Funeral trusts and death care trusts can be complex, whether you own a cemetery or funeral home, or are a municipality that manages memorial parks or cemeteries. A trust program can be beneficial to both your organization and your clients—potentially generating trust income to help maintain your business while offering your clients a way to prepare for their funeral and cemetery care expenses.
If you plan to establish a funeral trust for your organization, you’ll want to find the right trustee to manage, maintain and administer your trust needs over time. Below are five critical considerations when selecting your preneed trust administrator.
A fiduciary relationship
When looking for the right funeral trust administrator for you, one of the most important elements to consider is the quality of the partnership and the value it can bring. For instance, check to make sure your trustee is a fiduciary—which means they operate with your best interests above all else. Using a fiduciary helps ensure you and your organization are listened to and your goals come first.
Responsive and regular communication
Part of the right trustee partnership also means finding someone who you can connect with annually, or more often, to review your trust and make necessary changes. You deserve service that’s responsive, so finding a partner who will give you a direct number can really help when you have questions or need to make changes.
Valuable reporting and recordkeeping
Managing a trust should not be a passive exercise and requires meticulous recordkeeping and reporting to ensure you stay on track with your goals. Your trustee should help you manage your documentation needs for everything from state reporting and tax paperwork, to contract records and trust distributions.
Preneed and endowed care trust services can be a niche specialty, which can make it more difficult to find a trust administer who understands what you do and the intricacies of state and federal regulations. Find a trust partner that is well-informed on the current regulations and is committed to maintaining standards and compliance. And, keep in mind that a non-specialized trust administrator may not be aware of some of the investment options designed specifically for funeral trusts.
Solutions and service that work for you
Service is important, but isn’t everything, so find a trustee with convenient account management options and features to simplify your trust experience. Quick claims processing, fast deposits, deposit variety (checks, ACH, wires), and online account access are just some of the tools that should be table stakes in your search.
A funeral trust is a unique opportunity to deliver value to both your business and your clients—but they are also intricate and nuanced with regulations, requirement, taxes and active management. If you’ve decided to establish a funeral trust, take the time to research the right funeral trust administrator for your long-term vision.
UMB is a nationally recognized and ranked provider of bond trustee and agency services to the corporate and municipal marketplaces. To learn more about our offerings, and to see if UMB is the right funeral trustee for your organization, visit umb.com/corporatetrust or watch this presentation about how we operate as a funeral trustee.