News hero banner image

California Audit: $70 Million in Prepaid Funeral Money Misused

7/6/2010 — Need one more reason not to prepay for your final arrangements? California regulators announced that one of the largest trust funds holding consumers’ (that’s you) prepaid funeral/cremation/burial money has misused $70 million. The California Funeral and Cemetery Bureau audited the California Master Trust and found [CLICK READ MORE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE]:

  • Money that families prepaid for their funerals was used to pay for lobbying lawmakers and attending industry trade conventions (those are the big shows where funeral homes learn how to sell you expensive caskets and services)
  • Even though the California Master Trust lost money in 2001 and 2002, it still paid out “administration costs,” which it wasn’t allowed to do
  • The audit also found CMT should have refunded $1.6 million to consumers or their estates (presumably because the cost of the funeral at the time of death was less than the amount in the family’s prepaid account) or to the state, but it wasn’t

The Cemetery and Funeral Bureau also lists 38 California funeral homes that are “not able” to perform the prepaid services they contracted with consumer families to perform (we don’t know if this means the money is gone, or if the state has ordered the funeral homes to stop certain business practices. Call the CFB if you’re concerned at 916-574-7870).

Consumer Tip! – If you signed a contract with a funeral home to perform a funeral that you prepaid, that funeral home is legally obligated to honor that contract, even if they dipped their hands in the cookie jar illegally. Do not allow a funeral home to shirk its contractual duties. Get out a copy of your prepaid contract and verify that it will be performed today by writing to the funeral home.
Read the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau’s complete audit here.

Here’s the list of California businesses “not able” to perform their  prepaid contracts:

License Number Name of Funeral Establishment
1. FD 7 Wallace-Martin Funereal Home
2. FD 32 Holton and Son Mortuary
3. FD 61 Keifer and Eyerick Mortuary
4. FD 129 Halveson Luce Mortuary
5. FD 138 California Funeral Service
6. FD 215 Fowler Anderson
7. FD 337 Eckerman Heisman Funeral Service
8. FD 401 Hyde Park Mortuary
9. FD 623 Neels Brea Mortuary
10. FD 630 WC Lasswell & Co.
11. FD 662 Palm Colonial Funeral Service
12. FD 692 Skylawn Lifemark Center
13. FD 714 Chapel of the Avenues
14. FD 717 Memory Chapel
15. FD 731 Clausen Funeral home
16. FD 732 Nicoletti, Culjis & Herberger
17. FD 741 Peoples Funeral Home
18. FD 751 Martin Funeral Home
19. FD 864 Anderson Chapel
20. FD 871 Sterling & Smith Funeral Directors
21. FD 876 Chapel of the Valley Mortuary
22. FD 877 Albert Engle & Co
23. FD 917 Custer Christiansen
24. FD 1039 Duggan’s Carlmont Chapel
25. FD 1068 Murphy Mortuary
26. FD 1093 Smith’s Colonial Chapel
27. FD 1094 Kern Memorial
28. FD 1279 Byrgan & Company
29. FD 1420 Cresse Eagle Rock Mortuary
30. FD 1427 Dudley Apple Valley Mortuary
31. FD 1583 Sunset Cremation Association
32. FD 1641 Evergreen Funeral Home
33. FD 1664 Gibson-Veg Funeral Home
34. FD 1769 Abby Chapel of the Redwoods
35. FD 364 Richard Peirce Funeral Service
36. FD 606 McNearney Family mortuary
37. FD 628 Schmidt & Dixon
38. FD 1156 Inspiration Chapel & Napa

Send me an email when this blog has been updated.