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Resources for Consumers

Resources for Consumers2022-03-15T15:41:48-04:00

Consumer Frequently Asked Questions

Our Consumer Resource Guide covers many of the common questions families have in anticipation of a death, during the arrangement process, and following services completed by deathcare professionals. Use the links to jump to questions about a particular topic.

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Educating yourself on the options and having an idea of what you want to do before the loss of your beloved pet will eliminate much anxiety and give you incredible peace of mind.

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Funerals
Cemetery & Burial
Cremation
Prearrangement & Pre-Financing
Organ Donation
Grief
Embalming

Funerals

What recourse does a consumer have for a poor service or overcharging?2022-03-11T09:49:41-05:00

The complaint should first be given to the funeral director that served the family. If the situation is not resolved to your satisfaction, then a complaint should be filed with your state’s board of funeral service, or with the consumer complaint department of the state attorney general’s office. In most instances, the complaint will be resolved by the local funeral director.

Is it possible to have a traditional burial if someone with AIDS dies?2022-03-11T09:49:05-05:00

Yes. Death because of AIDS is no different than any other cause of death.

After my death, how can my funeral home send me to my cemetery which is out of state?2022-03-11T09:48:31-05:00

In many cemeteries today, there is a funeral home on the grounds. If not, then arrangements would have to be made with the cemetery or a local funeral home to pick up the body and transfer it to the cemetery.

How long can you wait to have a funeral without embalming?2022-03-11T09:47:51-05:00

Most states require that a deceased person either be embalmed or placed in refrigeration after a period of 24 hours from the time of death. Funeral services can be held at any time after that. In some areas of the country that time frame could be as long as three weeks.

Does the VA pay for Veterans’ funerals?2022-03-11T09:47:29-05:00

Although the Veterans Administration does not pay for complete funerals, it does provide certain merchandise, services and reimbursements. Your local VA office or funeral home can provide you with the variety of benefits available. In general, any veteran with a discharge other than dishonorable is entitled to be buried in an accepting national cemetery. He or she may also receive a free grave liner, bronze marker and a flag holder appropriately marked with the veteran’s rank, war served and religious icon.

What happens if someone close to me dies away from home?2022-03-11T09:47:06-05:00

After the death has occurred, the most prudent decision would be to call your funeral service provider in your home town. Your funeral director will be able to make the necessary arrangements to transfer the deceased, relieving the family of the burden of dealing with unfamiliar people, places and related issues.

How many pallbearers will be needed?2022-03-11T09:46:40-05:00

The traditional format regarding the number of pallbearers is 6, primarily due to the length of the standard casket, so that 3 people on either side can conveniently carry the casket. Most caskets have additional handles at each end which will accommodate 2 more bearers.

If I donate my remains to medical science, can there still be a service?2022-03-11T09:46:19-05:00

In addition to coordinating the donation, your funeral service provider can arrange for either a Memorial Service or a Gathering of Friends to be held at a time and place convenient for the family.

Do Clergy always officiate at a funeral service?2022-03-11T09:45:49-05:00

In conjunction with or sometimes in place of a clergy person, family or friends may share personal thoughts, memories and feelings about the deceased as part of the service.

What is a Memory Table and/or a Memory Board2022-03-11T09:45:22-05:00

At the funeral home, a memory table may be used to display personal items of the deceased. A memory board would have a collection of family photographs attached and can be displayed on an easel at the funeral home for visitors to reminisce about their life experiences with the deceased.

How can I personalize a funeral service?2022-03-11T09:44:59-05:00

One way is to bring personal items into the funeral home to be displayed in or near the casket. Example: An avid golfer might have a favorite putter placed in the casket. An avid hunter or fisherman might have some of their personal effects or trophies displayed on a memory table. A person who quilted could have the casket draped with a quilt they made. An artist could have their art work displayed. A person’s favorite rocking chair could be brought to the funeral home and placed next to the casket.

Why would I need to purchase certified copies of a Death Certificate?2022-03-11T09:44:41-05:00

Certified copies are used as proof of death for the transfer of stocks and bonds, banking transactions and life insurance. You funeral provider can help you determine how many you may need to settle an estate and also secure them for you.

Must a casket be transported to the cemetery in a hearse?2022-03-11T09:44:13-05:00

While a hearse or casket coach is most commonly used for this purpose, other options are often appropriate. Families might consider more personalized and meaningful options; for example, a fire fighter may be transported on a fire truck.

Should a child attend a funeral?2022-03-11T09:43:38-05:00

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. As adults we may not view a childs behavior as grief as it often is demonstrated in ways which we misunderstand as “moody”, “cranky”, “withdrawn” or other behavioral patterns which do not appear to us to be grief. When a death occurs children need to be surrounded by feelings of warmth, acceptance and understanding. This may be a tall order to expect of the adults who are experiencing their own grief and upset.

Must an obituary be published in a newspaper?2022-03-11T09:43:18-05:00

The publication of an obituary notice is a matter of your personal choice. While most newspapers control the editorial format, you have the right to limit the amount of information, if any, provided to them.

