Background

The necessity to retain documentation relating to funeral and final disposition transactions will vary according to the type of facility, the nature of the transaction, and the type of information involved. For example, cemeteries open with the intent of lasting forever. Accordingly, permanent records should be retained for interment spaces and interments performed. Records of interment right ownership and final disposition should also be kept permanently, as should those records relating to the cremation process. However, records relating to at need funeral arrangements, prepaid contracts, or prepaid contract trust fund activities need only be retained for a limited time period following performance or termination.

This guideline is limited to record keeping considerations arising from funeral service and cemetery transactions specifically related to contracts and final disposition.

Principles

  1. Permanent records should be kept for:
    • Each interment space sold, including information such as the specific location, interment right ownership, and the endowment care trust fund contribution;
    • Instructions for final disposition of human remains;
    • Authorizations for cremations;
    • Each interment performed; and
    • Data on each memorial installed in the cemetery.
  2. In the case of a transfer of interment rights between owners, information should be retained permanently pertaining to such transfer.
  3. Copies of all prepaid contracts and a record of prepaid contract trust fund deposits and withdrawals should be retained for a specified time period following performance or termination of the prepaid contract.
  4. At need contracts should be retained for a specified time period following performance.
  5. Records may be kept on paper or in a machine-readable form including, but not limited to, computer disks, magnetic tape, microfilm, microfiche, or digital imaging.
  6. The regulatory authority should have reasonable access to examine required records to determine compliance. Records should be maintained in a secure location, which may be separate from the selling location, provided that the regulatory authority is notified of such location.
  7. Information that the regulatory authority receives from examinations including, but not limited to, financial, accounting, and transactional records, should be kept confidential, except as required in a legal proceeding.
  8. The cemetery authority, crematory authority, direct disposer, funeral establishment, or similar business should be allowed to adopt reasonable rules and regulations for record content and retention, providing that such rules and regulations conform with relevant statutes.
  9. The cemetery authority, crematory authority, direct disposer, funeral establishment, or similar business should not be held liable for relying upon erroneous information that has been provided to them by third parties.
I joined PCCFA because it’s my responsibility and duty to do so. As the President & CEO of two of the Commonwealth’s most historic cemeteries, being a member of PCCFA demonstrates my commitment to the industry and to ensuring that others adhere to the high ethical standards that we do at Laurel Hill. I joined because I believe there is tremendous need to educate others about the innovative and progressive nature of our industry and to advocate for advancements that will benefit all.

As someone relatively new to this field, I joined PCCFA to engage with my colleagues, learn from them, and add my unique perspectives and professional experience. I joined to work collaboratively for the benefit of all in Pennsylvania’s death care industry.

Nancy Goldenberg, President & CEO, Laurel Hill, Philadelphia

I joined PCCFA because my father said I should. He believed our state organization accomplished four important missions: 1 – Education for our members to improve their performance in serving their public. 2- Ensuring our members were reminded of our obligation to perform the highest ethical standards when serving our public. 3- The political reality that we needed to defend ourselves from segments of competing businesses that would attempt to pass legislation that harmed our industry while benefiting theirs. 4 – The benefit of networking and social comradery that comes from meeting with fellow PCCFA members.

My father’s guidance has proven to be wise council time and time again in my 44 years in the industry. We do not grow, develop, improve to become the best we can be if we remain sheltered in our private little business world not participating in or exposed to what was happening in the larger business world. It does not matter if you are a Cemeterian, Funeral Director, Cremationist, or florist, if you are a part of the Death Care Industry in Pennsylvania you really should become a member of PCCFA.

Harry C. Neel, Jefferson Memorial Cemetery, Funeral Home, Crematory and Arboretum, Pittsburgh

As the operator of multiple cemeteries, funeral homes and crematories in the state, I am proud to be associated with the PCCFA. Despite being owned by SCI, the largest provider in the death care industry, PCCFA provides opportunities, networking and resources that cannot be found anywhere else. Since joining PCCFA, I have built a network of experts that help me to provide the best services to our respective communities. The membership is very willing to share methods and practices which help me to provide a safe, ethical and profitable business.

In addition, the PCCFA helps to raise a more collective voice when discussing legislative issues that arise. It has given me a forum where we can effectively discuss and guide legislative issues which have lasting impacts on the communities we serve and our ability to properly operate our business. I am very proud that the faces we see at our board meetings, conferences and committee meetings represents a very diverse range of people, just like the communities we serve.

The opportunities and benefits of being affiliated with the PCCFA have paid me back exponentially. I encourage anyone who is interested in joining to reach out and get involved.

Eric Wolverton, President, SCI, Pennsylvania Funeral Services, Inc.

When we were close to finalizing the acquisition of Life Remembered (formerly CMS East, LLC), Tim Kernan, a PCCFA board member for many years , advised me that it was important to be a member of PCCFA. He also recommended being a board member because it allows you to be in tune with regulatory and legal developments in the State. He also recommended supporting the PAC to ensure we had representation in the political arena.

Since joining the PCCFA, I have made friends and acquaintances that have given me advice and guidance. I feel like I’m part of a group of caring and supportive people who understand the day-to-day challenges of being in the funeral and cemetery industry.

Jude Abraham, Life Remembered

In 1999 PCCFA President Bill Moulton reached out to me and invited me to attend a PCCFA meeting. I learned so much and met so many experienced industry professionals at that meeting that I immediately became a member. PCCFA membership accelerated my industry knowledge through networking and educational opportunities and continues to add value to me every year. All cemeteries in Pennsylvania could benefit from joining.

Gary Buss, President, Arlington Cemetery and Funeral Home, Drexel Hill