We have provided some of the answers to the common questions relating to a funeral, a funeral service and funeral homes. If you have further questions related to funerals, please contact us and we will do our best to learn the answer for you.
What is a funeral?
The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect and grief. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis that death may present. Through the funeral, the bereaved take that first step towards emotional adjustment to their loss.
What type of service should I have?
The type of service conducted for the deceased is specified by the family. Funeral directors are trained to help families arrange the type of service they desire. The service is usually held at a place of worship or at the funeral home. The service may vary in ritual according to religious denomination or the wishes of the family. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgment of friendship and support. A private service is by invitation only where selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. A memorial service is usually a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the family's community and religious affiliations.
Can I personalize my funeral service?
Absolutely, in fact, we recommend it. After all, the funeral is a celebration of life. Funeral directors are happy to discuss all options and ensure your funeral is tailored to your wishes. It may be personalized in many unique ways. Contact us at (208) 375-2212 to explore the possibilities.
Why should we have a public viewing?
There are many reasons to view the deceased. It is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions, and many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process, by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is even encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire to do so, and the process is explained well.
Why do we need an obituary notice?
It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held. A notice can be placed in a local newspaper, or on the Internet.
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are both caregivers and administrators. In their administrative duties, they make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body.
As caregivers, funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping 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.
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All you need to do is place a call to us at (208) 375-2212. If you request immediate assistance, one of our professionals will be there within the hour. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it's acceptable. Then they will come when your time is right.
What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?
Your funeral director can assist you if a death occurs anywhere on the globe. Contact your hometown funeral director of choice immediately. They will assume responsibility and coordinate the arrangements for the return of the deceased person to their community. They may engage the services of a funeral director in the place of death who will act as their agent.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. It 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 the body enables mourners to view the deceased if they wish. The emotional benefits of viewing the deceased are enormous, particularly to those having difficulty dealing with the death.
Is embalming mandatory by law?
No. But, the factors of time, health and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary. Please note that embalming may be required if the deceased is being transported by air to another country where local laws need to be observed.
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.
Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
Yes. Cremation does not preclude having a visitation period and a funeral service. Cremation is simply one option for final disposition of the body.
Is cremation as a means of disposition increasing?
Yes, but not dramatically.
Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?
Yes, 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.
Why are funerals so expensive?
In some respects, funerals are a lot like weddings or birthday celebrations. The type and cost will vary according to the tastes and budget of the consumer.
A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, 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 an experienced, professionally-licensed funeral director in seeing to all the necessary details and caring for your loved one.
Has this cost increased significantly?
Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items.
What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
While most funeral homes provide outstanding services, sometimes things can go wrong. Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the FTC by contacting the Consumer Response Center by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); TDD: 1-866-653-4261; by mail: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; or on the Internet at www.ftc.gov, using the online complaint form. You may also choose to contact the local Better Business Bureau, or your state consumer protection office.
Who pays for funerals for the indigent?
Other than the family, there are veteran, union, and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals. 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 the deceased a respectable burial.
Veterans Services Common Questions
For Veterans and their Families
What is included in veterans’ burial benefits?
Veterans’ burial benefits available include:
- A gravesite in any of the 125 national cemeteries with available space
- Opening and closing of the grave
- Perpetual care
- A Government headstone or marker
- A burial flag
- A Presidential Memorial Certificate
All are at no cost to the family.
Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
Gravesites in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries cannot be reserved in advance; however, reservations made prior to 1962 will be honored. Families are encouraged to prepare in advance by discussing cemetery options, and collecting the veteran’s military information including discharge papers.
Are Veteran's dependents eligible for burial benefits?
Burial benefits available for spouses and eligible dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the veteran, perpetual care, and the spouse or dependent’s name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the veteran’s headstone, at no cost to the family. Spouses and eligible dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the veteran.
How do I arrange for Military Honors?
Upon the family's request, the law allows that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps. The law defines a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military persons with at least one a member of the veteran's parent service of the Armed Forces.
All you need to do is inform us of your wishes, as it becomes our responsibility to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veterans' family. Please be aware that local veterans’ organizations may assist in the provision of military funeral honors at local cemeteries. When military funeral honors at a national cemetery are desired, they are arranged prior to the committal service by one of our funeral service professionals.
