Frequently Asked Questions

What purpose does a funeral serve?

It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process. Funerals in one form or another have been conducted to honor the dead since around 35,000 B.C.

What do funeral directors do?

It has been estimated that over 136 individual activities must take place in order for one funeral to be conducted. Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. 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.

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.

Funeral Service Questions

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 of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity is voluntary.

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.

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 dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?

No. However, embalming may be required by the funeral home in conjunction with other services, such as open casket viewing.

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. In fact, according to FTC figures, direct cremation occurs in only a small percentage of deaths.

Cost Questions

What determines the cost of a funeral?

The family of the deceased does. The cost of a funeral will depend on how elaborate or how simple a ceremony is desired. Funeral directors offer a wide variety of services to choose from. Remember, a funeral home is a 24-hour, labor intensive business with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.) and 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, etc. and seeing to all the necessary details.

Who pays for funerals for 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 form of public aid allowances are available from the state and vary by county.

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 a respectable burial for the deceased.

Planning

What should be done when a death occurs?

Contact our funeral home as soon a possible. Our licensed director is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you and your family at a time of need and to answer all your questions.

What if death occurs away from home?

When funeral arrangements must unexpectedly be made away from home, it is difficult to consider what to do first. If you want to limit costs, the best practice is to contact the funeral firm in the area where the funeral service and burial is to take place. Call Cornerstone at 503-637-5020 day or night.

We will instantly make all the necessary calls and arrangements for you to ensure the timely transport and return of your loved one back to our local funeral home and for final funeral services and disposition.