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Below is a list of questions and responses that we commonly receive at the funeral home. We will continue to include any new questions in this section that we feel would be helpful to others.
If you have a question that has not been covered in this site we would like to hear from you. You may contact us anytime here.
If you would prefer to call us on the telephone, our staff would be pleased to provide an answer to any funeral related matter you may have. If we do not have the answer immediately, we will find it for you and contact you the minute the information is in our hands.
|Question #1||Why do we have funerals?|
|Answer:||It’s important to recognize that funerals are for the living...for those who will suffer the trauma of losing a loved one. It is through the funeral process that a number of emotional needs are met for those who grieve.|
A funeral is similar to other ceremonies in our lives. Like a graduation ceremony, a wedding, a baptism and a bar mitzvah a funeral is a rite of passage by which we recognize an important event that distinguishes our lives.
The funeral declares that a death has occurred. It commemorates the life that has been lived, and offers family and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one.
The gathering of family and friends for the visitation/wake and funeral service helps to provide emotional support so needed at this time. This will help those who grieve to face the reality of death and, consequently, to take the first steps towards a healthy emotional adjustment.
Psychologists have established that denial is a natural part of the grieving process. Until a bereaved person truly accepts the fact that a death has occurred, no progress can be made in resolving their grief. Research indicates that viewing the body of the deceased helps to fulfill the psychological needs of those who are left behind.
|Question #2||How can a funeral director help?|
|Answer:||Today, funerals are usually arranged and conducted by licensed and trained funeral directors/embalmers who handle all the technical arrangements of a funeral as well as to counsel on many of the personal ones.|
The services he/she provides include, but are not excluded to, removing the deceased from the place of death; obtaining the required legal documents and transportation permits; preparing the body for viewing, if desired; providing facilities for the funeral visitation/wake and funeral service; and transporting the deceased and the mourners to the place of final disposition. The funeral director also provides grief counsel and other support to the family and other mourners.
|Question #3||Are the services of a funeral director necessary to bury the dead?|
|Answer:||Each state has different regulations. You should call the local department of health to find out exactly what your state does require.|
|Question #4||Must a Funeral Director be licensed?|
|Answer:||Yes, State law requires that every funeral establishment have a Funeral Director licensed by the State Board of Funeral Directors. The license must be posted in the funeral home.|
|Question #5||Do funeral directors get to take advantage of the bereaved?|
|Answer:||The most important quality that enables the funeral director to provide services in the community is his or her reputation for honesty and good will. In fact, a good reputation is the key factor in being able to stay in business. If a particular funeral director took advantage of the bereaved, it would not be long before the community responded to those actions by going to a different funeral director.|
|Question #6||What is a GPL?|
|Answer:||A General Price List is a list of charges which a funeral director and/or funeral pre-planning professional must provide you with before entering into any discussion explaining his charges for various individual types of services and merchandise. This is mandated under “The Funeral Rule” enforced by The Federal Trade Commission|
|Question #7||How much does a funeral cost?|
|Answer:||A funeral, like any other service, can have a range of prices depending on the provider. It is similar to asking, "How much does a wedding cost?" Funeral costs are divided into two categories: services, as provided by the funeral director and funeral home staff; and merchandise, such as caskets, vaults, urns, etc. It is a Federal Trade Commission regulation that all funeral-related charges be itemized, printed on a General Price List (GPL) and made available to the public.|
The services and merchandise selected will determine the final cost. The cost of services includes use of the funeral home facilities and equipment, motor vehicles and professional services provided by the funeral home staff. The merchandise purchased for a funeral, while varying considerably because of individual consumer preferences, will most generally include such items as a casket, outer burial container, memorial/prayer cards, death certificate, clothing, register book, acknowledgement cards, flowers, honorariums, music, etc.
