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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 12, 2015 04:04 PM
From: Senator Thomas J. McGarrigle
To: All Senate members
Subject: Cemetery and Funeral Merchandise Trust Fund Law
In the near future I will be introducing legislation to amend the Cemetery and Funeral Merchandise Trust Fund Law, commonly referred to as the Future Interment Law, to better protect consumers.

Currently, the Cemetery and Funeral Merchandise Trust Fund Law (Act 459 of 1963) requires sellers of funeral services and merchandise that are to be delivered at a future date (pre-need) to deposit 70% of the purchase price into a trust fund account.

Some in the industry have misinterpreted the law and sought to avoid the 70% trusting requirement through the use of “constructive delivery” of certain merchandise prior to the time of need. Certain merchandise, such as caskets and burial vaults, are purchased prior to the time of need and purportedly set aside for the purchaser but never actually delivered to the purchaser. Claiming that the merchandise has been delivered, sellers then retain 100% of the sales price rather than complying with the trusting requirements.

My legislation will better protect consumers by prohibiting “constructive delivery”, thus insuring that funds will be maintained in trust and available at the time of need, providing for return of funds including interest earned if the purchaser cancels the contract prior to performance, and add to the fund trustee reporting requirements. These changes will help protect the increasing number of individuals who choose to enter “pre-need” contracts for funeral services and merchandise.

Introduced as SB874