Frequently Asked Questions

What is a funeral?

A funeral is a ceremony for a deceased person prior to burial or cremation.  A funeral gives the opportunity for family and friends of the deceased to gather and mourn the passing of their loved one, to share cherished memories and celebrate their life.  A funeral is a vital first step to help the bereaved heal after the loss of someone special.

What type of service should I have?

If no pre-arrangements have been made, the type of service is entirely up to you.  Services are usually held at a funeral home or a place of worship.  There is a wealth of different services, ranging from a traditional religious or military service to something a little more non-traditional.  Our funeral directors are more than happy to work with you to figure out what would be the most appropriate.

Can I personalize a funeral?

Of course you can, in fact more and more people are opting for a more non-traditional personalized service.  There is no right or wrong way to celebrate somebody’s life.  There are many unique ways to celebrate life, let the funeral director know exactly what your desires are and they will honor your wishes.

Do we need to have an obituary notice and what is included in one?

It is highly recommended to have an obituary notice that’s either placed in a local newspaper, or placed online.  An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred, and gives them information about the service.  Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city and date of birth and the city they were living in when they died.  It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse, along with the names of anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children or grandchildren.  Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you may include a little blurb on the life and legacy of the deceased.  An online obituary or memorial website offers you the chance to add a lot more about the deceased.

Who are funeral directors and what do they do?

Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death.  They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place of the body.  Beyond the logistics, funeral directors are there to provide moral support and guidance for someone coping with death.

What happens if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

We are here to help, funeral directors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

What if a death occurs away from my home town?

We are here to help, we can arrange to have the remains transported home from anywhere in the world.  We will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have the remains return to the community.

What is embalming and what purpose does it serve?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body; it also slows down the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of the body damaged by traumatic death or illness.  Embalming gives time to the family of the deceased to arrange a service, and allows the family the option of having an open-casket viewing.

Do I need to have an embalming?

No.  In fact some religions forbid embalming.  However, some countries require embalming by law in order for remains to leave or enter the country.  If it is not against your religious custom, embalming is recommended, especially if there is an extended gap between death and burial or cremation.

How much does a funeral cost?

The cost of the funeral varies depending on the wishes you have.  The average cost of a funeral is between $5,000-$7,000, however, the most basic of services can cost as little as $1000.  The cost includes all professional services including transportation, embalming and other preparations, the use of a facility for the ceremony, and the purchase of a casket or urn.

Why are funerals so expensive?

Funerals are labor intensive and require a lot of work from a lot of people.  The cost of a funeral goes beyond merchandise such as caskets, it includes the services of a funeral director in making the necessary arrangements, filling out forms, and dealing with all the other people involved in the death (doctors, lawyers, insurance companies).  Funeral directors work an average of 40 hours per funeral.  The cost of operating a funeral home is factored into the cost as well.  Funeral homes are a 24 hour operation, with extensive facilities that need to be maintained and secured.  

What do I do if I am not satisfied with the way a funeral was handled?

Funeral Services in the United States is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, they can be reached by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or you can fill out a form online at  In Canada, funeral services are regulated provincially and this information can be found on the Canadian Consumer Information website at

Is a burial vault required by law?

No, it is only required by cemetery regulations.

Can a funeral home assist with Social Security and Veterans’ benefits?

Yes, we do more than assist. We complete all necessary paperwork to begin the process and to follow through to ensure that the benefits are secured in a timely manner.

What should I be prepared to provide when going to the funeral home to make funeral arrangements?

During the arrangement conference, vital statistics and obituary information are gathered, so you should bring that type of information (Social Security #, Veterans papers, father’s name, mother’s maiden name, years of education, birth date and place, etc.). You may also consider bringing clothing at this time, if ready.

What is the first thing to do when a loved one dies out of town?

Call us first so that we may assist you with the necessary arrangements to return your loved one back home. This can save you and your family time, anxiety, and dealing with unfamiliar people. Failure to contact us first may result in duplication of services and excess costs.

What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

We are always available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What do I say to people at the funeral?

First of all, be yourself. Identify yourself, if you do not know whom you are talking to. Then a simple hand shake, or an embrace, or the following may be said. “I’m sorry.” or “My sympathy to you.” or “John was a fine person and friend of mine. He will be missed.” or something similar.

Should a child attend a funeral?

Children should be given the option to attend the visitation and the funeral. We offer a room with toys, games and coloring books as well as a television, if needed.

Why should I prearrange my funeral or burial?

Pre-arrangement will provide you with the peace of mind that everything has been taken care of, relieving your family of the emotional burden that comes with making arrangements when a loved one passes away.

If I pre-pay my funeral expenses, how do I know that the money will be there when I die

New York State law requires all money pre-paid to be deposited into a federally insured account within 10 days. We currently use The PrePlan, a division of the New York State Funeral Directors’ Association, and when paid in full, offer a price guarantee.

Can I transfer my pre-paid funeral from another funeral home to your funeral home?

Yes. We honor all other funeral home pre-arrangements and can assist you with the transfer.

Can I still have a funeral service with the body present if I choose cremation?

Quite often some sort of viewing and service are held prior to cremation. We offer a rental casket for this purpose.

What is the best way to deal with the death of a loved one?

It is healthy to recognize death and discuss it realistically with friends and family. When a person dies, there is grief that needs to be shared. Expressions of sympathy and the offering of yourself to help others following the funeral are welcomed. We offer several books and tapes as well as a list of grief recovery programs.

How can I help a child deal with the death of a loved one?

We offer several books, including a coloring book, to assist you with helping children.