Funeral Service & Cremation 
Alliance of Wisconsin

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  • 27 Sep 2012 1:08 PM | Anonymous
    Krause Funeral Homes and many other funeral homes are not members of the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association and have never used the WFDA Pre-Need Master Trust. I hope to provide some clarity on the unfortunate situation regarding the solvency of the fund for prepaid funerals.

    Many funeral homes have used insurance or bank trusts to protect their consumers. These consumers and funeral homes are well-protected by government-insured funding products and have nothing to worry about. The WFDA trust was provided and administered by the association and offered by some funeral homes as another way to set aside their clients' funds for future funerals. It hoped to take advantage of aggressive investing and returns to offset rising funeral costs.

    Just as investing in the stock market, the WFDA trust was invested without the government safeguards and guarantees of banks or insurance companies. A $21 million shortfall is now a reality for the funeral homes that chose that funding option.

    So who really stands to lose? Well, many funeral homes guarantee their services and merchandise. The consumers who have prefunded their funerals with one of these firms will be made whole, and their funerals will operate without any change in what they purchased. The funeral homes will have to take the loss because they invested poorly. The fact that the deaths of the pre-arranged clients will happen over the next 20 years will lessen the financial impact to many of those funeral homes.

    To read the full article, please click here.
  • 20 Sep 2012 12:06 PM | Anonymous

    The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and Department of Justice discovered a shortfall of at least $21 million in the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association’s preneed trust.

    The Honorable C. William Foust, a Dane County Circuit Court judge, has appointed attorney John M. Wirth to take over the association’s assets, including its Wisconsin Funeral Trust. Almost 500 funeral homes and more than 10,500 investors have preneed contracts tied to the trust.

    The trust reported to the Department of FinancialInstitutions that as of July 31, it owed consumers more than$69 million including their guaranteed rate of return, but it had $48 million in its portfolio.

    To read the full article, please click here.

  • 17 Sep 2012 3:54 PM | Anonymous

    One of two investment advisers working with the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association, now under investigation by two state agencies for possible securities violations, was fired by Morgan Stanley earlier this year, federal documents show.

    Documents from the Securities & Exchange Commission indicate Michael Hull, a broker and investment adviser with the Madison office of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, was fired in late April involving allegations relating to his involvement "in outside investments that were not approved by the firm."

    Hull and his brother, Patrick, were named in Dane County court documents filed last week. In the case, Dane County Circuit Judge C. William Foust appointed John Wirth as a receiver to take over operations of the funeral directors association after questions were raised about the solvency of a fund for prepaid funerals that may be $21 million short.

    An estimated 10,500 people have prepaid funeral contracts with a trust account.

    To read more, please click here.

  • 14 Sep 2012 3:52 PM | Anonymous

    A Dane County judge on Friday appointed a receiver to take over the operations of the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association after questions were raised about the solvency of a fund for prepaid funerals that may be $21 million short.

    The decision by Dane County Circuit Judge C. William Foust came after officials representing the state Department of Justice and the Department of Financial Institutions informed the court of problems with the fund financed by prepaid contracts of 10,500 people.

    Justice officials said the customers had purchased prepaid funeral policy plans and that the trust fund has lost millions of dollars in high-risk investments.

    At the same time, the Depart ment of Financial Institutions said it had ordered a securities enforcement action after it determined the funds, which had been held in a trust, had been invested in violation of state law.

    The receiver, Milwaukee attorney John Wirth, said he had ordered that the sale of prepaid funeral plans cease until "a better understanding of the group's financial position can be determined."

    In a court document, state officials said the trust had been presented "as an extremely safe, conservative means by which people could set aside funds to pay for future funeral expenses." Buyers of the prepaid plans were told the money would be invested in government bonds, CDs and other low-risk investments and that they would receive a modest, guaranteed rate of return, the document states.

    Please click here to read more.

  • 22 Aug 2012 10:57 AM | Anonymous

    A Scottish company has installed its second "Resomation" machine, in the US state of Minnesota.

    The new facility in Stillwater, Minnesota, has already processed the remains of 20 individuals.

    Resomation involves the dissolution of the deceased in an alkaline solution, and is billed in the US as "green cremation" or "flameless cremation".

    A first machine was installed in Florida last year, and has been used on 10 bodies to date.

    Sandy Sullivan, chief executive officer of Resomation Ltd, said the machine was running very efficiently after some fine-tuning.

    "We've developed the process to a stage where it's running very well. I'm happy with where it is," he told BBC News.

    "There has been refinement in software changes and pipe work changes to make it quieter and things like that, but the machine is running very smoothly."

    Resomation involves the heating of the remains at some 300C in a pressurised vessel containing a potassium hydroxide solution.

    The process takes around three hours and reduces the body to skeletal remains which are processed into a white powder which can be given to the family, like ash from crematoria.

    For the full story, please click here.

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