Frequently Asked Questions

On this page, you will find a series of the most often asked questions. Not every family we have served has had a working knowledge of funeral service. People tend to shy away from asking questions that they think are foolish. The only foolish questions are the questions that are not asked. So, in the privacy of your own home, you may find the answers to some of these questions. More information on many topics may be found on other pages of this website. 

BURIAL VAULTS

     

     What is a burial vault? 

     Are burial vaults always required? 

     What types of burial vaults are there?

     

     

CASKETS

     

     What type of caskets are there? 

     Do all caskets lock and seal? 

     

     

CEMETERIES

     

     What is the difference between a cemetery and a memorial park? 

     What is a mausoleum? 

     

     

CREMATION

     

     What is cremation? 

     Why choose cremation? 

     What is a direct cremation?

     Is a casket required for cremation? 

     What choices do I have regarding disposition of the ashes? 

     

     

DEATH CERTIFICATES 

     

     What is a death certificate?

     Can I just make a photocopy  of a death certificate? 

     What does a certified copy mean? 

     How do I obtain additional copies of the death certificate? 

     How much do certified death certificates cost? 

     What do I need a death certificate for? 

     

     

EMBALMING

     

     What is embalming?

     Is embalming always required? 

     

     

FUNERALS

     

     What is a funeral?

     What types of funerals are there? 

     My loved one didn't attend church, can we still have a meaningful service?  

     How is a memorial funeral service different?

     

     

PRE-PLANNING A FUNERAL

     

     Why pre-plan a funeral?

     Can I pre-pay for a funeral?

     Where does the money go after I pre-pay a funeral?

     What is the CHOICES pre-arrangement program? 

     

 

SOCIAL SECURITY

     

     Please see our Social Security page

     

     

VETERANS

     

     What benefits are available to a Veteran when a death occurs?

     Who can be buried in a National Cemetery?

     Can I be buried in Arlington National Cemetery?

     What is the new law concerning grave markers?

     What kind of grave markers are provided?

     Please see our Veterans' page for more information

     

     

VISITATION

     

     What is the difference between private and public viewing?

     Can I have more than one day of visitation?

     Can I have same day visitation and funeral service?

     

     

WHAT TO DO WHEN A DEATH OCCURS

     

     Who should I call? 

     What information do I need?

     What happens if a death occurs out of state? 

     

     


 
What is embalming?

Embalming is the process of making the body suitable for viewing. In the process of embalming the remains are made safe for people to view and touch. (Return)


Is embalming always required?

Except in certain cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing.  If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial. (Return)


Who should I call?

One of the first calls should be made to the funeral home where services are going to be held. (Return)


What information do I need?

Full name of deceased, place of death, complete address, marital status with spouse's name, race, birth place, date of birth, social security number, parent's names with maiden name, occupation/location of workplace (even if retired), education level, contact person, veteran information, cemetery name.  This information is required to complete the death certificate. (Return)


What happens if a death occurs out of state?

Call the funeral home where the services are going to be held first. Transportation will be arranged via airlines or automobile. See above answer regarding information that is required. (Return)


What is a funeral?

A funeral is a remembrance and commemoration of a person's life, and may be held with or without a religious service. (Return)


What types of funerals are there?

There are unlimited  types of funeral services for all cultures, religions and beliefs. Funerals may fall into the categories of traditional, religious, memorial or direct dispositions with many possible variations. (Return)


My loved one didn't attend church, can we still have a meaningful service?

Yes. Many funerals include a clergy person who offers words of comfort during the most difficult time, regardless of whether or not the deceased attended church. (Return)


 How is a memorial funeral service different?

A traditional funeral service is a service with the deceased's body present. A memorial service is a service where the deceased's body is not present. (Return)


What is the difference between private and public viewing?

Private viewing means immediate members of the deceased's family only. Public viewing is permitting friends and others to pay their respects during announced viewing times. (Return)


 Can I have more than one day of visitation?

Yes. Additional visiting hours occurring over multiple days is performed from time to time. Some families begin first viewing on evenings before the first full day of viewing. (Return)


Can I have same day visitation and funeral service?

Yes. Visiting hours and funeral services can occur on the same day. (Return)


What type of caskets are there?

Caskets are primarily made from various types of wood, steel, stainless steel, copper, bronze and various composition materials. (Return)


Do all caskets lock and seal?

No. While many metal caskets lock and seal, there are many that do not. Wood is a porous element and therefore can not be sealed without the addition of a sealing liner. (Return)


What is a burial vault?

A burial vault also known as an outer burial container, is used to encase the casket for an earth burial. (Return)


Are burial vaults always required? 

No, they are not always required, however many cemeteries require a vault to prevent  the grave from sinking in. (Return)


What types of burial vaults are there?