Will the funeral home help with Social Security and Veterans death benefits?2022-03-11T09:42:51-05:00

Quality service firms will not only assist with securing these death benefits, they will most likely complete all the paperwork for you.

Must I purchase a burial vault?2022-03-11T10:08:12-05:00

In most areas of the country, state or local law does not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink. Either a graveliner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.

What are burial vaults and grave liners?2022-03-11T10:07:34-05:00

These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket, and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass. A graveliner is a lightweight version of a vault which simply keeps the grave surface from sinking in.

Can I build my own casket?2022-03-11T09:40:35-05:00

As a matter of fact, you can, although as a matter or practicality, it may present some storage challenges for you. You might consult a funeral home for correct measurements as the casket will ultimately need to be placed into a burial vault, graveliner or mausoleum crypt.

What about these independent discount casket companies? Can’t I buy my casket there and use it when needed?2022-03-11T09:40:06-05:00

Yes, It is certainly a financially sound decision to purchase anything at today’s prices which can then be used as a later time; however, you need to consider several things. Who will store the casket, you or the company you purchased it from?

Why are some casket prices more than others?2022-03-11T09:39:24-05:00

It depends upon the materials with which the casket is made. Obviously, a casket made of bronze would be priced higher than one made of steel. A casket made of solid mahogany would be more costly to manufacture than one of soft pine wood. A casket with a crepe interior materials would be priced less than an interior of velvet because of the cost of the material. It depends upon what materials the casket shell is made of, the interior materials and any protective features included in that particular model.

What are the different types of burial caskets?2022-03-11T09:39:04-05:00

Most caskets are made of either wood or metal. Metal caskets are made of either bronze, copper, steel or stainless steel. Wood caskets are available in a variety of types of wood. Interiors of caskets are usually made with velvet or crepe; however, other materials may be available. Consult your local provider for options in your area.

How can I get an idea about the costs of caskets?2022-03-11T09:38:38-05:00

All funeral homes are required by the Federal Trade Commission to have casket price lists available to the public at all times. Your funeral home will gladly discuss prices on the phone, send you a copy of the price list or arrange an appointment to see available caskets.

Will life insurance pay for funerals?2022-03-11T09:38:15-05:00

Yes, as a convenient method of payment, most quality funeral homes will allow for an insurance assignment. This assignment transaction is processed by the funeral home, releasing only the funeral expenses to the funeral service provider, and with any remaining balance going directly to the beneficiary. The insurance assignment is an effective, convenient means in which to cover funeral expenses. Keep in mind that it’s very important to speak with your local funeral provider, to ensure that your insurance policy is applied to the type of funeral service you want.

May I make all the necessary arrangements in advance?2022-03-11T09:56:38-05:00

Yes, usually all arrangements may be made in advance. When you plan ahead, you will be able to consider the many options available. You will have the opportunity to make an informed decision about your funeral and cemetery arrangements, and the form of memorial you prefer. You will be able to make choices that are meaningful to both you and your family, and you will gain peace of mind knowing your family and friends will be relieved of the emotional and financial burden often associated with making arrangements when a death occurs.

How can I best shop and compare funeral service providers?2022-03-11T09:37:34-05:00

Talking with friends who have used the services of a funeral home or your personal experience from attending funeral services of friends or relatives at a variety of funeral homes are excellent methods of comparison. You might also consider just stopping by a funeral home unannounced to experience how you are treated. To a lesser degree, you can also gain some experience from randomly contacting various firms by telephone. You can call your local Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been filed against a local funeral director, and whether they were satisfactorily resolved.

What if I do not wish to use all the services a funeral home has to offer?2022-03-11T09:36:56-05:00

The Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule requires that all funeral homes itemize their charges for professional services, facilities and motor equipment and that they provide a General Price List to all clients. You have the right to select and pay for only those services you choose to utilize.

Why are funerals so expensive?2022-03-11T09:36:30-05:00

There is a great range in prices for services and merchandise from your local funeral directors, depending on the type of funeral you purchase and each company’s price structure. The perception that funerals are too expensive usually can be attributed to a lack of familiarity with the normal price range. If you find that the price for certain services and merchandise seems to high, you should check into different types of funerals and different companies until you find the price that fits your budget. Obviously, it is difficult to comparison shop in an at-death situation.

Does a price I receive from the funeral home include everything?2022-03-11T09:36:10-05:00

The Funeral Director is responsible for explaining all the charges that specifically pertain to the funeral home’s services offered and merchandise sold stated on its general price list. Any additional charges may fall under the category of cash advances. These additional charges might be for opening and closing the grave, clergy honorarium, newspaper notices, flowers, organist, church sexton.

How much does a funeral cost?2022-03-11T09:35:40-05:00

A funeral, like any other service, can have a range of prices depending on the provider. It is similar to asking “How much does a wedding cost?” Funeral costs are divided into two categories: services, as provided by the funeral director and funeral home staff; and merchandise, such as caskets, vaults, urns, etc. The average regular adult funeral in the U.S. in 1996 cost $4,287, according to the Federated Funeral Directors of America.

