Should I pre-plan my funeral?
Pre-planning relieves some of the burden from your relatives during their time of grief as well as lets them know your wishes in advance. When pre-planning you will have the opportunity to make an informed decision about your funeral and cemetery arrangements, and the form of memorial you prefer. You may also consider a pre-payment plan in order to handle the costs beforehand. While pre-planning can be very helpful, it is also important to leave some decisions for the family members. Planning a funeral is an important part of the grieving process.
Do I have to choose a casket when I pre-plan my funeral?
When pre-planning you decide how much or how little you want to do in advance. You may wish to discuss the service, music, casket, burial vault, etc and even put money into a funeral trust. Or you may only want to have us take some notes on your wishes. Whatever you decide, we are always here to listen to your questions and concerns and help you in any way we can.
I made my pre-arrangements at another funeral home, can I transfer them whether Iíve paid for them or not?
We get this question often and the answer is yes. It is as simple as contacting us and we will get the paperwork in order for you to sign to make the transfer. You do not have to contact the other funeral home. We will do everything for you.
What should I bring to an arrangement meeting?
Some of the things that are helpful at the arrangement are:
- Your loved ones social security number or card
- The clothing, jewelry and other personal items you would like on or with you loved one
- A recent photograph that you may want in the paper with the obituary and that will assist the funeral home staff in preparing your loved one for viewing
- Military DD214 or discharge papers (if the decedent was a veteran)
- Any life insurance policies you would like us to help you file
- Biographical/family history information that will be used for the obituary and legal documentation (The deceased's mother's maiden name and years of school they completed are needed for the death certificate)
- Any advance arrangement forms or suggestions left by your loved one
The death of a loved one can be a very emotional and stressful time. We understand that you may not have everything in order when you first come to the funeral home to meet for arrangements. That is why we are here to help. Bring as many of these items as you can gather and we will worry about the rest later. The important thing is that you come in to let us know how we can help this time be easier for you.
What type of clothes do I need to bring for my loved one?
The clothing that you would like your loved one to wear is really up to you. Some people wish to bring in a suit or dress, while others are more comfortable having their loved one wear his or her favorite pajamas and a bathrobe. If your loved one never wore a suit and was uncomfortable in one, then bring in what he was comfortable in, perhaps a Packer sweatshirt and a pair of jeans. The funeral is for you and your family to celebrate the life of your loved one. The important thing is that you are satisfied with what your loved one is wearing. Although shoes are not necessary, we do suggest that you bring in undergarments.
Why are funerals so expensive?
A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, 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 funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms, dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details.
Why do some caskets cost more than others?
The cost of a casket depends upon the materials it is made of. A casket made of bronze would be priced higher than one made of steel. While a casket made of soft pinewood would be less costly to manufacture than one of solid mahogany. A casket with a crepe interior would be priced less than an interior of velvet because of the cost of the material. The materials of the casket shell, handles, and interior all influence the price of each casket.
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. Embalming can also enhance the appearance of a body affected by traumatic death or illness.
Is embalming always required?
Embalming is not required by law. However, embalming may be necessary if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a viewing. If you do not want an embalming, you have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it.
Why have a public viewing?
Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. It is important to remember that the funeral is for the living. It is a time for family and friends to say good-bye and begin healing. Viewing is also encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity is voluntary.
Why would I need certified copies of the death certificate?
Certified copies of the death certificate are necessary for any title transfers. If policies are in the decedents name, and only the deceased's name, a death certificate is needed to have the ownership transferred to the appropriate person. Some examples include: real estate, insurance policies, automobiles, bonds, and stocks (one copy is necessary for each stock, if not dealing with a brokerage firm). Bank accounts will also require a certified copy of a death certificate, however some local banks only would like to see a certified copy and will not request a copy for themselves.
Do I need to notify Social Security of my loved ones death?
No. Part of the legal paperwork completed by the funeral home includes legal notification to the Social Security Administration. The family's only responsibility is to provide the funeral home with the correct social security number.
If I donate organs or tissue can I still have a funeral?
A family's decision to donate should not interfere with funeral arrangements. Funeral directors are trained in the latest restorative techniques and work closely with tissue banks and organ procurement organizations to minimize the effects on families. Depending on the nature of the donation, there could be a delay while the procedure is performed. This will result in the funeral home receiving the body later than usual. In addition, the funeral director could possibly need more time to properly prepare a body for viewing. It might also be necessary to modify the clothing the family has chosen for the deceased as it may be impacted by the type or nature of the donation.
