Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions that are the most commonly asked questions when a family is in need of funeral services and planning. We hope that our answers to these questions will help you with those questions to make your arrangement process as smooth and easy for you as possible.

FUNERAL SERVICE QUESTIONS

Q: What purposes do Funerals serve?
A: Funerals serve many important purposes when the family and friends of a loved one is mourning the passing of their loved one. Funerals often serve as a caring, positive and supportive program that allows family and friends to come together and share their life experiences and expressions of their loved one as the first, most important step of the healing process. It also allows those gathering at a funeral service the opportunity to mourn in their own ways, integrate back into daily lives and their community in a safe, caring and understanding way following the loss of a loved one and give them a proper way of saying goodbye.

Even if a family chooses cremation as their option of choice, they can have a funeral or memorial service to their choosing, with the same benefits that family choosing a burial service have.

Q: What do I need to know to be able to properly arrange a Funeral?
A: This is a very common question and one of great importance. In your time of need, it is easy to ask yourself these very important questions and quickly become stressed with planning your funeral service. Fortunately, when it comes to planning a funeral service, our caring staff will help you with all your important questions. But, as a consumer, you need to remember these important aspects:
  • Be informed, ask questions —  don’t hold back if you do have questions.
  • Receive a copy of the General Price List. A price list is required by law.
  • Plan a meaningful funeral or memorial service unique to you to help you heal.
  • Discuss payment options — it is important that you choose a funeral in your pricing range.
If you have more questions than the ones listed above, do not be afraid to ask the funeral director, as they are here to answer your questions.

Q: What does a funeral director do?
A: A funeral director is a licensed funeral professional that has gone to school and received specific education, training and has years of experience in the funeral industry. During the funeral services — before and after, as well — funeral directors will assist with and handle several major aspects of the funeral service, including:
  • Assisting the family with the handling of funeral arrangements.
  • Embalming the body (for a funeral service) and taking care of the body.
  • Securing the primary permits, death certificates and other legal documentation.
  • Contact the clergy, cemetery and vault services to arrange burial.
  • Securing benefits your family may be entitled to.
  • Fill out insurance benefit paperwork to acquire any insurance monies.
  • Follow up post-service to continue to provide help in adjusting to your post-loss life.
Q: What kinds of different funeral services exist?
A: No one family is the same and many families choose different types of funerals that revolve around their family values. Services also can be made around religious tradition and cost. This may determine whether your service will be public or private or where your services may be held — at a chapel or religious building of your choice. Those same factors may also be a determining factor whether a casket may be opened or closed or whether burial or cremation will be used. All this is unique to the family and as said before, no one family is the same.

Q: What is embalming and does the law require it?
A: Embalming is a long-standing tradition dating back to ancient Egyptians that cleans the body of a loved one after death and disinfects them, preventing the spreading of potential diseases. It also uses preserving chemicals to allow for adequate time between death and funeral services — allowing family members and friends the opportunity to view the body during visitation and funeral services.

As far as the law is concerned, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has set forth standards by which embalming can be interpreted. Embalming is not required by law, except in certain cases. In fact, the FTC says this and the language is required by law: “Except in certain special 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.”

CREMATION QUESTIONS

Q: Can cremation be used as a substitute for a funeral?
A: More and more consumers are choosing cremation. This is allowing funeral professionals many opportunities to provide a true sense of funeral options when it comes to the cremation process. People setting up funerals often has a misconception that because they are selecting cremation as their option of choice that there are less option of having a meaningful service. Because of these misconceptions, many people will choose the route of direct cremation, which while a choice that many make, which will not allow for family members, friends and others to have any type of ceremony. People need to begin to realize — cremation actually allows for more options when it comes to planning cremation services. Some may choose the traditional route, with body and casket present and some may choose a memorial service with just the ashes present. It is the families choice in the end.

After the loved one is cremated, families will have the option of keeping the ashes with them or choosing to bury the ashes in a cemetery. If you choose to keep the ashes, there are many options — including choosing the special place and a possible container to keep the ashes — available. If you choose to bury the ashes, cremated remains may be buried in a container and interred in a burial plot, crematorium, mausoleum or special garden. Families may also spread the remains in a cemetery or at a special place unique to a person. It is the families choice after the cremation what to do with the remains.

FUNERAL COST INFORMATION

Q: What does the average funeral cost?
A: As of June, 2004, the National Funeral Directors Association has the average cost of a funeral at $6,500. However, since that time period, funeral costs have certainly increased on average. That $6,500 estimate in 2004 includes the price of a casket and outer burial container, but omits the prices of third-party items, such as newspaper notices, flowers, death certificates, burial plots, clothing, and much, much more.

Q: What options does a person have when they have poor service or price gouging?
A: First of all, poor service and price gouging aren’t just wrong, but unethical. Fortunately, there is an option on this front. Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and by the state of Michigan. In many cases, the consumer needs to discuss any problems with the funeral director first. If after talking with the funeral director the resolution is not settled, the consumer may wish to contact the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program (FSCAP). The FSCAP will provide information, mediate disputes, provide arbitration and maintain a consumer fund for reimbursement of services rendered.