State board suspends Wilson funeral home license

Paul Clark

The N.C. Board of Funeral Service has suspended the license of Wilson Family Funeral Service pending a hearing this summer

The May 6 suspension prohibits the Black Mountain funeral home and its funeral director, William Tracy Wilson, from soliciting business or fulfilling existing obligations until the July hearing. Pending funerals have been transferred to other funeral homes, according to the order for summary suspension.

State board executive director Peter M. Burke said the allegations that resulted in the hearing involve complaints the board received from two families alleging that the money they had paid toward funerals had not been deposited as law prescribes.

State law requires that funeral homes deposit so-called “preneed” money in a trust or insurance document within five days of receiving it. Once that is done, the state board sends the family a letter saying the money has been deposited. The two families complained to the board that they never received that letter, Burke said.

The total amount involved is $3,000, “which is a lot of money if you happen to be one of those families,” Burke said last week.

Also to be aired at the hearing is the board’s allegation that a Wilson Family Funeral Service employee not licensed as a funeral director spoke on Dec. 15 to an undercover inspector about funeral plans for someone the inspector appeared on behalf of. State law allows only licensed funeral directors to discuss funeral plans with survivors.

Tracy Wilson, the business’ general manager, said last week that the employee incorrectly quoted the inspector a price for a service, something he said was not allowed under state law. The law allows an unlicensed funeral home worker to read rates from a price list, he said, but the employee quoted the agent a price from his memory and did so only because Wilson, in the hospital at the time, was unavailable.

Alleged incidents of the missing money preceded his ownership of the business, Wilson said. They are related to a previous owner, he said.

“My stand is that I did not create any of these problems,” he said of the money.

Wilson, who said he surrendered his license on May 20, bought the business in November 2012, he said. “I may have messed up some paperwork, but I have never not served the community,” he said.