How soon after or long after a death must and individual be buried?2022-03-11T10:02:47-05:00

This may vary by state so check with your local funeral director. Considerations include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site and religious considerations. For example, Orthodox Judaism requires that the body be interred within 24 hours of death. Some states have limitations on the maximum length of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. Consult your local funeral provider for any applicable regulations.

What are the options concerning the time of a service?2022-03-11T09:34:50-05:00

While most services are held in the morning or afternoon, some families are now choosing to have services held in the evening hours for the convenience of family and friends. This enables more people to attend the service who otherwise might be unable to be excused from their place of employment during the day.

Is it okay to have a viewing and not a service?2022-03-11T09:34:23-05:00

Yes, if that is the wish of the family, the funeral director will arrange designated times for calling hours, have the times published in the newspaper and simply add to the obituary that services will be private or at the convenience of the family. This information will make it clear to the public as to arrangements, and fulfill the wishes of the family.

Can a function less formal than a funeral or memorial service be arranged?2022-03-11T09:34:00-05:00

A Gathering of Friends is a less formal event. It allows family and friends to share their loss and share treasured memories of the deceased. A Gathering of Friends may include light refreshments and can be held at any appropriate location, including an accommodating funeral home, a park, a restaurant or the home of a family member or friend.

Is a funeral or memorial service always held in a funeral home or place of worship?2022-03-11T09:33:00-05:00

A service can usually be held at any location that family and friends feel would be comfortable and appropriate. Your funeral director can assist with arranging a meaningful service.

Do funeral directors get to take advantage of the bereaved?2022-03-11T09:32:19-05:00

The most important quality that enables the funeral director to provide services in the community is his or her reputation for honesty and good will. In fact, a good reputation is the key factor in being able to stay in business. If a particular funeral director took advantage of the bereaved, it would not be long before the community responded to those actions by going to a different funeral director.

Are the services of a funeral director necessary to bury the dead?2022-03-11T09:31:49-05:00

In most states, no. But each state does have different regulations. You should call the local department of health to find out exactly what your state does require.

What purpose does a funeral serve?2022-03-11T09:31:17-05:00

The funeral and the ceremony that accompanies it are indeed very important. For those who are left behind, a funeral provides a place for family and friends to gather for support and to reminisce; an opportunity to celebrate the life and accomplishments of a loved one; a chance to say goodbye; and the focal point from which the healing process can begin. The funeral identifies that a person’s life has been lived, not that a death has occurred. It is also important to notify the community that this person has died.

What do funeral directors do?2022-03-11T09:28:48-05:00

Primarily they care and safeguard the deceased person until final disposition, including embalming and restorative work. A growing number of funeral directors are trained as grief counselors to help families through the bereavement process. They also arrange and provide an orderly series of events that finalize the funeral, the final disposition, and legal paperwork so the family can proceed forward. They also provide the physical establishment in which all of this can be accomplished.

Cemetery & Burial

If I am a Veteran and plan to be buried in a National Cemetery, is my spouse eligible to be buried next to me?2022-03-11T10:19:40-05:00

Yes, a space for your spouse or any other minor children can be authorized at the time of your death.

What does the Government give a Veteran in regards to a marker?2022-03-11T10:19:25-05:00

The United States government provides headstones and markers for the graves of veterans and eligible dependents anywhere in the world which are not already marked. Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble and upright marble types are available to mark the grave of a veteran or dependent in the style consistent with exiting monuments at the place of burial. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria in national cemeteries used for internment of cremated remains.

What is a disinterment? What is the process, and why does it happen?2022-03-11T10:19:09-05:00

Disinterment is the removal of the casket containing human remains from a grave. Laws governing disinterment vary by state or province. Disinterment may be ordered by certain public officials without the consent of the grave owner or the next of kin, for example, as part of a police investigation. Individuals or families may also request dis-interment, if for example they would like to have the human remains relocated to another grave in the cemetery, to a mausoleum or possibly shipped to a country of birth. Disinterment requires the grave to be opened.

In a hundred years, will this cemetery still be here?2022-03-11T10:18:51-05:00

We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity. There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence well over a hundred years.

Will a cemetery ever be used for something else? Can the bodies be moved and buildings built?2022-03-11T10:18:32-05:00

Communities afford respect to cemeteries and to the memorialization which cemeteries provide. In order to protect interment rights holders, strict rules govern the use of cemetery lands. Graves are normally considered to be sold in perpetuity which restricts possible re-development.

Is a cemetery property tax deductible?2022-03-11T10:18:14-05:00

No, the purchase of a grave is not tax-deductible, although the charitable donation of unwanted grave spaces may be deductible as an “in kind” charitable contribution. Check with a knowledgeable tax advisor for details. Even still, the grave is purchased in today’s dollars, free from inflationary pressures of the future.

