What do funeral directors do?

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. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups in the community.

I've decided on cremation. Can I still have a funeral or a viewing?

Yes, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. Quite often some sort of viewing precedes the actual cremation. We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.

What determines the cost of a funeral?

The family of the deceased does. The cost is based on the type of service and merchandise you select. A funeral can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. We offer a wide variety of services to choose from. Remember, a funeral home is a 24-hour, labor intensive business with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.) and 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, etc. and seeing to all the necessary details.

What do I do when a death occurs?

Call the funeral home. Our staff is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As soon as the deceased is released to us by a hospital or physician, we will transfer your family member to the funeral home.

What do I do if I am out of town and a death occurs?

If a death occurs when you are away from home, contact your hometown funeral director first. Don't be misled by a stranger saying you have to call a local funeral home right away. We are a phone call away and we work with funeral homes all over the country and abroad that will help us get your family member back home. When you call us directly, there is generally a financial savings because you are not dealing with two different funeral homes.

What can be done about missing documents?

In the event of a death, it is important that a family have quick access to the cemetery deed and military discharge papers, if any. We've always found it wise, therefore, to assure yourself that these papers are readily available.

Can you help us with our insurance claim?

We're here to help. We know that filing insurance claims can be a confusing, time-consuming procedure, and unfamiliar forms are just another added burden. That is the reason that many families ask us if we can assist in handling life insurance policies.

We have claim forms for most insurance companies and we are familiar with how they should be filed. We can make sure that these important benefits are obtained without delay. We know that this is the kind of extra service that families appreciate -- especially in times of stress.

Have government burial allowances been eliminated?

Allowances are still available, but fewer people are entitled to receive them.

Social Security continues to provide a burial allowance payable to the surviving spouse or minor children of a deceased worker. And the Veterans Administration has a number of benefits for those who qualify and apply for them.

For example, those receiving VA pensions or compensation and veterans who die in a VA hospital are qualified. Transportation allowances are provided as well. Other benefits include a grave or urn site, and a memorial marker for the veteran and spouse.

We file all the necessary applications as part of our standard service. And we are always available to answer your questions about specific benefits.

If I choose cremation, must I purchase a casket?

With cremation, the purchase of a casket will depend largely on what services you want performed. Families having services such as a visitation period, funeral mass or other service in church, or other opportunity for family and friends to gather will select a casket. Other families may prefer cremation without any visitation period, church service or other family or public gathering and, in these circumstances, they have the option of cremation with the use of an "alternative container" in place of a casket. The choice is yours.

Is embalming required by law?

Embalming, in nearly all situations, is not required by law. As is the case in most states, however, embalming is required when a reportable contagious disease caused the death or when the remains are to be transported from one state to another by common carrier (airlines, etc.).

Embalming sanitizes and provides temporary preservation of the body, decelerates 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 meaningful to them.

I'm considering cremation, but my family has concerns about it. What choices are there?

Concerns about cremation often come about through misunderstandings and misinformation. When death of a loved one occurs, the family needs and generally wants the time to gather, to experience the support of one another, their faith and the community. Unfortunately, many believe that cremation eliminates all these healthy, supportive opportunities. Cremation is simply the final physical step, just as burial is a final step. A religious service and other cultural traditions and experiences associated with a funeral can and should take place whether burial or cremation is the choice. We offer a range of cremation oriented services which offer the opportunity for family and friends to gather, for clergy to be present, and for the death of a loved one to be marked in an appropriate manner.