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Knock knock. Who's There? Nobody

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We've long complained that cemeteries escape even the most basic regulation around the country. In Arizona the regulators appear not to know who they're supposed to be regulating at all. From an email exchange between Ruth Bennett, exec. director of the FCA of Southern Arizona, and the Arizona Real Estate Board (which state law says is supposed to regulate burial grounds):

Ruth Bennett: I am looking for a list of cemeteries in Southern Arizona. I understand that the AZ Dept. of Real Estate regulates cemeteries, so am hoping that you have a list you can send me. Please email me this list or tell me where I can find it online and I thank you in advance!

Real Estate Board: Thank you for contacting the Department of Real Estate. The Department does not regulate all cemeteries in the state; therefore, we are unable to provide you with a list of cemeteries in Southern Arizona.  You may wish to Google "Cemeteries in Pima County, Cemeteries in Cochise County, etc" to obtain a complete list of cemeteries in Southern Arizona.

Ruth Bennett: Are you able to provide me with a list of the cemeteries you do regulate?

Real Estate Board: Unfortunately, our database is not set up to pull a specific set of licensees; therefore, we are unable to provide you a list of the cemeteries that we currently regulate in Arizona.

..............blink. blink. ...................

Ruth Bennett: Wow, fascinating! So you have no way to print or email a list of the cemeteries you are responsible for regulating?  So just how does regulating cemeteries work in Arizona if you do not have a list of the cemeteries you regulate? Who is responsible for inspections and how does that person know what cemeteries to inspect?

Arizona Real Estate Board, back to you. 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 July 2013 13:02 )

NPS Preneed Scandal UPDATED 7-5-2013

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UPDATE 7-5-2013

NPS Executives Plead Guilty In $600 Million Ponzi Scheme

Read the full article at Riverfront Times


UPDATE 6-2013—Jim Cassity, Brent Cassity, and others to go on trial for NPS Preneed Ponzi Scheme

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

One of six people accused of bilking customers out of as much as $600 million in a pre-arranged funeral scam admitted her role on Monday, as the rest of the defendants prepare to go to trial.

Sharon Nekol Province, 69, of Ballwin, pleaded guilty in federal court here to six counts of the 50-count indictment.


They include James Douglas Cassity, of Clayton, who bought the company in 1979; his son, Brent Cassity, also of Clayton, who helped run the companies; Randall K. Sutton, of Chesterfield; Howard A. Wittner, of Chesterfield; and David R. Wulf, of St. Louis County.

They face additional charges of embezzlement, money laundering and conspiracy, all allegedly committed through a lengthy series of money transfers. The network of trusts and businesses named in the indictment include National Prearranged Services, Lincoln Memorial Life Insurance Co., Memorial Services Life Insurance Co. and Forever Enterprises, former owner of funeral homes in the St. Louis area.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 July 2013 15:09 ) Read more...

Join PBS Discussion on Funerals

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Public Television wants to hear from you. In conjunction with a soon to be released documentary about African-American funerals, PBS has a discussion page up asking readers their thoughts about a variety of funeral-related questions. 



LGBT Funeral Rights

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Karen Zinn's has a new article on the pitfalls lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face when planning funerals for their partners. LGBT folks take note! If your state doesn't have same sex marriage you're likely to run into legal hurdles involving who has the right to make decisions about the disposition of the body. Having a healthcare power of attorney is not enough. 

Check out the article, and also our list of Designated Agent For Body Disposition laws by state. 


Forgotten Ashes

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Pennsylvania funeral director Michael Neal has come up with a website that looks like an actual first—  He's listed unclaimed cremated remains at his funeral home in hopes relatives will come forward. Funeral directors can list their unclaimed cremated remains on the site, too. 


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