Got questions? We have got answers.

  • Is it required by law that a person has to be embalmed?

    Generally, embalming is not required by law. However, many states do require a body to either be embalmed or refrigerated within a certain time period after death has occurred. The funeral home may also have an embalming requirement for certain types of arrangements, such as when there will be a public viewing of the deceased. You always have the option of selecting an immediate disposition arrangement that does not require embalming.

  • Why pre-plan or pre-pay a funeral?

    Pre-planning a funeral allows you the opportunity to select a funeral service that meets your needs and wishes. It eases the burden on your survivors who might not know what your wishes are. Pre-paying a funeral gives you the peace of mind of knowing that the money for your funeral has been set aside. Medicaid allows funds to be set aside for funeral expenses, which is a big consideration when a person must go into a nursing home.

  • What determines the cost of a funeral?

    There is no set number for what a funeral might cost. Funerals are no more expensive than other major life events such as weddings and births. However, happy life events typically do not raise much sensitivity about cost. Funeral homes operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a labor-intensive business with extensive costs for facilities and services. These expenses are factored into the cost of a funeral.

    The cost of a funeral is determined primarily by the type of services and merchandise selected. Your funeral director will provide you with a copy of their General Price List prior to your making any selections. This price list will detail the various types of services available and the cost for each. In addition, if your arrangements involve the selection of a casket or outer burial container, you will be shown the price list for each prior to making a selection.

    Prior to completing the funeral arrangements, your funeral director will prepare an itemized list of all of your selections for services, merchandise and any charges from outside parties that are being paid through the funeral home. Be sure to ask any questions you may have; your funeral director is there to help ensure you are comfortable with your selections.

  • Can I personalize my funeral service?

    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 a Funeral Home near you to explore the possibilities.

  • Why should we have a public viewing?

    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.

  • Why do we need an obituary notice?

    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.

  • What do funeral directors do?

    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.

  • Do I need a funeral director?

    In most states, a licensed funeral director is required to make funeral arrangements and make the final disposition of the body. In addition to providing for the final disposition of human remains, the funeral director is a caregiver, listener and coordinator. As a caregiver, the funeral director helps the survivors make choices regarding the funeral and disposition. The funeral director is trained to listen and help survivors cope with their loss and when necessary, be able to make a referral to other professionals for additional help. An important function of the funeral director is to relieve the survivors of having to make arrangements for a religious or fraternal service, preparing a death notice, ordering flowers and arranging for a burial or cremation.

  • What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

    Usually Funeral Homes are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All you need to do is place a call to a home near you. 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 goodbye, it’s acceptable. Then they will come when your time is right.

  • What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?

    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.

  • Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

    No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body’s final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. A Funeral Home near you can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.

  • Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?

    Yes. Cremation does not preclude having a visitation period and a funeral service. Cremation is simply one option for final disposition of the body.

  • What determines how much a grave space costs?

    Generally, the cost of a grave space is determined by the location in the cemetery and available inventory. Spaces in a more desired location, such as near a water feature or on a hilltop, will cost more than spaces in other locations.

  • What determines the type of grave marker I can purchase?

    The cemetery you select will have policies regarding the type of grave marker that may be placed on the grave. Some allow only markers that are flush with the ground and others will allow an upright monument. There may also be regulations regarding the material from which the marker is constructed. Your cemetery can provide specific information related to marker and monument policies.

  • Why does one casket cost more than the other?

    The cost of the casket is determined by the material from which it is constructed and the grade of the interior fabric. Your funeral director will review with you a casket price list which details the entire selection of caskets at the funeral home and shows how they compare in price.

  • Does having a cremation mean there will be no funeral service?

    No. There can be a wake and funeral in the same way there is in a burial. The only difference is that at the end of the funeral service the remains are cremated rather than buried.

  • What happens if the death occurs out of town?

    Your local funeral director can make all arrangements for bringing the remains back for you. Your local funeral director will contact a funeral director in the area where the death occurred and arrange for the removal, preparation and shipping. This is often the most cost-effective way of handling the arrangements.

  • If a death occurs at night, can I call the funeral director immediately?

    Yes. The funeral director is ready to assist you immediately when the death occurs. As well as the normal services such as removal of the deceased, the funeral director can help you by answering questions, scheduling the arrangement conference and advising you on what to bring with you.

  • What is the purpose of embalming?

    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.

  • What happens when someone dies while out-of-town?

    Funeral directors work together every day to coordinate the shipment of human remains between different cities, states and countries. If someone dies while travelling out-of-town, contact the funeral director in your home town. He or she can work with a local funeral director and the authorities where the death occurred to make arrangements to bring your loved one home. If the death occurs in a city where you or someone you trust is familiar with a local funeral home, you can also contact them for assistance.

