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Frequent Questions

Why have a Funeral?
Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show their respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grieving process. By providing surviving family and friends with an atmosphere of care and support in which to share their thoughts and feelings, funerals are the first step in the healing process. Planning a personalized ceremony or service will help begin the healing process. Overcoming the pain is never easy, but a meaningful funeral or tribute will help.

What does a Funeral Director do?
A funeral director is a licensed professional who assists the family following the death of a loved one. They may help to:

  • Pick up the deceased and transport the body to the funeral home anytime day or night
  • Notify proper authorities, family and/or relatives
  • Arrange and prepare death certificates
  • Provide certified copies of death certificates for insurance and benefit processing
  • Work with the insurance agent, Social Security or Veterans Administration to ensure that necessary paperwork is filed for receipt of benefits
  • Prepare and submit obituary to newspapers chosen by the family
  • Bathe and prepare the deceased body
  • Prepare the body for viewing 
  • Assist the family with funeral arrangements and purchase of casket, urn, burial vault and cemetery plot
  • Schedule the opening and closing of the grave with cemetery personnel if a burial is to be performed
  • Coordinate with clergy if a funeral or memorial service is to be held
  • Arrange a police escort and transportation to the funeral and/or cemetery for the family
  • Order funeral sprays and other flower arrangements as the family wishes
  • Provide grief support to the bereaved

What do I do when a death occurs?

  • Call the funeral home. Your funeral director will come when the time is right for you. We will come over right away if you wish. However, if you wish to spend a short time with the deceased to say good-bye, that’s perfectly acceptable. 
  • Make a list of immediate family, close friends and employer or business colleagues. Notify each by phone.
  • Arrange for members of family or close friends to take turns answering door or phone, keeping careful record of calls. 
  • Bring to the funeral home:

• Information for the obituary including deceased’s age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work, list of survivors in immediate family. Include time and place of services, and an appropriate memorial to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, charity or school). The funeral home will normally write article and submit to newspapers. 

• Information to complete the State vital statistic requirements:

  • Birth Date
  • Birthplace
  • Father's Name
  • Mother's Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Veteran's Discharge or Claim Number
  • Education
  • Marital Status

  • Contact your clergy. Decide on time and place of funeral or memorial service. This can be done at the funeral home.
  • If Social Security checks are automatic deposit, notify the bank of the death.

Should I choose Burial or Cremation?
Burial in a casket is still the most common choice in the United States. However, more and more people are selecting cremation because it allows for a funeral or memorial service to be held at a more convenient time in the future when relatives and friends can come together. It can also be less expensive. A funeral service followed by cremation need not be any different from a funeral service followed by a burial. Usually, cremated remains are placed in an urn before being taken to a final resting place. The urn may be buried, placed in an indoor or outdoor mausoleum or columbarium, or interred in a special urn garden that many cemeteries provide. The remains may also be scattered according to guidelines set forth by the state.

Why have a public viewing?
Many grief specialists believe that having a viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children as long as the process is explained and the activity is voluntary.

What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and burial, allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.

Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with a viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial.”

Do I have to make different funeral arrangements if I chose cremation?
One of the advantages of cremation is that it provides you with increased flexibility when you make your funeral and cemetery arrangements. For example, you may choose to have a funeral service before the cremation, a memorial service at the time of cremation, a service after the cremation with the urn present, or a service when and where the remains are escorted to their final resting place.  

What can be done with the cremated remains?
Cremated remains can be interred in a cemetery plot, retained by a family member in an urn, scattered on private property, or at a place that was significant to the deceased. Cremation niches in columbariums are now available at many cemeteries, offering the beauty of a mausoleum setting with the benefits of above-ground placement. Many cemeteries also offer scattering gardens. This area of a cemetery offers the peacefulness of a serene garden where family and friends can come and reflect. The type of memorial you choose is a personal decision.

What is memorialization for a cremation?
A memorial serves as a tribute to a life lived and provides a focal point for remembrance for today as well as a record for future generations. There are several options for marking or “memorializing” the resting place of your loved one who has been cremated. We offer urns that are suitable for keeping in your residence, ones designed for placement in the niche of a church or mausoleum, urns crafted to conform to placement in a cemetery, and urns that are designed to facilitate scattering. For those who want to keep the memory of a loved one close forever, we offer miniature urns to memorial jewelry and sculptured artwork. If you choose earth burial of the urn, you may usually choose either a bronze memorial or monument.

Can we scatter the cremated remains?
Funeral directors can also be very helpful in creating a meaningful and personal ash scattering ceremony that they will customize to fit your families specific desires. The services can be as formal or informal, public or private.  It is advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place.

If I am cremated, can I be buried with my spouse even if he or she was in a casket?
Depending on the cemetery's policy, cremated remains may sometimes be buried on top of casketed remains, or the adjacent space may be utilized.

What do I need to know about income tax when I lose a spouse?
Uncertainty about income tax issues can add to the stress experienced from the death of a spouse. You should meet with your family attorney and/or tax advisor as soon as possible to review your tax and estate circumstances. Bring a detailed list of your questions to the meeting. If you do not have an attorney or tax advisor, call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 for answers to specific tax questions.

Why are funerals so expensive?
A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive service with extensive facilities such as viewing rooms and chapels. It includes the services of a licensed funeral director and other professional staff who spend many hours making arrangements, collecting information, filing appropriate forms, and communicating with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others, and coordinating all the necessary details. The cost also includes merchandise, transportation and other services, which all muse be factored into the expense of a funeral.

Is there financial help if I need it?
There are a number of options available, including:

  • Determining if the deceased person qualifies for any entitlements. Check with the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and with your State Fund. Many people are entitled to get financial assistance with their funeral costs from these agencies if they qualify.
  • Reviewing all insurance policies the deceased person has including life insurance. Some life insurance policies have coverage clauses for funeral-related costs.
  • Finding local charities that may provide financial help for funeral expenses. Search for non-profit organizations and churches in your area.
  • Talk to your funeral director about cremation options. These can be much less expensive depending on your choices.