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FAQs

Answers to common questions about funerals and cremation.

 

What does it cost to bury a person in a cemetery?

What does it cost to bury a person in a cemetery?

First is the purchase price of the "right to use" the burial plot (unlike a real estate purchase, where you buy the land and all the structures on it; here you are only purchasing what is called the "interment rights" to the land). In addition, there are fees for the "opening" and "closing" of the gravesite; and any fees required to obtain the necessary permits and to maintain cemetery files and records. In addition, there's the fee for the use of any special equipment (such as a casket-lowering device); as well as the costs for any other services or items purchased. There's also the headstone or grave marker installation fee, and a one-time "perpetual care" fee paid to ensure your loved one's burial site continues to be well-maintained.

Does my loved one have to be embalmed prior to burial?

Does my loved one have to be embalmed prior to burial?

This is a question we hear a lot. Many funeral homes suggest (and may even go so far as to require) embalming if you're planning a viewing or visitation. That's because they want the experience to be as good as it can be for those in attendance, and proper embalming can ensure the deceased looks as good as possible. But as a general rule, embalming is not necessary or legally required if the body is cared for in a relatively short amount of time. Please contact us for specific state or local requirements.

How much will a casket cost?

How much will a casket cost?

The Federal Trade Commission states that average casket costs around $2,000. If you are concerned about casket costs, speak with your funeral director who can advise you on the most appropriate casket for your situation and your budget.

What is a burial vault, and why do I need to buy one?

What is a burial vault, and why do I need to buy one?

Today, modern cemetery grounds are well-groomed, with vast expanses of green grass. A burial vault protects this pristine view, ensuring there is no sign of burial plots "settling". Certainly the vault also protects the casket; but the primary role of a burial vault is to protect the beauty of the cemetery environment.

What's involved in a cemetery burial?

What's involved in a cemetery burial?

If your loved one has not made previous arrangements for their burial, leaving you to pick the location of their interment, the first thing you'll need to do involves the selection of the cemetery and burial location within the grounds. You'll also choose the most suitable casket and burial vault, and provide us with the clothing you'd like your loved one to wear (and any 'special items' you'd like us to place in the casket) . Once payment is made, the date and time of interment is agreed upon. At that time, the cemetery grounds keepers will take care of the "opening" and "closing" of the grave and the proper placement of the casket in the burial vault.

Do I have to buy a headstone or grave marker?

Do I have to buy a headstone or grave marker?

The cemetery will put a temporary identification marker on your loved one's grave, but it is only intended as a placeholder until a permanent headstone or grave marker is set in place. Without one, your loved one's burial site will, when this temporary marker becomes illegible or is somehow removed, appear "unmarked".

Where do I purchase a headstone or grave marker?

Where do I purchase a headstone or grave marker?

We, and the cemetery where your loved one will be interred, have strong working relationships with trusted monument companies. When you are ready to order a granite headstone or bronze grave marker, we will come together to orchestrate its selection, manufacture and placement. Speak with your funeral director to get the details.

What is "direct burial"?

What is "direct burial"?

When we make arrangements for the direct burial of an individual, we are expediting their interment. There will be no funeral, memorial service or celebration-of-life; instead, we provide the physical care of the deceased (perhaps embalming their body, but certainly dressing and casketing) and then escort the casket to the cemetery for immediate burial.

Is direct burial right for our situation?

Is direct burial right for our situation?

It's very hard to know without having the opportunity to speak with you. Direct burial works well when there are few mourners or if your loved one's wishes were for a simple interment. It's done quickly and professionally, without ceremony of any kind. With that said, what do you think? Does direct burial feel like the right course of action for you? Speak with a funeral professional to further explore the idea.

What services do you provide when I choose direct burial?

What services do you provide when I choose direct burial?

Your funeral director will complete and file the death certificate, obtain signatures on any required permits or authorizations, helps you select a cemetery in which to inter your loved one, as well as a casket and burial vault. He or she will oversee the physical care of the deceased: they will be dressed in clothes you've provided (or purchased from us), casketed, and then escorted to the cemetery for immediate burial. This same individual will witness the burial and provide you with copies of all pertinent papers for safekeeping.

