What information should I bring with me to the funeral home to make arrangements following the death of a family member?
What do Funeral Directors do?
Do you have to have a Funeral Director to bury the dead?
How do Funeral Directors work with a family when they are caring for someone in a hospice?
Why have a public viewing?
What is the purpose of embalming?
Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
Can you have a funeral if you choose cremation?
Why Do People Choose Cremation?
Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?
Has the cost of funerals increased significantly?
What contributes to the cost of a funeral?
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
If I call you, will someone come right away?
If a loved one dies out of state, can Earthman Funeral Directors still help?
In addition to method of burial or cremation and the funeral services, what other pre-planning issues should I consider?
What is a living will?
What is a medical power of attorney?
Why do I need an advance directive?
What laws govern the use of advance directives?
Q: What information should I bring with me to the funeral home to make arrangements following the death of a family member?
A: The following information is required to complete a death certificate However, your Earthman Funeral Director will provide a complete list of information and items needed.
- Veteran Status (Record of Honorable Discharge)
- Cemetery Information (Name, Address, Telephone #)
- Survivors: (Name) (Relationship)
Q: What do Funeral Directors do?
A: Funeral Directors give care to families and handle many administrative tasks associated with death. They arrange for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and see the family's decisions for funeral arrangements and final disposition of remains are followed.
Funeral Directors are here to listen, advise and support you. They have years of experience helping bereaved people cope with death. Funeral Directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.
Q: Do you have to have a funeral director to bury the dead?
A: In most states, family members may bury their own dead although regulations vary. However, most people find it too difficult on their own to handle the responsibilities, the details and the legal matters surrounding a death.
Q: How do funeral directors work with a family when they are caring for someone in a hospice?
A: Most hospice programs recognize the value of funerals and have established communication and working relationships with funeral directors in the community. The National Hospice Organization and its standards document recognizes the significant role of the funeral director in collaborating with the hospice team at the time of death.
Funeral directors have become an integral part of hospice care. When you consider the philosophy of hospice and funeral service, it is clear why a funeral service is a "natural extension" of hospice care.
Q: Why have a public viewing?
A: Many grief specialists believe that viewing helps begin the healing process as the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.
Q: What is the purpose of embalming?
A: Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness.
Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.
Q: Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
A: No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease, or when remains are to be transported to another state, or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.
Q: Can you have a funeral if you choose cremation?
A: Yes. Cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition. It is common to have cremation follow a traditional funeral service.
Cremation is the second most common form of disposition in the United States. In other countries, such as England and Japan, cremation is the most common form of disposition.
There are a variety of options for the final disposition of cremated remains. Urns or other containers may be placed in a niche at a columbarium, a structure or room designed to contain cremated remains. Families may elect to bury the urn in a family plot or cemetery or keep it in another place of personal significance, such as the home.
Subject to some restrictions, cremated remains can be scattered by air, over the ground or over water. Your funeral director can advise you on allowable practices in your community.
Scattering of cremated remains is often accompanied by some form of memorialization. Most people find consolation knowing there is a specific place to visit when they wish to remember and feel close to the person they have lost. Regardless of the disposition option selected for the cremated remains, families should choose one that best fits their emotional needs.
Q: Why Do People Choose Cremation?
A: Cremation is selected for many reasons ranging from religious beliefs or ethnic customs to cost. Cremation, or any other funeral service option, should not be selected in an attempt to hasten or circumvent the grieving process, which is a necessary part of re-adjusting to life after death has delivered a great sense of pain and loss.
Q: Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?
A: Certainly. A person who dies of an AIDS-related illness is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else.
If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceased's face or hands is perfectly safe.
Because the grief experienced by survivors may include a variety of feelings, survivors may need even more support than survivors of non-AIDS-related deaths.
Q: Has the cost of funerals increased significantly?
A: Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items. Today, an average funeral costs about $6,000.
Q: What contributes to the cost of a funeral?
A: Funerals are no more expensive than other major life events such as weddings and births. However, happy life events typically do not raise much sensitivity about cost.
Funeral homes operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week. This is a labor-intensive business, with extensive costs for facilities and real estate - (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses do factor into the cost of a funeral.
Funeral costs include not only items, like caskets, but also the services of a Funeral Director who handles legal documents and makes many detailed arrangements. Your funeral director will assist you in dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers, death certificates; and seeing to all the necessary details.
Q: What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
A: Most funeral homes operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can generally call a funeral home as soon after a death occurs as you are ready.
Q: If I call you, will someone come right away?
A: Most reputable funeral homes will typically arrive within an hour of your call. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good-bye, that is fine as well and the funeral home can adjust their arrival to what is convenient for the family.
Q: If a loved one dies out of state, can my local funeral home still help?
A: Yes, your local funeral home should be able to assist you with out-of-state arrangements; either to transfer the remains from Texas to another state or from another state back here.
Q: In addition to method of burial or cremation and the funeral services, what other pre-planning issues should I consider?
A: When you consider and express your personal wishes concerning the end of life and death care, you should also understand Advance Directives. "Advance directive" is a general term that refers to your oral and written instructions about your future medical care, in the event that you become unable to speak for yourself. Each state regulates the use of advance directives differently. There are two types of advance directives: a living will and a medical power of attorney.
Q: What is a living will?
A: A living will is a type of advance directive in which you put in writing your wishes about medical treatment should in case you are unable to communicate at the end of life. More information on Texas law concerning living wills is available from the Texas Department on Aging at (512) 424-6840 or, from their web site. Your right to accept or refuse treatment is protected by constitutional and common law.
Q: What is a medical power of attorney?
A: A medical power of attorney is a document that enables you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions about your medical care if you cannot make those decisions yourself. This type of advance directive may also be called a "health care proxy" or "appointment of a health care agent." The person you appoint may be called your health care agent, surrogate, attorney-in-fact, or proxy. In many states, the person you appoint through a medical power of attorney is authorized to speak for you any time you are unable to make your own medical decisions, not only at the end of life.
Q: Why do I need an advance directive?
A: Advance directives give you a voice in decisions about your medical care when you are unconscious or too ill to communicate. As long as you are able to express your own decisions, your advance directives will not be used and you can accept or refuse any medical treatment. But if you become seriously ill, you may lose the ability to participate in decisions about your own treatment.
Q: What laws govern the use of advance directives?
A: Both federal and state laws govern the use of advance directives. The federal law, the Patient Self-Determination Act, requires health care facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funds to inform patients of their rights to execute advance directives. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws recognizing the use of advance directives. Information on Texas laws concerning advance directives is available from the Texas Department on Aging at (512) 424-6840, or on their web site.