||Questions and Answers
We understand that many people have questions about funeral service, and we have tried to provide answers to some of the more commonly asked questions. It is our hope that the information below will be a beginning point - we encourage you to contact us for more details regarding any service we offer.|
- What Should I Expect When Planning a Funeral Service?
- General Price List
You must be given a General Price List (GPL) by any funeral home upon request or before a funeral director can talk to you about their services or merchandise.
- The GPL will give you a list of services and costs offered at the funeral home.
- The GPL can be a useful tool in comparing prices between different funeral homes. Prices can and will vary by hundreds of dollars.
- The GPL can be very confusing at times. It was designed by the federal government. Your funeral director can explain the different items listed.
- Vital Statistical Information
- Your funeral director will need information to file required legal documents.
- The death certificate information contains family information, such as, legal name, date & place of birth, parents' names (including mother's maiden name), occupational information, etc.
- Always bring your social security number.
- If you are a veteran, always bring your discharge papers (DD214) or some other proof of military service.
- Decisions for the Service
- Where you would like the service - church, chapel, or graveside?
- Who will officiate?
- What musical selections would you like and who will present these?
- Would you like a military service?
- All veterans are eligible for partial military honors. This consists of a United States flag, a veterans marker, and an Honor Guard consisting of two U. S. military personnel to fold and present the flag to the family. Upon request and their availability, the Veterans of Foreign Wars will provide a 21 gun salute. This is a non-government sponsored service that the VFW does on a strictly volunteer basis.
- All retirees from military service or any military personnel killed while on active duty are entitled to receive full military honors from his or her branch of the service; however, some branches can not provide this service in Arkansas.
- What cemetery will be used? The family will need to contact the cemetery association concerning the proper location of lots and approval for burial.
- Will there be a visitation time at the funeral home the evening prior to the service and will there be viewing at the service itself?
- What newspapers (or radio stations) need to be notified? Some, if not most, newspapers charge for obituaries. Your funeral director can give you an idea of the approximate costs.
- Who should be pallbearers? A lot of thought should be made concerning pallbearers and especially honorary pallbearers.
- What are Basic Funeral Costs?
- Costs are divided into three categories - professional services, merchandise and cash advanced items.
- Professional services include items performed by the funeral director, such as embalming, transportation, use of facilities, use of vehicles, visitation, etc.
- Merchandise includes items such as caskets, vaults, markers, register books, acknowledgment cards, etc. These items are subject to local, county andstate sales taxes; whereas, professional services are not.
- Cash advanced items are items that are not part of your funeral director's charges but outside charges he has paid in advance for you. These charges may include newspaper notices, grave opening/closing, death certificates, etc.
- As previously stated, charges can vary hundreds of dollars between funeral homes. Use your right as a consumer to obtain a General Price List (GPL) to compare prices. Funeral homes must also give you price information over the phone.
- Make sure that the price you're given for complete services includes everything. You might find that there are services and/or merchandise that you need that have not been included.
- See our lists for our current prices on merchandise and services.
- Can You Explain Cremation Services?
Cremation is merely a form of disposition of the body just as earth burial or burial at sea are forms of disposition. You may still have a service even though the body will be cremated.
- Funeral Service with Visitation. This selection is exactly like a traditional funeral service except instead of burial, the body is cremated following the ceremony.
- Visitation with no Memorial Service. In this instance, the family wants a visitation time for themselves and their friends but they elect not to have a funeral service.
- Memorial Service with no Visitation. This is the most popular form today. In this case, the body is cremated immediately following death and is never a part of the services. The Memorial Service can be held at any time that is convenient with the family and is merely a funeral service without the body present.
- Direct Cremation. Direct Cremation is exactly what it states, direct cremation. Immediately after death, the body is cremated after obtaining all of the proper permits and documents. There are no services at all.
- Arkansas laws have now changed, and you may now sign to authorize your own cremation. In the past, cremation had to be approved and authorized by your next of kin.