Can I resell my grave?2022-03-11T10:17:49-05:00

It really depends on the rules and regulations of the cemetery and the laws of the state or province in which the cemetery is located. While some cemeteries will repurchase graves, others have laws restricting the resale to a third party.

What guarantee do I have that endowment care will take care of the cemetery?2022-03-11T10:17:34-05:00

While not guaranteed, endowment care funds are very conservatively managed. Income from the fund can only be spent on care and maintenance of the cemetery — the capital is not touched. Endowment care funds are governed by laws in most states for consumer protection.

What is endowment care?2022-03-11T10:17:22-05:00

A portion of the purchase price of the grave is contributed to an endowment care fund. Income from the endowment care fund is used to provide regular care and maintenance at the cemetery. Regular care and maintenance activities can include: cutting grass, regrading of graves, planting and caring for trees, maintenance of water supply systems, roads, drainage, etc. The minimum amount to be contributed to the endowment care fund is normally governed by law.

When I buy a grave do I receive a deed, just like when I purchase other types of real estate?2022-03-11T10:15:40-05:00

When you purchase a grave you are in fact purchasing the right to designate who may be interred in the space, rather than purchasing the grave itself, which remains the property and responsibility of the cemetery. You also have a right to place a memorial where permitted.

What happens if I buy cemetery property here in advance and later move to another area?2022-03-11T10:15:24-05:00

Many cemeteries now belong to credit exchange programs which allow for a dollar-for-dollar transfer of services and merchandise between participating cemeteries. When prearranging, be sure to ask your local provider about exchange privileges offered.

What is the difference between Lawn Crypts and Double Depth burial spaces?2022-03-11T10:14:57-05:00

Lawn crypts are pre-set. Double depth burial lots are set at the time of death.

What are Lawn Crypts?2022-03-11T10:14:33-05:00

Lawn crypts are essentially underground tombs, constructed of reinforced concrete and steel.

How can a mausoleum help eliminate expenses?2022-03-11T10:14:20-05:00

When you select a mausoleum, you eliminate the need for expensive vaults and monuments or memorials which almost always are purchased with ordinary earth burial.

What is a tandem?2022-03-11T10:13:53-05:00

A tandem is a mausoleum space designed to accommodate two caskets lengthwise.

How many people will a crypt hold?2022-03-11T10:13:40-05:00

Crypts come in several sizes. Although “singles” and “doubles” are the most common, some crypts can accommodate up to four caskets.

Can you actually see the bodies in a mausoleum?2022-03-11T10:13:24-05:00

No. When you visit a mausoleum, you see the front of the crypt, which typically is made of granite or marble. The name of the person who has died, along with their years of birth and death, appear on the crypt front. The casket rests behind a solid, sealed panel which is placed behind the granite or marble crypt front.

How does a Mausoleum protect the body?2022-03-11T10:13:08-05:00

Because the casket is placed in a clean, dry, above-ground crypt, the remains are protected from water and the elements of the earth.

What happens to a mausoleum if there is an earthquake?2022-03-11T10:12:47-05:00

Modern mausoleums are steel-reinforced concrete structures, covered with granite or marble. They typically are built to meet all local building specifications, including those regarding earthquakes.

What is a columbarium?2022-03-11T10:54:28-05:00

A columbarium, often located within a mausoleum or chapel, sometimes free-standing, either indoor or outdoor, is constructed of numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.

Are there different types of crypts?2022-03-11T10:11:16-05:00

Yes. Single crypts are designed for one entombment only. There are three different kinds of double crypts: tandem crypts permit two entombments lengthwise in a crypt; companion crypts permit two entombments side-by-side; westminster crypts permit two entombments, the first below floor level, and the second above it. Most mausolea are built five, six and seven crypts high. The price of the crypt will depend on its location and the type of crypt. For example: upper level crypts are usually less expensive than those located at eye level.

Isn’t mausoleum entombment only for rich people?2022-03-11T10:10:59-05:00

In most cases, the cost of mausoleum entombment is comparable to the costs of interment in a lot with an upright monument.

What are the advantages of a mausoleum burial?2022-03-11T10:10:15-05:00

Mausoleum crypts are both clean and dry. They offer a viable alternative for those who simply have an aversion to being interred in the ground. Furthermore, with the growing shortage of available land for cemetery use, mausolea allow for a maximum number of entombments in a minimum amount of space.

What is a mausoleum?2022-03-11T10:10:00-05:00

Historically, the word mausoleum comes from the large temple-like structure which was erected by Queen Artemisia in the ancient city of Harlicarnassua as the final resting place for her late husband, King Mausolus. Mausolus, from which the word mausoleum is derived, ruled over Caria in Asia Minor and died in 353 B.C. His mausoleum is now regarded as the fifth of the Seven Wonders of the World. The pyramids of Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India are other examples of ancient mausolea.

What is entombment?2022-03-11T10:09:45-05:00

Entombment is the interment of human remains in a tomb or mausoleum. It involves placing a casket or cremation urn in a crypt or niche (individual compartment within a mausoleum or columbarium) which is then sealed.

