(a) Preneed funeral funds are subject to the provisions of this Article and shall be deposited or applied as follows:
(1) If the preneed funeral contract purchaser chooses to fund the preneed funeral contract by a trust deposit or deposits, the preneed licensee shall deposit all funds in an insured account in a financial institution, in trust, in the preneed licensee's name as trustee within five business days. The preneed licensee, at the time of making the deposit as trustee, shall furnish to the financial institution the name of each preneed funeral contract purchaser and the amount of payment on each for which the deposit is being made. The preneed licensee may establish an individual trust fund for each preneed funeral contract or a common trust fund for all preneed funeral contracts. The trust accounts shall be carried in the name of the preneed licensee as trustee, but accounting records shall be maintained for each individual preneed funeral contract purchaser showing the amounts deposited and invested, and interest, dividends, increases, and accretions earned. Except as provided in this Article, all interest, dividends, increases, or accretions earned by the funds shall remain with the principal. The trust fund may be charged with applicable taxes and for reasonable charges paid by the trustee to itself or others for the preparation of fiduciary tax returns. Penalties charged by a financial institution for early withdrawals caused by a transfer pursuant to G.S. 90-210.63 shall be paid by the preneed licensee. Penalties charged as a result of other early withdrawals as permitted by this Article shall be paid from the trust fund, and the financial institution shall give the preneed funeral contract purchaser prompt notice of these penalties.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a preneed funeral contract is funded by a trust deposit or trust deposits, a preneed licensee may retain, free of the trust, up to ten percent (10%) of any payments made on a preneed funeral contract, provided that the preneed licensee fully discloses in writing in advance to the preneed funeral contract purchaser the percentage of the payments to be retained. If there is no substitution pursuant to G.S. 90-210.63(a), the preneed licensee shall give credit for the amount retained upon the death of the preneed funeral contract beneficiary and performance of the preneed funeral contract.
(3) If the preneed funeral contract purchaser chooses to fund the contract by a prearrangement insurance policy, the preneed licensee shall apply all funds received for this purpose to the purchase of the prearrangement insurance policy within five business days. The preneed licensee shall notify the insurance company of the name of each preneed funeral contract purchaser and the amount of each payment when the prearrangement insurance policy or policies are purchased.
(b) Except as provided by this Article or by the preneed funeral contract, all payments made by the purchaser of a preneed funeral contract or prearrangement insurance policy shall remain trust funds within a financial institution or as paid insurance premiums with an insurance company, as the case may be, until the death of the preneed funeral contract beneficiary and until full performance of the preneed funeral contract.
(c) Each preneed licensee may establish and maintain with a financial institution of its choice, a preneed funeral fund clearing account. Preneed funeral funds received by a preneed licensee may be deposited and held in such an account until disbursed by the preneed licensee to fund a preneed funeral contract pursuant to subdivisions (a)(1) or (a)(3) of this section. This account shall be used solely for the receipt and disbursement of preneed funeral funds.
(d) Funds deposited in trust under a revocable standard preneed funeral contract may, with the written permission of the preneed funeral contract purchaser, be withdrawn by the trustee and used to purchase a prearrangement insurance policy. Except as provided in this subsection, no funds deposited in trust in a financial institution pursuant to this Article shall be withdrawn by the trustee to purchase a prearrangement insurance policy.
(e) Except as provided by G.S. 90-210.61(c), at no time before making a deposit or purchasing a prearrangement insurance policy may a preneed licensee, or its agents or employees, deposit in its own account or the account of any other person any monies coming into its hands for the purpose of purchasing services, merchandise, or prearrangement insurance policies under the provisions of this Article. (1969, c. 187, ss. 2, 4; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1336, s. 1; 1983, c. 657, ss. 2, 4; 1985, c. 12, ss. 1-3; 1987, c. 430, ss. 15, 16; c. 879, s. 6.2; 1989, c. 485, s. 16; c. 738, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 901, s. 2.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014