Types of vaults range from standard concrete construction with no inner-liner to a variety of double and triple lined vaults. (Return)


What is the difference between a cemetery and a memorial park?

A cemetery consists of graves marked with up-right monuments. A memorial park consists of graves marked with flat monuments only. (Return)


What is a mausoleum?

A mausoleum is a building constructed to accommodate above ground disposition of caskets. (Return)


What is a death certificate?

A death certificate is a legal form that is completed at the time of death containing the vital statistics of the deceased. Some of the  information that is included is the cause of death, date, time and place. (Return)


What does a certified copy mean?

A certified copy of the death certificate is a copy issued by the municipal registrar consisting of  a raised seal and signature showing the document is authentic. (Return)


What do I need a death certificate for?

A death certificate is necessary to prove a death has taken place  and used for numerous legal and estate purposes, such as life insurance claims. The state also uses this information for statistical purposes as they do for birth certificates. (Return)


How do I obtain additional copies of the death certificate?

Initially at the time of services, the funeral home will obtain the certified copies of the death certificate. If you should require additional copies later, you will need to contact the registrar in the municipality that the death occurred in. (Return)


Can I just make a photocopy  of a death certificate?

In most cases, no. A certified copy is required to conduct official business of the deceased's estate. Official copies of the death certificate are only issued by health registrars or the state department of health. (Return)


How much do certified death certificates cost?

Each municipality sets the cost of certified death certificates. Typically, the cost ranges from $2 to $8 per copy, but can be as high as $15 per copy. (Return)


What is cremation? 

Cremation is the process of using intense heat to reduce human remains into small bone fragments. (Return)


Why choose cremation? 

Each person who selects cremation does so for individual reasons. These may be based on family traditions, religious obligations, personal beliefs, convenience or cost. (Return)


 What is a direct cremation? 

A direct cremation is an immediate disposition of human remains  with no funeral service. (Return)


 Is a casket required for cremation? 

 No. If direct cremation is selected, the use of a basic alternative container is acceptable. However, if you choose a funeral service with public viewing prior to cremation, a casket is generally selected. (Return)


 

What choices do I have regarding disposition of the ashes? 

 

The next of kin has legal authority to decide what to do with the cremains. Some options include having them buried in a cemetery, or placed in a special building, garden or area in the cemetery designated especially for cremated remains. (Return)


 

Why pre-plan a funeral?

 

It relieves the emotional burden of making decisions during a stressful time. (Return)


 

Can I pre-pay for a funeral? 

 

Yes. Many choose to pre-pay for a funeral of their choice, thus relieving the financial responsibility of family members. (Return)


 

Where does the money go after I pre-pay a funeral?

 

The money is required to be placed in a trust account or insurance policy within thirty days of receipt of funds. (Return)


 

What is the CHOICES pre-arrangement program?

 

The program (New Jersey Prepaid Funeral Trust Fund) is a pre-arrangement program managed by the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association under the auspices of the State of New Jersey. The program allows individuals or families to set aside funds for future funeral expenses in an interest bearing account. When the death occurs, the funeral expenses are paid by the fund directly to the the funeral home. For further information about this program, click on the Choices logo above. (Return)

 


 

What benefits are available to a Veteran when a death occurs?

 

When a veteran dies, he/she is entitled to a flag, grave marker (some restrictions) and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Your funeral director will assist you in applying for these benefits. There are no National Cemetery Administration benefits available to spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery. (Return)


 

Who can be buried in a National Cemetery?

 

Veterans and members of the Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard. Any member of the Armed forces of the US who dies on active duty.  Any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. (Return)


 

Can I be buried in Arlington National Cemetery?

 

Arlington National Cemetery is one of two national cemeteries that is maintained by the Department of the Army and not the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration. For eligibility for burial, you must contact them directly at:

 

Superintendent

Arlington National Cemetery

Interment Services Branch

Arlington, VA 22211

703-607-8585

 

or

 

Superintendent

US Soldiers' & Airmen's Home National Cemetery

21 Harewood Road, NW

Washington, DC 20011

202-829-1829

(Return)


 

What is the new law concerning grave markers?

 

President Bush signed Public Law 107-103, the Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act of 2001 on December 27, 2001. This law includes a provision that allows the VA to supply a headstone or marker for the graves of veterans buried in private  cemeteries and whose death occurred on or after September 11, 2001. The headstone or marker is provided regardless whether the grave is already marked with a non-government marker. For deaths occurring before September 11, 2001, the VA may provide a headstone or marker only for graves that are not marked with a private headstone. (Return)


 

What kind of grave markers are provided?

 

The marker style chosen must conform to existing monuments at the place of burial and must be approved by the cemetery. Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. Niche markers are also available. (Return)



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