What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming is a process used to temporarily preserve a loved one’s body. The process of embalming involves using preservative chemicals as well as cosmetics to make them look as if they were alive. It also can be used in instances of visible illness or damage to return a loved one to their normal appearance for a viewing.

Is embalming required by law?

Embalming is not required by law, but we highly recommend it if you want a viewing. Though it is possible to have a viewing without embalming, certain conditions have to be met.

What should I say when I run into the bereaved in public?

What you’ll say depends upon whether or not you’ve already had contact with the bereaved. If you’ve already offered your condolences or attended the visitation, simply greet the bereaved warmly and express an interest in their well-being. If this is your first meeting since the death and you’re in a public setting, it’s best not to bring up the death directly. Instead, say something like, “I understand these must be difficult days for you,” and perhaps ask about when might be a good time to visit or suggest a time for lunch.

What can I do to help the bereaved after the funeral?

The grieving process doesn’t end with the funeral and it will take time for the bereaved to heal. The family will need your support for months to come, so make sure to check in on a regular basis. Drop a note, make a phone call, and continue to invite them when you make social plans; they’ll let you know when they are ready to participate. Reach out to the family on special occasions, like birthdays or anniversaries, especially during the first year following their loss.

Should I bring my children to the funeral?

You should use your judgment to determine whether your child is old enough to comprehend death and whether attending the funeral will be meaningful to them. It’s important for children to be allowed to express their grief and share in this important ritual. If you bring young children, explain beforehand what they will see and experience, and make sure that they know the importance of being on their best behavior. If your child becomes cranky or noisy, remove them promptly to avoid disturbing those who are mourning.

What do funeral directors do?

A funeral director is a licensed professional who specializes in all aspects of funerals and related services. They provide support to the family, guide the arrangement of funeral ceremonies, prepare the deceased according to the family’s wishes and ensure that everything goes according to plan. They also arrange for the removal and transportation of the deceased throughout the process and assist families with any legal or insurance-related paperwork they might need to file. They’re experienced at recognizing when an individual is having an extremely difficult time coping with a loss and can provide recommendations for professional help if needed.

Can I personalize my service?

Absolutely! Our staff has years of experience getting to know families and incorporating their loved ones' hobbies, activities, interests, and unique requests into memorable services. Don’t hesitate to make a request because you think it might be too “out there” — we’re honored to work with you to create a service that truly reflects and celebrates your loved one’s individual life journey.

What do I do when a death occurs away from home?

First, you’ll need to contact emergency personnel such as the police and EMS. Then just give us a call, and we will work with you to make the necessary arrangements to get you and your loved one back home as quickly and easily as possible.

Can I still have viewing with cremation?

Definitely! In fact, we encourage you to do so. Choosing cremation only indicates how you’d like to care for your loved one after the service and doesn’t exclude you from celebrating and honoring their life in any way.

How long does the cremation process take?

It depends, but generally it takes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.

How can I be sure the ashes I receive are my loved one?

Cremation is a regulated process with strict procedures that we follow to ensure we’re holding our services to the highest standard possible. In addition to following these standard procedures, we also keep a metal disk with a unique ID number to your loved one throughout the process.

Are there restrictions on scattering ashes?

That depends. If it is your private property, there are no restrictions. If it is someone else’s private property, you must have their consent and it’s a good idea to get it in writing. If it’s public land such as a park, contact your local government or the agency in charge of that space to see what their policies are. In general, if you’re not sure, just scatter them in a respectful way in a place where you are sure they won’t be disruptive to others.

Can we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?

Yes. Autopsies and organ donation do not affect your ability to have an open-casket visitation.

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is a place for the interment of urns containing cremated remains. They’re often located in mausoleums, chapels, or memorial gardens, and contain numerous small compartments.

What is a death certificate and why is it needed?

Death certificates are an official government document that declares cause, location and time of death as well as other personal information about the deceased. There are several reasons you may need a death certificate. Most often, it is used for legal purposes including accessing pension benefits, claiming life insurance, settling estates, getting married or arranging a funeral. Otherwise, a death certificate is used by government officials to review the cause of death during investigations. Death certificates are also used by public health officials to compile statistics like leading causes of death.

Where can I get a certified copy of a death certificate?

You can obtain a certified copy of a death certificate in four ways:

  1. Through the funeral home
  2. Through a verified, third-party company
  3. From the county clerk’s office where the individual died
  4. From us when placing your arrangement through our online arrangement planner
How many copies of a death certificate do I need?

This number can vary greatly depending on the individual. Some institutions, like credit card companies and the BMV, only need to make a photocopy of a certificate. When it comes to military benefits, pensions, stocks, insurance and others, these agencies have to keep a certified copy of the certificate. Consider the paperwork and other tasks you will have to complete for your loved one. While some people find that 5-10 copies are sufficient, other families may need more than 20.