What is a graveside service?

What is a graveside service?

Rather than having a service in a church or funeral home chapel, and then adjourning to the cemetery for the burial, some families choose to gather solely at the cemetery. There, they are led through a ceremony prepared by a clergy person or celebrant and witness the in-ground committal of their loved one's casket. If the idea of a graveside service appeals to you, speak with your funeral director about your options.

What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?

What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?

Some of the things you'll discuss with your funeral director involve purchases made from outside vendors, and you will be asked to pay for those items at the time of the arrangement conference. One of the most common is the fee charged by a newspaper to print your loved one's obituary. Another cash advance charge could be for clergy or musician's fees, floral arrangements, reception necessities, such as food/beverage or facility rental. Your funeral director will provide you with a detailed invoice for all cash advance item.

When do I pay for a funeral service?

When do I pay for a funeral service?

The exact answer to this question largely depends upon the services, products and cemetery you've selected; but a good rule of thumb is to expect to pay at the time the service contract is signed (at the time of the arrangement conference, or soon afterwards). Speak with your funeral director to learn more.

Who will write my loved one's obituary?

Who will write my loved one's obituary?

We're tempted to answer this with another question: who would you like to write it? Perhaps you'd like to ask a friend or family member to do so, or maybe you're thinking it's something you would like to do. Or perhaps you'd rather turn the duty over to your funeral director. He or she is experienced in obituary writing, and would be delighted to relieve you of the task; so don't hesitate to ask them to craft a suitable obituary.

Should we request memorial donations instead of flowers?

Should we request memorial donations instead of flowers?

We don't like to use the word "should" when we speak to families about this issue. So the question becomes one of assessing your heart's desire: what do you really want? Then there's the question of your deceased loved one's wishes; exactly what would he or she think or feel? Most commonly we advise families to offer their community as many caring options as possible; some will send flowers, some will send donations, and some will even do both.

How long must we wait after their death before we can cremate our loved one?

How long must we wait after their death before we can cremate our loved one?

Unlike burial, cremation is irreversible. This requires us to be extra diligent in obtaining cremation authorization from the legally identified next-of-kin, as well as those from any necessary agencies (such as the medical examiner). During these 48-72 hours (depending on state mandated requirements), the deceased will be held in a secure, refrigerated environment.

How much will I have to pay for the cremation?

How much will I have to pay for the cremation?

When you enter into a discussion with us about the cost of your loved one's cremation, whether on the phone or in person, we are legally obligated to share our General Price List, or GPL, with you. That list details the actual cost of our cremation services, which is a combination of our basic professional services fee, the fee charged by the crematory for the use of their facilities, and any additional charges related to the transportation and safekeeping of the deceased prior to the cremation. It is impossible for us to quote an accurate cost for cremation here; we urge you to speak candidly about cremation costs with your funeral professional.

Can I participate in the cremation?

Can I participate in the cremation?

The answer to this question is dependent on the specific crematory responsible for the care of your loved one, but generally speaking, the answer is "yes". The degree to which you can participate may differ from crematory to crematory (depending on their facilities). Please speak with your funeral director if this is an issue for you or another family member.

Can I purchase an urn from another source, or must I buy one from you?

Can I purchase an urn from another source, or must I buy one from you?

The FTC's Funeral Rule guides funeral directors in the ethical and fair presentation of funeral service options. The purchase of a cremation urn (or a casket, for that matter) from a second or third party sources is one of the rights it guarantees. Your funeral director cannot prevent you from, nor can they charge you an extra fee for, the purchase of a third-party cremation urn.

What should I do with my loved one's ashes?

What should I do with my loved one's ashes?

There are many things you can do with their ashes–including simply taking them home with you for safekeeping. There may come a time when you know exactly what you'd like to do with them, but it may not be right now. Be patient; the right way to care for them will surface in time. After all, there are a lot of options: scattering them on land or sea is one of the most common, but you can also use the cremated remains in keepsake jewelry or to create meaningful pieces of art. If you're curious about your options, just give us a call. We're happy to share what we know.

If we choose cremation, does my loved one have to be embalmed?

If we choose cremation, does my loved one have to be embalmed?

