Common Questions


What is the purpose of a funeral service?
It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the deceased and to help survivors begin the grief process.

What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are caregivers, administrators and event planners. 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 the final disposition of the body. Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are also trained to answer some questions about grief, recognize when a person is having a difficult time coping, and recommend sources of professional help within the community.

Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is a part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality and finality of death.

Isn't burial space becoming scarce?
While it's true some metropolitan areas have limited available cemetery space, in most areas of the country there is enough space set aside for the next fifty years without creating new cemeteries. In addition, land available for new cemeteries is more than adequate, especially with the increase in entombment and multi-level grave burials.


What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, slows down the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body, especially if there has been some severe trauma or a pro-longed illness. Primarily, embalming 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.

Does a deceased body have to be embalmed?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when remains are to be transported from one state to another via a common carrier (Airlines) or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.


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.

So, I've decided on cremation, can I still have a funeral or a viewing?
Yes, quite often some sort of viewing precedes the actual cremation. The Stephens Memorial Chapel can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.


Why are funerals so expensive?
A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, offices, 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 a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details.

What recourse does a consumer have for poor service?
The FTC and state licensing boards regulate funeral service. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be rectified, the consumer may wish to contact the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program. FSCAP provides information, mediates disputes, provides arbitration, and maintains a consumer guarantee fund for reimbursement of services rendered.

Who pays for funerals of the indigent?
Other than the family, there are veteran, union and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals, including, in certain instances, a lump sum death payment from Social Security. In most states, some forms of public aid allowances are available from the state, county or city or a combination.


What should I do of the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Our Funeral Directors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Will someone come right away?
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short time with deceased to say good bye, it's acceptable. The funeral home will come when your time is right.

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