What kinds of things can be done to make a funeral more special?
Focus the funeral around the uniqueness of that person. Bring in personal objects, pictures, music, even aromas that bring back memories. You'll be surprised at how the conversation flows and the thoughts that are shared. In short, make our home yours during the time you are here. For more suggestions visit our Personalization link.
What is a burial vault and do I need to purchase one?
A burial vault is a receptacle designed to contain the casket when buried in a cemetery. It is used to maintain a clean, dry, and protective environment for the casket. Burial vaults are capable of withstanding the weight and pressures of the earth above and around it and therefore keep the earth from settling. This leaves cemeteries more attractive, safer and easier to maintain. The burial vault can also act as a foundation for monuments and thus keep them from tilting. The material that each burial vault is made of determines its ability to withstand the elements. Some vaults are made of only concrete while others are lined with protective, water resistant materials. Although Wisconsin law does not require a burial vault, 80-85% of the cemeteries in North America do require some type of vault.
Following cremation, what are the different things that can be done with the cremains?
There are a variety of things that can be done with your loved ones cremains. You can have them buried in a cemetery, placed in mausoleum niche, scattered in a special place, or kept in your home. The funeral home also offers the option of having the cremains separated. This allows you to keep some of the cremains in a special place and have the rest buried, scattered, or placed in a niche. Whatever you choose to do with your loved ones cremains, we strongly suggest that you designate a place that will never be sold or renovated. Although you may not feel it at the time you are experiencing the death, you will need a special place to visit in the future. Without this memorial place, you may experience some of the same feelings of loss all over again.
Do we need to have a minister involved?
While some choose to have family members or friends speak at the funeral, many families look for spiritual guidance and comfort at that time. So for them, having a clergy involved is natural. However it is not necessary to have clergy involved. It's the opportunity for expression that is important, and we can help arrange any arrangement you prefer.
What is a funeral for?
A funeral is for the living. It provides a place for family and friends to gather for support and to reminisce. It is an opportunity to celebrate the life and accomplishments of a loved one and a chance to say goodbye. The funeral identifies that a person's life has been lived, not that a death has occurred. Funerals are important in helping survivors begin the grief process.
What is Selected Independent Funeral Homes?
Selected Independent Funeral Homes' is a national organization that is composed of independently owned and operated funeral homes that have been recognized for their outstanding performance. Membership is by invitation only. In order to maintain membership a funeral home must uphold Selected Independent Funeral Homes' high membership standards for quality funeral service. The SIFH organization uses surveys to monitor a funeral homes reputation, character, service and facilities. Part of the funeral homes ongoing membership requirement is to send these surveys, which are returned directly to the SIFH organization, to the families they have assisted.
What do funeral directors do?
A funeral director is much like a special events coordinator. They assist and service people who have experienced the death of a loved one, by relieving them of many of the details. A funeral director coordinates the place and time of the visitation and funeral, as well as the different people that are involved, such as the family, minister, musicians, florists, sextons, etc. They also file the legal documentation necessary at the time of death, like the death certificate, social security forms, veteran benefit applications, and life insurance claims. A funeral director draws on their experience to help the family create a special way to celebrate the life of their loved one, while relieving them of as much stress as possible.
At the Funeral
Should we bring our children to the visitation and/or funeral?
Children are welcome. They experience many of the same feelings we all do. Like adults, children can utilize funerals as a chance to say a last good-bye within the comforting circle of family and friends. We believe that a child five or older should be given the choice to attend the funeral services of a loved one. However, it is important that time is spent answering their questions and letting them know what they can expect to see and hear while attending the funeral services. For many children it will be the first time they see many adults visibly upset. It is also important that an adult will be able to attend to them if they are upset, bored or tired. Our funeral home and local libraries have brochures and helpful videos that can provide you with answers to the questions your children might have.
When I come to the funeral home to pay my respects, what should I say to the grieving family?
The best advice we can give you is to be yourself. Visitations and funerals are a time for people to come together, share their memories, and lean on one another. You shouldn't feel like you have to say anything. Your presence is often enough to console the family. A smile and a hug go a long way.
What can I do to feel less awkward at a funeral home?
First, think of our place as what it is: a home. Spend some time looking around and find the area that is most comfortable to you. Think back on some special times you spent with your loved one and how you felt. Share those memories with the family and friends around you.