The short answer is "no", but there are exceptions. Let's say you want to have a viewing or visitation. If that's the case, it may be prudent to embalm your loved one so they look their best for the event. However, with that said, under the FTC's Funeral Rule, we cannot provide embalming services without your permission, and we cannot lead you to believe that embalming is required by law. In addition, we must provide you with written disclosures related to the embalming of your loved one.

How long will it take to cremate my loved one?

How long will it take to cremate my loved one?

While there are a number of determining factors, it generally takes 2 – 2.5 hours for the process. A cool-down period follows, and then the cremated remains are processed for a uniform appearance.

Are people dressed when they are cremated?

Are people dressed when they are cremated?

You'd be surprised how often we hear this question! Some people might choose to be undressed so as to 'go out' the same way they 'came in' to the world; but most of the time, the deceased is dressed in the clothing they've selected prior to their death, or on what was chosen by family members after their passing.

Can we put special items in the cremation casket?

Can we put special items in the cremation casket?

We do our best to accommodate the wishes of surviving family members. Most commonly, families will ask to place notes, children's drawings, or other personal messages of love, but we've certainly had some unusual requests, too. We encourage you to speak with your funeral director to learn the regulations of the specific crematory responsible for your loved one's cremation.

Does this mean we don't need to plan a commemoration service?

Does this mean we don't need to plan a commemoration service?

Certainly not; cremation merely describes the type of physical end-of-life care you intend to provide your loved one. A commemoration service is for the living: the individuals emotionally impacted by the death deserve the same level of compassionate attention. And one of the benefits of cremation comes from the larger window-of-opportunity in which to plan a meaningful celebration-of-life it provides the surviving family members. Your funeral professional can guide you in making all the necessary service arrangements.

What is the difference between a columbarium and a mausoleum?

What is the difference between a columbarium and a mausoleum?

A mausoleum is a free-standing building on the grounds of a local cemetery, which is intended as both a monument as well as the burial location for casketed individuals. A columbarium is the same in purpose, but not in design. Instead of crypt spaces large enough for a full-size casket, it features smaller niche spaces, large enough for one or two cremation urns.

Can you tell us which type of service is right for us?

Can you tell us which type of service is right for us?

We would never presume to tell you which service is best for your loved one. However, your funeral director will be pleased to guide and advise, explaining the differences between service formats (traditional funeral, memorial service and celebration-of-life), with the intention of empowering you to make the right decision for your situation.

What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?

What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?

It's difficult for us to answer this question without knowing the specifics of your proposed cremation arrangements. We can tell you there will most likely be extra charges for anything that involves a second-party purchase, such as the publication of your loved one's obituary in a local newspaper. If you select a decorative cremation urn and would like to personalize it with an engraved nameplate, a small fee may be involved.

What are "cash advance items"?

What are "cash advance items"?

When you arrive to make the necessary cremation service arrangements on behalf of a loved one, we will furnish you with a copy of our General Price List, a section of which discloses the exact price (or a good-faith estimate) of the most commonly-requested "cash advance items". Legally, these items are defined as "any item of service or merchandise...obtained from a third party and paid for by the funeral provider on the purchaser's behalf. Cash advance items may include, but are not limited to: cemetery or crematory services; pallbearers; public transportation; clergy honoraria; flowers; musicians or singers; nurses; obituary notices; gratuities and death certificates."

Why must I pay for these items at the time of arrangement?

Why must I pay for these items at the time of arrangement?

We have to pay for these second-party services or merchandise at the time we make the purchase on your behalf. This requires us to ask for payment for all cash advance items at the time the cremation service contract is agreed to and signed by the responsible family member. For more specific information about our payment policies, please call us to speak with a member of our cremation service professionals staff.

Can we arrange to bury our loved one’s ashes on cemetery grounds?

Can we arrange to bury our loved one’s ashes on cemetery grounds?

Yes, you can. The burial can be in-ground or the cremation urn can be placed in a columbarium niche. Speak with your funeral director to learn more about your specific cremation burial options.

 


 

Whether you need to plan a funeral for a death that has occurred or are seeking to preplan arrangements, our staff is always available to assist you. Please contact us anytime.

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