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Monday 27 July, 2009


The Essential Planning Group Forms New Division...

The Essential Planning Group Forms New Division Dedicated to Helping Cemeterians Increase Earnings

Group aims to help cemeterians close the gap between monthly earnings and maintenance costs.

PR Newswire

BEAVERTON, Ore., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Essential Planning Group (EPG), a leading provider of death care industry services since 1993, announced that it has formed the National Cemetery Endowment Care Trust Services (NCECTS), focused exclusively on helping small and mid-sized cemeteries increase monthly earnings from their endowment care investments.

“Our cemetery clients tell us their biggest challenge is meeting their ever-increasing maintenance costs with their monthly earnings.  It’s a gap that is hard to close,” said Hal Martin, The Essential Planning Group’s CEO and a pioneer in developing master trust programs for both preneed and endowment care.   “We formed NCECTS based on client feedback and our confidence that we could serve this pressing need.  Our experience managing master trusts and developing state specific administrative and investment guidelines uniquely positioned us to create and launch this service.”

Portland Management, Inc., which owns and operates three cemeteries, three mausoleums, and four funeral homes in Oregon, provides early testimony to NCECTS’ effectiveness in narrowing the gap between revenue received and maintenance expenditures. “We have used The Essential Planning Group services for preneed funeral plans for many years,” said David Schroeder, Portland Management’s CEO.  “They had a great track record so we asked them if they could help us with our cemetery endowment care returns.  We are all familiar with the financial challenges of keeping cemetery properties in ‘top notch’ condition while income from endowment care continually goes down as maintenance expenses increase.” Schroeder’s discussions with EPG helped catalyze formation of NCECTS.  “We were pleased to find out they could, indeed, help us,” said Schroeder.

Since moving his organization’s endowment care funds to NCECTS, Schroeder said he could “already see a positive material difference in income from our cemetery operations maintenance fund.  Now that NCECTS is generating additional income for us, it has dramatically helped narrow the gap between revenue received and maintenance expenditures.”

“Producing positive business benefits for clients like Portland Management is our mission,” said Craig Martin, The Essential Planning Group’s CFO and vice president.  “We specialize in managing endowment care income streams by investing in both traditional and alternative investments, selected to maximize risk-adjusted returns. This is unique in the industry. An added strength is our team of nationally respected trustee, depository and investment professionals committed to the highest levels of integrity, safety, and compliance.”  Martin added that, in addition to investment acumen, the company maintains a full-time, on-site compliance manager and longstanding relationships with financial institutions, regulatory agencies, and industry leaders to remain current with legislative and regulatory requirements.

NCECTS is a turnkey service with easy enrollment, disbursement flexibility, and services including assistance with tax reporting, computer services, and compliance. Hal Martin summed up NCECTS as their way to “help cemeterians manage the complex needs and requirements necessary to compete in today’s environment.”

About The Essential Planning Group

The Essential Planning Group, founded in 1993, provides comprehensive death care industry services.  The Group is recognized as one of the leaders in its field based on in-depth industry knowledge, expert support and service, and the innovative services and solutions.  Nationwide independent funeral homes, cemeteries, and state associations form the Group’s customer base utilizing the Group’s six distinct offerings:  American Funeral & Cemetery Trust Services (AFCTS), National Cemetery Endowment Care Trust Services (NCECTS), Third Party Administration, Preneed Insurance, American Prepaid Cremation Service (APCS), and Worldwide Travel Protection.

For additional information visit and www.EssentialPlanningGroup.c om

SOURCE National Cemetery Endowment Care Trust Services

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