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Frequent Questions

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Funeral and Burial Questions

Funerals provide surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to recognize the death of a loved one and to share thoughts and feelings about that person. Funerals are the first step in the healing process. The ritual of attending a funeral service provides many benefits including:

  • Providing a social support system for the bereaved
  • Helping the bereaved understand death is final and part of life
  • Integrating the bereaved back into the community
  • Easing the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one
  • Providing a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain

It is possible to have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process.

At some time in our lives, most of us will make or assist in making funeral arrangements. This will not be an easy time, but we offer these tips for smart planning:

  • Be an informed consumer and ask questions
  • Choose an independent funeral home and a licensed funeral director
  • Discuss all service and payment options during the funeral arrangements
  • Make sure you receive a copy of the funeral home's General Price List
  • Be prepared to make decisions and organize details in advance of need
  • Plan a personalized and meaningful ceremony to help you begin healing

Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the deceased.

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.

Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs, and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and, if so, whether the casket will be open or closed and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.

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 Questions

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the deceased, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of someone 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.

No. Most states, however, require embalming when death is caused by a reportable contagious disease or when a deceased is to be transported from one state to another by a common carrier, or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.

Cremation Questions

There are several types of cremation units in use today. However, with the average equipment in use, the average cremation takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. The entire cremation process can take up to 6-10 days, unless the family chooses to pay an expedited fee. Variables exist that may lengthen the process, such as the size of the person and the type of container. Technically speaking, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency refers to the cremation chamber as an “incinerator”. Incinerators used for reducing human remains are particularly referred to as ‘pathological incinerators’ The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency classifies incinerators according to their burning rate. Some incinerators available today can do cremation or incinerating in one hour.

Funeral Cost Questions

In 2009, the national average cost of an adult, full-service funeral was $6,560. This includes a professional service charge, transfer of deceased, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, service car or van, and metal casket. This average increases to $7,755 if a vault is included. Cemetery and monument charges are additional. (Source: 2010 NFDA General Price List Survey.)

Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program. FSCAP provides information, mediates disputes, provides arbitration, and maintains a consumer-guarantee fund for reimbursement of services rendered. (To contact FSCAP, call 708-827-6337 or 800-662-7666). 

In Ohio, Contact the Ohio Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. 77 South High Street, 16 Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215

What to Do if Death Occurs

When death occurs, Edwards Funeral Service personnel are available to assist you at any hour, seven days a week. Please call 614-444-3200 or any of our locations for assistance.

If you request immediate assistance, yes. If your family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say goodbye, this is acceptable. Our staff will come when the time is right for you.

When death occurs away from home, Edwards Funeral Service can assist you with out-of-state arrangements and transfer the deceased to a preferred location. Please call 614-444-3200 for assistance.

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