Funeral & Burial Questions

What is cremation?

Cremation is the process in which intense heat is used to transform the body back to its basic elements. The body, enclosed in a container approved for cremation, is placed in a cremation chamber. The soft tissue is vaporized. What remains is not ashes, but bone fragments weighing from three to nine pounds on average. This is what is contained in the cremation urn.

Funeral homes often engage the services of a local crematory. Crematories provide the actual cremation with reverence and dignity. Crematories are regulated and inspected by state and federal agencies.

What determines the cost of a funeral?

The family of the deceased does. The cost is based on the type of service and merchandise that is selected/chosen by the family. We offer a wide variety of services to choose from.

Remember, a funeral home is a 24 hour/ 7 day a week, labor intensive business with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc) and these expenses must be factored into the cost of the funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, but the services of a licensed funeral director to make arrangements and secure all the necessary forms from the state, doctors, ministers, newspapers down to all the necessary details needed for the funeral to ensure that the experience is as stress free as possible for the family.

Who pays for funerals for the indigent?

Other than the family, there are veteran, union, and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals, including, in certain instances, a lump sum death payment from Social Security. In most states, some form of public aid allowances are available from the state and vary by county.

Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them for the indigent. However, funeral directors often absorb costs above and beyond what is provided by agencies to insure a respectable burial for the deceased.

Can you help with our Insurance Claim?

Yes, we are here to help. We understand that filing insurance claims can be confusing, time consuming and during such a difficult time, just another added burden. This is why many families ask us to assist in handling life insurance policies.

We have necessary claim forms for most insurance companies and are familiar in how they need to be filed. We can make sure that these important benefits are obtained without delay. We pride ourselves in providing these simple extra services to ensure that our families remain as stress free as possible during such a difficult time and set ourselves apart from the rest.

How can I find out about tissue donation?

Please visit the Southeast Tissue Alliance (SETA) at http://www.donorcare.org for a wealth of information about tissue donation.

Social Security and Veteran Benefits

Social Security continues to provide a burial allowance payable to the surviving spouse or minor children of a deceased worker. You must apply in order to receive these benefits. You may apply at any Social Security Government office or by telephone at (800) 772-1213.

The Veterans Administration also has a number of benefits for those who qualify. Again, you must apply for these benefits. You may contact The National Veterans Office at (800) 827-1000 or visit www.cem.va.gov.

More Information

For any additional information please visit the New York State Funeral Directors Association at www.nysfda.org or the National Funeral Directors Association at www.nfda.org.

What do I do if a death occurs?

Call our funeral home. Our staff is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once authorization is given, we will transfer the deceased to the funeral home and begin the funeral process.

What do I do if a death occurs and I do not live in the area but would like to use your funeral home?

If you are planning on having all appropriate services outside of the area you live in, again we recommend to contact the funeral home directly as soon as the death occurs. A single call to us will enable us to coordinate all the details, both, in the city where the death occurs, and, where the wake, service and interment will take place. This will save you and your family time and anxiety. You will be able to think about and make your decisions in more familiar surroundings and with the people you know. Furthermore, in an out of state situation, you may want to consider a pre-arrangement of these matters so that you can be prepared and know exactly what will occur when this difficult time occurs.

What information do I need to have and/or bring with me about the deceased when I meet with the funeral home to make arrangements?

  • Legal name of deceased
  • Birth date and birth place
  • Parents names, including mother's maiden name
  • Social Security Number
  • Occupation/Kind of Business or Industry, including the name and location of business
  • Level of Education
  • Marital Status
  • Military Service Records (ex. Veteran discharge papers or Claim Number for Civil Service)
  • Cemetery Deed
  • Insurance Policies
  • Any special requests that the deceased may have had.

Must I have a funeral director to bury the dead?

Yes. In New York State, a licensed funeral director or undertaker must be present and personally supervise the interment or cremation, or the pick-up from or delivery to a common-carrier of a dead human body. (NYS Sanitary Code Part 77.7 (a)(4).) Furthermore, a licensed funeral director must sign and file the certificate of death with the registrar in the district in which the death occurs.

What does a funeral director do?

  • Pick up the deceased and transport the body to the funeral home (anytime day or night)
  • Notify proper authorities, family and/or relatives
  • Arrange and prepare death certificates
  • Provide certified copies of death certificates for insurance and benefit processing
  • Work with the insurance agent, social security or Veteran's Administration to ensure that the necessary paperwork is filed for receipt of benefits
  • Prepare and submit obituary notices to newspapers of your choice
  • Bathe and embalm the deceased body, if necessary
  • Prepare the body for viewing including dressing and cosmetizing
  • Assist the family with funeral arrangements and purchase of casket, urn, burial vault and cemetery plot
  • Schedule the opening and closing of the grave with cemetery personnel, if a burial is to be performed
  • Coordinate with clergy if a funeral or memorial service is to be held
  • Order funeral sprays and other flower arrangements prayer cards, acknowledgement cards, register book, crucifix/cross, rosary beads, name plates, etc.as the family wishes
  • Provide Aftercare, or grief assistance, to the bereaved

What is embalming?

It is the process that sanitizes and preserves a dead body. It delays the decomposition process and allows time for viewing and services by the family prior to burial or cremation. It restores a life-like appearance to the body and can enhance the appearance of a body that has undergone a traumatic death or illness. This process can take anywhere from one to three hours to perform. The time spent embalming depends upon the severity of damage to the body, whether it be from traumatic injuries and/or by not being able to perform the embalming immediately after notification of the death.

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