OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5498

AN ACT CONCERNING CHANGES TO THE FUNERAL SERVICES STATUTES.

SUMMARY:

This bill allows people to pay for funeral service contracts by assigning the death benefit under a life insurance policy. It also allows a legal representative of the beneficiary to authorize the transfer of an irrevocable funeral contract from one funeral establishment to another. (Current law allows only the beneficiary to authorize a transfer. )

The bill requires death certificates filed in paper form to be filed within five business days, rather than five calendar days, after death.

The bill requires funeral service businesses to maintain the original, signed cremation authorization documentation form for at least six years, rather than at least 20 years, after it was signed by the person with custody and control of the deceased person's remains. This change conforms to another provision in existing law requiring funeral service businesses to keep cremation authorizations and several other documents for at least six years.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

LIFE INSURANCE BENEFIT AS PAYMENT FOR FUNERAL SERVICE CONTRACT

The bill allows people to pay for funeral service contracts by assigning the death benefit under a life insurance policy. The law defines a funeral service contract as a contract which requires the payment of money or the delivery of securities in exchange for the final disposition of a dead human body, including funeral, burial, or other services, or the furnishing of personal property or funeral merchandise in connection with such disposition, where the use or delivery of such services, property, or merchandise is not required immediately. The bill provides that for purposes of this definition, “delivery of securities” includes assignment of a death benefit that is payable under an individual or group life insurance policy.

The law requires funeral service establishments to deposit into escrow any money or securities they receive pursuant to a funeral service contract (CGS 42-202). It is not clear how this requirement applies to the assignment of death benefits under life insurance.

DEADLINE FOR FILING DEATH CERTIFICATE

Current law requires that death certificates be completed in their entirety and filed with the registrar of vital statistics in the town where the death occurred within (1) five days after death if filing a paper certificate and (2) three days after death if filing through an electronic death registry system, to obtain a burial permit. The bill specifies that the deadline for filing paper certificates is five business days, not five calendar days. Electronic filings must be completed within three calendar days as under current law.

BACKGROUND

Related Bill

Among other things, sSB 412, reported favorably by the Public Health Committee on March 23, 2012, (1) requires the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) commissioner to establish a guaranty fund for the payment of certain claims against funeral service establishments; (2) requires funeral service establishments to provide a copy of DCP's funeral service contract fact sheet to anyone who inquires in person about purchasing a funeral service contract or purchases such a contract, before signing it; and (3) makes a technical change to the definition of funeral service contract.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Health Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

26

Nay

0

(03/26/2012)