FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why should I plan a funeral for my loved one?
A funeral or memorial is a customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are held for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process. They also give mourners a chance to share stories, create memories, fulfill religious beliefs & customs, participate in a support system, and gather at a peaceful place during a time of confusion and uncertainty.
What tasks are involved in arranging a funeral?
Obtain the signature of the attending physician, coroner or medical examiner on the required certificate; file the certificate with the registrar of vital statistics where the death occurred.
Ensure compliance with government regulators
Transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home (local or out of town)
Obtain family history
Make decisions regarding the remains of the deceased
Determine the budget (if funeral has not been pre-arranged)
Determine the funeral or memorial service location(s), such as church, chapel, or graveside
Plan for a viewing/visitation and determine open or closed casket
Choose the final resting place (cemetery, mausoleum, private land, etc.)
Make necessary arrangements with clergy, church and cemetery officials
Obtain certified copies of the death certificate, as necessary
Procure the burial permit and file with the cemetery
Select and purchase the casket, outer burial container or urn
Select a monument/marker
Order and schedule the delivery of all products/merchandise
Compose and submit newspaper and other media notices
Choose clothing & jewelry
Select poems, scripture, readings
Select music: taped, live musicians, etc.
Arrange for transportation of the deceased
Secure flower/equipment trucks, as necessary
Purchase acknowledgment cards, register books, memorial folders, etc.
Purchase a door wreath & flowers
Arrange for family transportation
Complete social security papers and secure social security benefits
Secure Veterans benefits (if applicable)
Secure life insurance benefits (if applicable)
Contact insurance agents
Complete accounting, clerical and filing work
Answer telephone calls
Notify other organizations that your loved one participated in
Deliver flowers to local nursing homes, hospitals etc. following the funeral
What is the role of a funeral director?
Funeral directors are caregivers, advisors, and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, complete all necessary paperwork, and carry out the wishes of the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the deceased. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death, are trained to answer questions about grief, and can recommend sources of professional help.
Who should be included in the gathering or ceremony?
Family, close friends, co-workers, fellow worshippers, neighbors & acquaintances, and in some cases, the greater community.
What costs are associated with funerals?
The cost of a funeral includes all the services of a funeral director (see task list above), merchandise, such as caskets and urns, and transportation. Other costs may apply. In general, funeral homes make only a modest profit.
Some people cannot afford basic funeral services. Is financial aid available to the poor?
Other than the family, there are veteran, union, and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals, including, in certain instances, a lump sum death payment from Social Security. In most states, some form of public aid allowances are available from either the state, county, city, or a combination. Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them.