Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the significance of a funeral service?From the beginning of recorded history, societies have created ceremonies to honor those who have died. In the beginning, the purpose of the ritual was to send the deceased on his or her journey into the afterlife. Today, however, many experts agree that the benefits of a service are for those who remain behind. Coming to terms with the loss is important to help survivors adjust and recognize that a death has occurred. A funeral service provides the opportunity for friends and family to celebrate the life that was lived and allows the healing process to begin.Can I make my funeral arrangements before I die?Yes, preplanning is one of the most caring things you can do for your loved ones. It provides them with a clearer picture of your final wishes and helps to relieve them from worrying about how you would really prefer to be remembered. These plans may be as simple or as elaborate as you choose. You can comfortably prefund your arrangements to help alleviate placing future financial burden on your family. The preplanning process allows you to plan at your own pace, equipped with facts and ample information, so that you feel comfortable about the choices you make. Making arrangements in advance also lets you prefund a service and funeral at today's prices. We can assist you with your prearrangement needs. How many types of caskets exist, and why are some more expensive than others?Caskets are made of either metal (bronze, copper or steel) or wood, and are available in a variety of styles and colors. Prices vary, depending on the exterior and interior materials used. Bronze, a semi-precious metal, is more expensive than steel. Mahogany, a rare hardwood, is more expensive than the readily available softwood pine. There is also the option of adding personal touches to most caskets.What is embalming and is it necessary before services are held?Embalming is the temporary preservation of a person’s remains using a chemical process. Most families choose embalming when a public viewing is planned as part of the service.Can a funeral home assist me with Social Security benefits and Veterans death benefits?Yes. Your funeral arranger can provide you with information and facts about these benefits and work with you to complete all necessary paperwork to begin the benefits process. He or she can also follow through to ensure that the benefits are secured in a timely manner.How much does a funeral cost?Funeral costs vary depending on the funeral home and type of services and merchandise selected. There are two types of costs associated with a funeral: (1) services provided by the funeral home and (2) merchandise such as a casket, urn, flowers, etc. Some types of services require more or less involvement of our professional staff and facilities than others and are priced accordingly. We pride ourselves on our ability to help every family create a meaningful tribute and lasting memorial for their loved one, in any price range. Call or visit our funeral home to discuss your needs and to receive a general price list that will give you full details. And remember, if choosing interment or entombment, you may need to purchase cemetery, mausoleum or columbarium or other cremation memorialization space as well as some type of memorial. Those arrangements are sometimes made separately with the cemetery.What methods may I use to pay for the funeral?Funeral costs may be paid by cash, check, VISA®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover® or an assignment of verified insurance benefits. Many families choose easy payment plans available through preplanning. This important decision can limit or eliminate the financial burden placed on a family when the death of a loved one occurs.What has to be done when a death occurs in one city and the funeral service will be held in another city?A death that occurs away from your loved one’s hometown may be an unusual experience for you and your family. However, funeral arrangers are trained and experienced in handling the details necessary when this happens. The local funeral arranger can assist you in selecting a funeral home in the city where the services are to be held and will help coordinate the transportation of your loved one to the care of a funeral arranger in that city.What has to be done when a family member passes away while on a trip out of town?When a family member passes away while out of town, contact your local funeral arranger. The arranger can assist you in selecting an out-of-town funeral arranger, who will handle all the necessary details in the distant city, state or country. Working together, the two funeral arrangers will gather all the necessary information to allow for the transfer of your family member back to your local area.If our loved one is being transferred to another city for a funeral service and burial, can we also gather family and friends for a local service?Yes. The funeral arranger can work with your family to organize a time—either before or after the transfer—and a place for your family and friends to gather to celebrate special memories of your loved one and to support each other during your time of loss.WHEN THERE IS AN IMMEDIATE NEED What are my options for creating a special and meaningful service?Funeral and memorial services may be as varied as the individual they represent and are most meaningful when they provide an understanding of that person’s special life. A funeral