How much do graves cost, and why aren’t they priced the same all over?2022-03-11T10:09:29-05:00

Grave prices can really vary. Grave prices are normally set based on their location. Normally, graves in urban centers are more expensive than in rural centers because of the replacement value of land. In addition, within the cemetery, grave prices can vary by the section in which the grave is located. For example, graves in a “feature” section — where there is a central feature such as a sculpture for the benefit of lot owners in that section — may be more expensive than in non-feature sections.

What is double depth?2022-03-11T10:09:15-05:00

Many cemeteries either allow for the burial of two caskets in a grave or have specific sections where this type of grave is available. Double depth just means that one casket is placed in the grave at an approximate depth of seven feet. When a second interment is required, the second casket is placed on top of the first casket at standard depth.

What happens when a cemetery runs out of land?2022-03-11T10:09:03-05:00

When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community. Since more and more individuals and families are purchasing their graves in advance, graves which have been sold will be opened when a death occurs, markers will be placed and other services will be provided. Most states have laws that require funds to be set aside from each sale for the long-term care and maintenance of the cemetery. The amount to be set aside varies from state to state. Many states require 10 or 15 percent of the lot purchase price to be placed into an endowment care fund.

Can we dig our own grave to avoid the charge for opening and closing?2022-03-11T10:06:14-05:00

The actual opening of the grave and closing of the grave is just one component of the opening and closing fee. Because of safety issues which arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property and the protection of property of adjacent interment rights holders, the actual opening and closing of the grave is conducted by cemetery grounds personnel.

What is opening and closing, and why is it so expensive?2022-03-11T10:05:53-05:00

Opening and closing fees can include 50 or more separate services provided by the cemetery.

Why is having a place to visit so important?2022-03-11T10:56:07-05:00

Because it provides a focal point for memorializing the deceased. To remember, and be remembered, are natural human needs. Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture. The Washington Monument, Tomb of the Unknowns and Vietnam “Wall” in Washington, D.C., are examples of memorialization which demonstrate that, throughout our history, we have always honored our dead.

If I’m going to be cremated, why would I want my remains to be placed in a columbarium or interred or scattered at a cemetery?2022-03-11T10:05:16-05:00

As long as it is permitted by local regulations, your cremated remains can be scattered in a place that is meaningful to you. This can, however, present difficulties for your survivors. Some people may find it hard to simply pour the mortal remains of a loved one out onto the ground or into the sea. If you wish to be scattered somewhere, it is therefore important to discuss your wishes ahead of time with the person or persons who will actually have to do the scattering. Another difficulty with scattering can occur when the remains are disposed of in an anonymous, unmarked or public place.

What options are available besides ground burial?2022-03-11T10:04:52-05:00

Besides ground burial, many cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums. In addition, some cemeteries provide choices for those who have selected cremation. These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or interment in an urn space. Many cemeteries now provide for scattering of the remains in a garden set aside for that purpose, which can include a plaque memorializing the deceased.

How do I choose the right type of grave?2022-03-11T10:04:30-05:00

Because it is an important question, many things must be considered. What type of memorial do you prefer? A marker set flat on the ground? An upright monument? How many burials do you expect to take place? Are you arranging for yourself or your family? How much do you want to spend? Answers to these types of questions will assist you to make the right purchase as graves vary by size, location and by price.

What are my choices in ground burial?2022-03-11T10:04:16-05:00

Most common are single graves and lots composed of two or more graves. Not all types of graves are available at all cemeteries. Please check with the cemetery of your choice for availability of specific graves.

What are the principal types of cemeteries, and how do they differ?2022-03-11T10:04:03-05:00

Cemeteries usually are divided into two broad categories: traditional cemeteries and memorial parks or gardens. A traditional cemetery, the type used for many generations, has upright monuments, usually made of stone. Many traditional cemeteries also have private mausoleums for above-ground interment. Because many have functioned in their communities for over 100 years, traditional cemeteries typically contain a great deal of history, such as architecture, statuary and other art, as well as the personages interred there. They often feature lush landscaping and impressive greenery.

Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?2022-03-11T10:03:47-05:00

No, embalming is not required for burial. It is your choice. It may depend on such factors as whether the family has selected a public viewing with an open casket; or to enhance the deceased’s appearance for a private family viewing; if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the burial.

Must I purchase a burial vault?2022-03-11T10:08:12-05:00

In most areas of the country, state or local law does not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink. Either a graveliner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.

What are burial vaults and grave liners?2022-03-11T10:07:34-05:00

These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket, and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass. A graveliner is a lightweight version of a vault which simply keeps the grave surface from sinking in.

May I make all the necessary arrangements in advance?2022-03-11T09:56:38-05:00

Yes, usually all arrangements may be made in advance. When you plan ahead, you will be able to consider the many options available. You will have the opportunity to make an informed decision about your funeral and cemetery arrangements, and the form of memorial you prefer. You will be able to make choices that are meaningful to both you and your family, and you will gain peace of mind knowing your family and friends will be relieved of the emotional and financial burden often associated with making arrangements when a death occurs.

