445.125(1)(a)1.1. Except as provided in sub. (3m), whenever a person, referred to in this subsection as the depositor, makes an agreement with another person selling or offering for sale funeral or burial merchandise or services, referred to in this subsection as the beneficiary, for the purchase of a casket, outer burial container not preplaced into the burial excavation of a grave, combination casket-outer burial container or other receptacle not described in sub. (4) (a) 2. for the burial or other disposition of human remains or for the furnishing of funeral or burial services, either of which is intended to be provided for the final disposition of the body of a person, referred to in this subsection as the potential decedent, wherein the use of such personal property or the furnishing of such services is not immediately required, all payments made under the agreement shall be and remain trust funds, including interest and dividends if any, until occurrence of the death of the potential decedent, unless the funds are sooner released upon demand to the depositor, after written notice to the beneficiary.
445.125(1)(a)2. 2. Such agreements may be made irrevocable as to the first $3,000 of the funds paid under the agreement by each depositor.
445.125(1)(a)3. 3. Any interest or dividends accruing to a trust fund under subd. 2. may be made irrevocable.
445.125(1)(a)4. 4. Any depositor who made an irrevocable agreement under subd. 2. may designate a different beneficiary at any time prior to death, after written notice to the current beneficiary.
445.125(1)(b)1.1. All trust funds under par. (a) shall be deposited with a bank or trust company within the state whose deposits are insured by the federal deposit insurance corporation, deposited in a savings and loan association or savings bank within the state whose deposits are insured by the federal deposit insurance corporation, or invested in a credit union within the state whose savings are insured by the national board, as defined in s. 186.01 (3m), and shall be held in a separate account in the name of the depositor, in trust for the beneficiary until the trust fund is released under either of the conditions provided in par. (a) 1.
445.125(1)(b)2. 2. In the event of the death of the depositor before the death of the potential decedent, title to funds under par. (a) shall vest in the potential decedent, and the funds shall be used for the personal property and services to be furnished under the contract for the funeral of the potential decedent.
445.125(1)(b)3. 3. The depositor shall be furnished with a copy of the receipts, certificates or other appropriate documentary evidence showing that the funds under par. (a) have been deposited or invested in accordance with this subsection. The depositor or the beneficiary shall furnish the bank, trust company, savings bank, savings and loan association or credit union with a copy of the contract.
445.125(1)(b)4. 4. The bank, trust company, savings bank, savings and loan association, or credit union shall release the trust funds under par. (a) to the beneficiary upon receipt of both a written statement of the beneficiary that the agreement was complied with and one of the following:
445.125(1)(b)4.a. a. A certified copy of the certificate of death of the potential decedent.
445.125(1)(b)4.b. b. An affidavit made by the beneficiary of the potential decedent's death, in the form prescribed under s. 69.02 (1) (c), if the bank, trust company, savings bank, savings and loan association, or credit union consents to receipt of the affidavit. The affidavit shall be accompanied by an invoice for the cost of the services and personal property for which release of the funds is sought. If the bank, trust company, savings bank, savings and loan association, or credit union consents to receipt of the affidavit and to release of the funds, it is immune from civil liability for the amount of the funds so released.
445.125(1)(c) (c) The payment pursuant to this subsection of such fund and any interest or dividends which may have accumulated shall relieve the bank, trust company, savings bank, savings and loan association or credit union of any further liability for such funds, interest or dividends. A bank need not comply with ch. 223 to accept and disburse deposits under this subsection.
445.125(3m) (3m) Burial agreements funded with proceeds of life insurance policies.
445.125(3m)(a) (a) In this subsection:
445.125(3m)(a)1. 1. “Agent" means an authorized representative of a funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment.
445.125(3m)(a)2. 2. “Burial agreement" means a written agreement between an operator of a funeral establishment or funeral director and a person in which the operator of the funeral establishment or funeral director agrees to provide to a person, after that person is deceased, funeral merchandise or funeral services.
445.125(3m)(a)3. 3. “Cash advance item" means personal property or a service that is obtained by a funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment from a 3rd party and that is paid for by the funeral director or operator of the funeral establishment on behalf of, and subject to reimbursement from, a person purchasing funeral merchandise or funeral services from the funeral director or operator of the funeral establishment. “Cash advance item" includes cemetery or crematory services, pallbearers, public transportation, clergy honoraria, flowers, musicians or vocalists, nurses, obituary notices, gratuities and death certificates.
445.125(3m)(a)4. 4. “Funeral merchandise or funeral services" means personal property or services typically sold or provided in connection with the final disposition of human remains, including caskets or other primary containers not preplaced into the burial excavation of a grave, rental, temporary or disposable caskets or containers, outer burial containers not preplaced into the burial excavation of a grave, transportation containers, funeral clothing and accessories, embalming services and funeral directing services. “Funeral merchandise or funeral services" does not include a cash advance item or opening and closing costs that are associated with the burial of a deceased person.
