Fequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to ship human remains?
Depending on where the death
occurs will depend on how long the process will take. Under normal
circumstance of natural death in the continental US, shipment usually
occurs within 3 -10 days If a death occurs abroad, this process may
take a few weeks, or even longer, depending on in which country the
death occurred. However, the funeral home will do everything possible
to expedite the process.
How much do funerals cost?
Your personal requirements and preferences might make the cost higher than
average or lower. The total cost of a funeral is determined by three
main considerations: selecting your services, considering everything
that makes your service unique, and the advantages of preplanning.
However the average cost of a funeral according to a recent survey is
$7,323 for an adult funeral. This includes a professional service
charge, transfer of remains, embalming, other preparation, use of
viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, casket,
vault and basic memorial package Cemetery, monument and other cash
advance charges are in addition.
How much does the Social
Security pay for funeral expenses?
Upon death, dependents and
survivors may be eligible for certain benefits such as Death
Payments, Survivor's Benefits and Medicare. Qualifications depend on
age, marital status, number of dependents involved and if employment
was under Social Security. Your Social Security account should be
verified periodically to be sure contributions are properly posted.
All benefits must be applied for; payment is not automatic. Since
qualifications vary, we recommend discussing your particular
situation with us personally.
How much does the Veterans
Administration (VA) pay for funeral expenses?
There are many misconceptions
regarding Veterans' death benefits. Honorably discharged veterans may
qualify for cemetery plot and burial allowances, headstone, and
burial flag, as well as a pension for survivors. These benefits may
affect decisions about funeral arrangements. Because qualifications
and benefits vary, we recommend a personal review of your situation.
How much is a grave monument?
The cost of a grave marker varies depending on the size, materials used
and the amount of detail involved.
If the remains are to be cremated, is embalming required?
Embalming is not required if you select a cremation service without a public
viewing/visitation; And it may depend on the interval between death
and cremation and/or the need to hold remains for a prolonged period
Is a burial vault necessary?
Though not required by law in all states, many cemeteries do require an
outside container such as a burial vault. Check with the funeral
director for details in your area.
Is cremation an option for
The Vatican now permits funerals in the United States to have Masses with
cremated remains present in a "worthy vessel" placed on a
table and must be covered with a pall. Words said in a blessing or
dismissal are changed from "body" to "earthly
Is embalming required?
Embalming is required if there is going to be a public viewing. However, even
in cases where no viewing is planned, most states require embalming
when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when
transferring of the deceased occurs from one state to another. Also,
in a few states, if the final disposition is not determined within 48 hours after the
death, then the funeral director may determine to embalm the body
using their discretion.
Is it better to place the
money in a bank trust or insurance policy?
not a requirement, you may wish to invest in a funeral trust account
or final expense insurance policy when making funeral arrangements.
While most of us have life insurance or funds reserved for
retirement, these are intended for the living, not to meet the cost
of a funeral. In most situations, funds invested today will be
sufficient to cover the total cost of the funeral at time of need.
The interest earned by the account or policy will help to offset the
effects of inflation. Government regulations safeguard your
investment so that funds will always be available for your family's
use. Our funeral home will guarantee costs for professional services
and merchandise on a pre-paid funeral trust, however cash advances
cannot be guaranteed. We suggest an allowance be made for these
advances. If allowances exceed the costs, then funds are returned; if
they fall short then additional funds may be due.
What does embalming do?
It is defined as the preservation, disinfection, and restoration of the
body. In many cases, embalming restores the deceased's appearance to
one reflective of how they appeared in life.
What does the funeral
directors as licensed by the Commonwealth of Pa., serve as
administrators and care givers. They make all the arrangements for
the care of the deceased, see that the choices of the family
regarding the funeral and final disposition of the remains are
followed through, and complete all of the necessary paperwork. As
care givers, they are available to the family and friends as
listeners, advisors, and supporters. With their experience serving
others, they have the knowledge necessary to answer questions about
most phases that families experience. They can give basic information
about insurance, estate and issues of grief; and can recommend other
professional help if needed.
What funeral decisions can be made in advance?
arrangements for services including financial decisions
if the death occurs outside the United States?
a family member dies while outside the United States, the U.S.
Embassy will come to your assistance. An Embassy official in the
country where the death occurred will be contacted, and he or she
will contact the State Department in Washington, D.C., to notify next
What happens to
the money if the funeral home goes out of business?
can be assured your funds are protected by state and federal
regulations regardless of the operation at the funeral home. However,
the funeral home should have a long-standing reputation
and be committed
to continuing to serve the many families who have placed their trust
What if a death occurs in the armed forces?
