Losing a loved one can be traumatic, and this is a simple guide that will help you to make all those tough choices about making the needed arrangements for someone you love or even for yourself. When you ask the right questions, you compare the pricing and the services that are provided, while making an informed decision, then you are able to make the arrangements that will be important for your family, plus it helps to deal with the costs for survivors and yourself.
The only people who are allowed to make arrangements will be you, your domestic partner or spouse, competent child or majority of the children, parents, an adult sibling or multiple siblings, an adult with a specific degree of kinship, public administrator when there are many assets, or a conservator.
The laws that are provided will protect a person’s choice after they have passed as long as there are directions that have been written down which are complete and clear, plans have been made for payments through insurance, trusts, or other ways that comes before the payments to survivors.
If there is no one to be found or the family cannot agree on what happens, then the law will take over and make the choices and who will be responsible for payments and such.
When it comes to the prices for needed arrangements, the all the prices must be quoted on the phone. A price list for caskets and a general pricing list must be given whenever you ask about prices and arrangements in person. If the mortuary happens to sell other types of burial containers, they must provide prices for them either on the general price list or on a specialty list. If the establishment has a website, then they have to post what services are offered, what goods they have which are listed on the general price list as per a federal rule. If on the website, then the establishment must have links on the web pages to pricing lists or include price information which links to the pricing list.
Whenever you sign into a contract with a funeral establishment, then there are laws that state that they have to provide you with an itemized statement of what you have selected which will include estimates of costs which may be unknown during that time. This statement will have charges that come from a vendor which has been hired by the director like floral arrangements, clergy, newspaper notices, music, honoraria and more. You want to make sure that the statement only includes what you have picked out. If you picked out a package selection, then the statement should state everything that is in the package. Be sure to get the total on a written statement before signing any contract. However, these establishments are allowed to charge professional service fees for time spent helping you plan the arrangement, setting up the burial or cremation, getting the death certificate and needed permits, and submitting obituaries and some of the overheads which will include advertising, insurance, taxes, and other business items. It is possible that they will state you have to pay these fees on top of what you are paying for the service that you have selected.
You are not required to have a body embalmed, according to the law, but you do have the right to decline embalming or allow it by signing special forms. If a body is not embalmed within 24 hours or it is not buried, then it must be placed within a freezer until the time of the service. However, there are certain circumstances that a coroner will require that the body be embalmed immediately.
You do not have to purchase a casket for any type of cremation service, but you will have to have a combustible container which will be required.
There is no law that states that you have to have an outer container for a casket, which is often called a grave liner or vault, but most cemeteries will require them as they do not allow the grounds to settle after a burial has taken place. Normally a vault will surround the whole casket in concrete or another type of material. However, with the growing increase of the green initiative, natural burials which are called eco-friendly or green is a way to handle the bodies without there being a huge environmental impact. It is often done without any container and the body is placed in a container that is biodegradable and it will not be embalmed.
There are some religions that will often have home death care. This is where there is no usage of a funeral director or establishment as it is not required by law. You are able to arrange for the deceased to be prepared at home by your friends and family. If you decide to go with this option, then you will have to have filed a death certificate which will be signed by the coroner or attending doctor with the local registrar. You have to have a permit for disposition from the registrar. You have to have a suitable container. You also have to arrange everything with the crematory or cemetery. The county health department of your local area can help to file death certificates and file for a disposition permit.
You are allowed to keep an unembalmed body in your home without refrigeration, but the decomposition of the body will happen pretty rapidly if the body is not refrigerated or embalmed.
There are certain services that you will be required to pay a fee for, especially when it comes to the coroner. These fees will vary based on the area where you are located.
All casket sales that are by a retailer are required by law to provide a written price list of all the caskets that they supply, as well as for outer containers and alternative containers and all the prices for each item. If a customer asks for the list, then the retailer will have to provide a written statement that states the prices.