445.125(3m)(b)1.1. A licensed funeral director, an operator of a funeral establishment, an agent of a licensed funeral director or, subject to par. (c), an agent of an operator of a funeral establishment may sell or solicit the sale of a burial agreement that is funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy if all of the following apply:
445.125(3m)(b)1.a. a. The burial agreement meets the requirements specified in pars. (d) to (f) and in the rules promulgated by the examining board under par. (j) 1. b.
445.125(3m)(b)1.b. b. The licensed funeral director, operator of the funeral establishment or agent is licensed as an insurance intermediary under ch. 628.
445.125(3m)(b)2.a.a. A licensed funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment may authorize an agent who is an insurance intermediary licensed under ch. 628, and who meets the training requirements established by the examining board under par. (j) 1. a., to sell or solicit the sale of a burial agreement that is funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy and that meets the requirements specified in pars. (d) to (f).
445.125(3m)(b)2.b. b. A licensed funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment shall report to the examining board the identity of any agent authorized by the licensed funeral director or operator of the funeral establishment under subd. 2. a. and provide evidence satisfactory to the examining board that such agent meets the training requirements established by the examining board by rule under par. (j) 1. a. The examining board shall promulgate rules establishing requirements and procedures for making reports and providing the evidence required under this subd. 2. b.
445.125(3m)(b)2.c. c. A licensed funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment is responsible for and bound by any act of an agent, authorized by the licensed funeral director or operator of the funeral establishment under subd. 2. a., that is within the scope of the agent's apparent authority, while a contract under par. (c) 1. between the agent and the licensed funeral director or operator of the funeral establishment remains in force, and after that time until the licensed funeral director or operator of the funeral establishment has made reasonable efforts to recover from the agent any forms for burial agreements provided to the agent by the licensed funeral director or operator of the funeral establishment and other indicia of agency. Reasonable efforts shall include a formal demand in writing for return of the indicia, and notice to the examining board if the agent does not comply with the demand promptly.
445.125(3m)(c)1.1. No agent of an operator of a funeral establishment may solicit the sale of or sell a burial agreement funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy unless he or she has a contract with the operator of the funeral establishment that authorizes him or her to act as the agent of the operator of the funeral establishment and that satisfies the requirements established by the examining board by rule under par. (j) 1. c.
445.125(3m)(c)2. 2. If an agent of an operator of a funeral establishment solicits the sale of or sells a burial agreement funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy, the agent shall do all of the following at the time of solicitation:
445.125(3m)(c)2.a. a. Disclose to the prospective purchaser of the burial agreement the identity of the funeral establishment of which he or she is an agent.
445.125(3m)(c)2.b. b. Furnish to the applicant a copy of the booklet prepared and distributed by the examining board under par. (j) 3. that describes the differences between funding a burial agreement with the proceeds of a life insurance policy under this subsection and entering into a burial agreement funded by a trust under sub. (1).
445.125(3m)(d) (d) A burial agreement that is funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy shall specify in the agreement the funeral establishment that will be used to provide the funeral services or funeral merchandise to be provided under the agreement.
445.125(3m)(e)1.1. A burial agreement that is funded with the proceeds from a life insurance policy shall include a provision setting forth the nature and extent of any price guarantee for the funeral merchandise or funeral services that are to be provided under the burial agreement.
445.125(3m)(e)2. 2. If an agent solicits and sells a burial agreement that is funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy, the licensed funeral director who owns the funeral establishment or is an agent of the operator of the funeral establishment that will provide funeral merchandise or funeral services under the burial agreement shall ratify the burial agreement in writing and with his or her signature.
445.125(3m)(f) (f) The price of any funeral merchandise or funeral services provided under a burial agreement funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy may not exceed the price for the merchandise or services that, at the time that the merchandise is provided or the services are performed, is set forth in the funeral establishment's general price list required under the funeral industry practices regulations of the federal trade commission.
445.125(3m)(g) (g) Before an agent, a licensed funeral director or an operator of a funeral establishment accepts an applicant's initial premium for a burial agreement that is funded or will be funded by a life insurance policy, the agent, funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment shall comply with the requirements under par. (h) and shall, in a writing that is clear and conspicuous, disclose the following information to the applicant:
445.125(3m)(g)1. 1. The fact that a life insurance policy is involved in or connected to, or is being used to fund, the burial agreement.
445.125(3m)(g)2. 2. The type of insurance instrument that is funding the burial agreement.
445.125(3m)(g)3. 3. The effect on the burial agreement of all of the following:
445.125(3m)(g)3.a. a. Changing the life insurance policy, including changing the assignment of the policy proceeds, changing the beneficiary designation or changing the use of the proceeds.
