Celebrating Over 100 Years of Service

Funeral Questions

Preplanning. For peace of mind.

Can a deceased body be driven across state lines? 

Yes, but some states may require embalming and/or permits prior to transfer. 


Can a memorial service include personal mementos, pictures, etc.? 

Yes 


Can a minister be involved in a memorial service? 

Yes they can 


Can arrangements be made on the internet? 

Forms may need to be signed but most arrangements can be done. 


Can cremated remains be buried in a family estate? 

The disposition of cremated remains is typically based on three factors, the wishes of the deceased, the needs of the survivors and budget. Cremated remains can be buried in a cemetery, placed in a columbarium niche, kept at home, scattered on private property or scattered at least 3-miles off shore. Check with us for laws specific to our state. 


Can elements get inside the casket? 

Caskets are available with varying amounts of protection. In addition, the utilization of a burial vault provides another layer of protection against the elements. No matter what protection, the body is going to naturally deteriorate. 


Can my family change my pre-arrangements? 

Yes. The law goes with the living so the family can change your pre-arrangements. However, in some states, there is documentation that can be signed disallowing changes to preplanning. 


Can the body be present at a funeral with cremation? 

Probably the biggest misconception about cremation is that there can be no funeral if cremation is chosen. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most people choosing cremation prefer to have a funeral with cremation afterwards. Many experts in the field of psychology recommend a funeral service as a way of bringing closure to a life lived. They feel the process helps loved ones move ahead with their lives following a loss. 


Can the funeral director prearrange the cemetery? 

Yes, funeral directors typically have working relationships with most of their local cemeteries and can take care of all the arrangements for you. 


Can there be a funeral with cremation? 

Yes, based on the needs of the family. A family can decide where in the funeral process they want the cremation to occur. Cremation can occur immediately with no visitation, after a private visitation, or after a traditional visitation. Some state laws typically dictate a waiting period before cremation can occur. During this time, very close family and friends often request a final viewing. This can be arranged through the funeral director. The memorial service is a gathering which differs from a funeral only in that the body is not present. Clergy may be present to contribute support from the Scriptures if requested. 


Can you be cremated and go to a federal cemetery? 

Yes. A very common disposition choice for cremated remains is burial, also known as interment. In this way, family members can be placed to rest near one another even if another family member has not chosen cremation. The grave site provides a permanent location to visit on important occasions such as anniversaries and holidays. Burial can be in a cemetery plot, urn garden or private crypt. A columbarium niche is a similar choice for the person preferring cremation. The selected niche is identified with a nameplate listing dates of birth and death. The columbarium offers families a place to visit and remember on special holidays and other important times. 


Can you make prearrangments without pre-payment? 

There is generally no charge for making prearrangements, and many families simply prefer to record this vital information for future use. 


Can you prearrange a cremation? 

Making your decisions in advance will help assure your wishes will be carried out following death. It is not necessary, but it is preferred by many. 


Do you need a casket for a cremation? 

When there is a funeral, a container is required to transport the deceased to the crematory. Many crematories require a rigid container. Unique casket designs, cremation containers, and floral tributes also allow family members a tangible way to express their care while adding beauty to the ceremony. Your funeral director will explain your various casket and cremation container options for use in a funeral or memorial service. 


Does the government pay for cremation? 

No. In most cases the typical veteran funeral includes a Veteran marker, a vault, an American flag and a space in a Veteran’s cemetery, and the opening of the grave. Funeral benefits vary depending on the rank and other variables. 


For a Catholic funeral, does the body go to the church first? 

Material from the Vatican indicates that the church prefers "that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites." It stresses that the cremated remains are to be treated with respect and should be either entombed or buried in a grave. They believe that scattering at sea, from air or ground, or kept at home are not reverent disposition. It is in the Catholic tradition to have bodies buried in consecrated grounds. 


How can you determine who owns a funeral home? 

Today, as in many industries, the funeral profession has seen the emergence of national, and even international funeral service conglomerates. But unlike other industries, these conglomerates rarely promote their presence. Often, there isn't even a name change. That can make it difficult for you, as a consumer, to easily tell the conglomerate-owned funeral firms from a family-owned firm. The best way is to simply ask the firm. 


How long does it take to ship a body? 

Depending on where the death occurs will depend on how long the process will take. If a death occurs abroad, this process may take a few weeks, or even longer, depending on in which country the death occurred. However, the funeral home will do everything possible to expedite the process. 


How much do funerals cost? 

