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July 2019

Mismatched Laws: How Unclaimed Property Laws Impact Funds in Your Preneed Trust

By Wendy Russell Wiener

The Director

We all recognize the benefit of general laws dealing with unclaimed property, which facilitate reuniting people with property they've lost track of — entirely appropriate when the property is money in a bank account. But the operation of those laws on preneed trust funds is not entirely appropriate and can put trustees and licensees in an impossible position.

Let's start by looking at the only two ways to fund a preneed contract. The first option is for the consumer to pay the funeral home, which must then deposit some or all of the money into trust. The other option is for the consumer to purchase a life insurance policy; the death benefit payable under that policy is assigned to the funeral home so that the firm will receive some or all of the money upon the death of the preneed contract beneficiary.