Frequently Asked Questions

Service, quality and value can vary widely among funeral providers. Pre-planning a funeral allows you to research different providers in advance so you can be comfortable with their services, expertise, facility and ability to accommodate your specific desires. If you fund your pre-planned funeral, you'll want to make sure your preneed funds are secure and held in trust or used to purchase an insurance policy from a third-party provider.
Yes. Whether the ceremony is elaborate or simple, today's funerals are often individualized to reflect the life lived. You can personalize a funeral service by incorporating music, photos, mementos, decorations, catering and more to reflect the unique accomplishments, passions, hobbies or activities that characterized the life of the decedent.
Yes. You may choose to have cremated remains divided, scattering some and burying the rest. Or you may choose to bury or scatter some of the remains and divide the rest among family members. Small urns called "keepsake" urns are available to hold small portions of cremated remains.
It really depends on the specific cemetery's policy and applicable state law. You may be able to have your cremated remains buried on top of the casket of your spouse, for example, or utilize the space next to him or her. Some cemeteries allow for multiple containers of cremated remains to be interred in a single grave space for an additional charge.
Absolutely. Regardless of whether you choose burial or cremation, a funeral or memorial service is a celebration of the life that has been lived. It offers family and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one as well as an opportunity to grieve in a supportive environment. You can have a ceremony with the urn present if the cremation has already taken place, or you can have a traditional funeral with visitation and viewing before the body is cremated if you desire.
No. There is great benefit in pre-planning your funeral, even if you do not pay for it in advance, which is called "pre-funding." When you pre-plan, you can still make your wishes known to your loved ones, alleviating them from the burden of making tough decisions when the time comes. However, if you pay for ("pre-fund") your pre-planned funeral in advance, you can lock in today's prices for services and merchandise which may be more expensive in the future.
There is no requirement that a funeral service must be performed by a clergy member. If you desire a member of clergy to perform the service but do not have one, the funeral home can arrange for a clergy member from the denomination of your choice to perform the service and meet with the deceased's family in order to tailor the service to the family's wishes. Another option is a funeral celebrant, which also can be arranged by the funeral home. Not necessarily a clergy member, funeral celebrants are professionals who specialize in creating personal, meaningful services.
It is important to choose a provider whose staff is helpful, knowledgeable, experienced and professional -- one that can provide the information, guidance and options that best meet your family's emotional, spiritual, cultural and economic needs.
Prearranged funeral services made with a Dignity Memorial funeral provider are fully transferable and will be honored by any of the funeral providers in the Dignity Memorial network. If you move more than 75 miles from your original place of residence, your prearranged plan moves with you. If there is no Dignity Memorial provider in your new location, we will attempt to find another provider to honor the guaranteed price. If a firm other than a Dignity Memorial funeral home is used, a transfer arrangement is usually available. However, there is no guarantee that those firms will honor all costs as laid out on the prearranged contract.
No, a casket is not required. However, your loved one is cremated in a combustible, rigid, covered container (called a "cremation container") to allow for dignified handling. The container is cremated along with the body.
No. While embalming may be required by a specific state's law in certain circumstances, in general, it is not always required. Your funeral home may require embalming if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. Additionally, embalming is not allowed by certain religions and cultures.
Yes, most funeral providers and crematory operators will allow the family to witness the placement of the cremation container into the crematory. You should make this request in advance so that a convenient time can be scheduled.
Yes, all states allow for the scattering of ashes, or "cremated remains." However, state laws do prohibit scattering on private property without the consent of the property owner. Many national and state parks have permit requirements for scattering and limit scattering options, so be sure to obtain permission in advance. For those who choose scattering at sea, the U.S. government grants general permission to scatter cremated remains in or on ocean waters no closer than three miles from land. However, reporting of the scattering to the regional administration and other conditions do apply.
A burial vault is a lined and sealed unit that is specifically engineered to support the weight of the earth grave as well as the heavy equipment that passes over it.
An outer burial container is a concrete, metal or wood structure used to support a casket in the ground.
Realistically, they all refer to the opportunity for family and friends to view the deceased at the funeral home and offer condolences to the family before the funeral ceremony. Technically, a viewing would only be possible with an open casket present. Historically, a wake referred to a watch kept over the deceased, sometimes lasting the entire night preceding the funeral. Today, the three terms all refer to visitation by friends to the family of the deceased and can occur one or more days before the funeral as well as on the day of the funeral itself.
When thinking about the permanent placement of cremated remains, remember that a permanent site gives loved ones a physical place for visitation and reflection, well into the future. Additionally, the actual ceremony accompanying the placement of an urn in a cemetery provides family and friends with closure after the loss of a loved one. When ashes of a loved one are kept with relatives, they can easily become misplaced or discarded through the years, as future generations may not feel a connection to the deceased.