  • My relative wants to be buried in our home country, how is this arranged?

    The steps necessary to transport a deceased person internationally varies depending on the requirements of the country that is the intended destination. NFDA maintains a comprehensive international shipping directory on its website with the most current regulations and contact information for individual countries’ consular offices. See your NFDA funeral director for more information; he or she can help guide you through the process of sending your loved one home.

  • Can I obtain assistance to pay for my loved one’s funeral?

    Assistance with funeral related expenses may be available for persons who are on a government assistance program or who can demonstrate a legitimate need. These programs vary greatly from one state to another and usually originate with the state, county or local government. Each program has unique qualifications for assistance and benefits that are provided, if any. The best source of information is your funeral director who should be familiar with all local programs.

  • Do funeral homes offer payment plans?

    Funeral directors are keenly aware of the fact that funeral expenses often are unexpected. They strive to help a family understand their options and provide compassionate guidance as they make selections that are fitting for their loved one and within their budget.

    While most funeral homes are not in a position to provide payment plans, they generally do offer the families they serve options for payment. The most common forms of payment are: cash, credit card or assignment of life insurance proceeds. Some funeral homes also work with third-party companies that offer financing to families who qualify.

  • Does Social Security help pay for a funeral?

    The Social Security Administration provides a $255 burial allowance to the surviving spouse who was living under the same roof of a person who has paid into Social Security. In addition, there are other benefits available under certain circumstances.

  • Does the Veterans Administration help pay for a funeral?

    The Veterans Administration provides certain benefits to honorably discharged, deceased veterans. The veteran, his or her spouse and dependent children are entitled to burial space in a national cemetery. In addition, the VA will pay an allowance for transportation if the veteran died in a veteran’s hospital. The VA will also provide a headstone for non-national cemeteries.

  • Must I buy a casket for the deceased?

    In some states, a casket is not required. The funeral purchaser may provide a suitable container for burial or cremation. Cemeteries or crematories may have specific requirements for containers for the deceased.

  • Must I have embalming?

    Embalming is not required in New York State for all except a few specific highly contagious diseases. Funeral homes may require embalming for specific reasons such as viewing of the deceased.

  • What is an NFDA funeral home? Why should I choose an NFDA funeral home?

    An NFDA funeral home is one that agrees to be held to a higher standard. By agreeing to comply with the NFDA Code of Professional Conduct, our funeral director members are committed to honesty, integrity and high ethical standards. You can rest assured your NFDA funeral director will be there to accompany you in your time of need and will ensure you are satisfied with all of your selections.

  • Can a funeral director refuse to embalm or charge more to embalm the remains of a person?

    In some states, a funeral director may not refuse to embalm, otherwise handle or charge extra for preparing or handling the remains of a person who has been autopsied or died of an infectious disease, such as AIDS, hepatitis B or tuberculosis.

  • Can the funeral director refuse to let me view the body if even only briefly?

    The funeral director may advise against viewing the body, but the customer has the right to view the body briefly. If the viewing is prolonged, the funeral director may consider it to be a visitation and charge a fee?

  • Why have funeral ceremonies?

    Funerals are age-old rituals that serve to honor the deceased. What has been found to be of equal importance is that the funeral also helps the survivors cope with the loss by playing an important part in the grief process. We all go through a psychological change with the loss of a loved one. The grief process, as the change is called, helps us live with the loss. The funeral helps us to initiate behaviors that might not be available to us without the funeral.

  • May I participate in a funeral ceremony?

    Participation in a funeral ceremony can be very helpful. It allows you to express your feelings and provides a means of personalizing the funeral for the deceased. The ceremony has much more meaning if it is made to order for the deceased and family.

  • Must I make arrangements for the religious ceremony, or does the Funeral Home do it?

    The funeral director’s job is to assist the survivors with arranging the funeral. Contacting the clergy is an important part of that job. You will still be able to discuss your wishes for the ceremony with the clergy.

  • Why do some families request donations to a charity rather than flowers?

    Some families prefer the money that would be spent on flowers be donated to a charity. This is a personal choice as many people feel comforted by flowers at the funeral, and even if the family doesn’t request flowers, some people still feel more comfortable sending flowers.

  • Can I donate my body to science?

    Yes. Medical schools and research facilities use human remains for training and research purposes. There can still be a wake and funeral service for someone who has bequeathed their body to science. Before making a final decision on where to make the donation, the terms of the donations should be explored, including the ultimate disposition of the remains. Your funeral director can help you with this.

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