Q: WHAT CAN BE DONE PRIOR TO DEATH OCCURRING?
A: Record your wishes, advise family members (specifically the legal next of kin) and even pre-arrange your funeral with the funeral home of your choice.
Q: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A FUNERAL?
A: Funerals are an important step in the grieving process, as well as an opportunity to honor a life lived. They offer surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to share thoughts and feelings about the death. Often funerals are the first step in the healing process.
Q: WHAT ROLE DOES THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR FILL?
A: Funeral directors are there to help you through a very difficult time in your life. They are listeners and counselors, tribute planners and crisis managers. Through discussions with you, based on information you share about your wishes and details about your loved one, they are able to offer guidance and help you coordinate a very personal tribute that honors the life of your loved one. Your local NFDA funeral director at Heritage Funeral Home can guide you through planning the service; complete necessary paperwork; and coordinate doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and other vendors to make your funeral experience as seamless as possible. But they also listen to your stories about your loved one, answer your questions on grief, link you to support groups and recommend sources of professional help. By acting as an experienced source for support and guidance, a professional, ethical funeral director can provide you with relief during one of your greatest times of need.
Q: HOW DO PEOPLE SELECT A FUNERAL DIRECTOR?
A: Reasons include reputation, availability or cost services. The manner in which a funeral director serves families is readily known in most communities. If you need a funeral director and for some reason do not know one, the reference of a relative or friend is one wise way to make a decision. The best way is to know in advance whom you would select and then visit the funeral home, examine the facilities, ask about prices and understand the ways in which your needs will be served. Consider all alternatives and consult several different firms/organizations to compare costs. After determining where to call, be prepared to ask questions concerning all aspects of funeral arrangements. Checking on prices can also be done at anytime, either prior to or following death. If price is a concern, you may want to visit with several funeral homes to compare prices.
Q: IS IT POSSIBLE TO PLAN A FUNERAL IN ADVANCE?
A: NFDA recommends that everyone preplan his or her own funeral. Doing so can offer emotional and financial security for both you and your family. By preplanning a funeral you will get the kind of service you want and your family will be unburdened from making decisions at a stressful time. Preplanning doesn’t necessarily mean prepaying. If you are considering preplanning your funeral, please contact Heritage Funeral Home, your local NFDA funeral home, for more information.
Q: CAN I STILL HAVE A FUNERAL SERVICE IF I CHOOSE CREMATION?
A: Yes. Cremation opens the doors to a number of different funeral options. From traditional services to contemporary celebrations, cremation gives you the flexibility to personalize the services for yourself or a loved one. To learn more about cremation, please visit contact Heritage Funeral Home.
Q: WHAT DETERMINES THE COST OF A FUNERAL?
A: You and your family do. A funeral can be as extravagant or as simple as you desire. Preplanning your funeral can help control costs. By making decisions ahead of time, you avoid making choices at a time when your emotions are heightened. It also provides an opportunity to set aside funds that can be used to pay for part or all of the future service. Your local funeral director at Heritage Funeral Home can work with you to design a personalized tribute that meets your financial needs.
Q: WHY ARE FUNERALS SO EXPENSIVE?
A: When compared to other major life cycle events, like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. 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. The statistics below may be helpful in assessing the true economic picture of a funeral home:
Firm in business for 63 years
Average calls/year 167
BEFORE tax profit 11.3%
(Source: 1995 NFDA Survey of Funeral Home Operations)
Q: HOW MUCH DOES A FUNERAL COST?
A: In 1998 the charge for an adult, full-service funeral, was $5,020. This includes a professional service charge, transfer-of remains, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, limousine, and casket. The casket included in this price was an 18-gauge steel casket with velvet interior which may or may not be the most common casket chosen. Vault, cemetery and monument charges are additional. (Source: 1999 NFDA Survey of Funeral Home Operations)
Q: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF EMBALMING?
A: Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards 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 comforting to them.
Q: WHY HAVE A PUBLIC VIEWING?
A: 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.
Q: WHAT IS DONE WITH CREMATED REMAINS?
A: Cremated remains may be disposed of in a number of ways: privately scattered, scattered at sea, scattered by airplane in unpopulated areas, interred in a cemetery, placed in a niche in a columbarium, or kept by the family in their home. It is recommended that you ask permission from land owners before scattering ashes on property that you do not own.
Q: CAN A FAMILY BURY ITS OWN DEAD WITHOUT USING A LICENSED FUNERAL DIRECTOR?
A: Yes. What is legally required is the filing of a death certificate. In cases of cremation a "Coroner's Cremation Authorization" is also required. Families may bury their own dead so long as they are able to file the appropriate paperwork and comply with all state, federal and local health laws. Remember that there are additional requirements in cases involving infectious/contagious diseases.
If you are considering burial or scattering of ashes on property that you do not own, please consider the following:
Check with city/county officials to see if there are any local ordinances regarding burial on non-cemetery property. Check with the land owner (private or public) to ask permission to use their property (written permission/authorization.)
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE DEATH OCCURS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT OR ON THE WEEKEND?
A: Most Funeral Directors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Q: WILL SOMEONE COME RIGHT AWAY?
A: If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it's acceptable. They will come when your time is right.
Q: IF A LOVED ONE DIES OUT OF STATE, CAN THE LOCAL FUNERAL HOME STILL HELP?
A: Yes, they can assist you with out-of-state arrangements, either to transfer the remains to another state or from another state.
Q: IS IT RIGHT TO MAKE A PROFIT FROM DEATH?
A: Funeral directors look upon their profession as a service, but it is also a business. Like any business, funeral homes must make a profit to exist. As long as the profit is reasonable and the services rendered are necessary, complete, and satisfactory to the family, profit is legitimate.