Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The Wisconsin funeral Home Directors Association operated a fund called the Wisconsin funeral trust that promised safe returns for customers. It was designed in 1999 to provide funeral directors and customers an option for "pre-need funds." The program should have $69 million in it, but now the fund is suffering from a $21 million shortfall. The Association placed consumers' funds in high-risk investments, and now up to 10,500 consumers could be affected.
On Friday, Dane County Judge William Foust appointed John Wirth to be a receiver for the fund. Wirth's investigation will focus on the association as opposed to the 500 funeral homes that market the fund. Many of Wisconsin's funeral homes are small businesses operated by families, and Wirth is not questioning their conduct. Instead, he will look into how the association managed their policies. Recovering the lost funds is Wirth's primary responsibility.
See George Hesselberg, Funeral Trust Faces a $21 Million Shortfall, Wisconsin State Journal, Sept. 15, 2012.
Special thanks to Melinda Gustafson Gervasi (Gustafson Law Office) for bringing this article to my attention.