Your personal requirements and preferences might make the cost higher than average or lower. The total cost of a funeral is determined by three main considerations: selecting your services, considering everything that makes your service unique, and the advantages of preplanning. However the average cost of a funeral according to the NFDA's 2003 General Price List survey is $5,000-$6,000 for an adult funeral. This includes a professional service charge, transfer of remains, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, limousine, and casket. The casket included in this price is an 18-gauge steel casket with velvet interior which may or may not be the most common casket chose. Vault, cemetery and monument charges are additional. (Source: 2003 NFDA Survey of Funeral Home Operations.) 


How much does a burial vault cost? 

Burial vaults/grave liners usually range in price from $500 to $7000. 


How much does the Social Security pay for funeral expenses? 

Upon death, dependents and survivors may be eligible for certain benefits such as Death Payments, Survivor's Benefits and Medicare. Qualifications depend on age, marital status, number of dependents involved and if employment was under Social Security. Your Social Security account should be verified periodically to be sure contributions are properly posted. All benefits must be applied for; payment is not automatic. Since qualifications vary, we recommend discussing your particular situation with us personally. 


How much does the Veterans Administration (VA) pay for funeral expenses? 

There are many misconceptions regarding Veterans' death benefits. Honorably discharged veterans may qualify for cemetery plot and burial allowances, headstone, and burial flag, as well as a pension for survivors. These benefits may affect decisions about funeral arrangments. Because qualifications and benefits vary, we recommend a personal review of your situation. 


How much is a grave monument? 

The cost of a grave marker varies depending on the size, materials used and the amount of detail involved. 


If I buy a good casket, do I have to have a vault? 

Though not required by law in all states, many cemeteries do require an outside container such as a burial vault. Check with the funeral director for details in your area. 


If the body is to be cremated, does it have to be embalmed? 

Embalming is not required if you select a cremation service without a public viewing/visitation. 


Is a burial vault necessary? 

Though not required by law in all states, many cemeteries do require an outside container such as a burial vault. Check with the funeral director for details in your area. 


Is cremation an option for Catholics? 

The Vatican now permits funerals in the United States to have Masses with cremated remains present in a "worthy vessel" placed on a table and must be covered with a pall. Words said in a blessing or dissmissal are changed from "body" to "earthly remains." 


Is embalming required? 

Embalming is required if there is going to be a public viewing. However, even in cases where no viewing is planned, most states require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when transferring of the deceased occurs from one state to another. Also, in a few states, if the final disposition is not determined within 48 hours after the death, then the funeral director may determine to embalm the body using their discretion. 


Is it better to place the money in a bank trust or insurance policy? 

Though not a requirement, you may wish to invest in a funeral trust account or final expense insurance policy when making funeral arrangements. While most of us have life insurance or funds reserved for retirement, these are intended for the living, not to meet the cost of a funeral. In most situations, funds invested today will be sufficient to cover the total cost of the funeral at time of need. The interest earned by the account or policy will help to offset the effects of inflation. Government regulations safeguard your investment so that funds will always be available for your family's use. 


What does embalming do? 

It is defined as the preservation, disinfection, and restoration of the body. In many cases, embalming restores the deceased’s appearance to one reflective of how they appeared in life. 


What does the funeral director do? 

Funeral directors serve as administrators and care givers. They make all the arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, see that the choices of the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of they body are followed through, and complete all of the necessary paperwork. As care givers, they are available to the family and friends as listeners, advisors, and supporters. With their experience serving others, they have the knowledge necessary to answer questions about grief, wisdom to help those who are having difficulty dealing with the loss, and can recommend other professional help if needed. Many can offer support groups to the family which take place either in the community or in the funeral home. 


What funeral decisions can be made in advance? 

All arrangements for services including financial decisions 


What happens if the death occurs outside the United States? 

If a family member dies while outside the United States, the U.S. Embassy will come to your assistance. An Embassy official in the country where the death occurred will be contacted, and he or she will contact the State Department in Washington, D.C., to notify next of kin. 


What happens to the money if the funeral home goes out of business? 

You can be assured your funds are protected by state and federal regulations regardless of the operation at the funeral home. However, the funeral home should have a long-standing reputation and be committed to continuing to serve the many families who have placed their trust in them. 


What if a death occurs in the armed forces? 

When a person dies while serving in the Armed Forces, the U.S. Government will prepare and casket the body, pay transfer costs to return the body to the place of burial, and provide many other benefits, including an escort, a uniform and flag, plus an allowance to help with funeral and burial services. The funeral home can coordinate directly with the government, and also advise you about any allowance due you. Members of the armed forces and their spouse are entitled to burial in a cemetery owned and operated by the federal government. 


What if I make pre-arrangements in one state and die in another? 

If you are traveling or visiting another city when death occurs, your survivors should contact the hometown funeral home immediately. Your funeral director will make the necessary arrangements with a funeral home in that location to assist with transfer. 