How soon after or long after a death must and individual be buried?2022-03-11T10:02:47-05:00

This may vary by state so check with your local funeral director. Considerations include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site and religious considerations. For example, Orthodox Judaism requires that the body be interred within 24 hours of death. Some states have limitations on the maximum length of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. Consult your local funeral provider for any applicable regulations.

Cremation

Do all religions permit cremation?2022-03-11T10:57:01-05:00

Some religions prefer cremation; some do not recommend the practice; most permit you to choose. Should you have any questions or concerns, we suggest you speak with a member of your clergy, or contact your local prearrangement provider.

How big of a price difference is there with cremation compared to standard ground burial?2022-03-11T10:56:40-05:00

The cost depends on the type of permanent memorial, location of the memorial, urn and placement selected.

Can I take the cremated remains home?2022-03-11T10:56:27-05:00

Yes. The remains are normally placed in an urn. Most families select an urn that is suitable for placement on a mantle or shelf. Urns are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials.

If I am cremated, can I be buried with my spouse even if he or she was in a casket?2022-03-11T10:55:29-05:00

Yes — Depending upon the cemetery’s policy, you may be able to save a grave space by having the cremains buried on top of your casketed spouse, or utilize the space provided next to him/her. Many cemeteries allow for multiple cremains to be interred in a single grave space.

If I’m going to be cremated, why would I want my remains to be placed in a columbarium, or interred or scattered at the cemetery?2022-03-11T10:54:55-05:00

As long as it is permitted by local regulations, your cremated remains can be scattered in a place that is meaningful to you. This can, however, present difficulties for your survivors. Some people may find it hard to simply pour the mortal remains of a loved one out onto the ground or into the sea. If you wish to be scattered somewhere, it is therefore important to discuss your wishes ahead of time with the person or persons who will actually have to do the scattering. Another difficulty with scattering can occur when the remains are disposed of in an anonymous, unmarked or public place.

What is memorialization for a cremation?2022-03-11T10:53:09-05:00

You might choose ground burial of the urn. If so, you may usually choose either a bronze memorial or monument. Also available at many cemeteries are cremation niches in columbariums. They offer the beauty of a mausoleum setting with the benefits of above ground placement of remains. Many cemeteries also offer scattering gardens. This area of a cemetery offers the peacefulness of a serene garden where family and friends can come and reflect.

Can I scatter the remains on private property?2022-03-11T10:52:56-05:00

Yes, with permission of the owner.

What can be done with the cremated remains?2022-03-11T10:52:38-05:00

With cremation, your options are numerous. The cremains can be interred in a cemetery plot, i.e., earth burial, retained by a family member, usually in an urn, scattered on private property, or at a place that was significant to the deceased. (It would always be advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place.) Cremation is just one step in the commemorative process– the preparation of the human remains for memorialization. Today, there are many different types of memorial options from which to choose.

Can we have the service before or after the cremation?2022-03-11T10:52:23-05:00

It’s completely a matter of family preference. Many times when a family is split regarding the decision to cremate, a compromise may be achieved by having a traditional service first – to be followed by cremation.

Do I have to make different funeral arrangements if I chose cremation?2022-03-11T10:52:01-05:00

It really depends entirely on how you wish to commemorate a life. One of the advantages of cremation is that it provides you with increased flexibility when you make your funeral and cemetery arrangements. You might, for example, choose to have a funeral service before the cremation; a memorial service at the time of cremation or after the cremation with the urn present; or a committal service at the final disposition of cremated remains. Funeral or memorial services can be held in a place of worship, a funeral home or in a crematorium chapel.

Is cremation a substitution for a funeral?2022-03-11T10:51:44-05:00

No, cremation is simply a method of preparing human remains for final disposition.

Do all funeral homes and cemeteries have a crematory?2022-03-11T10:51:27-05:00

No – actually only a small percentage of cremation service providers have their own cremation units.

Can I watch the cremation?2022-03-11T10:51:09-05:00

Arrangements can usually be made through the Cremation Authorization Form for relatives or representatives of the deceased to witness the cremation.

Can I bring my own urn?2022-03-11T10:50:56-05:00

Yes — It would be advisable that you discuss this situation with your cremation provider prior to the cremation. The size of your urn will be of great importance if you plan to have your loved one’s entire cremated body included in this container.

Can a casket be rented instead of a purchased when choosing cremation?2022-03-11T10:50:43-05:00

Many funeral homes offer a hardwood ceremonial casket for viewing or funeral services prior to cremation. The ceremonial (or rental) casket is specifically designed to provide a very aesthetically pleasing, affordable and environmentally prudent alternative to purchasing a casket for a cremation service.

Are there special cremation caskets?2022-03-11T10:50:21-05:00

There is a choice of very affordable cremation caskets that are completely combustible. The selection includes options from a plain cardboard container to a hardwood casket.

