|What purpose does a funeral serve?
What do funeral directors do?
Why have a public viewing?
Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?
Isn’t burial space becoming scarce?
What is the purpose of embalming?
Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
So, I’ve decided on cremation. Can I still have a funeral or a viewing?
Why are funerals expensive?
What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
Do funeral directors take advantage of the bereaved?
Is it right to make a profit from death?
Who pays for funerals for the indigent?
Can the family of the deceased control the total price of a funeral?
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Will someone come right away?
If a loved one dies out of state , can the local Funeral Home still help?
Where can I find more information about what to do when a death occurs, as well as veterans and social security benefits?
|Funeral & Burial QuestionsWhat purpose does a funeral serve? back to top
The funeral expresses the life and faith of the deceased while providing comfort and support to family and friends. Funerals are arranged services designed to invoke religious rituals, honoring the deceased and fulfilling the needs of the family. The funeral provides survivors with a foundation of hope and peace for their future.
What do funeral directors do? back to top
Funeral directors are trained, experienced professionals who assist families from the moment a death occurs until well after services are completed. Their work involves dignified care of the deceased while counseling survivors on designing services that fulfills their needs. The funeral director is responsible for organizing all aspects of funeral services and providing families with choices and options that will fulfill their wishes. They are caring dignified people who help families organized wakes and funerals and are responsible for every aspect evolved in these services. Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. 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. Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters.
Why have a public viewing? back to top
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.
Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS? back to top
Yes, A person who dies of an AIDS-related illness is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceased’s face or hands is perfectly safe. Because the grief experienced by survivors may include a variety of feelings, survivors may need even more support than survivors of non-AIDS-related deaths.
Isn’t burial space becoming scarce? back to top
While it is true some metropolitan areas have limited available cemetery space, in most areas of the country, there is enough space set aside for the next 50 years without creating new cemeteries. In addition, land available for new cemeteries is more than adequate, especially with the increase in entombment and multi-level grave burial.
What is the purpose of embalming? back to top
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming 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.
Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law? back to top
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when remains are to be transported from one state to another by common carrier or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours. However, if there is to be a public viewing most funeral homes require embalming for the general publics health and safety.
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral? back to top
No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body’s final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. In fact, according to FTC figures for 1987, direct cremation occurred in only 3% of deaths.
So, I’ve decided on cremation. Can I still have a funeral or a viewing? back to top
Yes, quite often some sort of viewing precedes the actual cremation. Your Funeral Home can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.
Funeral Cost Questions
Why are funerals expensive? back to top
When compared to other major life cycle events, like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Contrary to popular belief, funeral homes are largely family-owned with a modest profit margin.
What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging? back to top
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).
Do funeral directors take advantage of the bereaved? back to top
No. Funeral directors are caring individuals who help people deal with a very stressful time. They serve the same families 80% of the time, and many have spent most of their lives in the same community. If they took advantage of bereaved families, they could not stay in business. The fact that the average funeral home has been in business over 59 years shows that most funeral directors respect the wishes of the bereaved families.
Is it right to make a profit from death? back to top
Funeral directors look upon their profession as a service, but it is also a business. Like any business, funeral homes must make a profit to exist. As long as the profit is reasonable and the services rendered are necessary, complete, and satisfactory to the family, profit is legitimate.
Who pays for funerals for the indigent? back to top
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, or city or a combination. Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them for the indigent. However, funeral directors often absorb costs above and beyond what is provided by agencies to insure the deceased a respectable burial.
Can the family of the deceased control the total price of a funeral? back to top
Yes. The family has the ability to control the total price of a funeral. Funeral homes offer a wide selection of merchandise at a varied price range. The kind and amount of service the family selects is also completely their decision.
What to do if a Death Occurs
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend? back to top
Most Funeral Directors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Click here for more information.
Will someone come right away? back to top
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it’s acceptable. They will come when your time is right.
If a loved one dies out of state , can the local Funeral Home still help? back to top
Yes, they can assist you with out-of-state arrangements, either to transfer the remains to another state or from another state. Click here for more information.
Where can I find more information about what to do when a death occurs, as well as veterans and social security benefits? back to top