445.125(3m)(g)3.b. b. Any penalties incurred by the policyholder as a result of failing to make premium payments.
445.125(3m)(g)3.c. c. Any penalties incurred or money received as a result of cancellation or surrender of the life insurance policy.
445.125(3m)(g)4. 4. The nature of the relationship between the insurance intermediary who solicited or is selling the life insurance policy and the funeral establishment that will be providing funeral or burial merchandise or services under the burial agreement.
445.125(3m)(g)5. 5. The relationship of the life insurance policy to the funding of the burial agreement and the existence and terms of any guarantees, other than a guarantee specified in subd. 6., relating to the burial agreement.
445.125(3m)(g)6. 6. A list of the funeral merchandise and funeral services that are applied for or contracted for under the burial agreement and all relevant information concerning the price of the funeral services provided under the burial agreement, including a statement as to whether the purchase price of the funeral merchandise or funeral services provided under the burial agreement is guaranteed at the time of the purchase of the burial agreement or whether the purchase price of the funeral merchandise or funeral services provided under the burial agreement is to be determined at the time of need, and a statement that the price of the funeral merchandise or funeral services is subject to the limit specified in par. (f).
445.125(3m)(g)7. 7. All relevant information concerning what occurs, and whether any entitlements or obligations arise, if there is a difference between the proceeds of the life insurance policy and the amount of money actually needed to fund the burial agreement.
445.125(3m)(g)8. 8. Any restrictions, including geographic restrictions, or penalties relating to delivery or performance under the burial agreement, including any restrictions or penalties relating to the inability of the operator of the funeral establishment to perform.
445.125(3m)(g)9. 9. A statement as to whether a sales commission or other form of compensation is being paid to the agent who sold or solicited the sale of a burial agreement and, if so, the identity of the persons to whom the commission or other compensation is paid.
445.125(3m)(h) (h) If an applicant under par. (g) is terminating a trust established under sub. (1), the agent, licensed funeral director or operator of the funeral establishment shall, before accepting the applicant's initial premium, furnish written notice to the examining board that satisfies requirements established by the examining board by rule under par. (j) 1. d., and may not accept the applicant's initial premium until 30 days after providing written notice under this paragraph.
445.125(3m)(hm) (hm) An agent authorized by a licensed funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment under par. (b) 2. a. may not engage in unfair or deceptive acts or practices specified in the funeral industry practices regulations of the federal trade commission, and shall comply with requirements to prevent unfair or deceptive acts or practices specified in such regulations.
445.125(3m)(i)1.1. A licensed funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment who, either directly or through an agent, solicits the sale of or sells a burial agreement funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy shall maintain a record of the burial agreement that identifies the life insurance policy used to fund the agreement.
445.125(3m)(i)2. 2. The funeral director under subd. 1. or the funeral director in charge of the funeral establishment under subd. 1. shall make a record maintained under subd. 1. available to the examining board if the board submits a written request to examine the record to the funeral director at least 3 days before the examination is to occur.
445.125(3m)(j)1.1. The examining board shall promulgate rules establishing all of the following:
445.125(3m)(j)1.a. a. Training requirements that an insurance intermediary licensed under ch. 628 must satisfy to sell or solicit the sale of a burial agreement under this subsection.
445.125(3m)(j)1.b. b. Minimum standards that an individual burial agreement must satisfy if it is funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy.
445.125(3m)(j)1.c. c. Minimum standards that a contract between an agent and an operator of a funeral establishment must satisfy to authorize the agent to sell or solicit the sale of a burial agreement funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy on behalf of the operator of the funeral establishment.
445.125(3m)(j)1.d. d. The form and content of written notice that a licensed funeral director, operator of a funeral establishment or agent of a licensed funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment is required to provide to the examining board under par. (h).
445.125(3m)(j)2. 2. The examining board may promulgate rules establishing standards for marketing practices for a burial agreement that is funded with the proceeds of a life insurance policy, including standards for telephone solicitation of prospective purchasers. The rules promulgated under this subdivision may prohibit a method of telephone solicitation if the examining board determines that the prohibition is necessary to protect the public.
445.125(3m)(j)3. 3. The examining board shall prepare and distribute a booklet that describes the differences between funding a burial agreement with the proceeds of a life insurance policy under this subsection and entering into a burial agreement funded by a trust under sub. (1). The examining board may charge a reasonable fee for the cost of preparation and distribution of the booklet.
445.125(4) (4) Applicability.
445.125(4)(a)(a) This section shall not apply to any of the following:
445.125(4)(a)1. 1. A contract to provide funeral and burial service for any person if such contract is incidental to maintaining such person in a home, hospital or institution.
445.125(4)(a)2. 2. The sale or delivery of cemetery lots, graves, outer burial containers preplaced into the burial excavation of a grave, cremation urns, mausoleum spaces, as defined in s. 157.061 (10), or grave or cemetery lot markers or monuments before their use is required or the sale of undeveloped spaces, as defined in s. 157.061 (17).
445.125(4)(bn) (bn) Sections 701.0410 to 701.0418 do not apply to an agreement, interest, or dividend that is made irrevocable under sub. (1) (a) 2. to 4.
445.125 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also ch. FD 6, Wis. adm. code.
445.13 445.13 Investigations; hearing; revocation of licenses.
445.13(1)(1)Subject to the rules promulgated under s. 440.03 (1), the examining board may make investigations, subpoena witnesses, conduct hearings, limit, suspend or revoke a license of a funeral director, a certificate of registration of an apprentice or a permit of an operator of a funeral establishment and reprimand a funeral director, apprentice or operator of a funeral establishment for any violation of 15 USC 45 and 57, of this chapter or of any rule of the department of health services or the examining board, for unprofessional conduct, including misrepresentation or fraud in obtaining the license, permit or certificate of registration, or for any violation of this chapter or any rule of the examining board by an agent authorized by the funeral director or operator of the funeral establishment under s. 445.125 (3m) (b) 2. a.
445.13(1e) (1e)In addition to or in lieu of a reprimand or limitation, suspension or revocation of a license or permit under sub. (1), the examining board may assess against any person who violates s. 445.12 (3g) or (3r) or 445.125 (3m) or a rule promulgated under s. 445.125 (3m) (j) a forfeiture of no more than $1,000 for each violation.
445.13(1m) (1m)The examining board shall investigate an allegation that a funeral director has failed to do any of the following:
445.13(1m)(a) (a) Mail or present a death record within 10 days after receipt from the person responsible for completing the medical certification under s. 69.18 (2).
445.13(1m)(b) (b) Within any period of 180 days, mail or present 6 or more death records within the 2-day time limit under s. 69.18 (1) (bm).
445.13(1m)(c) (c) Obtain the written permission to effect final disposition required under s. 69.18 (3) (b).
445.13(1m)(d) (d) Mail a report of final disposition required under s. 69.18 (3) (a) before effecting a final disposition, as defined in s. 69.01 (11).
445.13(2) (2)No reprimand or order limiting, suspending or revoking a license, certificate of registration or permit, or no assessment of forfeiture, shall be made until after a hearing conducted by the examining board. This subsection does not apply to a license, certificate of registration or permit that is limited or suspended under s. 440.13 (2) (c) or that is revoked under s. 440.12.
445.13 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also ch. FD 3, Wis. adm. code.
445.14 445.14 Funeral directors; who to employ. No public officer, employee or officer of any public institution, physician or surgeon shall send, or cause to be sent, to any funeral director, the corpse of any deceased person, without having first made due inquiry as to the desires of the next of kin, or any persons who may be chargeable with the funeral expenses of such deceased person, and if any such kin or person is found, his or her authority or direction shall be received as to the disposal of such corpse.
445.14 History History: 1979 c. 175 s. 29; 1979 c. 221 s. 662; Stats. 1979 s. 445.14; 1983 a. 485.
445.145 445.145 Printed advertising. A person may not, in any advertisement by newspaper, periodical, Internet web page, telephone book listing, direct mail, or electronic mail solicitation, represent that the person conducts the business of a funeral director or provides any funeral or cremation service, unless the advertisement includes the address of one funeral establishment or place of business at which the person conducts such business or provides such services.
445.145 History History: 2005 a. 266.
445.15 445.15 Penalties.
445.15(1)(1)Except as provided in sub. (1m), any person violating any provision of this chapter or any rule of the department of health services and the examining board relating to its subject matter, shall be fined not more than $5,000, imprisoned not less than 30 days nor more than 3 months, or both.
445.15(1m) (1m)A funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment who violates s. 445.12 (3r) shall be fined not more than $5,000 for each violation. Each day that an insurance intermediary authorized by a funeral director or operator of a funeral establishment fails to meet the training requirements established by the examining board by rule under s. 445.125 (3m) (j) 1. a. constitutes a separate violation of s. 445.12 (3r) (b).
445.15(2) (2)A funeral director who fails to do the acts described under s. 445.13 (1m) (b) or who fails to do the act described under s. 445.13 (1m) (c), upon being convicted and fined for a 2nd offense, may have his or her license suspended or revoked, and, if revoked, may not be relicensed for at least one year and only after a regular examination.
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2019-20 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2021 Wis. Act 31, through all Orders of the Controlled Substances Board filed before and in effect on June 2, 2021, and through all Supreme Court Orders filed before and in effect on April 15, 2021. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after June 2, 2021, other than those made by Supreme Court Order No. 20-07, are designated by NOTES. (Published 6-2-21)