October, November, December 2016

Q4 eNewsletter

         President's Note 
     As we head into the fourth and final quarter of 2016, we look forward to several enhancements in the coming year. These improvements include the transition to the Unitrust Distribution Method and introducing our Florida clients to the technology platform, PRISM.
     As you will read in this e-Newsletter, the Unitrust model will no longer limit returns to solely income generated by the trust. PRISM will soon provide clients located in Florida with a comprehensive, easy-to-use platform to manage preneed contracts.
     While we prepare for these updates, we will also spend time connecting with our clients and colleagues. Later this month, our team will travel to Philadelphia for the National Funeral Director Association’s annual convention (Booth #4025) to network with other industry leaders and learn new ways to serve you better. Also, Paul White and I will host a free webinar November 10 to educate attendees on the Unitrust model and its benefits. We invite you and your colleagues to join us for both events.
      As always, we remain committed to you, offering knowledge and personalized care. As you push towards the end of 2016, join us in looking forward to the bright future of preneed and perpetual care.
     And, of course, enjoy the holiday season!


Bill Williams
President and CEO, Funeral Services, Inc.

Coming Soon! FSI to Officially Adopt Unitrusts


     Beginning January 2017, recent legislative changes will allow for a new care and maintenance trust withdrawal method: Unitrusts.

     The Unitrust model will permit cemeteries to withdraw a percentage of the total market value of its Care & Maintenance Trust account. With this new approach, distributions will no longer be limited to income generated by the Trust.

     To serve clients most effectively, Funeral Services, Inc. (FSI) will adopt this approach for all cemeteries with accounts in the FSI Care & Maintenance Master Trust. Sabal Trust Company, the trustee and investment manager for the FSI Care & Maintenance Trust, will determine the withdrawal percentage annually. As an agent for cemeteries participating in the Trust, FSI will elect the Unitrust method utilizing the forms adopted by administrative rule on cemeteries’ behalf unless notified otherwise.


      Clients wishing to continue utilizing the income-only method were asked to contact us no later than Friday, October 1.

      Feel free to review our white paper anytime to learn more about Unitrusts and how they benefit you. Click here to access the white paper.

      Of course, we are also available by phone to answer any questions or provide further details to help you better understand the financial impact of the Unitrust or total return distribution method. Please contact us at 800.749.1340.

Join us at the

2016 NFDA Convention!
Booth #4025
   The FSI team will attend the 2016 NFDA International Convention & Expo in Philadelphia taking place October 23-26. This year, the world’s largest funeral service expo will offer:
  • Engaging educational sessions with industry experts,
  • Unique tours and fun social events,
  • An inspiring All-Star Recognition Ceremony,
  • A Rockin’ Funeral Directors Under-40 Party, and much more!
     We invite you to join us for a fun and informative few days to network with other death care industry leaders and learn new strategies to serve your clients better.
Also, make sure to visit us at the Expo at Booth #4025!
     Find all the details for the convention here.
We hope to see you there!
    Employee Spotlight:  

                       Meiko Whitfield
     FSI is made up of a dedicated team of experienced professionals who work each day to provide you with unparalleled service. Each individual brings an important skillset that assists us in powering your trust. To help you get to know the FSI team better we will shine a spotlight on one employee each quarter.
Meet Meiko Whitfield, FSI Vice President of Client Services
    In her 27 years with FSI, Meiko has seen the firm expand to several states across the country and serve clients with more advanced technology. She enjoys meeting and building relationships with clients as well as helping them achieve their preneed and perpetual care goals.


     Meiko Whitfield joined FSI in October 1989 as a fiscal assistant in the Preneed Services Department.  In fact, Meiko has spent her entire professional career with FSI, starting with the firm after earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama.


     Since then, she’s grown to serve as the Vice President of Client Services, managing the Client Services Department and assisting clients with preneed training and existing trust conversions. Meiko also works with management and systems development to keep FSI services and computer programs technologically updated and in compliance with changing state laws.

New FSI Technology Platform:
Simple, Swift, Secure.
     Available to all Florida clients beginning in 2017, PRISM is a web-based platform that meets all of your preneed trust management needs. This system will help ensure trusts remain in compliance with state death care regulations.
      An upgrade from our already exceptional system, PRISM enables you to:
  • Manage contracts online securely,
  • View, print and download account balances,
  • Create error-free electronic contracts with automated uploading,
  • Record preneed payments, transfer those payments to the trust, and disburse funds to the trust’s business account usually overnight.
        To help you understand the new system and ease your transition, we are offering training webinars this October. Stay tuned for dates, times and more details about the training sessions.
        This new tool is one way we strive to provide you with the most powerful, convenient and safe programs so you can shift all of your focus to your business. We look forward to helping you achieve your preneed trust management goals through this new technology platform.

FREE Webinar

November 10!
Keep Your Cemetery Financially Secure

    Today’s financial investing is much more sophisticated than it was just a few generations ago, resulting in new challenges for cemetery operators and their approach to perpetual care.  
     Join the FSI team and Kates-Boylston Publications November 10 at 3 p.m. EST for a FREE webinar to learn how changing the way perpetual care funds are distributed can help ensure your cemetery remains an attractive and safe environment for generations to come, even after you occupy the last burial space.
     In “Unitrusts: Advancing Perpetual Care Financial Strategies,” FSI President Bill Williams and Vice President of Client Development and Marketing Paul White 
will explain how the Unitrust Distribution Method helps cemetery 

owners and operators achieve long-term financial sustainability.  During the webinar, Bill and Paul will help you:
  • Understand the evolution of the Unitrust Distribution Method for perpetual care.
  • Review the financial impact of Unitrusts for current real-life trusts to illustrate the positive, long-term effect it offers.
  • Learn how to transition current trusts from the typical net income approach to the new Unitrust model.

      Sign up for the FREE webinar today to help ensure your cemetery remains on firm financial footing and protects the families entrusted to your care for years to come.

October 23 - 26, 2016          National Funeral Directors Association - SI Booth #4025
                                                       International Convention & Expo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
November 10, 2016              Unitrusts:  Advancing Perpetual Care Financial Strategies
                                                       Featuring FSI's Bill Williams and Paul White
November 11, 2016               Veterans Day
                                                        FSI offices will be closed in observance of Veterans Day.
November 24-25, 2016       Thanksgiving

                                          FSI offices will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving and
                                                        re-open Monday, November 28
December 23 & 26, 2016    Christmas Weekend
                                                        FSI offices will be closed the Friday and Monday of the
                                                        Christmas Weekend.

January 2, 2017                     New Year's Weekend

                                          FSI offices will be closed the Monday in celebrating New Year's Day.
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Our mailing address is:

Funeral Services, Inc.
Post Office Box 13407
Tallahassee, FL  32317
(800) 749-1340

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