumer-depositors under these circumstances. Each funeral home is obligated for the full amount of the consumer-depositor’s account balance as reported by the Trust (principal plus interest accrued through the date of death) for each customer-depositor for which that funeral home made a deposit. Therefore, if the account balance is greater than the funeral expenses, the funeral home should refund any remaining balance to the consumer-depositor’s family after a funeral.  A funeral home cannot charge a consumer-depositor more than its standard retail prices for any goods and services to make up for the difference between the account balance and the actual funeral expenses.

The Trust currently reimburses the funeral home for 65% of the account balance provided that the consumer-depositor’s family confirms receipt of the refund of any difference.

May a consumer-depositor withdraw his or her account from the Trust and put the money in a bank trust or other trust?

Prior to July 8, 2013, withdrawals were not permitted.  Currently, a consumer-depositor is permitted to withdraw a portion of the funds from an account, if anything.  The withdrawal amount will vary depending upon certain factors, including whether the account revocable or irrevocable.  In some cases, a consumer-depositor is better off not withdrawing funds from the Trust.  A consumer-depositor should contact the funeral home directly to determine whether a withdrawal may be made and how much can be withdrawn.  If the funeral home is not helpful, please contact the Trust’s administrator, Fiduciary Partners.

May a consumer-depositor change the funeral home that is designated as the beneficiary on his or her account?

Currently, a consumer-depositor may request to transfer an account to another funeral home.  The original funeral home cannot refuse to transfer an account.  However, the proposed new funeral home is under no obligation to accept the transfer.  Any new funeral home will be subject to the Trust Agreement and the account reimbursement procedures.  A consumer-depositor should contact the current funeral home directly to obtain more information about transferring the account to a new funeral home.

What happens if a funeral home beneficiary goes out of business?

If a funeral home goes out of business other than through a sale, the Trust will reimburse another funeral home that provides funeral services for a consumer-depositor up to the total amount of the consumer-depositor’s account balance. This replacement funeral home shall be deemed a replacement beneficiary. In this circumstance, the reimbursement cap of 65% is waived.

What happens if a consumer-depositor moves out of state and his or her funeral services are held in that other state?

If a consumer-depositor established his or her primary or secondary residence outside of Wisconsin prior to death and his or her funeral services are held in that other state, the Trust will reimburse the funeral home that provides the funeral services in the other state up to the total amount of the consumer-depositor’s account balance. This replacement funeral home shall be deemed a replacement beneficiary. In this circumstance, the reimbursement cap of 65% is waived.

May the funeral home and the consumer-depositor amend the burial agreement?

A burial agreement can be amended to change only the products and services provided by the funeral home upon the mutual consent of the consumer-depositor and the funeral home.  Any amendment to the burial agreement must be signed by the funeral home and the consumer-depositor, clearly indicate the changes to the original burial agreement and the goods and services to be provided, and promptly be submitted to Fiduciary Partners.

Who controls the Trust?

A board and Trustee oversee policy and meet the fiduciary responsibilities of the Trust pursuant to the court-approved Trust Agreement. Edward M. Brady, a former name partner with Komisar Brady & Co., LLP was appointed Trustee of the Trust in June 2015. John P. Devine, president of Milwaukee Capital, Inc., and William R. Walker, retired equity analyst and portfolio manager with Mason Street Advisors, an affiliate of Northwestern Mutual, serve on the Board with Brady. Combined, the board has more than 103 years of experience in finance and investments.

The Trust is administered by Fiduciary Partners, Inc. Ziegler Capital Management, LLC provides advice to the Trustee concerning investment of the Trust’s assets.

%d bloggers like this: