We have provided this frequently asked questions page to help educate you in all areas of questions that you may have. If you cannot find the answer to your questions, please go to the contact page so that we may further assist you.
What Are The Advantages Of Preplanning?
First, preplanning ensures that all of your final wishes will be fulfilled. Because death is a difficult subject to discuss, often times your true wishes may not be known or fully understood by your family
Second, preplanning can eliminate the financial burden that a funeral might pose on your survivors. And by prepaying, your funeral will cost less now than it would in the future.
Third, preplanning provides you and your family with the peace-of-mind in knowing that everything has been "taken care of" in the manner you specified. It's the best gift you can leave your loved ones.
What are the types of Pre-Planning a Funeral?
When pre-planning is funded, the prices of funeral goods and services are frozen regardless of when services are provided. A commonly used funding vehicle is a funeral home issued insurance policy. A variety of payment plans are available depending on your age.
A non-funded pre-plan is the selection, recording and filing of your service details. No payment is made. Charges are shown at current prices but actual cost will be based on prices in effect at the time services are provided.
Do I Have To Prepay For My Funeral Now?
No. Many people just want to have their final arrangements known in advance, even decide upon the type of ceremony and casket, without actually paying for these items. Getting your wishes down in writing is the most important thing. That way, there is no confusion about your intentions at the time of your death.
What Payment Options Are Available?
While most people pay for their funeral in one lump sum, you can also set up a payment plan that's convenient for you. Alternatively, you can use the current value of your existing life insurance to pay for your funeral without ever having to cash in the policy.
What If I Pass Away While Traveling?
If you enjoy travel, we offer a unique out-of-state extended service program. It guarantees that if you pass away anywhere in the world, your body will be shipped back to us at no additional cost to your family.
What Happens If Funeral Prices Increase?
By prepaying for your arrangements, you can lock in your service at today's lower price. Once your funeral is paid for, we guarantee, in writing, that the total price of the funeral will never increase. In fact, not only are the funeral home charges guaranteed, but any merchandise selected and other expenses such as cemetery fees are guaranteed not to increase as well. This clearly makes preplanning a financially wise decision. You should be aware, that many funeral homes do not offer a "lock in" price guarantee on the entire funeral.
Are My Prepaid Funeral Funds Secure?
Any funds we receive towards a prepaid funeral are placed into an Irrevocable Mortuary Trust account, in accordance with state law. This Trust is insured and the funds gain interest, which we maintain in the account to offset future price increases. We pay all taxes and administrative fees each year for you. No one can access these funds or cancel the Trust. By Federal and State law, the funds can only be used to perform the service you selected and withdrawn only at the time of death.
What is an Airline Bereavement Fare?
If you must travel due to a death in your immediate family, many airlines have a bereavement airfare. Airlines will vary in what they offer; for example, some airlines will offer a discount off the published fare or give a waiver off an advance purchase fare.
When requesting this type of fare, be prepared to provide the airline with:
Name of deceased, your relationship to them, and the name and phone number of the funeral home. The airline will verify your information before giving the discounted rate or waiver.
What is an Airline Compassion Fare?
A compassion fare applies if you must travel due to a serious illness or imminent death of a member of your immediate family. The airlines will extend the same discounts or waivers to you as with bereavement fares. Airlines policies vary and some do not offer any discount. When requesting this type of fare, be prepared to provide the airline with:
Name of person who is ill, your relationship to this person, and name and phone number of hospital and doctor. The airline will verify your information before giving the discounted rate or waiver.
The definition of immediate family can vary by airline, but in general includes parent, children, brothers, sisters, in-laws, brother and sister in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, and some include aunts and uncles.
What are the facts about Ash Scattering?
Laws concerning ash scattering differ in each state. If state law permits it, ashes or cremains may be scattered in lieu of preserving them in a columbarium, burying them in a grave, or keeping them at home. Some cremation societies offer scattering services to their members.
Some people leave specific instructions on where they want their ashes scattered in a river, a pond or lake or some private property. Some prefer a hillside behind their homes. A golfer wanted his ashes strewn on his favorite fairway in his country club; one lady specified a rose garden.
For those with concerns about the ashes posing a problem to the environment, the Cremation Society of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio reminds people that "ashes are purified and pose no environmental hazard."
Because it's expedient and inexpensive, ash scattering is beginning to appeal especially to busy and mobile families who can't always find time to visit a columbarium or a cemetery.
Missouri State Laws for Funeral Service Providers
Should I Compare Different Funeral Homes?
If you have never dealt with a funeral home in the past, you may want to meet with several before you make your decision. All funeral homes in our area offer some sort of preplanning program and all are priced competitively. While price is an important consideration, it should not be the only one. You should also compare things such as the quality of the facilities, professionalism of the staff and their attention to your needs in offering a service that's right for you. Experts agree that these factors will go a long way in assisting your family at a most difficult time. And isn't that the reason why you wanted to preplan in the first place?
Internet & Local Resources
Types of Ceremonies
You may want a traditional funeral service with visitation and a member of the clergy conducting services at a church or a funeral home. Would you want an open or closed casket? Maybe you want a special friend to do the eulogy or family members to read scripture passages or poetry. Any favorite hymns?
If you would rather have a memorial service, express that wish. That means a service in the funeral home or a church where the body is not present. A common misconception is that when the body is cremated you don't hold a funeral. You can hold a funeral before cremation.
For a complete guide to planning your funeral, use the online worksheet on this site. It's free.
Funeral or Memorial Service--Which One's Right for You?
"Funerals are for the living . . . To rejoice in the one who has caused this coming together." --Maestro Leonard Bernstein
Decisions, decisions. Hold a traditional funeral like our parents and grandparents did? Should we go for the whole ritual with the casket open and viewed by mourners? Or is it time to consider a more modern and innovative way to pay our last respects?
Or would you prefer a memorial focusing on the achievements and contributions of the deceased? It's actually all the same, according to Fares J. Radel of Radel Funeral Home, who says, "You celebrate a life lived. The difference is a body is not present in a memorial."
When a person dies, we acknowledge his or her passing by holding a funeral, which is the traditional way in this country to honor and pay last respects to a dear departed. A call is made to a funeral home, which takes care of removing the body, often from a nursing home, hospital or hospice.
The body is prepared-embalmed, dressed, and ready for viewing. For some families, viewing is imperative. Says author Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, "It is important that the family can view the body before the funeral in order to prevent any late denial of death." A brief ceremony is usually held at the funeral home, and then continued at the church- with hymns, scripture readings, a short sermon, and sometimes a eulogy.
A procession to the cemetery follows (for either ground or above-ground burial in a mausoleum or crypt) and concludes with a brief graveside service. Afterwards it is customary for friends and other mourners to gather at the family home for more expressions of sympathy.
For many, having this whole ceremony with viewing is beneficial. "They need to see the body of their loved one, be close to it," says funeral director Fares J. Radel. "It also provides closure and makes them realize that indeed a life has ended." And that life is celebrated when you hold a funeral.
"It's a coming together of families, sort of a reunion to honor the deceased," offers one Cincinnati, Ohio, funeral director. Funerals, in whatever form, are beneficial to the survivors not only as a reminder of their mortality, but also as a means of helping them accept the loss and move on with life.
Much like a funeral, a memorial service celebrates the life of the deceased. The only difference is that there is no body present. Memorials are often held in a church, a fraternal hall, or other appropriate location, and take place a few days or a couple of weeks after the death of a loved one.
In recent years, more and more people choose memorials especially those whose loved ones have been cremated and whose remains have already been disposed. Maybe the ashes are already stored in a columbarium or have been scattered someplace. There's no format to the service, but proponents say it's simple yet dignified. There are prayers and music, sometimes contemporary, such as Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" or Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven."
Sometimes it's followed by a short sermon or meditation and friends speaking about the deceased and his or her achievements and contributions to society. In lieu of a body is a display of photos showing the high points of the deceased's life.
The definite advantage here is the cost- no embalming, no casket, no grave liner or vault. The organized memorial service movement wants to do away with elaborate funeral rites advocating "dignity, simplicity, and economy" instead. The feeling is that spirituality is sacrificed with all the materialist trappings associated with funerals.
An opponent to memorials, Dr. George E. LaMore, Jr., argues, "There's minimum confrontation with death, minimum ministry and ceremony for the living. . . . A terrible cheapening of both life and death is implied by all this. . . ."
Veteran's Benefits & Services
Administration provides benefits for a veteran's family if they can provide
a copy of discharge papers which indicate an honorable discharge. These benefits
include a flag, burial in a national veterans cemetery, a grave marker, and
military honors at the graveside. If burial is in a veterans cemetery, a grave
can also be reserved for a surviving spouse.
There are additional monetary allowances toward burial expenses if the veteran's
death occurs in a federal VA hospital or if the veteran was receiving a VA
pension at the time of death. Because
guidelines vary depending on some circumstances, we will be glad to offer
information on an individual basis.
The local U.S. Regional Office is at 450 Main St. in Hartford. The phone number
is 1-800-827-1000. If you need further assistance, we will be glad to help you
with any questions. The U.S. Veterans Administration has a very helpful web
site. If the veteran had life insurance coverage with Government National Life
Insurance, we can help with that claim or they can be reached at 1-800-669-8477.
The National Veterans Cemeteries in Missouri are located in
St. Louis. Burial is permitted in any National Veterans Cemetery in the
United States, depending on the availability of graves. There are also state or
town veterans cemeteries. The Missouri State Veterans Cemeteries are in
Springfield. Any veterans cemetery will also reserve a grave next to the
veteran for the surviving spouse. We will be happy to assist you in helping to
determine eligibility in a particular cemetery. Please contact us.