General Funeral Questions

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What is a casket?

A casket is a box or chest for burying the remains of a deceased person. A casket is sometimes also called a coffin.

What is meant by the term “disposition”?

“Disposition” refers to the placement of cremated or whole remains in their final resting place.

Who is considered next of kin for the purpose of making funeral arrangements?

In general, the next of kin will follow in this order: Spouse or domestic partner; Children ; Parents;
Siblings; Authorized guardian; Grandchildren; Great-grandchildren; Nieces and nephews; Grand-nieces and grand-nephews; Grandparents; Aunts and uncles; First cousins; Great-grandchildren of Grandparents; Second cousins; and Fiduciary (a legally appointed trustee).

What is a mass card?

In the Catholic religion, a mass card indicates that a Mass for the deceased has been arranged.

What is an affirmation or celebration of life service?

The “Affirmation or Celebration of Life” Service is an alternate type of service that is highly personalized and follows no standard set of rules. It may be religious or non-religious, and can vary widely in content and format, depending on the plans and wishes of the deceased and their family.

What is a graveside service?

Also known as a “committal service,” the graveside service is held at the gravesite before the body or urn is buried, or in the crematory chapel prior to cremation. It provides those present with the opportunity to say their final good-byes just before the burial or cremation takes place. The committal service is usually brief if it is held in addition to a funeral or memorial service. If the committal ceremony is the only service being held, it may be more lengthy or elaborate. Additional elements or rituals may be included, such as the reading of poetry, music, songs, “final words” spoken by members of the family, sharing of memories, placing flowers on the casket, etc.

What is a committal service?

The committal service is held at the gravesite before the body or urn is buried, or in the crematory chapel prior to cremation. It provides those present with the opportunity to say their final good-byes just before the burial or cremation takes place. The committal service is usually brief if it is held in addition to a funeral or memorial service. If the committal ceremony is the only service being held, it may be more lengthy or elaborate. Additional elements or rituals may be included, such as the reading of poetry, music, songs, “final words” spoken by members of the family, sharing of memories, placing flowers on the casket, etc.

What is a memorial service?

A memorial service is held without the body being present. If the deceased has been cremated, the family may have the ashes present in an urn. The final disposition of the remains may take place either before or after the service. Unlike a traditional funeral, a memorial service may not be held until weeks or months after the death. The memorial service may be religious or non-religious, and can be held in a funeral home, church, private home, community room, or outdoors.

What is a traditional funeral service?

A traditional funeral service is held in the presence of the deceased. The body may be either in an open or closed casket. The funeral service usually takes place within two or three days of the death. If the body has been embalmed, it may be either buried or cremated after the service. Families who choose cremation may still have the un-embalmed body present at the funeral, with the cremation process taking place shortly afterward.

The funeral service is usually led by a member of the clergy, and typically takes place in a church or funeral home chapel. Depending on the religion of the deceased, the ritual may include scripture readings, prayers, a eulogy, a sermon, music, and/or hymns. After the funeral, there may be a procession to the gravesite or crematory chapel, followed by a brief committal service.

What are the choices for funeral services?

The four main types of funeral services include the traditional funeral service, the memorial service, the committal service, and the affirmation or celebration of life service.

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