Common Questions About Funerals, Burial and Cremation

Our Families Say:
Dear Paul & Staff - We cannot begin to express our gratitude to you for all you did to make the passing of Mom easier for us to get through. Every aspect was perfect, from making the arrangements, to making mom beautiful, to decorating with mom's things, the funeral and graveside. We will never forget your kindness and compassion during a very difficult time in our lives.
Cindy and John Belsito

Dear Paul and Staff - Thank you!! Thank you!! For the manner in which you handled Tony's funeral. We were very pleased. God bless you!!
Love
Anne Greco & son Tony

Dear Paul and Staff - Kind, gentle, efficient, professional this is what you are. Sincere thanks for all that was done for Ella and our family.
In Sorrow, Paul Panesa

Dear Paul and Staff - There are not enough words to thank you all. You are very special to me and I will never forget and will always be grateful to all of you.
Very Truly Yours
Kathy Napierkowski

Paul and Staff - Your compassion helped us deal with our loss, and your professionalism was unsurpassed in helping us plan his wake and service. It truly was a celebration of David's life.
Diane Blakley

Dear Paul,
Words cannot express how grateful my sister and I are for all you did for our father, Thomas Turck's, funeral. You and your staff were always professional, courteous and attentive to all of our requests. From the time that Joanne and I sat with you to discuss and finalize the details for the funeral, through the burial, you could not have made it easier for us, and your attention to detail was excellent. Our father would have appreciated all the military detail, including the Army insignia on the hearse and the presenting of the three flags at the cemetery.
Joanne and I both thank you!

Dear Paul and Staff - I just would like to thank you for your kindness that you gave to my husband John, during these sad times of losing both of his parents. The professionalism that you showed was outstanding but most of all your compassion and caring meant so much to us all.
Blessings & Prayers, Nancy & John Napoleon

Dear Paul & Staff - I wanted to thank you for all your help with my father, Howard Fox's funeral. We were so pleased with how everything was handled by you and your staff. Paul, I know that my niece really appreciated your guidance when she did the readings in church.
Sincerely
Evelyn Hopp

Dear Paul and Staff - When you took our choices and put them into action (I am an OCD perfectionist) I could not have orchestrated the whole process better if I had directed it myself. You went above and beyond. It was phenomenal. I mean phenomenal!!!

"Personally, I think you have really answered your true calling in life, to help us deal with the death of a loved one."
Sincerely, Terry Vinning

Dear Paul & Staff - Thank you for your compassion, kindness and professionalism during our time of loss and sorrow. We appreciate everything you did for our family.
Sincerely
Troy & Scott Ashdown and family

Paul and Staff - Thank you for all you did to make sure Harold was laid to rest with lots of love and dignity. I appreciate your kind, courteous and professional service.
Love, Dolores Leonard

Dear Paul and Staff - Jeff's passing was as much a shock for you, as for our family. Your kind, caring ways; your gentle guidance through those first few days after his death and ultimately through the calling hours and funeral - you never failed to be there when we needed you and continue to do so now. Our community is extremely fortunate to have you here to respond and assist families at such difficult times.
Joanne Fredenberg and Family

Question Topics:

Funeral & Burial Questions

What is the purpose of a funeral?

Funerals provide surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to recognize the death of a loved one and to share thoughts and feelings about that person. Funerals are the first step in the healing process. The ritual of attending a funeral service provides many benefits including:

  • Providing a social support system for the bereaved
  • Helping the bereaved understand death is final and part of life
  • Integrating the bereaved back into the community
  • Easing the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one
  • Providing a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain
  • Reaffirming one's relationship with the person who died
  • Providing a time to say good-bye

It is possible to have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process.


I've never arranged a funeral before. What do I need to know?

At some time in our lives, most of us will make or assist in making funeral arrangements. This will not be an easy time, but we offer these tips for smart planning:

  • Be an informed consumer and ask questions
  • Choose an independent funeral home and a licensed funeral director
  • Discuss all service and payment options during the funeral arrangements
  • Make sure you receive a copy of the funeral home's General Price List
  • Be prepared to make decisions and organize details in advance of need
  • Plan a personalized and meaningful ceremony to help you begin healing

What do funeral directors do?

Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the deceased.

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.

What types of funeral services exist?

Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs, and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and, if so, whether the casket will be open or closed and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.

Why have a public viewing?

Viewing is 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 voluntary.

Embalming Questions

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the deceased, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of someone 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.

Is embalming required by law?

No. Most states, however, require embalming when death is caused by a reportable contagious disease or when a deceased is to be transported from one state to another by a common carrier, or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.

Cremation Questions

Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

As more people are choosing cremation, funeral service professionals are striving to give consumers a true sense of what their many options are for a funeral service. Often funeral directors find that people have a preconception that they have fewer choices for a ceremony when selecting cremation for themselves or a loved one. Therefore, they request direct cremation and deny the surviving friends and family the opportunity to honor them with a memorial service. In actuality, cremation is only part of the commemorative experience. In fact, cremation can actually increase your options when planning a funeral. Cremation gives people the flexibility to search for types of tributes that reflect the life being honored. But, this doesn't mean that aspects of traditional funeral services have to be discarded. Even with cremation, a meaningful memorial that is personalized to reflect the life of the deceased could include:

  • A visitation prior to the service 
  • An open or closed casket 
  • Special music
  • A ceremony at the funeral chapel, your place of worship, or other special location 
  • Participation by friends and family

Commonly, cremated remains are placed in an urn and committed to an indoor or outdoor mausoleum or columbarium, interred in a family burial plot, or included in a special urn garden.

Cremation also gives families the option to scatter the remains. This can be done in a designated cemetery garden or at a place that was special to the person. Today, cremated remains can even become part of an ocean reef or made into diamonds.

Where can I get more information on cremation?

We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral or memorial service with a cremation. For more technical information about the cremation process, we encourage you to view information online at the National Funeral Directors Association.

Funeral Cost Questions

What does the average funeral cost?

In 2009, the national average cost of an adult, full-service funeral was $6,560. This includes a professional service charge, transfer of deceased, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, service car or van, and metal casket. This average increases to $7,755 if a vault is included. Cemetery and monument charges are additional. (Source: 2010 NFDA General Price List Survey.)

What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?

Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, 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. (To contact FSCAP, call 708-827-6337 or 800-662-7666).

What to Do If Death Occurs

What should I do if a death occurs at home?

When death occurs, Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home funeral directors are available to assist you at any hour, seven days a week. Please call 845-331-0631 for assistance.

Will someone come right away?

Yes, if you request immediate assistance. If your family wishes to spend some time with the loved one to say goodbye, the funeral director will come when the time is right for you.

If a loved one dies out of state, can Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home still help?

Yes. When death occurs away from home, Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home can assist you with out-of-state arrangements and transfer the deceased to a preferred location. Please call 845-331-0631 for assistance.

 

 

 

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Planning your funeral arrangements in advance can offer you and your family a number of benefits.