Is a casket required for cremation?2022-03-11T10:50:08-05:00

No. For sanitary reasons, ease of placement and dignity, many cremations require that the deceased be cremated in a combustible, leak proof, rigid, covered container. This does not need to be a casket as such. What is required is an enclosed, rigid, container made of wood or other combustible material to allow for the dignified handling of human remains.

Is embalming necessary for cremation?2022-03-11T10:49:14-05:00

No. It is your choice. It may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public viewing of the body with an open casket, or to enhance the deceased’s appearance for a private family viewing; if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the cremation.

Why is refrigeration of the remains necessary?2022-03-11T10:48:55-05:00

Due to the irreversible nature of cremation, most states require a waiting period before the actual process may begin. Refrigeration is the only alternative available, other than embalming, that will retard tissue decomposition. Refrigeration is a necessity that protects family and friends, the crematory operator and the general public from potential health hazards.

Is it true that the bones are crushed after cremation? I’ve heard you don’t get ashes back – what do you get?2022-03-11T10:48:39-05:00

A complete cremation is a two-step process. Firstly, the actual exposure of the deceased to several hours of intense heat and flame; after which the remains are mostly ash except for certain bone fragments, then the entire remaining ash and fragment volume is gathered and run through a processor, creating a uniform powder-like texture.

Is any other preparation required prior to cremation?2022-03-11T10:48:09-05:00

It is essential that pacemakers and other medical devices be removed prior to cremation. They may explode when subjected to high temperature, which can be hazardous to crematorium staff and equipment. In addition, any special mementos, such as jewelry, will be destroyed during the cremation process. Anything you wish to keep should be removed by the funeral director before the casket or container is transferred to the crematorium.

When after death can cremation take place?2022-03-11T10:47:54-05:00

Because cremation is an irreversible process and because the process itself will eliminate any ability to determine exact cause of death, many states require that each cremation be authorized by the coroner or medical examiner. Some states have specific minimum time limits that must elapse before cremation may take place. Your local funeral service provider can advise you of applicable regulations, if any.

Is the body exposed to an open flame during the cremation process?2022-03-11T10:47:40-05:00

Yes, the body is exposed to direct heat and flame. Cremation is performed by placing the deceased in a casket or other container and then placing the casket or container into a cremation chamber or retort, where they are subjected to intense heat and flame.

Are cremations done individually?2022-03-11T10:47:27-05:00

Yes. Laws require that only one casket or container is cremated at a time.

How long does it take to cremate a body?2022-03-11T10:47:10-05:00

Cremating at the optimum temperature (1400 – 1800 degrees), the average weighted remains takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Several more hours may be required before the cremated remains are available to the family.

How hot does the creator get?2022-03-11T10:46:53-05:00

Although there are several manufacturers of cremation units, the optimum temperature range is 1400 degrees to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.

What happens during the creation process?2022-03-11T10:46:19-05:00

The casket or container is placed in the cremation chamber, where the temperature is raised to approximately 1400 degrees to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. After approximately, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, all organic matter is consumed by heat or evaporation. The residue which is left is bone fragments, known as cremated remains. The cremated remains are then carefully removed from the cremation chamber. Any metal is removed with a magnet and later disposed of in an approved manner.

What is a columbarium?2022-03-11T10:54:28-05:00

A columbarium, often located within a mausoleum or chapel, sometimes free-standing, either indoor or outdoor, is constructed of numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.

Why is having a place to visit so important?2022-03-11T10:56:07-05:00

Because it provides a focal point for memorializing the deceased. To remember, and be remembered, are natural human needs. Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture. The Washington Monument, Tomb of the Unknowns and Vietnam “Wall” in Washington, D.C., are examples of memorialization which demonstrate that, throughout our history, we have always honored our dead.

Prearrangement & Pre-Financing

Can social services take my pre-arrangements away from me?2022-03-11T10:45:19-05:00

Take away? No. Challenge the amount being set aside to pay for an expensive funeral? Yes. Funds set aside to pay for a reasonable funeral arrangement are not counted as assets as one qualifies for social services. Your local funeral director can provide counsel regarding the amount local social services agencies consider reasonable and customary to spend on a funeral.

Is there a pre-payment penalty for paying off these arrangements in advance?2022-03-11T10:45:00-05:00

It’s not uncommon to have a small processing fee associated with an early payment, but it should not be construed as a “penalty.” In the long run, there is usually a good amount of money to be saved by paying off early. Of course, funding agreements vary. Please be sure to check the terms of your (or your proposed) funding agreement for details.

What if your funeral home or cemetery changes ownership?2022-03-11T10:44:40-05:00

Prior contractual agreements are not voided simply because a change of ownership occurs. The funeral planning agreement you have with the prior ownership is carried forward with successor owners as part of the purchase agreement.