can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. It can take place in the location of your choice and can be held, not only immediately following a death, but also at a later date or as an annual event of remembrance. The things that had meaning to your loved one will also give meaning to the people who attend the service. Sharing memories with others can be as simple as playing a special song or telling a personal story. It might also involve displaying photos or items from a favorite hobby. Your funeral arranger will work with you to help plan a funeral, memorial service or gathering that reflects your family’s wishes and captures the spirit of the person who was so special to you.Will a visitation (gathering, memorial service or wake) be too sad for our family and friends?This is a personal choice for your family to make. Long after a funeral or memorial service, many families are glad that they had a chance to say their final goodbyes to the person they lost. A visitation for your loved one with an open or closed casket, or an urn following cremation, may serve as a lasting memory of that person's life and help family and friends find a later sense of comfort and peace. It also provides an appropriate and timely opportunity for friends and family to express condolences.Is it necessary to have a religious service?No. Many families have religious customs, and we will always honor your choice of music, house of worship and other traditions that your and your clergy specify. If your family would rather not have a religious service, you can choose to remember your loved one in a dignified, inspirational, patriotic or even humorous way—whatever is most fitting and whatever you decide.Can we hold the funeral service somewhere other than the funeral home?Yes. While funeral and memorial services have traditionally been held at churches, synagogues or funeral facilities, they can also take place at many other locations: a friend’s or family member's home, parks, beaches, reception halls, golf courses or any other location your family wishes. In addition to the immediate event, you may also want to consider holding another memorial event at a future date. We can help arrange events at any time and in almost any location.What about children's involvement?When a death occurs, children are often included. Like adults, they need to work through their grief and find comfort in saying goodbye in their own way. Children may feel better during and after funeral events if they are encouraged to participate as much as they prefer. They may want to place something into the casket, write a letter, color a picture or even read a note at the funeral. You can help children by encouraging their questions and responding to them with love, patience and reassurance.CREMATION QUESTIONSWhat is involved in the cremation process?Before cremation can take place, the attending physician or medical examiner must complete and sign the death certificate. All civil and medical authorities must issue all required permits. The next of kin or other authorized person must provide the authorization to cremate. Your funeral provider can assist you through this process to ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed and authorizations and permits are obtained.Regulations in many states also require that a certain number of hours transpire after the death occurs (usually 24 to 48 hours). After these conditions are met, the cremation takes place. Afterwards, the cremated remains are placed in the urn your family selects.Are special cremation containers and caskets available?Yes, there is a wide array of cremation caskets to meet each family's needs. A cremation casket is specially constructed from materials that are environmentally friendly. It looks very much like a burial casket and is appropriate for a visitation or gathering. It is cremated with the descendent. There is also a variety of cremation containers and alternative containers from which your family can choose.Is the purchase of a casket required when choosing cremation?Crematoriums require that a suitable container be used to shelter and hold your loved one before and during the cremation process. Cremation caskets, cremation containers and alternative containers are available to satisfy this requirement. In some instances, a ceremonial casket may be available for rented use during a visitation, after which an alternative container would be used for the cremation.Does the body have to be embalmed, even though it will be cremated?No, unless refrigeration is not available or you select embalming for a service with a formal viewing or visitation.Can we have a funeral if we are choosing cremation?Yes, and this is often recommended by grief counsellors and families who have experienced a loss. Cremation (like burial) is a separate event from a funeral or memorial service. Selecting cremation does not diminish the important need for some type of gathering that will honor and celebrate the life of your loved one. Your friends and family can come together either before or after the cremation has taken place. Your family may choose to have a visitation prior to cremation or a service with or without your loved one’s cremated remains (ashes) present.Are the services held before or after cremation?Gatherings of any type (visitations, memorial services, etc.) can be held at your family’s discretion. The gathering is a place and time for your family and friends to come together to celebrate special memories of your loved one and to support each other during your