- What happens when a death occurs in another city or state?
- If a death has occurred away from your home, there will be expenses of another funeral home for embalming, preparation and securing of all required legal documents. Remember, always call your hometown funeral director first. Do not call a funeral home where you are presently located or have a hospital notify someone for you. Again, there are hundreds of dollars in price variations and your hometown funeral director will know what to do and who to call.
- Over a 400 mile radius, airline transportation is more practical and usually less expensive. Airline charges will be approximately $300.00 to $400.00. This does not include the airline container which will vary from $50.00 to $100.00.
- Within a 400 mile radius, transportation should be by automobile. Costs vary from $1.25 to $1.75 per mile, one way.
- What are the costs and how do I obtain certified copies of a death certificate?
- At first, certified copies of a death certificate may be obtained quickly as the original is filed with the local county health unit. After the original filing, certified copies may be obtained from the Arkansas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. This process may take two to four weeks. Your funeral director will assist you with this process.
- Arkansas charges $10.00 for the first copy and $8.00 each for additional copies.
- Other states vary in the process of obtaining certified copies of the death certificate. These charges will also vary.
- What outside sources are available to help with funeral expenses?
- Social Security has a one time benefit of $255.00. This is payable only to a surviving spouse or dependent child. Also, this is only applicable if the deceased has paid into the Social Security system.
- The Veterans Administration will pay $600.00 to all veterans who are presently receiving a disability check from the V.A. If the death is service connected, that benefit may increase to $2,000.00. There is a popular misconception that the federal government, or V.A., pays for funeral expenses of all veterans. This is just not true. In fact, most veterans are ineligible for any monetary benefits at all.
- There are no federal, state, county or local agencies in our area that pay completely for funeral expenses. There are some counties that pay a small amount toward the expenses of indigent (pauper) cases; however, these cases must meet certain criteria. In reality, you can not depend on any government agency for the payment of funeral expenses.
- What are Advance Protection Plans?
- Funeral Insurance
- These policies are actually whole life insurance plans that can be written up to $10,000.00 in coverage.
- These policies require health questions answered with each application and are underwritten just like normal life insurance policies. If you have any health problems, you may not be eligible for this type of coverage or your premiums may be higher than normal.
- These policies are extremely good for younger families and are a good value; however, if you are over the age of 55, these types of policies may not be right for you.
- Funeral insurance policies have a specified coverage amount from the very start; however, most funeral insurance plans will not grow to offset inflationary costs of funerals.
- These policies are accepted anywhere and do not bind the consumer to a certain funeral home.
- Prepaid Funeral Plans
- This plan gives you the option of selecting the type of merchandise and service you desire and paying for these items at today's prices. Inflationary costs will not affect this plan.
- Most plans give you the option of making a single premium payment or the ability to make monthly payments. Should you select a monthly payment plan, your family may be liable for any unpaid balance; however, there are some plans that incorporate an insurance package much like credit life.
- Prepaid Funeral Plans will pay out within a certain time frame; whereas, funeral insurance policies have a continuous premium payment.
- Age and health issues do not effect your ability do make a prepaid funeral plan nor do they affect the amount of the monthly premium. However, they would affect your ability to include it with an insurance package.
- Prepaid funeral plans written after July 1, 1995 are easily transferable. Plans written before this date are transferable most of the time. Check with your funeral director concerning your particular prepaid funeral plan.
- Burial Associations
- In Arkansas, these types of associations became popular during the Depression and continue today.
- Approximately half of today's burial associations do not write new policies. Most funeral homes focus on the funeral insurance and prepaid funeral plans.
- Most burial associations that do write new business have a maximum coverage of either $500.00 or $2,500.00.
- These policies are binding with a specified provider funeral home and changing funeral homes may decrease the value up to 30%.
For more information, please feel free to contact us at either of our two locations, or you may reach us via email at email@example.com
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