Top 10 Funeral FAQ’s

1.     Who do I call when a death occurs?

a.     That depends on where you are and under what circumstances the deceased died.  If your loved one was at home, and not under hospice care, it is necessary to call 911.  If the deceased was at home and receiving hospice care, your first call should be to the hospice nurse so that they may come to the residence to pronounce death and obtain the coroner or medical examiner’s approval for the body to be released to the funeral director.

b.     If a person dies in a hospital or other facility, the staff there will let you know when it is time to call the funeral director.

c.       When a death occurs away from home, call your hometown funeral director and allow him to coordinate all the details in conjunction with your schedule.

2.     Who will write the obituary?

a.     Your funeral director will talk with you and your family to ensure that all the special details of your loved one’s life are included in the obituary.  Then the director will compile all the information discussed and submit it to the newspaper on your behalf.   An obituary can be as long or short as you wish and can include a photo of the person who died, most newspapers charge for this service.

3.     Is embalming required by law?

a.     No.  You have the right to arrange services that do not require embalming.  If you choose to have public visitation with an open casket, you are required to have the deceased embalmed.

b.     If you have a private gathering with the deceased present, you are permitted 5 hours from the time of removal from refrigeration until the time of disposition, whether that be cremation or burial.

4.     If you choose cremation, can you still have a visitation?

a.     Absolutely.  Cremation is only the form of disposition.  You can still receive guests for visitation with the body present and hold a funeral service with the deceased present before the cremation takes place.

5.     Does that mean I have to buy a casket for visitation if I want cremation?

a.     No.  We can provide a ceremonial casket with a replaceable interior and liner that is removed after the visitation.  The deceased is then cremated using the same liner that was used for visitation.

b.     There is a large selection of wooden caskets that are suitable for visitation and cremation.  Metal caskets can not be used in the cremation process because they are non-combustible.

6.     Are there any time restraints when a death occurs?

a.      A person can be buried as soon as the funeral home and cemetery can make the arrangements.  Realistically, it is going to take at least 24 hours notice for most cemeteries to prepare the grave.

b.     A deceased can not be cremated until 24 hours beyond the time of death.  In all cases where cremation is selected, a local medical examiner or coroner needs to approve the cremation process in advance.

c.       Families have 10 days in which to make the disposition decision.  After 10 days the deceased must be entombed, buried, cremated, or their body donated to science.  Upon proper application, this time period made be extended in special circumstances.

7.     Is a vault required by law?

a.     Cemeteries individually determine their own rules and regulations.  Most cemeteries do require an outer burial container to reduce the ground settlement.

8.     What is the difference between an outer burial container and a vault?

a.     An outer burial container is designed to support the weight of the earth.  A burial vault also supports the weight of the earth and provides a sealant designed to prevent the entrance of water and other outside elements.  Burial vault warranties vary with the manufacturer.

9.     Does social security pay for funeral services?

a.     Only the social security office can determine whether or not your family is eligible.    If you have questions, you can reach the social security office at 1-800-772-1213.

10.What happens if a person doesn’t have any funds?

a.     Each state is different, but some people may be eligible to receive a death benefit provided by the state.   Not all funeral homes are qualified or approved to handle these types of arrangements.  Beinhauer’s is approved as an independent provider.

Written by Kelly Keddie L.F.D.