Why should I plan a funeral for my loved one?
A funeral or memorial is a customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are held for the living to show respect for the dead, celebrate the life of the deceased and to help survivors begin the grief process. They also give mourners a chance to share stories, create memories, fulfill religious beliefs & customs, participate in a support system, and gather at a peaceful place during a time of confusion and uncertainty.
What tasks are involved in arranging a funeral?
There can be as many as 100 tasks when planning a funeral. Some of them are listed below. We will coordinate most of these for you, both before and after meeting with you at a private consultation.
- Obtain the signature of the attending physician or medical examiner on the required certificate; file the certificate with the registrar of vital statistics where the death occurred
- Arrange time for funeral conference
- Transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home (local or out of town) and prepare the remains for viewing
- Obtain family history
- Make decisions regarding the disposition for remains of the deceased (burial or cremation)
- Determine the funeral costs and family budget
- Determine the funeral or memorial service location, such as church, chapel, or graveside
- Plan for a viewing/visitation and determine open or closed casket and is embalming required
- If necessary arrange for family to select and purchase a gravesite at the cemetery
- Make necessary arrangements with clergy or church staff
- Obtain certified copies of the death certificate, as necessary
- Procure the burial/cremation permit and file with the cemetery or crematory
- Select and purchase the casket, alternative cremation unit, outer burial container or urn
- Prepare any necessary cemetery affidavits
- Order and schedule the delivery of all products/merchandise
- Compose and submit newspaper and other media notices
- Choose clothing & jewelry
- Select poems, scripture, readings and music
- Enter information into funeral home obituary page on website
- Choose pallbearers (professional or family)
- Obtain cremation clearance from the Medical Examiners office
- Obtain flag is deceased is a Veteran
- Purchase acknowledgement cards, prayer cards, register book etc.
- Arrange military honor guard
- Arrange for family transportation
- Complete social security papers and secure social security benefits
- Secure Veterans benefits (if applicable)
- Secure life insurance applications
- Contact insurance agents if necessary
- Complete accounting, clerical and filing work
- Answer telephone calls regarding funeral details
- Notify organizations that your loved one participated in
- Gather pictures and order Memory Video for visitation
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are caregivers, advisors, and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, complete all necessary paperwork, and carry out the wishes of the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of their loved one. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death, are trained to answer questions about grief, help guide you towards a funeral that is right emotionally and financially for you and can recommend sources of professional help.
Who should be included in the visitation or funeral services?
Family, close friends, co-workers, fellow parishioners, neighbors & acquaintances, and in most cases, the greater community. Alternatively, you may desire a private funeral where only the immediate family is aware of any planned funeral arrangements. This might have been the wishes of the deceased or the choice of the family. Either way, a public or private funeral, we will guide you and fulfill the family's request.
What costs are associated with funerals?
When you make arrangements there are two sections to the funeral contract. The first are funeral home charges which include all the services that the funeral director might perform (see task list above), facilities, merchandise (such as caskets, alternative units, outer interment receptacle and/or urns), transportation and printing. The second section is called "cash advances." This section is simply those costs on our bill that are paid directly to third parties. These charges MUST be exactly the cost of those expenses and are the same no matter what funeral home you choose (i.e. cemetery costs, church/clergy fees, death certificates, pallbearers etc.) These two sections are added together to give you the entire cost of the funeral. Some expenses that a family might incur after you receive the funeral contract are flowers (if not provided by the funeral home) or monument expenses.
"I'm not having a funeral, I am going to be cremated!"
This phrase is quite common but acutally makes no sense. Then how come you never hear someone say, "I'm not having a funeral, I am going to be buried." Because cremation is less expensive it has also been perceived as a type of funeral, which is incorrect. Cremation is only the disposition of the deceased as is burial or an entombment. Cremation is obviously a less costly option because cremation costs are a lot less expensive than cemetery expenses but most families that select cremation are doing so after a visitation and/or a funeral service has taken place. This is not to say you must choose a traditional type funeral if you are to be cremated. You or your loved one might want a direct disposition with no services. We just want to make you aware that cremation is not a type of funeral, just a type of disposition, as is earth burial or above ground entombment.
Is embalming required by law?
The simple answer to this question is NO, usually not. Now, with that being said, embalming may be a funeral requirement under certain circumstances and a legal one in others. Funeral homes may require that the deceased be embalmed if there is going to be a public or family viewing for any length of time. Embalming preserves the deceased, makes them more presentable and creates a sanitary environment for those paying respects. If the family is only going to make an identification or the casket is to be closed then embalming is not required and the family may decide on that option. Viewing the deceased is very important for the healing process and gives others the opportunity to pay respects and grieve themselves. This is totally a personal family decision and the manner or illness at which your loved one died may influence your decision. Either way it's your decision to make. One of the reasons why embalming is required by law is if the deceased is to be sent by air transportation. Airlines require that the person be embalmed before put into a shipping unit and flown to its destination. Please call us if you have any other embalming questions or concerns.