Frequently Asked Questions

Traditional Funeral FAQs

I made my pre-arrangements at another funeral home. Can I transfer them whether I’ve paid for them or not?

We get this question often and the answer is yes. It’s as simple as contacting us. We will get the paperwork for you to sign to make the transfer. You don’t have to contact the other funeral home. We will do everything for you.

Is it true that Social Security will pay toward funeral expenses?

The answer to this question varies from individual to individual. For people who qualify, Social Security will pay up to $255 to the surviving spouse only. This amount is paid to the family, not the funeral home. It is our policy to file all the necessary documents (death certificates, insurance claim forms and Social Security notification) for the family, so they are not burdened with this paperwork. Then we will assist the family in determining what amount Social Security will pay.

Who's Responsible For Arranging A Funeral?

In most instances, the next of kin are responsible for arranging a funeral (ie spouse, child, parent, legal partner or sibling). In the instance of dispute - where it's known that a Will exists - the arbiter of funeral arrangements is deemed to be the nominated Executor. The Executor may (at his or her discretion) appoint a person to make necessary arrangements with a Funeral Director. Such occasions, however, are uncommon. In some cases where a person may not have any known relatives, then authorities in institutions may need to make the necessary arrangements. This is usually done by the Social Worker or another authorised officer.

Is a funeral or memorial service always held in a funeral home or place of worship?

No. As long as local laws permit it, a funeral service can be held anywhere- from a local park to a boat at sea! A service can usually be held at any location that family and friends feel would be comfortable and appropriate. Your funeral director will be able to advise you on regulations and help you plan the funeral.

What if I do not wish to use all the services a funeral home has to offer?

Federal laws dictate that all funeral homes itemize their charges for professional services, facilities and equipment and that they provide a General Price List (GPL) to all clients. You have the right to select and pay for only those services you choose.

Cremation FAQs

Do I need a casket if I choose cremation?

No, you do not need to purchase a traditional casket. But, for sanitary reasons, crematories usually require a combustible, leak-proof, covered container. Commonly, a relatively-inexpensive cardboard cremation container is all you need to purchase. However there are other, more elegant options available as well. Visit our online cremation container showroom to explore your options.

What is involved in cremation?

The casket or container is placed in the cremation chamber where the temperature reaches 1,400-1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. After approximately 2.5 hours, all organic material is consumed by heat and evaporation, and the bone fragments are left behind. These are known as the cremated remains, which are then carefully removed from the chamber and processed into fine particles to be placed in a container or urn for the family.

What can be done with the cremated remains?

The cremated remains can be interred in a cemetery plot or retained by a family member -- usually in an urn, scattered on private property or at a place that was important to the deceased. The cremated remains can be scattered at sea, or the skies above a special, well-loved place. You can also incorporate the remains into an artificial reef, to be lowered onto the sea floor. There, your loved one provides sanctuary for sea life for years to come. There are also elegant ways to memorialize a loved one using small amounts of the cremated remains, including art glass, oil paintings, and man-made diamonds. Or you can take a small amount of the cremated remains to include in a piece of cremation jewelry. Please view our online cremation keepsakes and jewelry selection for inspiration.

General FAQs

I heard that pre-funding can help save money for our family. How does this work?

We place your money in an insurance policy or funeral trust. This allows us to secure the costs of the funeral in today’s prices, and you and your family will never see an increase in the cost of the funeral. Essentially, we are locking in today’s lower prices, and you and your loved ones need not be concerned about constantly rising costs.

I would like to make pre-arrangements, but I’m not financially able to pre-pay at this time. What should I do?

You’re on the right track. You’ve made the important decision to pre-plan your funeral. Your family will appreciate that they will not have to determine the type and cost of your funeral service. Contrary to belief, you don’t have to pay any money when you pre-arrange your services. Some people choose to set up a payment plan based on their budget. We help others organize their personal records so we get a true picture of their life insurance policies and what funds are available. Others elect to pay for the funeral services all at one time. Basically, it is your decision and we work closely with each family based on its specific situation and needs.

My husband is a Veteran. What is he entitled to at the time of his death?

When requested by a family, the basic Military Funeral Honors ceremony is conducted for the deceased veteran. It includes the playing of Taps and the folding and presentation of the United States flag to the veteran’s family. A bugler may play the Taps or, if a bugler is not available, a recorded version of the Taps will be played. Also, veterans who qualify are entitled to a grave marker supplied by the Department of Veteran Affairs. To establish veteran eligibility, the family needs to provide the DD Form 214 to us. This form is the certificate of release or discharge from active duty. If a family doesn’t have this form, we can obtain it for them.

What Is Embalming And When Is it Required?

Embalming is the process of replacing body fluids with chemical fluids for the purpose of preserving the body. It's generally used for: * Infection control, and * Enhancing the presentation of the deceased. Embalming can be minimal or unnecessary in some instances. Partial embalming may be carried out for the benefit of families wishing to hold viewings and/or when the funeral may occur within a week of death. Full embalming may be required and/or expected in some cultures, or when the body needs to be repatriated interstate or overseas.

Why do we need an obituary notice?

An obituary notice is helpful for friends and family of the deceased. It informs them that a death has occurred and gives them information about the service. Obituaries can be placed in newspapers and online.

What is included in an obituary?

A basic obituary includes the deceased’s full name, age, date of birth, city and state they were living in when they passed away. It should also include the name of the deceased’s significant other, and the date, time and place of the viewing, burial, wake and memorial service. If you don't have this information yet, you can always write something such as, "Funeral arrangements are being made by the funeral home and will be announced at a later date." You may wish to add additional details, such as the names of any children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, parents, other close relatives or special friends. You may wish to write about the deceased’s life, accomplishments and legacy. You may suggest preferred charities for memorial contributions and let people know if you would rather not receive flowers.

How soon after or long after a death must an individual be buried?

Laws regarding internment or burial issues vary from state to state. Your local Health Department or Funeral Home can advise you on basic timelines.

What are burial vaults and grave-liners?

These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are typically made of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, cooper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass. A grave-liner is a lightweight version of a vault which simply keeps the grave surface from sinking in.

Must I purchase a burial vault?

In most areas, local laws do not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries do require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink.

What are the principal types of cemeteries and how do they differ?

Cemeteries usually are divided into two broad categories: traditional cemeteries and memorial parks or gardens. A traditional cemetery has upright monuments, usually made of stone. Many traditional cemeteries also have private mausoleums for aboveground interment. Because many have functioned in their communities for over 100 years, traditional cemeteries often contain a great deal of history, such as architecture and statuary. Memorial parks and gardens were introduced about 75 years ago. They are cemeteries without tombstones: they more closely resemble a park or a garden than a traditional cemetery. Typically, bronze memorials are placed level with the ground to blend with the beauty of the landscape.