Frequently Asked Questions
Why Choose a Family Owned Funeral Home?
Choosing a funeral home is a very important decision. You want to be sure you are fulfilling your loved one’s wishes, as well as planning the type of memorization that you and your family need at this difficult time. A Family Owned Funeral Home offers quality and service in a dignified and affordable way that reflects the commitment our family has to our community. The owners, funeral directors and support staff are members of this community, not a faceless corporation. You may not be able to tell by looking at the outside of a building if it is a Family Owned Funeral Home, but you will be able to tell on the inside from the feelings you will have when you notice the personal touches, attention to detail, and kind, compassionate care your family will receive from our family. Choose Familyowned for your family.
What do we do immediately following the death of our loved one?
If the death occurred at home without medical assistance, i.e. Hospice, Home Health or a Physician, then call our funeral directors and explain the circumstances. They can help determine who else should be notified. Usually the death occurs in a medical facility or under medical care. In those instances, the people in charge will call our funeral directors for you. The funeral director will help guide you through this difficult time. Your funeral director is available 24 hours a day and should be notified when the death occurs regardless of the time of day or night.
How soon do we have to have the funeral?
Usually the funeral is held 3 to 4 days following the death. Factors to consider when deciding on the time of the service are, the distance that family members have to travel to attend the funeral, are there any holidays that would interfere with the burial, what is the schedule of the person that will officiate at the funeral. Yes, you can wait 7 to 10 days if you desire, however, families have expressed to us that waiting can be very difficult.
If a loved one dies out of state, can your Funeral Home still help your loved one?
Yes, we can assist you with out-of-state arrangements, either to transfer the remains to another state or from another state. We can also assist with transportation to Mexico and other Latin-American Countries.
What do I need to bring to the funeral home for the arrangement conference?
During the arrangement conference, vital statistics and obituary information will be obtained, so you would need to bring that type of information (social security number, father's name, mother's maiden name, years of formal education, birth date and place, etc.). You may bring the clothing at this time if the clothing is ready. Clothing usually consists of all the normal clothing that your loved one wore, including underclothing.
What purpose does a funeral serve?
It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process.
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.
Can we have a viewing if what we want is cremation?
Cremation is a means of disposition. You may have a viewing prior to cremation and you may even have the body present for the funeral ceremony with cremation to follow. If you have a public viewing, the body would have to be embalmed.
When a death occurs, embalming required by law?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when remains are to be transported from one state to another by common carrier or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. 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.
Our Funeral directors are listeners, advisers and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Our Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help.
Who does the obituary? What newspapers do we put the obituary in?
Our arranging funeral director will gather the information for the obituary at the time we meet with you. We will then send that information to all local and any distant newspapers that you direct. Many newspapers will not accept obituaries directly from families. We will also post the obituary on our website at www.familyowned.net
What can I do to personalize the service?
We have many items available to help you personalize the service. One item is a large selection of music as well as the equipment to play cassettes or CDs. Another is a picture board on which you may place a collage of pictures to be displayed at the visitation and service. We also have the ability to put photos that you bring to us on DVD/VHS as a video tribute that can be played at the service. A popular tribute for a memorial service is a 3’ x 6’ memorial banner with custom backgrounds, a photo of the deceased and a verse or tribute of your choice. We can assist you with many different options. Almost anything can be accommodated.
Where do we get the Death Certificates? How many will we need?
The state registrar in the county where the death occurred issues certified copies. We will obtain the information needed for the death certificate when you come for the arrangement conference. The Certified Copy of the death certificate will be needed for any claims for death benefits or to change any titles (real estate, vehicles, investments, etc.). We can help you get the number of death certificates that you feel you will need. Cost for Certified Copies of death certificates vary in the state of Texas, as each health district determines their charge.
Is cremation less expensive than burial?
It can be, but depending on the choices you make it can be similar in cost to an immediate burial service. As a general rule the crematory charge for the cremation process is usually less than a cemetery space. However something has to be done with the cremated remains after cremation (such as scattering, burial, or keeping the cremated remains, or some combination there of). This choice may or may not increase the expense of the cremation.
A couple of words about cremation: cremation is irreversible so every effort should be made to accommodate everyone's needs prior to the cremation process, i.e. a time for viewing the body and having the body present at the service; and if you are considering scattering the cremated remains, that too is an irreversible act. You may want to consider your needs and those of others to have a place to remember your loved one on Memorial Day or other anniversaries, or you may wish to keep a small keepsake amount of cremated remains for this purpose also.
Why do funerals seem so expensive?
When compared to other major life cycle events, like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized.
A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral.
Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a professional, licensed funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details.
Contrary to popular belief, funerals don’t have to be expensive, if you plan ahead. Refer to our advanced planning page for more details.
How may I find out more information about Social Security and apply for benefits?
You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office or, if you wish, you may apply by telephone. Just dial the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 and the operator will schedule an appointment for you or arrange for the local Social Security office to take your claim by telephone. You may also visit http:// www.ssa.gov for more information.
My spouse was a Veteran. What will Veterans Administration pay?
An eligible veteran must have been discharged or separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and have completed the required period of service. Persons entitled to retired pay as a result of 20 years creditable service with a reserve component are eligible. A U.S. citizen who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in a war also may be eligible. A 1997 law bars persons convicted of federal or state capital crimes from being buried or memorialized in one of the VA national cemeteries or in Arlington National Cemetery.
Spouses and minor children of eligible veterans and of service members also may be buried in a national cemetery. Adult children incapable of self-support due to physical or mental disability are eligible for burial. If a surviving spouse of an eligible veteran marries a non-veteran, and remarriage was terminated by divorce or death of the non-veteran, the spouse is eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
What do the veterans benefits include?
Burial benefits in a VA national cemetery include the gravesite, a headstone or marker, opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care. Many national cemeteries have columbaria or gravesites for cremated remains. Benefits also include headstones and markers, Presidential memorial certificates, burial flags and Reimbursement of Burial Expenses, depending on the circumstances. Contact should be made to the Veterans Affairs Office to determine what benefits can be claimed and then gather the information required. The National Toll-free Number for the Veterans Affairs Office is (800) 827-1000.
What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
Funeral service is regulated by the FTC 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).