What do funeral directors do?
The primary role of a funeral director is to assist and give guidance to people experiencing the death of a loved one. This service is usually provided after the death has occurred, but more recently this has begun to involve planning prior to the time of need.
The funeral director relieves the family members of many important details. This most often involves transporting the deceased to the funeral home, arranging for a visitation with a funeral service, or coordinating memorial or cremation services. We also obtain personal information that will be used as a permanent record for legal documents, such as death certificates, burial/cremation permits, social security notification, life insurance, Veterans benefits as well as newspaper obituary notices. The funeral director is also responsible for preparing the body of the deceased for a viewing and making sure that the presentation fulfills the wishes of the family. This may also include the dignified display of photographs, videos or other mementos.
Why have a funeral?
Commemorating important events that occur throughout our lifetime is important. Christenings and baptisms, school graduations, weddings, birthdays and other celebrations are all examples of important events. A funeral or memorial service is an important event as well and allows the survivors of a loved one to express their emotional loss and grief and to be available to personally accept the condolences of their family, friends and neighbors. A funeral or memorial service honors and celebrates a life that was lived.
What is cremation?
Cremation is an option for the handling of the deceased’s body. Cremation occurs when the body is placed in a cremation chamber, where through intense heat, direct flame and evaporation, the body is reduced to its basic elements. These basic elements are generally referred to as cremated remains. When the cremated remains are removed from the cremation chamber, the skeletal remains often contain recognizable bone fragments. After the bone fragments are separated from the other material, they will then be mechanically processed or pulverized. Following completion of this process, the granulated particles of unidentifiable dimensions will be virtually unrecognizable as human remains. The cremated remains are usually then placed into an urn or temporary container depending on the family’s choice as to final disposition.
What is embalming?
The cells of the human body begin a process of decomposition immediately after death. Embalming is the process of sanitizing and chemically treating the body of the deceased. This process is performed to retard decomposition and help restore an acceptable physical appearance. Embalming provides surviving family members with sufficient time to select and arrange services and, in some cases, to have a public visitation or viewing. Embalming is usually not required in cases of immediate burial or immediate cremation. In addition to embalming, preparation of the body includes shaving, hairdressing, application of cosmetics and placing the body in the casket prior to viewing and services.
Costs of funeral and memorial services?
Funeral and memorial services today are selected through the use of an itemized price list which allows family members to choose only those items they wish to purchase and services they wish performed. There are many choices involved in deciding on a funeral or memorial service and a final cost cannot be arrived at until those choices have been made. A customized service can vary from a simple cremation or burial to a traditional funeral service, which may include a public visitation at the funeral home with a church and cemetery service. Cost information is available over the telephone, but it is always more detailed and accurate when an appointment is made with a funeral director.
Pre-Planning services concerning Medicaid application?
Many times families are faced with the costs associated with the long term care of a loved one and their declining personal assets. As a result of this situation, the responsible caregiver may be applying for the Medicaid program, which provides the finances to care for those with very limited funds. This program permits family members to select the type of funeral or memorial services desired in advance and pre-pay for those services. The funds received by the funeral home for the pre-arranged services are then placed into an irrevocable insurance policy or trust account. After this procedure is completed, Medicaid does not consider these funds as an asset of the individual.