Frequently Asked Questions

What is a funeral?

A funeral is a ceremony for a deceased person prior to burial or cremation.  A funeral gives the opportunity for family and friends of the deceased to gather and mourn the passing of their loved one, to share cherished memories and celebrate their life.  A funeral is a vital first step to help the bereaved heal after the loss of someone special.

What type of service should I have?

If no pre-arrangements have been made, the type of service is entirely up to you.  Services are usually held at a funeral home or a place of worship.  There is a wealth of different services, ranging from a traditional religious or military service to something a little more non-traditional.  Our funeral directors are more than happy to work with you to figure out what would be the most appropriate.

Can I personalize a funeral?

Of course you can, in fact more and more people are opting for a more non-traditional personalized service.  There is no right or wrong way to celebrate somebody’s life.  There are many unique ways to celebrate life, let the funeral director know exactly what your desires are and they will honor your wishes.

Do we need to have an obituary notice and what is included in one?

It is highly recommended to have an obituary notice that’s either placed in a local newspaper, or placed online.  An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred, and gives them information about the service.  Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city and date of birth and the city they were living in when they died.  It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse, along with the names of anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children or grandchildren.  Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you may include a little blurb on the life and legacy of the deceased.  An online obituary or memorial website offers you the chance to add a lot more about the deceased.

Who are funeral directors and what do they do?

Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death.  They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place of the body.  Beyond the logistics, funeral directors are there to provide moral support and guidance for someone coping with death.

What happens if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

We are here to help, funeral directors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

What if a death occurs away from my home town?

We are here to help, we can arrange to have the remains transported home from anywhere in the world.  We will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have the remains return to the community.

What is embalming and what purpose does it serve?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body; it also slows down the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of the body damaged by traumatic death or illness.  Embalming gives time to the family of the deceased to arrange a service, and allows the family the option of having an open-casket viewing.

Do I need to have an embalming?

No.  In fact some religions forbid embalming.  However, some countries require embalming by law in order for remains to leave or enter the country.  If it is not against your religious custom, embalming is recommended, especially if there is an extended gap between death and burial or cremation.

How much does a funeral cost?

The cost of the funeral varies depending on the wishes you have.  The average cost of a funeral is between $5,000-$7,000, however, the most basic of services can cost as little as $1000.  The cost includes all professional services including transportation, embalming and other preparations, the use of a facility for the ceremony, and the purchase of a casket or urn.

Why are funerals so expensive?

Funerals are labor intensive and require a lot of work from a lot of people.  The cost of a funeral goes beyond merchandise such as caskets, it includes the services of a funeral director in making the necessary arrangements, filling out forms, and dealing with all the other people involved in the death (doctors, lawyers, insurance companies).  Funeral directors work an average of 40 hours per funeral.  The cost of operating a funeral home is factored into the cost as well.  Funeral homes are a 24 hour operation, with extensive facilities that need to be maintained and secured.  

What do I do if I am not satisfied with the way a funeral was handled?

Funeral Services in the United States is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, they can be reached by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP1-877-FTC-HELP FREE (382-4357) or you can fill out a form online at  In Canada, funeral services are regulated provincially and this information can be found on the Canadian Consumer Information website at

What do I do when a death occurs?

When a loved one dies, there is a sequence of events that must occur. Depending on the nature of the death and the location of the death, will determine the course of action that must be taken.

  • Deaths that occur naturally in a hospital or nursing home only require a phone call to the funeral home.
  • If a death occurs at home, it will fall into one of two categories:
    - A hospice death (which means the deceased has be registered with hospice and is under their care), the family must first call hospice. Hospice will then send a hospice nurse to make a pronouncement. At that point the hospice nurse will instruct you to call the funeral home.
    - Any death at home (other than hospice) is classified as an unattended death, even though the individual may have be under doctor’s care. You must call 911. They will send a medic to initially respond to the home. The will in turn call the county coroner in order to receive authorization to remove the deceased. At that point you will be instructed to call the funeral home.

What does the arrangement process entail?

Every family that is served must take part in the arrangement process. This is the time where we discuss the type of service that you will have. We would discuss the date, place and time of the services. It is also the time when we obtain the information we will need for legal documents (Death Certificates, Burial/Cremation Permit, etc…). Any type of merchandise that needs to be selected will be selected at this meeting. This is also where we would usually gather the information we will need to place any type of Obituary.

The following information required for the death certificate for all types of arrangements. We will need the deceased’s:

  • Full Legal Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Parents Full Names including their Mother’s Maiden Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Legal Address
  • Occupation / Industry
  • Highest Level of Education Completed
  • Legal Marital Status

We also recommend that if there is a cemetery plot involved that you bring the cemetery deed.

