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Funerals fill an important role for those mourning the loss of a loved one. By providing surviving family and friends with an atmosphere of care and support in which to share thoughts and feelings about death, funerals are the first step in the healing process. It is the traditional way to recognize the finality of death. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show their respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grieving process.
You can have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. Planning a personalized ceremony or service will help begin the healing process. Overcoming the pain is never easy, but a meaningful funeral or tribute will help.
The funeral home will help coordinate arrangements with the cemetery.
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good-bye, that’s perfectly acceptable. Your funeral director will come when your time is right.
Burial in a casket is the most common method of disposing of remains in the United States, although entombment also occurs. Cremation is increasingly selected because it can be less expensive and allows for the memorial service to be held at a more convenient time in the future when relatives and friends can come together.
A funeral service followed by cremation need not be any different from a funeral service followed by a burial. Usually, cremated remains are placed in urn before being committed to a final resting place. The urn may be buried, placed in an indoor or outdoor mausoleum or columbarium, or interred in a special urn garden that many cemeteries provide for cremated remains. The remains may also be scattered, according to state law.
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.
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.
The Federal Trade Commission says, "Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial."
When compared to other major life events like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral.
Additionally, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Funeral directors look upon their profession as a service, but it is also a business. Like any business, funeral homes must make a profit to exist.
It really depends entirely on how you wish to commemorate a life. One of the advantages of cremation is that it provides you with increased flexibility when you make your funeral and cemetery arrangements. You might, for example, choose to have a funeral service before the cremation; a memorial service at the time of cremation or after the cremation with the urn present; or a committal service at the final disposition of cremated remains. Funeral or memorial services can be held in a place of worship, a funeral home or in a crematory chapel.
With cremation, your options are numerous. The cremains can be interred in a cemetery plot, i.e., earth burial, retained by a family member, usually in an urn, scattered on private property, or at a place that was significant to the deceased. (It would always be advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place-your funeral director can help you with this.)
Today, there are many different types of memorial options from which to choose. Memorialization is a time-honored tradition that has been practiced for centuries. A memorial serves as a tribute to a life lived and provides a focal point for remembrance, as well as a record for future generations. The type of memorial you choose is a personal decision.
You might choose ground burial of the urn. If so, you may usually choose either a bronze memorial or monument. Cremation niches in columbariums are also available at many cemeteries. They offer the beauty of a mausoleum setting with the benefits of above ground placement of remains. Many cemeteries also offer scattering gardens. This area of a cemetery offers the peacefulness of a serene garden where family and friends can come and reflect.
If you wish to have your ashes scattered somewhere, it is important to discuss your wishes to be scattered ahead of time with the person or persons who will actually have to do the cremation ashes scattering ceremony, as they might want to let your funeral professional assist in the scattering ceremony. Funeral directors can also be very helpful in creating a meaningful and personal ash scattering ceremony that they will customize to fit your families specific desires. The services can be as formal or informal as you like. Scattering services can also be public or private. Again, it is advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place-your funeral director can help you with this.
Yes — Depending upon the cemetery's policy, you may be able to save a grave space by having the cremains buried on top of the casketed remains of your spouse, or utilize the space provided next to him/her. Many cemeteries allow for multiple cremated remains to be interred in a single grave space.
When a death occurs the executor or Power of Attorney usually is the one that steps forward to make arrangements for the funeral arrangements. However, Power of Attorney stops at the time of death and the Executor isn't appointed until weeks later when the Will has been filed with the county.
Currently in the Ohio Revised Code there is a priority list of who may authorize cremation, burials or other dispositions. The list, which is spelled out in Section 2108.81 of the Revised Code, establishes the following order of priority:
(1)The representative appointed by the decedent to have the right of disposition.
(2)The decedent's surviving spouse.
(3)The decedent's surviving child or children.
(4)The decedent's surviving parent or parents.
(5)The decedent's surviving sibling or siblings.
(6)The decedent's surviving grandparent or grandparents.
(7)The lineal descendants of the decedent's grandparents as spelled out in Section 2105.06 of the Revised Code.
(8)The decedent's personal guardian at the time of death.
(9)Any person willing to assume the right of disposition, including the personal representative of the estate or the licensed funeral director with custody of the body, after attesting in writing and good faith that they could not locate any of the persons in the above priority list.
In the event that several individuals of the same class cannot agree on funeral or disposition arrangements, the law permits the majority to control. Additionally, if an individual cannot be located, the majority of those who are available will control. For example, if a widow dies with five adult children, two of whom want cremation, one of whom wants burial and two of whom cannot be located, the children who opted for cremation would prevail.
If there is not a majority present to resolve a dispute, any party, including the funeral director, may petition the probate court to decide the issue. The probate court is given five factors in the statute to consider when rendering a decision as to who will control the disposition.
Loss of Right of Disposition. In order to exercise the right of disposition, an individual must be 18 years or older and mentally competent. Persons who have been appointed as a representative or who hold the right of disposition because of their relationship with the decedent will lose that right in the following situations:
*The person dies or is declared mentally incompetent by the probate court.
*The person resigns or declines to exercise the right of disposition.
*The person refuses to exercise the right within two days after notification of the decedent's death.
*The person cannot be located with reasonable effort.
*The person is charged with the murder, aggravated murder or voluntary manslaughter of the decedent.
*The person is charged with an act of domestic violence and it is alleged that the violence resulted or contributed to the decedent's death.
*The person is the spouse of the decedent and a petition for divorce has been filed and has not been dismissed at the time of death.
*The person is the spouse of the decedent and the probate court determines that the decedent and the spouse were "estranged" at the time of death.
Protections for Funeral Home. Primarily through the efforts of OFDA, HB 426 provides an extensive array of protections for funeral homes, cemeteries and crematories against lawsuits and claims by disgruntled family members. As long as employees of funeral homes, cemeteries or crematories are acting in good faith, they may rely upon statements made to them by persons claiming to have the right of disposition. Moreover, the statute provides immunity against lawsuits in the event that reliance was misplaced. For example, if a person misrepresents that they have the right of disposition, the funeral home will not be responsible for relying upon that misrepresentation unless it can be shown that the funeral director had reason to know that the misrepresentation was false.
The law also provides that a funeral director who is aware of a dispute regarding the right of disposition may refuse to accept the remains or to complete the funeral or disposition until the funeral director receives a court order or a written authorization from the person or persons who have the right of disposition. During a dispute, the statute authorizes the funeral director to embalm or refrigerate the remains in order to preserve them and to add those costs to the funeral bill. Moreover, if the funeral home must seek the intervention of the probate court, the funeral home may add its legal fees and court costs to the funeral bill.
In order to avail themselves of the protections afforded by HB 426, it is important that funeral homes document the claims of a person who represents themselves as the holder of the right of disposition. The most effective way to do this is to have the person arranging the funeral sign a Claim of Authority to Carry Out Disposition form which is available through OFDA. The new form tracks the wording of HB 426 and will help to demonstrate that funeral homes have acted in good faith in relying upon claims made by family members.
Funeral Costs. Another important lobbying victory for OFDA resulted in two important changes to Ohio law regarding funeral costs. First, HB 426 now establishes that a person who holds the right of disposition and purchases goods and services in exercising that right will be responsible for those costs. This means that a person who holds the right of disposition, but is unwilling or unable to pay the costs of the funeral and disposition, loses that right. As a result, funeral homes will not be required to take directions from relatives unless they are willing and able to pay for the funeral.
There are a number of options available, including: