The following are frequently asked questions regarding cremation, earth burial and other general funeral information. Should you have a question that you do not see answered below, please feel free to contact your NFDA funeral director or an NFDA service representative at: 800-228-6632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions - Cremation
The crematory that is performing the cremation process will usually have a minimum requirement that specifies the deceased be placed in a rigid container. The actual container you select is based on your personal preference and the type of arrangements you select. Your funeral director will advise you of the crematory’s requirements.
The final cost of your arrangements will be determined by the service and merchandise selections you make. You can certainly select an immediate cremation with no funeral services just as you can select an immediate casket burial with no funeral services, both of which would cost less than if other funeral services and merchandise were selected. Your funeral director will provide to you and explain their General Price List. You can then make an informed decision as to which arrangements are most appropriate for your needs and fit within your budget while still memorializing your loved one.
Taking cremated remains home to store or place on display is your personal decision. It is recommended that if you decide to exercise this option, that you have a long-term plan for permanent placement of the cremated remains after your death. A trusted advisor or family member should have clear instructions as to what should happen to the urn or urns after your death.
Yes, you are within your rights to personally transport cremated remains. Your funeral director can provide you with a copy of the burial transit permit (or similar document) which should accompany the cremated remains for identification purposes.
Generally, cremated remains may be hand carried on most airlines as long as the proper documentation is brought and the urn/container is able to be x-rayed at security. The airline should always be contacted first to determine the paperwork they require for transporting cremated remains. In addition, if you are travelling internationally, the country you are entering may require additional paperwork. Your funeral director can assist you in contacting the country’s consular offices to determine their specific requirements.
There are several considerations prior to scattering cremated remains. Be careful to first remember that scattering is a final, irrevocable act. Be certain that you want to do this, realizing that the cremated remains cannot be retrieved.
If you want to scatter on public land, you must first consult with the town or other governing body to determine if this act is permissible. On private land, you must obtain permission from the landowner. If you do obtain permission, be selective when choosing the location for the scattering, using care to scatter in a private area. It is important to not infringe upon the rights of others who may not be comfortable with human remains being scattered in a common area.
Some persons express the desire to scatter cremated remains on the grave of another relative at a cemetery. This practice is generally not allowed. Some cemeteries do have a designated area where a scattering may take place for a fee under their supervision. Consult with the officials at the cemetery to determine their allowable practices.
Should you desire to scatter cremated remains in an ocean, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires this act must be performed a minimum of three nautical miles offshore. Requirements for scattering cremated remains in lakes and inland waterways can be found by contacting regional offices of the EPA or state authorities. Your NFDA funeral director can assist you in obtaining the required information.
Cremated remains may be placed in a cemetery in a grave or in a columbarium niche. You can also purchase a keepsake in the form of a miniature urn, jewelry or other suitable object, where a portion of the cremated remains may be placed and shared with loved ones. Some people choose to purchase several keepsakes to share the cremated remains with multiple family members and friends.
Frequently Asked Questions - Casket Burial
Generally, the cost of a grave space is determined by the location in the cemetery and available inventory. Spaces in a more desired location, such as near a water feature or on a hilltop, will cost more than spaces in other locations.
The cemetery you select will have policies regarding the type of grave marker that may be placed on the grave. Some allow only markers that are flush with the ground and others will allow an upright monument. There may also be regulations regarding the material from which the marker is constructed. Your cemetery can provide specific information related to marker and monument policies.
The cost of the casket is determined by the material from which it is constructed and the grade of the interior fabric. Your funeral director will review with you a casket price list which details the entire selection of caskets at the funeral home and shows how they compare in price.
Frequently Asked Questions - General
Generally, embalming is not required by law. However, many states do require a body to either be embalmed or refrigerated within a certain time period after death has occurred. The funeral home may also have an embalming requirement for certain types of arrangements, such as when there will be a public viewing of the deceased. You always have the option of selecting an immediate disposition arrangement that does not require embalming.
Funeral directors work together every day to coordinate the shipment of human remains between different cities, states and countries. If someone dies while travelling out-of-town, contact the funeral director in your home town. He or she can work with a local funeral director and the authorities where the death occurred to make arrangements to bring your loved one home. If the death occurs in a city where you or someone you trust is familiar with a local funeral home, you can also contact them for assistance.
The steps necessary to transport a deceased person internationally varies depending on the requirements of the country that is the intended destination. NFDA maintains a comprehensive international shipping directory on its website with the most current regulations and contact information for individual countries’ consular offices. See your NFDA funeral director for more information; he or she can help guide you through the process of sending your loved one home.
The cost of a funeral is determined primarily by the type of services and merchandise selected. Your funeral director will provide you with a copy of their General Price List prior to your making any selections. This price list will detail the various types of services available and the cost for each. In addition, if your arrangements involve the selection of a casket or outer burial container, you will be shown the price list for each prior to making a selection.
Prior to completing the funeral arrangements, your funeral director will prepare an itemized list of all of your selections for services, merchandise and any charges from outside parties that are being paid through the funeral home. Be sure to ask any questions you may have; your funeral director is there to help ensure you are comfortable with your selections.
Assistance with funeral related expenses may be available for persons who are on a government assistance program or who can demonstrate a legitimate need. These programs vary greatly from one state to another and usually originate with the state, county or local government. Each program has unique qualifications for assistance and benefits that are provided, if any. The best source of information is your funeral director who should be familiar with all local programs.
Funeral directors are keenly aware of the fact that funeral expenses often are unexpected. They strive to help a family understand their options and provide compassionate guidance as they make selections that are fitting for their loved one and within their budget.
While most funeral homes are not in a position to provide payment plans, they generally do offer the families they serve options for payment. The most common forms of payment are: cash, credit card or assignment of life insurance proceeds. Some funeral homes also work with third-party companies that offer financing to families who qualify.
An NFDA funeral home is one that agrees to be held to a higher standard. By agreeing to comply with the NFDA Code of Professional Conduct, our funeral director members are committed to honesty, integrity and high ethical standards. You can rest assured your NFDA funeral director will be there to accompany you in your time of need and will ensure you are satisfied with all of your selections.