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December 2018 Reporter

December 2018

Dear Members,


Majority Rules Finally Passes the Legislature

Chairman Harry Readshaw's language in HB 383 was passed into law by way of SB 180 as Act 90 of 2018. While it won't solve all your rights to disposition matters, SB 180, signed by the Governor on October 23, 2018 will help resolve some family disputes. This bill, which will become effective December 22, 2018, changes the right to disposition law in Pennsylvania to allow those individuals on the same line of heritage to make decisions by majority rule. For example, if you have six children who want to cremate a parent, four of the six can make the decision without repercussion from one or two who might object. This bill will be a major benefit to funeral directors who are caught between feuding family members. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Kathleen Ryan, Esquire, 1-800-692-6068.

Source: Kathy Ryan, Esquire, PFDA Executive Director

Processing Medical Certificate Data Tips

EDRS recently sent out instructions on fax attestations (which are drop-to-paper cases where the medical certifier is certifying the case on paper and not directly in EDRS). The instructions have been placed on the PFDA website at: http://www.pfda.org/_files/live/2018-09_EDRS_Tip_of_the_Month.pdf.


Heritage Cremation Providers Using Alias

In the past, NFDA has issued warnings to members about Heritage Cremation Providers, a third-party online company, that markets itself to the public as a locally-owned and trusted funeral home providing low-cost cremation services. However, they are an unlicensed seller of funeral and cremation services, with a long track record of consumer fraud and abuse. Several State Boards have attempted to take action against Heritage Cremation Providers, but since they are on the internet, it is close to impossible to shut them down.

Recently NFDA was alerted by a member that Heritage Cremation Providers is working under an alias, Families First Funeral Home. NFDA is warning members to be alert of any requests for services from out-of-state funeral homes that they are not familiar with, because it is likely Heritage Cremation will continue to operate under different aliases.

Source: The Bulletin, November 9, 2018

Stericycle Class Action Suit Update

A class action suit, on behalf of 246,000 small businesses, was filed in 2016 against Stericycle. The suit claimed that Stericycle had defrauded their small-business customers, including funeral homes.

A settlement was reached between Stericycle and the attorneys for the class, and Stericycle is required to pay a $295 million settlement. NFDA has received notice that member funeral homes have received checks as part of this settlement.

Source: The Bulletin, November 9, 2018

Payroll Tax Records Should Be Kept for Four Years

The Kiplinger Tax Letter recommends that employers keep payroll tax records at least four years after the date employees were required to file their income tax returns for that particular year. Employers should keep: wage amounts, payment dates, and employee data such as names, dates of employment, social security numbers and addresses. Copies of all W-4 forms and payroll returns, amounts and dates of tax deposits, along with records of tips earned by workers and fringe benefits provided to employees should also be kept.

Source: The Kiplinger Tax Letter, Vol. 93, No. 20, October 5, 2018

NFDA Election Update

There was only one contested office election for the NFDA Board of Directors and that was for the secretary seat. John O. "Jack" Mitchell IV was elected as NFDA secretary for 2018-19. Also elected were R. Bryant Hightown Jr., president-elect and Randall "Randy" P. Anderson treasurer.

Source: The Director, October 2018


Cremation...So What?

Do you ever notice how great leaders seem to ask the best questions? Seeing an inspirational leader ask powerful questions is like watching a highly skilled musician who seems to know what note to play, or a professional athlete who knows what move to make at just the right time. In our conversations with funeral directors almost every week, we are often asked, "So, what about cremation? How can you help me lower my cremation rate?" I believe that's the wrong question. In this day and age, cremation is here to stay. So what questions should we be asking in the funeral profession? Go to http://bit.ly/CremationSoWhat to read more.

Source: Paul Lovelace, VP of Corporate Development, Funeral Directors Life


PFDA Partners with LendingUSA – Special $500 Activation Bonus for Members!

The Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association has partnered with LendingUSA, the industry's leading provider of at-need financing, to give PFDA members access to a payment solution that is redefining the way families pay for funerals.

With LendingUSA, families can apply for financing and once approved can make low monthly payments to pay for their loved one's funeral, cremation, or other memorial service. The simple online application can be completed from anywhere, and loan pre-approval decisions are made in seconds at no risk to the family member's credit score.

As a special welcome offer, PFDA members who enroll and fund their first loan by December 31, 2018 will receive a $500 activation bonus. Additionally, PFDA members will receive an exclusive 1% discount on subprime loans funded through LendingUSA, potentially saving them thousands per year. Other benefits to members include fast, direct funding within days, and non-transferable loans that prevent undercutting by competing funeral homes. PFDA members can learn more and receive a free digital copy of The Ultimate Guide to At-Need Financing by going to http://go.lendingusa.com/pfda.

Funeral Directors Life Names Laura Augustine Director of Sales Development

Funeral Directors Life is proud to announce the addition of Laura Augustine as Director of Sales Development for Pennsylvania. Laura has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, training, and expanding operations and market share in the business sector. In 2012, she began working with funeral homes to expand their preneed businesses and train top-performing preneed sales professionals. She has also specialized in creating and developing funeral home marketing programs.

Laura earned her associate degree in Marketing and Management. She is a licensed life insurance agent and a Certified Preplanning Consultant through the National Funeral Directors Association.

Source: FDLIC News Release, October 11, 2018

A Partnership for the Future

PFDA recently met with the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) to explore mutually beneficial opportunities where the organizations may be able to work together. One of CORE's objectives is to educate funeral directors on an ongoing basis about organ and tissue donation and its processes, as well as mitigate any misconceptions that may exist about organ and tissue donation. CORE covers western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and one county in New York.

