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 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 200 tasks when planning a funeral. Many of them are listed below. Our Funeral Director will coordinate most of these for you, after meeting with you at a private consultation.
- Obtain the signature of the attending physician, coroner or medical examiner on the required certificate; file the certificate with the registrar of vital statistics where the death occurred
- Ensure compliance with government regulators
- Transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home (local or out of town)
- Obtain family history
- Make decisions regarding the remains of the deceased
- Determine the budget (if funeral has not been pre-arranged)
- Determine the funeral or memorial service location(s), such as church, chapel, or graveside
- Plan for a viewing/visitation and determine open or closed casket
- Choose the final resting place (cemetery, mausoleum, private land, etc.)
- Make necessary arrangements with clergy, church and cemetery officials
- Obtain certified copies of the death certificate, as necessary
- Procure the burial permit and file with the cemetery
- Select and purchase the casket, outer burial container or urn
- Select a monument/marker
- Order and schedule the delivery of all products/merchandise
- Compose and submit newspaper and other media notices
- Choose clothing & jewelry
- Select poems, scripture, readings
- Select music: taped, live musicians, etc.
- Choose pallbearers
- Arrange for transportation of the deceased
- Secure flower/equipment trucks, as necessary
- Purchase acknowledgement cards, register books, memorial folders, etc.
- Purchase a door wreath & flowers
- Arrange for family transportation
- Complete social security papers and secure social security benefits
- Secure Veterans benefits (if applicable)
- Secure life insurance benefits (if applicable)
- Contact insurance agents
- Complete accounting, clerical and filing work
- Answer telephone calls
- Notify other organizations that your loved one participated in
- Deliver flowers to local nursing homes, hospitals etc. following the funeral
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are caregivers, advisors, and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and carry out the wishes of the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death, are trained to answer questions about grief, and can recommend sources of professional help.
Who should be included in the gathering or ceremony?
Family, close friends, co-workers, fellow worshippers, neighbors & acquaintances, and in some cases, the greater community.
What costs are associated with funerals?
The cost of a funeral includes all the services of a funeral director (see task list above), merchandise, such as caskets and urns, and transportation. Other costs may apply. In general, funeral homes make only a modest profit. We have included our General Price List on our web site for your convenience.
What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
Funeral service is regulated by the FTC and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program. FSCAP provides information, mediates disputes, provides arbitration, and maintains a consumer guarantee fund for reimbursement of services rendered. (To contact FSCAP, call 708-827-6337 or 800-662-7666).
Some people cannot afford basic funeral services. Is financial aid available to the poor?
Other than the family, there are veteran, union, and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals, including, in certain instances, a lump sum death payment from Social Security. In most states, some form of public aid allowances are available from either the state, county, city, or a combination. Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them.