If the deceased was a veteran US Armed Forces that you bring a copy of their military discharge (DD-214).

You should also bring in any clothing that would be needed.

  • We recommend that you bring clothing with long sleeves and a higher collar.
  • We also would recommend undergarments (the same as one would get dressed in the morning).
  • The uses of shoes are at the digression of the family.
  • Eyeglasses
  • Jewelry
  • We ask that you bring a fairly recent picture for cosmetology and/or hairdressing.

For the convenience of the families we serve we also have burial dresses and men’s suits available for purchase.

Who is eligible to obtain a death certificate copy?

  • The spouse, parent or child of the deceased 
  • Other persons who have a:
    - documented lawful right or claim
    - documented medical need
    - New York State Court Order

Here's a helpful link for obtaining death certificates: 

How do I obtain a copy of a Military Discharge?

If you or a loved one has served in the US Military, the personnel files are stored at the National Archives and Records Administration. They are the official repository for records of military personnel who have been discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard. A Report of Separation is generally issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training. The Report of Separation (DD-214) contains information normally needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans' organizations. The following link will instruct you on how to obtain the discharge: 

How do I write an Obituary?

An obituary will report the death of a person, typically along with an account of the person's life and information about funeral services. Most Obituaries are paid death notices; in a few newspapers they are free. Usually the cost of an obituary is directly related to the length of the article. Most major newspapers charge per line per day and in most cases the inclusion of a photo would be an additional cost. In New York State there is no legal requirement to place an obituary in a newspaper. The following information would be the usual format of an obituary:

  • Town Associated with the person  (Required)
  • Name of Deceased (Required)
  • Date of Death  (Required)
  • Place or Manner of Death
  • Date and Place of Birth with their Parents Names
  • Personal Information
    - Education
    - Military Status
    - Employment
    - Memberships
    - Hobbies
    - Interests
  • List of Surviving Family Members
  • List of predeceased Family Member
  • Service Information
    - Funeral or Memorial Service
    - Visitation or Call Hours
    - Place of Burial or Cremation
  • Memorial Donations (if necessary)

How do I become an Organ, Tissue or Bone Donor?

Organ donation begins with a person who recognizes an opportunity to help others, enrolls in a state donor registry, and shares the decision to be a donor with family members and friends. The culmination of the process occurs when the person donates—and saves or enhances the lives of as many as eight people who need an organ transplant. Organ donation is the surgical process of providing one or more organs to be used for transplantation into another person. Organ donors can be deceased or living. The following is a link to the US Department of Health and Human Services with valuable information on Organ and Tissue Donation:

Do I need clothing for the deceased?

You should also bring in any clothing that would be needed.

  • We recommend that you bring clothing with long sleeves and a higher collar.
  • We also would recommend undergarments (the same as one would get dressed in the morning).
  • The uses of shoes are at the discretion of the family.
  • Eyeglasses
  • Jewelry
  • We ask that you bring a fairly recent picture for cosmetology and/or hairdressing.
  • For the convenience of the families we serve we also have burial dresses and men’s suits available for purchase

Clothing for the departed

What is proper etiquette when attending a service or calling hours?

  • If there is a register book, you are encouraged to sign in so that the family will have help in recalling who attended.
  • Remember to silence you cell phone. It is also recommended that you do not make or receive calls while in the presence of the bereaved family.
  • When attending make sure that you are on time, funeral services start promptly at the appointed times. Express your condolences to the family at the appropriate time. Usually during the calling hours or awhile before or after the service.
  • Honor the family’s wishes regarding donations or gifts if you are so inclined to send something.
  • If the family is receiving many people and you have expressed your condolences, do not feel obligated to stay for the duration of the calling hours or after a service has concluded. If there is a large receiving line it is recommended that you keep your expression of sympathy brief so that the family has the time to receive everyone.
  • Children should be closely supervised so that they do not have an opportunity to be perceived as a disturbance not only in the chapel but the public areas of the funeral home as well.

What is Hospice?

  • Hospice care is for the terminally ill. It can include home visits by professionals such as nurses and clergy to provide for the person's physical and emotional needs.
  • Hospice provides treatments that address comfort and quality of life. Controlling pain and other distressing symptoms is a major priority.
  • A person is considered eligible for Hospice care if the physician estimates a life expectancy of six months or less, should the disease run its normal course.

I am doing Genealogy; can the funeral home give me information?

In keeping with the highest tradition of respect and privacy to those families we have served, we do not allow the public to view or copy our records. The only information we are comfortable releasing is Name of the Deceased, Date of Death and Place of Burial.

If you are doing genealogy, you may find the following links to be very helpful in your search: