I've never arranged a funeral before. What do I need to know?
At some time in our lives, most of us will make or assist in making funeral arrangements. This will not be an easy time, but we offer these tips for smart planning:
- Be an informed consumer and ask questions
- Choose an independent funeral home and a licensed funeral director
- Discuss all service and payment options during the funeral arrangements
- Make sure you receive a copy of the funeral home's General Price List
- Be prepared to make decisions and organize details in advance of need
- Plan a personalized and meaningful ceremony to help you begin healing
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 visitations and 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 extra support and recommendations for professional help if needed.
What types of funeral services exist?
Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs, and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and, if so, whether the casket will be open or closed and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.
Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.
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 they were when 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 however, there are certain circumstances in which we highly recommend it. Though it is possible to have a viewing without embalming, certain conditions have to be met. If you want to know more, feel free to give us a call
What does the average funeral cost?
In 2019, the national average cost of an adult, full-service funeral was $7,640. This includes a professional service charge, transfer of deceased, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, service car or van, and metal casket. This average increases to $9,135 if a vault is included. Cemetery and monument charges are additional. (Source: 2019 NFDA General Price List Survey.)
What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program. FSCAP provides information, mediates disputes, provides arbitration, and maintains a consumer-guarantee fund for reimbursement of services rendered. (To contact FSCAP, call (708) 827-6337 or (800) 662-7666.)
What should I do if a death occurs at home?
When death occurs, Clutter Funeral and Cremation personnel are available to assist you at any hour, seven days a week. Please call 304-472-2311 for assistance.
Will someone come right away?
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If your family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say goodbye, this is acceptable. Our staff will come when the time is right for you.
If a loved one dies out of state, can Clutter Funeral and Cremation still help?
When death occurs away from home, Clutter Funeral and Cremation can assist you with out-of-state arrangements and transfer the deceased to a preferred location. Please call 304-472-2311 for assistance.
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 we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?
Usually. Every case is different and is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
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 meaningful and 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.
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 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 if and 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.
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 or service, 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 that you meet for lunch.
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