|Question #8||Why are some casket prices more than others?|
|Answer:||It depends upon the materials with which the casket is made. Obviously, a casket made of bronze would be priced higher than one made of steel. A casket made of solid mahogany would be more costly to manufacture than one of soft pinewood. A casket with crepe interior materials would be priced less than an interior of velvet because of the cost of the material. It depends upon what materials the casket shell is made of, the interior materials and any protective features included in that particular model.|
|Question #9||Why are funerals so expensive?|
|Answer:||There is a great range in prices for services and merchandise from your local funeral directors, depending on the type of funeral you purchase and each company's price structure. The perception that funerals are too expensive usually can be attributed to a lack of familiarity with the normal price range. If you find that the price for certain services and merchandise seems too high, you should check into different types of funerals and different companies until you find the price that fits your budget. Obviously, it is difficult to comparison shop in an at-death situation. Therefore, it is important speak with your local funeral director ahead of time. By preplanning, you can find a provider whose services and merchandise fit your budget.|
|Question #10||Won’t my life insurance proceeds cover my funeral costs? And don’t Social Security and/or the Veterans Administration have a substantial death benefit due me?|
|Answer:||Traditional Life Insurance is intended to provide for a broad range of your survivor’s future financial needs, provide income, cover education costs, pay off a mortgage, and the like. It is not intended to pay final expenses. With regard to benefit distribution at the time of death, pre-need funeral insurance is payable immediately to the beneficiary (generally the funeral home) upon the policyholder’s death; traditional life insurance policy benefit distributions may require a month or more to be paid by the insurance company, thus incurring you late charges by the funeral home.|
You might be surprised how modest a benefit you are eligible to receive from either Social Security and/or The Veterans Administration. Social Security pays a one-time lump sum death benefit of just $255. Veterans Administration death benefits are equally as insignificant when you compare them against the national average cost of funeral goods and services today. It is important you know what current benefits you are entitled to, so that you do not lose benefits you may be eligible to receive. We can assist you in learning more about what exact benefits you are entitled to receive, so you can plan accordingly. Call and speak with any one of our trained and licensed funeral prearrangement planning professionals today.
|Question #11||What are cash advances or cash disbursements?|
|Answer:||These are items such as newspaper obituaries and death certificates, which the consumer reimburses to the funeral home.|
|Question #12||What options are available in funeral and/or cremation services and final disposition?|
|Answer:||A valuable aspect of contemporary funerals is there individuality. Whether a ceremony is elaborate or simple, funerals are often individualized to reflect the life of the deceased and to hold special meaning for family, friends and other survivors. It may reflect one’s religious beliefs as a reaffirmation of faith in a greater life beyond this world.|
It may reflect the occupation or hobbies of the deceased. It may center around an ethnic background or social affiliation. A funeral service is basically a religious or humanistic ceremony where we take stock of ourselves and the true meaning of life. Words cannot express the deep feelings of grief, but when mourners gather at a funeral service in common purpose, even with all their differences, healing begins to take its first small steps.
Generally a ceremony is conducted with the body of the deceased present. In this sense, the ceremony provides an occasion for saying final goodbyes prior to final disposition of the body.
In our modern society, four basic forms of final disposition are practiced. The first is earth burial, which continues to be the form of final disposition chosen most often by people. This form of interment requires the purchase of a cemetery lot. Other expenses usually include a fee for opening and closing of the grave and perpetual care of the gravesite. Monuments and/or markers are customarily placed at the grave as a memorial. Despite the misconception that burial space is limited; studies clearly show that enough burial space is readily available to serve our future needs for more than a century.
Cremation is a form chosen by some. This method involves reduction of the body to its basic elements through exposure to intense heat. These elements are then placed in an urn. If above-ground burial is preferred, the urn may be placed in a niche within a columbarium – a building specially designed for this purpose. If earth burial is desired, the urn may be buried within a cemetery. Cremated remains may also be scattered where permitted by law. Your funeral director is aware of other alternatives available in your area and will gladly assist in making arrangements. Cremation should not be generally regarded as an end in itself. All of the customary funeral services can be involved as you desire, and your funeral director will make helpful suggestions.
Entombment in a mausoleum or crypt is an alternative to traditional earth burial and is one of the oldest forms of disposition, dating back before Jesus Christ was born. Today most cemeteries maintain crypts for entombment, which may be in a mausoleum or in an outdoor garden.