Can I change any of these prepaid funeral services later?2022-03-11T10:44:21-05:00

Changes are generally possible, but be careful. When changes are made, they oftentimes affect the terms of guarantees that were created under the original agreement. In the event funds paid toward a funeral plan are excludable resources for purposes of receiving social services (SSI or Medicaid), changing the terms of that agreement could jeopardize one’s qualification for assistance. It is not recommended that irrevocably assigned funeral plans be changed in any way.

If I prepay my funeral, what happens to the interest that my money earns?2022-03-11T10:44:02-05:00

If you have a prearranged funeral or burial agreement that is comprised of items that are guaranteed to be performed by the funeral home or cemetery at no additional cost to you, the interest (or growth if a life insurance policy) is retained by the funeral home/cemetery to offset the rising costs of those specified goods and services over time. That’s the value of prearranging and prefunding at today’s costs!

If I pre-plan and prepay my funeral or burial, how do I know that the money will be there when I die?2022-03-11T10:43:44-05:00

If you decide to prepay your funeral or burial prearrangements, there are generally two methods to assure the funeral home’s and/or cemetery’s performance. Your money is either used toward a premium to purchase life insurance whereby the policy proceeds will pay for your arrangements, or your funds — either the entire amount or a portion of them — will be deposited into a trust fund account to defray the provider’s costs.

Why should I prearrange my funeral or burial?2022-03-11T10:43:25-05:00

When you plan ahead, you will be able to compare the many options available. You will be able to compare the services, the products and the prices among different companies. You will have the opportunity to make an informed decision about your funeral and cemetery arrangements, and the form of memorial you prefer. You will be able to make choices that are meaningful to both you and your family, and you will gain peace of mind knowing your family and friends will be relieved of the emotional and financial burden often associated with making arrangements when a death occurs.

Grief

What other types of grief resources are available?2022-03-11T11:05:28-05:00

Links to a variety of useful resources can be found at the websites of: The Association for Death Education and Counseling; Mental Health Matters; Deeper Still – Hope For Those Who Grieve. Also, additional helpful resources on dealing with grief are available through the ICCFA Store.

How can I deal with the death of a loved one?2022-03-11T11:04:43-05:00

Bereavement is a powerful, life-changing experience that most people find overwhelming the first time. Although grief is a natural process of human life, most of us are not inherently able to manage it alone. At the same time, others are often unable to provide aid or insight because of discomfort with the situation and the desire to avoid making things worse. The following passage explains how some of our “normal” assumptions about grief may make it more difficult to deal with.

How can I help an adult friend or family member deal with the death of a loved one?2022-03-11T11:04:27-05:00

Someone you know may be experiencing grief- perhaps the loss of a loved one, perhaps another type of loss – and you want to help. The fear of making things worse may encourage you to do nothing. Yet you do not wish to appear to be uncaring. Remember that it is better to try to do something, inadequate as you may feel, than to do nothing at all. Don’t attempt to sooth or stifle the emotions of the griever. Tears and anger are an important part of the healing process. Grief is not a sign of weakness. It is the result of a strong relationship and deserves the honor of strong emotion.

How can I help a child deal with the death of a loved one?2022-03-11T11:04:12-05:00

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. Adults may not view a child behavior as grief as it is often demonstrated in behavioral patterns which we misunderstand and do not appear to us to be grief such as “moody,” “cranky,” or “withdrawn.” When a death occurs children need to be surrounded by feelings of warmth, acceptance and understanding. This may be a tall order to expect of the adults who are experiencing their own grief and upset.

Embalming

Is embalming a requirement?2022-03-11T11:03:48-05:00

It may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public or private viewing of the body with an open casket; if the body is going to be transported by air or rail; or because of the length of time prior to the burial or cremation.

Regarding embalming, what are my rights as a consumer?2022-03-11T11:03:32-05:00

According to the Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule, all funeral homes are required to get permission to embalm. If you select a funeral service which requires embalming, such as a funeral with a viewing, you may have to pay for embalming. You are not required to have embalming if you selected arrangements such as direct cremation or immediate burial. If a funeral home charges for embalming, they must explain why in writing.

What really is embalming?2022-03-11T11:03:17-05:00

Embalming is a temporary preservation of a dead human person. This process is accomplished by a surgical-like technique of injecting chemical solutions into the deceased’s vascular system, thus producing a natural life-like appearance. This process dramatically retards tissue decomposition creating a time frame for a viewing and/or funeral service.

Organ Donation

Why is there such a shortage of organ donors?2022-03-11T11:06:02-05:00

When a death occurs, doctors rely on the wishes expressed by the deceased’s family, whether or not the person wanted to be a donor. Even if the deceased had a signed card, expressing his or her wish to be a donor, the decision is still left up to the family

According to a Gallup poll, 96 percent of those interviewed said they would be likely to donate their organs after death, though 48 percent had never discussed these wishes with their families. Family discussion is an essential part of organ donation.

If you have a complaint or need specific information, please contact the Cemetery Manager directly. Our experience as well as that of other groups such as the Better Business Bureaus and government agencies is that problems are often settled promptly when families simply call the cemetery.

If you have any questions, call the Cemetery Consumer Service Council at 800.645.7700.

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