What kind of headstone will the government provide?
The VA furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world.
Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze, and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.
What is the meaning behind the flag folding ceremony?
While Public Law 94-344, known as the Federal Flag Code, does not include anything regarding the significance or meaning of folding the flag, over the years, meaning was given to each fold by those who experienced the power of the ceremony. In fact, nobody seems to know when or where that originated or who wrote the statement. Nonetheless, it has gained status as the traditional meaning of the folds and has been a part of countless military funerals. Here it is:
- The first fold of our Flag is a symbol of life.
- The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
- The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
- The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; for as American citizens trusting, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
- The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."
- The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
- The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether
- they be found within or without the boundaries of our Republic.
- The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it
- flies on Mother's Day.
- The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who
- have made this country great has been molded.
- The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
- The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God
- of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
- When the Flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our Nation's motto, "In God We Trust."
What is the meaning behind the 21-Gun Salute?
Interestingly enough, the practice of firing gun salutes was well established by the sixteenth century. It was only later that the number of guns to fire was designated for various ceremonies, honors and officials — in relation to their importance and position.
However, no one can explain why the number 21 was chosen for national salutes. In ancient cultures, numerology, the study of numbers, developed symbolism behind most numbers. These cultures believed the number seven to be sacred and, therefore, it is believed, multiples of seven would be looked upon favorably (hence 21).
Other gun salutes vary from five guns (the lowest) to 21 guns (the highest) by increments of two, and are prescribed in accordance with occasion and level of importance of those honored. It is generally believed that gun salutes are set off in odd numbers because of an old naval superstition that even numbers are unlucky.
The above content came from an official Veterans Administration publication.
What is the Presidential Memorial Certificate?
A Presidential Memorial Certificate is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans. It is given as an expression of the country’s grateful recognition of the veteran’s service in the United States Armed Forces. Eligible recipients include the deceased veteran’s next of kin and loved ones, and more than one certificate may be provided. We will assist you in the completion of the required paperwork.
How can I be buried at sea?
Burial at Sea is a means of final disposition of remains that is performed on United States Navy vessels. The committal ceremony is performed while the ship is deployed. Therefore, family members are not allowed to be present. The commanding officer of the ship assigned to perform the ceremony will notify the family of the date, time, and, longitude and latitude once the committal service has been completed. Should you desire a burial at sea, we will prepare the required paperwork.
If your question wasn’t addressed here, please call us at (208) 375-2212. We’re confident that a staff member will be able to provide you with the answers you’re looking for – and, if needed, we’ll set an appointment to come to your home for a deeper discussion of veterans’ burial benefits.
Cemetery Common Questions
The answers below are here because these are the most commonly-asked questions. If yours isn't listed, we invite you to call us. We're here to provide the information you need, when you need it.
Are cemeteries running out of space?
Just like other open spaces, cemeteries are impacted by increased population density in both urban and rural areas. Cemetery spaces are a finite resource, and as such, are at a premium in some regions.
What is Perpetual Care?
"Perpetual Care" usually refers to the correct terms Permanent Care or Endowment Care. These Care funds are collected with each Interment Space sale to maintain the grounds, roads, and buildings of the cemetery.
Can the vault be personalized?
Yes, we can show you the wide range of personalization choices, including customized nameplates and military insignias.
Are there vaults for cremated remains?
Yes, we offer urn vaults, designed for in-ground burial of cremated remains.
Can two cremations be performed at once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.
Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes, for a nominal fee. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.
Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?
No, embalming is not required for burial. It is always your choice. Your decision may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public viewing of the body with an open casket; or to enhance the deceased's appearance for a private family viewing; or if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the burial.
Must I purchase a burial vault?
In most areas of the country, state or local laws do not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.
What are the advantages of a mausoleum burial?
Mausoleum crypts are both clean and dry. They offer a viable alternative for those who simply have an aversion to being interred in the ground. Furthermore, with the growing shortage of available land for cemetery use, mausoleums will allow for a maximum number of entombments in a minimum amount of space.
What is a columbarium?
A columbarium, often located within a mausoleum, chapel or in a garden setting, is constructed with numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.