When a person dies while
serving in the Armed Forces, the U.S. Government will prepare and
casket the body, pay transfer costs to return the body to the place
of burial, and provide many other benefits, including an escort, a
uniform and flag, plus an allowance to help with funeral and burial
services. The funeral home can coordinate directly with the
government, and also advise you about any allowance due you. Members
of the armed forces and their spouse are entitled to burial in a
cemetery owned and operated by the federal government.
What if I make pre-arrangements in one state and die in another?
you are traveling or visiting another city when death occurs, your
survivors should contact the hometown funeral home immediately. Your
funeral director will make the necessary arrangements with a funeral
home in that location to assist with transfer.
What is a burial vault, and what does it do?
function of a burial vault is to serve as a foundation for the grave
and protect the casketed body from the earth's elements. As time goes
on, the ground settles over a grave. A burial vault will serve two
purposes, to protect the integrity of the casket and to prevent the
ground from settling and sinking. A vault also protects the ground
from settling due to the great weight and impact of heavy cemetery
maintenance equipment passing over the grave. The burial vault is one
of the strongest, most lasting means of protection and long term
What is a
committal service commends the body of the deceased to the gravesite,
crypt or columbarium niche and a prayer may be said at the grave at
the conclusion of the funeral.
What is a
graveside service is a service held at the site of burial. In most
cases, the casket or urn is present. Friends and family gather for
the service, a eulogy may be delivered and the service is concluded
with a committal.
What is a
memorial service is a service where there are no casketed remains,
but in some cases an urn may be present. Memorial services are
usually held in the funeral home or a church, but can also be
arranged at a location meaningful to the family.
of cremated remains can represent a permanent oneness with an
important place. Scattering in a river, lake or at sea, over
mountains, farms, even golf courses is not uncommon provided a permit
can be secured. Scattering is regulated by state law. Some funeral
homes can coordinate the scattering and advise you of any local
ordinances prohibiting scattering. Many cemeteries offer "scattering
gardens" with the added benefit of memorialization. A scattering
urn is especially designed to hold the cremated remains until the
scattering ceremony and as a memento or keepsake afterwards. Be sure
to consult your clergy as some religions will permit cremation but
not allow scattering.
What is the cost of pre-arrangement services?
is no cost to pre-plan a funeral.
What is the
difference between a corporate funeral home and a family-owned firm?
Large corporations answer to
shareholders. In a family-owned company, there is no pressure from
the corporate headquarters to increase profits. Generally
family-owned firms have lived in the community for years. On the
other hand, the staff and management assigned to a funeral home by a
national company may be from another area. And that can create a lack
of awareness and sometimes disappointment when expectations are not
What is the
often the cremated remains are present during the service in an urn.
Urns come in many
styles and reflect varied
artistic forms. With so many to choose from, families can find
something; reflective of their lifestyle, faith or beliefs. Because
the urn is an attractive art form, it is not uncommon for a family
member or friend to retain the cremated remains as a cherished
possession. But for many, a permanent placement at another location
is more appropriate. Urn selection is often based on the needs and
beliefs of the family and their plans for final disposition.
Where does the
prepaid money go? Where is it held?
money paid when pre-planning a funeral is held in one of two places.
In many cases a trust is set up at a bank, either in the individuals
name or in some states, in the name of the funeral home, with the
individual designated as a sub-account. The second option is for the
family to purchase an insurance policy specific to the exact cost of
the funeral expenses. This policy is typically a "Limited pay,
increasing death benefit, whole life," policy. There are
specific benefits to each of these funding vehicle options.
director can provide you with more details. In either case, a death
certificate must be presented in order for the funds to be released
to the funeral home. *
These options vary
Who do you call when death occurs
out of town?
death occurs away from home, the funeral home serves as both your
advisor and agent, working with other professionals long-distance,
and coordinating the many services required.
Why do people
choose burial versus cremation?
individual's choice of burial over cremation is often based on family
traditions and/or family beliefs. Often times, this choice is
directly related to one's religion and economic circumstance..
Why is it better
to pre-pay funeral services?
asked, the most often given reason by consumers for pre-paying
funeral expenses is the peace of mind in knowing family members will
not be inconvenienced with funeral costs at an already difficult
time. It is impossible to project the cost of a funeral in the
future, and sometimes the actual cost at the time of death may exceed
the amount set aside. When this occurs, the funeral home will offer
surviving family members the option of paying the difference, or
selecting low priced merchandise such as a casket, vault, flowers,
Why should I
pre-arrange my funeral? Are there any benefits?
more than ever, it is important to plan ahead. Our way oflife is more
complicated. Family members often live in different states, dealing
with government agencies can be frustrating, and the impact of
inflation is felt by every household. Family members making funeral
arrangements immediately following a death often are confused and
upset. Many times, they do not have the information needed to claim
benefits. Each year millions of dollars in government and insurance
benefits go unclaimed. Planning ahead prevents emotional overspending
and protects your family's interests.