Frequently Asked Questions
We have heard thousands of questions, and chosen to provide you with the answers to some of the more common questions relating to a funeral, a funeral service and funeral homes.
What is a funeral?
The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors to celebrate the life of the deceased, and to share with others in their loss to express their love, respect and grief. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis that death may present. Through the funeral, the bereaved take that first step towards emotional adjustment to their loss.
What type of service should I have?
You have many choices, but only you can answer that question. The type of service conducted for the deceased, if not recorded in a pre-plan, is decided by the family. The service is usually held at a place of worship or at the funeral home. The service may vary in ritual according to religious denomination or the wishes of the family. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgment of friendship and support. A private service is by invitation only where selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. A memorial service is usually a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the family's community and religious affiliations.
Can I personalize my funeral service?
Absolutely, in fact, we recommend it. After all, the funeral is a celebration of life. Our professional staff of funeral directors will discuss all options and ensure your funeral is tailored to your wishes. It may be personalized in many unique ways.
Why should we have a public viewing?
There are many reasons to view the deceased. It is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions, and many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process, by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is even encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire to do so, and the process is explained well. Please understand that just as you are coping with the loss of a loved one, other relatives and friends had a relationship with the deceased and they too are adjusting to this loss. Again, viewing the deceased helps recognize the reality of their loss.
Why do we need an obituary notice?
It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held. A notice can be placed in a local newspaper, or on the Internet through our funeral home website.
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are both caregivers and administrators. In their administrative duties, they make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. As caregivers, funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All you need to do is place a call to us. If you request immediate assistance, one of our professionals will be there within the hour. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it's acceptable. Then they will come when your time is right.
What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?
Your funeral director can assist you wherever a death occurs. Your best option is to contact your hometown funeral director of choice immediately. They will assume responsibility and coordinate the arrangements for the return of the deceased person to their community. They may engage the services of a funeral director in the place of death who will act as their agent.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming enhances the appearance of a body after a death has taken place, and sanitizes and slows the normal breakdown process of the body. It makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them. Embalming the body enables mourners to view the deceased if they wish. The emotional benefits of viewing the deceased are enormous, particularly to those having difficulty dealing with the death.
Is embalming mandatory by law?
No. But, certain factors of time, health and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary. Please note that embalming may be required if the deceased is being transported by common carrier in transport to another state or country.
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is really an alternative to embalming in preparation for earth burial, entombment, or other type of final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.
Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
Yes. Cremation does not preclude having a visitation period and a funeral service. Cremation is simply one option in preparation for final disposition of the body.
Can two cremations be performed at once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.
How much does a funeral cost?
Funeral costs will vary depending on the type of services you select. Because of the different funeral options you have with our funeral home, you can determine the cost of the services you arrange.
Has this cost increased significantly?
Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items.
The answers below are here because these are the most commonly-asked questions. If yours isn't listed, we invite you to call us. We're here to provide the information you need, when you need it.
Are cemeteries running out of space?
Just like other open spaces, cemeteries are impacted by increased population density in both urban and rural areas. Cemetery spaces are a finite resource, and as such, are at a premium in some regions. However, if you are going to use a perpetual care cemetery in our market there is plenty of space for the next several decades.
What is Perpetual Care?
"Perpetual Care" usually refers to the correct terms Permanent Care or Endowment Care. These Care funds are collected by the cemetery when selling any cemetery space, crypt or niche and are normally based on a percentage of the selling price. While the amount of perpetual care collected by the cemetery varies between states, it is typically required by law and the funds collected are to be used solely for the embellishment and care of the grounds long after the cemetery has sold its last space. This benefit and assurance that the cemetery will be maintained forever is why a perpetual care cemetery sometimes costs a little more than a church or community cemetery.
Can the vault be personalized?
Yes, we can show you the wide range of personalization choices, including customized nameplates and military insignias.
Are there vaults for cremated remains?
Yes, we offer urn vaults, designed for in-ground burial of cremated remains.
Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?
No, embalming is not required for ground burial. It is always your choice. Your decision may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public viewing of the body with an open casket; or to enhance the deceased's appearance for a private family viewing; or if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the burial. However, many cemeteries do require embalming if the body will be placed in a mausoleum. If a mausoleum will be used for entombment of a loved one, you should always check with the cemetery to see if they require embalming.
Must I purchase a burial vault?
In most areas of the country, state or local laws do not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many perpetual care 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. Even if the cemetery does not require a burial vault, it is recommended so that a loved one's remains and casket are protected from the elements and the weight of the earth.
What are the advantages of a mausoleum burial?
Mausoleum crypts are both clean and dry and mausoleums located within a chapel at the cemetery offer additional benefits such as a climate controlled environment that shelters visitors from precipitation and provides comfort from the outside heat or cold. They offer a viable alternative for those who simply have an aversion of being interred in the ground.
What is a columbarium?
A columbarium, often located within or on the exterior of a mausoleum, chapel, or in a garden setting, is constructed with numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains. Niches that are located within a mausoleum normally have a glass front so that you can view the urn along with pictures or other personal effects that give a person a sense about the life, hobbies or passions of the person whose remains are placed there.