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Judge approves settlement for funeral homes in fledgling trust case

Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin funeral homes will only get 60 percent of their costs for providing pre-paid funerals in which their customers’ payments were invested in a fledgling trust account.

Dane County Circuit Judge Peter Anderson approved a settlement Monday involving the Wisconsin Funeral Trust, which was placed into receivership a few months ago.

Officials said aggressive investment strategies failed to pay off. As a result, the trust only has about $43 million available to cover obligated pre-paid funerals costing $67 million.

About 180 funeral homes have been delivering on their pre-paid contracts, while their financing vehicle lost money. Only those funeral homes agreeing to the settlement will be covered, but receiver John Wirth expects virtually the affected homes to be a part of it.

While getting back 60 percent, they’ll still have to eat about 12 to $15 million. Companies that offered services to the trust will pay around $10 million.