time of loss. Many choose to have a traditional service first, followed by the cremation. Others hold a memorial service at some point before or after the cremation.How does a memorial service differ from a traditional funeral ceremony?A gathering of friends, family and/or clergy provides a meaningful personalized tribute for the person who has died, as well as support for the living. The difference between a memorial service and traditional funeral ceremony is that the casket and deceased are not present at a memorial service and are present at a traditional funeral ceremony. Some families also choose to have memorial services with the urn present and that option is available as well.What happens to the cremated remains?During the arrangement conference your family will be asked to select an urn to permanently hold your loved one’s cremated remains. Urns can be crafted from bronze, ceramic, glass, porcelain, wood or other materials. They are made in traditional vase or cube shapes, or they can be unique designs. A variety of urns are available to reflect the hobbies, beliefs or lifestyle of your loved one.There are many options from which to choose when selecting a final resting place for your loved one’s urn because cremation memorialization can take any number of forms. Many cemeteries have created areas specifically for lasting remembrance. Cremated remains may be permanently memorialized in a columbarium, ground-burial area or specially designed cremation garden. Some families also choose to place portions in miniature keepsake urns or pieces of jewelry and scatter another small portion at a special place. (Please note that it is necessary to check local restrictions on scattering cremated remains both on public and private property.)Why is it important to select a final resting place for the cremated remains?Where will your loved one’s—or your own—cremated remains end up 2, 10 or even 50 years from now? Whether you choose to scatter cremated remains or permanently hold them in an urn, it is important to choose a final resting place. This provides your family and friends with a focal point to assist them in remembering the life that was lived.What is a cremation garden?A cremation garden provides a final resting place for your loved one’s cremated remains. It is a designated area of the cemetery that may vary from a simple urn garden to a more elaborate area featuring elegant landscapes, graceful water designs and stunning granite monuments. The space can provide a beautiful and comforting experience for the spirit and the senses. Refreshing plants, trees and other natural botanical details may complement the garden. An array of options including family estates, personalized granite pedestals, niche walls, unique benches, garden columbaria and water features may be available.Isn't cremation less expensive than traditional burial?There is a wide selection of choices and price ranges for cremation services and merchandise. As with traditional burial, your family will decide how much or how little to spend on a cremation service. If you choose to preplan and prefund your own plans, you can decide what cost is appropriate in advance of the time of need.With the shortage of cemetery space, isn't cremation a better solution?There is not, in fact, a shortage of cemetery space. People choose cremation for a variety of reasons. It is a personal decision based on individual preference and beliefs.Can I plan my own cremation with remembrance and memorialization in advance?Yes, making plans in advance of the time of need ensures that your wishes will be known. Your family will not have the burden of guessing what you would have wanted or how much to spend.PREPLANNING QUESTIONSWhy should I preplan?We plan for vacations, weddings and retirement. Preplanning funeral and cemetery arrangements is no different.Making funeral arrangements ahead of time helps to take the doubt and confusion away from all of those who will be tasked to make difficult decisions on your behalf. It also allows you to make sure that your final wishes are known; and when you take time to plan calmly and with ample information in hand, you can help to alleviate emotional overspending.In many ways, preplanning is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your loved ones because it offers them peace of mind. They will know exactly what your final wishes were and will feel relieved that they don’t have to guess what you would have wanted.Can I pay for my arrangements now, or does it have to be done after the funeral takes place?You have the option to pay the costs ahead of time. You can prepay your arrangements to help avoid the possibility of inflation while making informed choices that fit within your budget. You also have the added assurance that there will be less confusion over financial responsibility during your family’s time of need.Are there any financial benefits to prefunding my arrangements? ·Estate tax reduction: Advance planning may reduce your heirs’ future estate tax burden. ·Medicaid/SSI spend-down exemption: Prepaid funeral and cemetery costs are often exempt from the spend-down process to qualify for Medicaid or state assistance. ·Cost-saving plans: Prefund your arrangements now at today’s prices. ·Help towards eliminating future costs: Preplanning may remove the threat of unexpected financial costs for your family when they are the least prepared. ·Secure cemetery property: Prefunding ensures that you get exactly the cemetery property you want because it is a deeded purchase.