One-way CORE has worked to educate funeral directors is through their partnership with the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science (PIMS). CORE and PIMS began their partnership seven years ago in an effort to provide well-rounded education on organ and tissue donation for PIMS students, future funeral directors. As part of their education, students spend a full day at CORE and learn about everything that happens at an organ procurement organization. Learn more about the partnership between CORE and PIMS by reading the following article written by TJ Rosen, CORE Funeral Director/Coroner Liaison: http://www.pfda.org/_files/live/A_Partnership_for_the_Future.pdf .

Fire Prevention

Just like buildings, fires come in all types and sizes. The ripple effect on the community, customers, and the business itself can be stressful. To reduce the likelihood of a devastating fire, business owners and risk managers should take the initiative to keep their property and employees safe.

Property insurers evaluate and assume risks with an understanding that while some fires are unavoidable, most building fires are preventable. A property underwriter generally reviews a fire risk according to the Construction, Occupancy, Protection and Exposure (COPE). This set of criteria evaluates a property based on several factors that indicate risk of loss like: building materials, the type of fire protection available, and other buildings that are close enough to fuel the fire.

Applying the COPE characteristics as you look at your facilities can be useful for developing fire-prevention plans. Some commonplace situations can become surprising sources of fire. Federated provides an industry- and business-specific customizable fire risk evaluation checklist. Find the checklist at https://www.federatedinsurance.com/link/PROD_655182.

For more resources on fire prevention, contact your local Federated marketing representative. Federated clients can also contact the Federated Risk Management Resource Center at(800) 838-1760.

Source: Federated Insurance, October 2018


Top 10 Scams Faced by Funeral Homes

T. Scott Gilligan, General Counsel for NFDA recently wrote an article about the top scams that impact funeral homes. The following are the top 10 scams directed at small and medium-sized businesses like funeral homes: Office Supplies – caller will pretend to be a regular supplier and remind the firm it's time to reorder products; Fake Invoices – scammers find out what vendors you use and then dummy up invoices; Merchandise Fraud – funeral home receives an order for jewelry online or by phone and they are given a credit card for payment and after the funeral home has already sent the jewelry, they find out the credit card was stolen; Overpayment Schemes – funeral home thinks someone overpays and they are asked to wire the money to the customer, the original check used for payment is fake and it bounces; FTC/IRS Complaints – scammers send an email that looks official or they call the funeral home asking for financial information; W-2 Information – email sent to a payroll or human resource team member and it looks like it's from the business owner, asking for all employee W-2s; Corporate Record Scams – request from "Secretary of State" claiming that the funeral home needs to file annual reports minutes and pay a fee and late penalty; Bank Account Takeover – scammers access online bank account id and password by delivering malicious spyware by email or a website; Employee Theft – theft of preneed money, which can take years to discover; and Valuation Fraud – email or fax from a "business broker" offering to buy the funeral home and requesting a large payment for the valuation of the funeral home.

NFDA members can read the entire article and find information on ways to prevent these scams from impacting your funeral home, by going to: https://www.thedirectoronline.org/thedirector/october_2018.


Newest Scam

Several PFDA members have received faxes from law firms in both Canada and the United Kingdom. The faxes claim that there is an unclaimed "permanent life insurance policy" for millions of dollars. Please note this is a scam and you shouldn't respond to the senders.


Bucks County Funeral Director Gets Long Prison Term

David Faust, owner of Faust Funeral Home, Hulmeville pleaded guilty to stealing $300,000 of pre-paid funeral funds and $130,000 from Social Security disability funds. A Bucks County judge sentenced Faust to nine to 18 years in prison followed by nine years of probation, and he must pay back all the money to the victims and the Social Security disability fund.


Does PFDA Have Your Current Contact Information?

PFDA is asking that if any of your contact information: address, phone number, fax number and/or email address has changed, please make sure we have your correct information. We forward information to members through various modes of communication and want to make sure we have the correct information. Please send any updated information to Sue – sue@pfda.org and be sure to include your name.

PFDA Office Closed

The PFDA office will close at noon on December 24th and 31st. The office will be closed on December 18th, 25th, 26th and January 1st. Happy Holidays!


2019 Mid-Winter Conference

The 2019 Mid-Winter Conference will be held February 12-14, 2019 at Nemacolin Woodlands Resorts in Farmington, PA. There will be 7 Continuing Education Credits offered pending approval. A brochure with more information and registration form are enclosed.

Save The Date!!!!

The 2019 PFDA Annual Convention and Expo will be held June 2-5, 2019 at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, Pocono Manor, PA. More details to follow.


R. Bradford "Brad" Brown, Jr., 90, of Mifflintown, died on September 13, 2018 at Bridges of Brookline. He was a PA licensed funeral director and the previous owner of Brown Funeral Home, Mifflintown. He is survived by his son, Daniel and daughter-in-law, Kathy, who work in the family business. Daniel is a PA licensed funeral director and owner of Brown Funeral Homes, Inc. in both Mifflintown and McAlisterville.

Nathan E. Grenoble II, 41, of Harrisburg, died on October 11, 2018. He is survived by his dad, Nathan, a PA licensed funeral director and owner of the family business in Muncy and the Cronrath-Grenoble Funeral Homes in Watsontown and Lewisburg. Nathan is also survived by his stepmother, Kathy; brother Justin, a PA licensed funeral director and sister-in-law, Tara, all working in the family business.

Daniel A. Swenson, 73, of Erie, died on October 19, 2018. He was a PA licensed funeral director at the Russell C. Schmidt & Sons Funeral Home, Inc., Erie.

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