What if my family is not happy with the funeral home's services? 

If the funeral home defaults on any services, payment can be withheld until resolution. 


What if the funeral home does not meet the conditions of the prearrangment? 

If the funeral home does not meet the conditions of the pre-arrangement, the family can withold payment. 


What is a burial vault, and what does it do? 

The function of a burial vault is to protect the casketed body from the earth's elements. As time goes on, the ground settles over a grave. A burial vault will serve two purposes, to protect the integrity of the casket and to prevent the ground from settling and sinking. A vault also protects the ground from settling due to the great weight and impact of heavy cemetery maintenance equipment passing over the grave. The burial vault is one of the strongest, most lasting means of protection and long term security. 


What is a committal service? 

A committal service commends the body of the deceased to the gravesite, crypt or columbarium niche and a prayer may be said at the grave at the conclusion of the funeral. 


What is a graveside service? 

A graveside service is a service held at the site of burial. In most cases, the casket or urn is present. Friends and family gather for the service, a eulogy may be delivered and the service is concluded with a committal. 


What is a memorial service? 

A memorial service is a service where there are no casketed remains, but in some cases an urn may be present. Memorial services are usually held in the funeral home or a church, but can also be arranged at a location meaningful to the family. 


What is scattering? 

Scattering of cremated remains can represent a permanent oneness with an important place. Scattering in a river, lake or at sea, over mountains, farms, even golf courses is not uncommon provided a permit can be secured. Scattering is regulated by state law. Some funeral homes can coordinate the scattering and advise you of any local ordinances prohibiting scattering. Many cemeteries offer "scattering gardens" with the added benefit of memorialization. A scattering urn is especially designed to hold the cremated remains until the scattering ceremony and as a memento or keepsake afterwards. Be sure to consult your clergy as some religions will permit cremation but not allow scattering. 


What is the cost of pre-arrangement services? 

There is no cost to pre-plan a funeral. 


What is the difference between a corporate funeral home and a family-owned firm? 

Large corporations answer to shareholders. In a family-owned company, there is no pressure from the corporate headquarters to increase profits. Generally family-owned firms have lived in the community for years. On the other hand, the staff and management assigned to a funeral home by a national company may be from another area. And that can create a lack of awareness and sometimes disappointment when expectations are not met. 


What is the urn for? 

Most often the cremated remains are present during the service in an urn. Urns come in many styles and reflect varied artistic forms. With so many to choose from, families can find something reflective of their lifestyle, faith or beliefs. Because the urn is an attractive art form, it is not uncommon for a family member or friend to retain the cremated remains as a cherished possession. But for many, a permanent placement at another location is more appropriate. Urn selection is often based on the needs and beliefs of the family and their plans for final disposition. 


Where does the prepaid money go? Where is it held? 

The money paid when pre-planning a funeral is held in one of two places. In many cases a trust is set up at a bank, either in the individuals name or in some states, in the name of the funeral home, with the individual designated as a sub-account. The second option is for the family to purchase an insurance policy specific to the exact cost of the funeral expenses. This policy is typically a “Limited pay, increasing death benefit, whole life,” policy. There are specific benefits to each of these funding vehicle options. * Your funeral director can provide you with more details. In either case, a death certificate must be presented in order for the funds to be released to the funeral home. 


Who do you call when death occurs out of town? 

When death occurs away from home, the funeral home serves as both your advisor and agent, working with other professionals long-distance, and coordinating the many services required. 


Why do people choose burial versus cremation? 

An individual’s choice of burial over cremation is often based on family traditions and/or family beliefs. Often times, this choice is directly related to one’s religion. 


Why is it better to pre-pay funeral services? 

When asked, the most often given reason by consumers for pre-paying funeral expenses is the peace of mind in knowing family members will not be inconvenienced with funeral costs at an already difficult time. It is impossible to project the cost of a funeral in the future, and sometimes the actual cost at the time of death may exceed the amount set aside. When this occurs, the funeral home will offer surviving family members the option of paying the difference, or selecting low priced merchandise such as a casket, vault, flowers, etc. 


Why should I pre-arrange my funeral? Are there any benefits? 

Now more than ever, it is important to plan ahead. Our way of life is more complicated. Family members often live in different states, dealing with government agencies can be frustrating, and the impact of inflation is felt by every household. Family members making funeral arrangements immediately following a death often are confused and upset. Many times, they do not have the information needed to claim benefits. Each year millions of dollars in government and insurance benefits go unclaimed. Planning ahead prevents emotional overspending and protects your family's interests. 


We apologize if this response does not satisfactorily answer your specific question. Please reword your question or contact us to speak directly to one of our funeral service professionals.