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 BC.
What do funeral directors do?
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.
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?
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.
How much does a funeral cost?
In 2006, the average charge for an adult, full-service funeral in New York State was $7,150; this includes a professional service charge, transfer of remains, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, limousine and casket. Vault, cemetery and monument charges are additional. This amount is an average based on all areas of the State. Consumers can expect expenses to be somewhat higher downstate and somewhat lower in upstate areas.
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. According to FTC figures for 2005, direct cremation occurred in 19% of deaths.