Frequently Asked Questions

What purpose does a funeral serve?

The funeral allows family and friends to remember and honor their loved one in a special way. It serves as a central gathering place for family and friends to give emotional support to one another and encourages mourners to face the pain of their loss and express their thoughts and feelings. The funeral also celebrates the deceased’s life, and not their passing. The funeral service allows a time of remembrance and celebration, and allows the healing process to begin.

I’ve never arranged a funeral before. What do I need to know?

At some time in our lives, most of us will make or assist in making funeral arrangements. This will not be an easy time, but we offer these tips for smart planning:

Be an informed consumer and ask questions.

  • Choose an independent funeral home and a licensed funeral director
  • Discuss all service and payment options during the funeral arrangements
  • Make sure you receive a copy of the funeral home’s General Price List
  • Be prepared and make decisions and organize details in advance of need
  • Plan a personalized and meaningful ceremony to help you begin healing

How can I personalize a funeral service?

Your Funeral Director can review a myriad of ways to personalize your loved ones funeral. One way is to bring personal items into the funeral home to be displayed in or near the casket. For example: an avid quilter might have a favorite quilt placed in the casket. An athlete may have some of their personal effects or trophies displayed on a memory table. There are numerous ways to incorporate your loved ones passions and hobbies into the service.

What types of funeral services exist?

Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and if so, whether the casket will be open or closed, and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.

Why have a public viewing?

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.

Should a child attend a funeral?

Children grieve just as adults do. Any child old enough to form a relationship will experience some form of grief when a relationship is severed. You should explain what is happening and why it is happening at the child’s comprehension level. What a 3 year old understands is much different than what a 12 year old understands. The key is to allow the participation, not to force it.

May I make the necessary arrangements in advance?

All of your funeral and burial arrangements can be made years before you need them. This is commonly referred to as ‘Pre-Need’. Your local Funeral Director can assist you in your planning.

Embalming Questions

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the deceased, retards the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of someone 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.

Is embalming required by law?

No. Most states, however, require embalming when death is caused by a reportable contagious disease or when a deceased is 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.

Cremation Questions

Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

As more people are choosing cremation, funeral service professionals are striving to give consumers a true sense of what their many options are for a funeral service. Often funeral directors find that people have a preconception that they have fewer choices for a ceremony when selecting cremation for themselves or a loved one. Even with cremation, a meaningful memorial that is personalized to reflect the life of the deceased could include:

  • A visitation prior to the service
  • An open or closed casket
  • Special music
  • A ceremony at the funeral chapel, your place of worship or other special location
  • Participation by friends and family

Commonly, cremated remains are placed in an urn and committed to an indoor or outdoor mausoleum or columbarium; interred in a family burial plot; or included in a special urn garden.

Can cremated remains be scattered?

A family may, if they wish, scatter the cremated remains of their loved one on privately owned property with the consent of the property owner. If you select scattering, always be sure to check you local, state and federal laws concerning scattering of remains.

Where can I get more information on cremation?

We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral or memorial service with a cremation. For more technical information about the cremation process, we encourage you to view information on-line at the National Funeral Directors Association.