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Common Questions

We have heard thousands of questions, and chosen to provide you with the answers to some of the more common questions relating to a funeral, a funeral service and funeral homes. If you have further questions related to funerals, please contact us and we will do our best to give you the most reliable information possible.

1. What is a funeral?
2. What type of service should I have?
3. Can I personalize my funeral service?
4. Why should we have a public viewing?
5. Why do we need an obituary notice?
6. What do funeral directors do?
7. What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
8. What should I do if the death occurs while away from home?
9. What is the purpose of embalming?
10. Is embalming required by law?
11. Is cremation substitute for a funeral?
12. Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
13. Is cremation as a means of disposition increasing?
14. Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?
15. How much does a funeral cost?
16. Has this cost increased significantly?
17. Why are funerals so expensive?

Question #1What is a funeral?
Answer:The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn.  It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect and grief.  It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis that death may present.  Through the funeral, the bereaved take that first step towards emotional adjustment to their loss.

Question #2What type of service should I have?
Answer:Only you can answer that question.  The type of service conducted for the deceased, if not noted in a pre-plan, is decided by the family.  The service is usually held at a place of worship or at the funeral home.  The service may vary in ritual according to religious denomination or the wishes of the family.  The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgement of friendship and support.  A private service is by invitation only where selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service.  A memorial service is usually a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the family's community and religious affiliations.

Question #3Can I personalize my funeral service?
Answer:Absolutely, in fact, we recommend it.  After all, the funeral is a celebration of life.  Funeral directors are happy to discuss all options and ensure your funeral is tailored to your wishes.  It may be personalized in many unique ways. Contact us at (888) 474-9574 to explore the possibilities.

Question #4Why should we have a public viewing?
Answer:There are many reasons to view the deceased.  It is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions, and many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process, by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death.  Viewing is even encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire to do so, and the process is explained well.

Question #5Why do we need an obituary notice?
Answer:It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held.  A notice can be placed in a local newspaper, or on the Internet.

Question #6What do funeral directors do?
Answer:Funeral directors are both caregivers and administrators.  In their administrative duties, 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.

As caregivers, 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 at the funeral home or in the community.

Question #7What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Answer:We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All you need to do is place a call to us at (888) 474-9574.  If you request immediate assistance, one of our professionals will be there within the hour.  If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it's acceptable.  Then they will come when your time is right.

Question #8What should I do if the death occurs while away from home?
Answer:Your funeral director can assist you if a death occurs anywhere on the globe.  Contact your hometown funeral director of choice immediately.  They will assume responsibility and coordinate the arrangements for the return of the deceased person to their community.  They may engage the services of a funeral director in the place of death who will act as their agent.

Question #9What is the purpose of embalming?
Answer:Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness.  It 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.  Embalming the body enables mourners to view the deceased if they wish.  The emotional benefits of viewing the deceased are enormous, particularly to those having difficulty dealing with the death.

Question #10Is embalming required by law?
Answer:No.  But, certain factors of time, health and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary.  Please note that embalming may be required if the deceased is being transported by air to another country where local laws need to be observed.

Question #11Is cremation substitute for a funeral?
Answer:No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service.  We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.

Question #12Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
Answer:Yes.  Cremation does not preclude having a visitation period and a funeral service.  Cremation is simply one option for final disposition of the body.

Question #13Is cremation as a means of disposition increasing?
Answer:Yes, but not dramatically.

Question #14Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?
Answer: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.

Question #15How much does a funeral cost?
Answer:Funerals can cost as little as $1000 for a direct disposition.  (Direct disposition includes registering the death, a basic casket or container, and transporting the deceased to a cemetery or crematorium)  For an adult, full-service funeral, consumers choose to spend an average of $6000. This includes all professional services, including transfer-of remains, embalming, and other preparation; use of viewing facilities and the facilities for the ceremony; hearse, limousine, and the purchase of a casket.

Question #16Has this cost increased significantly?
Answer:Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items.

Question #17Why are funerals so expensive?
Answer:In some respects, funerals are a lot like weddings or birthday celebrations.  The type and cost will vary according to the tastes and budget of the consumer.

Not only that, 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.

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Obituaries & Tributes

It is not always possible to pay respects in person, so we hope that this small token will help.


Dying is one of the few events in life that's certain to occur, yet one we rarely plan for. Should we spend more time preparing for a two week vacation than we do our last days on Earth?

Expressions of Sympathy

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