Choosing a funeral director or home usually comes at a stressful time, soon after
the death of a loved one. Even though you may not feel like it, it is wise to receive
a quotation of the fee from more than one funeral director or home. It is
sometimes wise to have someone not associated with the deceased to accompany
you to the funeral home; your clergy, lawyer, or close friend can help you decide
on the arrangements.
This person will help you to choose arrangements that are appropriate for your
financial resources. The clergy or lawyer will know of a good, reputable director or
home. Most funeral homes offer arrangements from simple to elaborate. Be sure to
find out what is included in the price such as the coffin, the preparation of the body
for burial and routine procedures such as filing the death certificate and putting
notices in the newspapers.
If at all possible make arrangements for your own funeral before your death. It
spares your family from having to do it. There are pre-plans with funeral homes
and certain consumer organizations.
A funeral home provides a number of functions dealing with the deceased person
and their families. For those who want to make their wishes known before death,
funeral homes offer prearrangement services. This is where a person records their
wishes for the service and the disposition of their body. The person can often pay
for the funeral beforehand, or specify payment after death has occurred.
Funeral homes will make arrangements with families of the recently deceased.
Families can arrange a service according to what the deceased wanted and what the
family desires. The funeral home will take care of all the necessary paperwork and
permits, and sometimes take care of other details, such as making arrangements
with the cemetery and providing obituaries to the news media. Or in the case of
stillborn children they usually suggest placing information in the Births section
rather than the obituaries.
When a deceased person is brought to the funeral home, they are usually
embalmed to delay decomposition in order to allow time for funeral services to
take place. The embalming procedure involves removal of the blood from a dead
body. The embalmer uses makeup to give the person a more lifelike appearance. If
the deceased was disfigured due to an accident or illness the embalmer can
sometimes perform restorative services to make the deceased presentable enough
for open casket services. If the embalmer is not able to do so (because the corpse
was badly damaged in an accident, badly burned in a fire or had suffered an
illness), or if the family requests it for whatever reason, the funeral home would
then have a closed casket service.
The funeral home will often have one or more large areas that are set aside for
families to gather for a visitation. This area will have a space where the deceased is
displayed in their casket. This allows families to gather to pay their respects.
Funeral services and memorial services may also take place at the funeral home if
the family wishes.
Not all visitations and memorial services take place at the funeral home.
Sometimes, those rituals may take place at a church (often, where the deceased or
his/her family were members). Other times, the deceased's family may request
there be no services (for whatever reason), in which case the funeral home may
simply handle the arrangements to dispose the body.
Due to the increasing popularity of cremation, more and more funeral homes have
crematoria to cremate bodies. Funeral homes without facilities on-site will often
contract the work out to other facilities.
Some funeral homes are family owned and operated. Others are part of larger
corporations, although in contrast to other industries, funeral home corporations
tend to attempt act anonymously so that some funeral homes that appear to be
family owned are actually corporate owned. One of the largest corporation of
funeral homes is Service Corporation International.
This main topic focuses on all
subjects, but not limited to, topics
dealing with funeral homes and the
history of the funeral home. It also
covers, mortuary education, and how
to locate a funeral home in your area
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Definition of a Funeral Home
A funeral home or mortuary is a place where
a visitation is arranged. It is a place where
the deceased are prepared for funeral
services, and the family gathers for the
visitation and proceeds to a chapel
(sometimes at the funeral home) for the
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