Anatomical/Medical Science Donation is the least popular final disposition choice families in our area take advantage of. However, many families feel that donating parts or all of their bodies to transplant or medical college study is a meaningful and significant way of helping others. In recent years, medical advancements have allowed for the transportation of many organs and tissues. Transplantation procedures do not necessarily interfere with the preparation of the body for funeral services, regardless of the type and extent of transplantation.
The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act permits individuals over the age of eighteen (18) to donate organs (heart, kidney, liver, etc.) and tissue (skin, bone, cornea, etc.) to be used for transplant or medical research purposes without complicated legal procedures.
Your funeral director, physician or a local organ procurement agency can provide you with more information on anatomical gifts.
|Question #13||If I donate my remains to medical science, can there still be a service?|
|Answer:||In addition to coordinating the donation, your funeral service provider can arrange for either a Memorial Service or a Gathering of Friends to be held at a time and place convenient for the family.|
|Question #14||Why is embalming necessary?|
|Answer:||Embalming is not required by law, except under certain circumstances. However it may be required for viewing or transportation purposes. It also may be required for mausoleum entombment.|
|Question #15||Who does the embalming?|
|Answer:||Only a qualified and trained, licensed embalmer is permitted to practice embalming.|
|Question #16||How long can you wait to have a funeral without embalming?|
|Answer:||Most states require that a deceased person either be embalmed or placed in refrigeration after a period of 24 hours from the time of death. Funeral services can be held at any time after that. In some areas of the country that time frame could be as long as three weeks.|
|Question #17||How soon after, or long after, a death must an individual be buried?|
|Answer:||This may vary by state so check with your local funeral director. Considerations include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site and religious considerations. For example, Orthodox Judaism requires that the body be interred within 24 hours of death. You should consult your local funeral director for any applicable state regulations.|
|Question #18||What if I do not wish to use all the services a funeral home has to offer?|
|Answer:||The Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule requires that all funeral homes itemize their charges for professional services, facilities and motor equipment and that they provide a General Price List to all clients. You have the right to select and pay for only those services you choose to utilize.|
|Question #19||What are burial vaults and grave liners?|
|Answer:||These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket, and support the weight of the earth. They may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass. A grave liner is a simplified version of a vault, which simply supports the weight of the earth.|
|Question #20||Must I purchase a burial vault?|
|Answer:||In most areas of the country, state or local law does not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.|
|Question #21||Must an obituary be published in a newspaper?|
|Answer:||The publication of an obituary notice is a matter of your personal choice. While most newspapers control the editorial format, you have the right to limit the amount of information, if any, provided to them.|
|Question #22||Must a casket be transported to the cemetery in a hearse?|
|Answer:||While a hearse or casket coach is most commonly used for this purpose, other options are often appropriate. Families might consider more personalized and meaningful options; for example, a fire fighter may be transported on a fire truck.|
|Question #23||Why would I need to purchase Certified Copies of a death certificate?|
|Answer:||Certified copies are used as proof of death for the transfer of stocks and bonds, banking transactions, probating an estate, and life insurance.|
|Question #24||Must traffic stop for a funeral procession?|
|Answer:||Although common courtesy implies that traffic would stop, people often do not stop for funeral processions. Many states do have a statute requiring vehicles to yield for a funeral procession HOWEVER many drivers are unaware of the law. Caution while driving in a funeral procession must be taken seriously as accidents and injuries have occurred. Do NOT assume other vehicles will stop for the funeral procession.|
|Question #25||Is a funeral or memorial service always held in a funeral home or place of worship?|
|Answer:||A service can usually be held at any location that family and friends feel would be comfortable and appropriate. Your funeral director can assist with arranging a meaningful service.|
|Question #26||What are the options concerning the time of a service?|
|Answer:||While most services are held in the morning or afternoon, some families are now choosing to have services held in the evening hours for the convenience of family and friends. This enables more people to attend the service who otherwise might be unable to be excused from their place of employment during the day.|
|Question #27||Do clergy always officiate at a funeral service?|
|Answer:||In conjunction with or sometimes in place of a clergy person, family or friends may share personal thoughts, memories and feelings about the deceased as part of the service.|
|Question #28||How many pallbearers will be needed?|
|Answer:||The traditional format regarding the number of pallbearers is 6, primarily due to the length of the standard casket, so that 3 people on either side can conveniently carry the casket. Most caskets have additional handles at each end, which will accommodate 2 more bearers.|
|Question #29||What is the traditional cemetery burial position for a husband and wife?|
|Answer:||In the vast majority of cemeteries in the United States the traditional burial position for husband and wife is “man on the left hand side and woman on the right hand side” as you’re standing at the foot of the grave looking to the marker and/or monument. This is just like if you were the celebrant at a wedding; groom on the left and bride on the right.|
|Question #30||How can I personalize a funeral service?|
|Answer:||One way is to bring personal items into the funeral home to be displayed in or near the casket. Example: An avid golfer might have a favorite putter placed in the casket. An avid hunter or fisherman might have some of their personal effects or trophies displayed on a memory table. A person who quilted could have the casket draped with a quilt they made. An artist could have their artwork displayed. A person’s favorite rocking chair could be brought to the funeral home and placed next to the casket.|
|Question #31||Can a function less formal than a funeral or memorial service be arranged?|
|Answer:||A Gathering of Friends is a less formal event. It allows family and friends to share their loss and share treasured memories of the deceased. A Gathering of Friends may include light refreshments and can be held at any appropriate location, including an accommodating funeral home, a park, a restaurant or the home of a family member or friend.|
|Question #32||Will the funeral home help with Social Security and Veterans death benefits?|
|Answer:||Quality service firms will not only assist with securing these death benefits, they will most likely complete all the paperwork for you.|
|Question #33||What is the maximum lump sum death benefit paid by Social Security?|
|Answer:||$255.00. The surviving spouse living with the deceased at the time of death, or a child if he/she was entitled to or eligible for Social Security monthly benefits on the deceased’s record during the month of death of the deceased are the only persons eligible to receive the one-time lump sum death benefit.|
|Question #34||What do I need to take to the Social Security office to facilitate receiving Social Security benefits?|
|Answer:||Marriage license; Birth Certificates of Children; Proof of widows age if 62 or older; Social Security Number; Total wages paid on W-2 form or Schedule “C” for preceding year; Certified Copy Of The Death Certificate.|
|Question #35||When will I begin receiving benefits?|
|Answer:||It usually takes about three months for a widow or widower to start receiving Social Security benefits.|
|Question #36||Does VA pay for veterans' funerals?|
|Answer:||Although the Veterans Administration does not pay for complete funerals, it does provide certain merchandise, services and reimbursements. In general, any veteran with a discharge other than dishonorable is entitled to be buried in an accepting national cemetery. He or she may also receive a free grave liner, memorial, and a flag.|
|Question #37||What is funeral prearrangement?|
|Answer:||Simply put, funeral prearrangement is the process of meeting with a trained, licensed funeral prearrangement planning professional to review all your funeral and final disposition options and choices; prearranging all the details of your funeral service in a written form and establishing a comfortable and affordable means of final payment.|
|Question #38||What advantage, if any, is there to pre-funding my funeral in advance?|
|Answer:||There are numerous advantages. Besides the peace of mind in knowing that everything is properly taken care of; one of the financial advantages is that it prevents your survivors from having to pay for your funeral and final expenses at a time when circumstances such as a catastrophic illness or sudden death might significantly reduce their ability to pay without hardship. Another advantage is that you are able to help offset the cost of inflation as it affects your arrangements. Your survivors will not have to pay any more money for your arrangements at the time they are rendered. This results in a significant cost savings for everyone. Life insurance benefits can therefore be left entirely for the future living expenses of survivors, instead of having to pay final expenses.|
|Question #39||Who should consider funeral prearrangement and when is the “right time”?|
|Answer:||Funeral prearrangement should be considered by people of any age, at any time, who feel a need or desire to plan ahead. These may include: Individuals who have no close living relatives; Individuals who have no survivors; People who move away from home, but wish to have final rites in their former community; Families who feel planning their funeral and burial arrangements in advance would be a valuable sharing experience; Parents (of any age) who wish to give their children guidance in making funeral arrangements; Those who travel extensively; Anyone with a true desire to make things easier for their loved ones and give them “Peace of Mind.”|
|Question #40||I’ve told my family what I want. Isn’t that enough?|
|Answer:||Verbal directions are often times too vague and lack the direction family members need to carry out services they are confident and can feel good about. This will cause your family to second guess your wishes and become unnecessarily burdened with frustration, worry and guilt. A written and detailed plan is the only proven way to eliminate misinterpretation and disagreement among survivors.|
|Question #41||Are my pre-funded funeral arrangements guaranteed?|
|Answer:||When you preplan and prepay your funeral arrangements, we guarantee that we will provide our services and the merchandise you select at the time of need. You pay today’s prices. The funds are invested, in accordance with state law, in a pre-need funeral insurance policy. These policies are specifically designed to grow in value, so the proceeds will cover the cost of the selected funeral arrangements when death occurs.|
|Question #42||What exactly is a pre-need funeral insurance policy?|
|Answer:||A pre-need funeral insurance policy is an insurance policy whose benefits are assigned to cover the cost of a pre-arranged funeral contract between an individual and their preferred funeral provider. A funeral contract typically includes professional services, funeral merchandise, funeral services and even cemetery services and merchandise. The purpose of pre-need funeral insurance is to set aside funds before the need arises, thereby protecting your loved ones and your financial assets by “locking in” on today’s costs. Pre-need funeral insurance is a choice, not a requirement. All pre-need insurance policies are tied directly to the costs of a pre-arranged funeral. All of the services and merchandise that you select will be covered. There is no tax liability on the death benefit to your surviving family members and there is little or no underwriting required to apply for a pre-need insurance policy. Our funeral pre-planning professionals, not anonymous underwriters, make the decision.|
|Question #43||If I prearrange and/or pre-fund my funeral, what happens if the funeral home goes out of business or is sold? What if I change my mind about who I want to perform my services or I move out of the area?|
|Answer:||No problem! Your funds, in most cases, are completely transferable to any acceptable funeral provider of your choice anywhere in the United States and Canada. Furthermore, all monies are carefully monitored, protected and safeguarded by various state and national governmental agencies. Our firm’s reputation is always at stake, therefore we choose our business partners very carefully and we thoroughly screen all companies we do business with to ensure trust, accountability, reliability, ethics, honesty, stability, soundness and reputable business practices.|
|Question #44||I can’t afford to pay for my funeral all at one time. Do you offer any payment plans?|
|Answer:||YES! In addition to being able to pay for all or some of your funeral plans in full at the time of making your prearrangement, you also have the option of making monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual payments over a three (3), five (5) or ten (10) year period.|
|Question #45||Are there differences between funeral homes?|
|Answer:||As with most services, there is a great variety of funeral services available to you. To compare funeral homes, the best approach is to make inquiries before a death occurs, or get referrals from a trusted friend. One very important consideration is whether the funeral home is family owned and operated, or part of a larger national organization, as this will typically have a significant impact on the cost and level of service provided.|
|Question #46||What options are available to me if I choose cremation?|
|Answer:||Many people choose cremation because of religious or cultural reasons, or just because of personal preference. Selecting cremation does not restrict the family's options when it comes to having a ceremony or funeral service. The family can still choose visitation or viewing prior to the funeral. Families have a choice between a funeral service, where a casket or cremated remains are present in an urn or other container. They may also select a memorial service where the cremated remains are not present. A memorial service can be held anywhere - in a church, funeral home, private club, community hall, or a family home. For final disposition, the urn or container is usually buried in a cemetery plot, placed in a columbarium above ground, or scattered at the cemetery gardens. Or, families can choose to scatter the remains in another place of significance.|