is a Funeral
A funeral has been described as "an organized,
purposeful, time-limited, group centered response to death involving rites
and ceremonies during some or all of which the body of the deceased is
present." A funeral is the way that we take care of the dead -- by properly
and honorably disposing of the body, usually through burial or cremation
-- and take care of the living by providing the spiritual, social, emotional
and practical context in which to take leave of their dead.
Have we always
Since the Neanderthals first buried their
dead with ceremony, over 40,000 years ago, human societies have always
had funerals. Before we had agriculture or an alphabet, humans developed
ways to say good-bye to their dead, to honor them, and to remember them.
What is the difference
between a funeral and a memorial service?
A funeral always involves the presence
and final disposition of a dead human body as part of the practical and
ceremonial obligation. A memorial service is any service that commemorates
a death but does not involve the presence or disposition of the dead.
How much does
a funeral cost?
Like health-care, education, housing, or
transportation, the range of expenses related to funerals is a wide
one and will depend upon a number of variables. Staff and professional
services, use of facilities, motor equipment, merchandise, cemetery and
crematory fees, flowers, music, printing - all of these may be a part of
final expenses. What is very helpful is that all funeral home fees are
itemized by federal mandate. No discussion of funeral arrangements will
be held unless the family has a General Price List in their possession,
from which to make informed decisions. The General Price List is available
to anyone at anytime who requests one in person at the funeral home, whether
or not they are there to make funeral arrangements. Likewise, price information
is available over the phone. For more information on funeral costs,
please see our Services
How much does
a casket cost?
We represent Batesville Caskets, with a
full range of caskets available at the funeral home, from the very simple
to the very ornate, and everything in between. In addition to traditional
caskets in wood and metal, cremation caskets are available in a variety
of combustible materials and wood. At Wilston Funeral Home, we believe
that the selection of a casket belongs entirely to the consumer. Our job
is to make available the broadest possible selection at the most competitive
Do you have to
have a casket for cremation?
For cremation or for burial, all that is
required is that the dead body be "in" something so that crematory or cemetery
personnel do not have to handle the body themselves. Whether that is a
cardboard box or a mahogany box is a matter of indifference to everybody
but the family of the deceased, to whom that choice belongs.
Who is authorized
to make my funeral arrangements?
Under Pennsylvania law, authorization of
funeral arrangements can be made only by the surviving spouse or next-of-kin.
Who is the next
In general, next-of-kin are determined
in the following order: spouse; children; grandchildren; parents; siblings;
nieces and nephews; grandparents; aunts and uncles; first cousins. If there
are several next-of-kin within the same degree of kinship (for example,
the spouse is dead and there are several children living), then most funeral
directors will require that all the next-of-kin be in agreement before
proceeding. The law has no provision for "majority rule." If problems reaching
agreement are anticipated, it is best to work out an understanding or accommodation
prior to death in order to avoid delays and legal entanglements once the
death has occurred.
What happens when
a death occurs at home?
A sudden or unexpected death at home or
other private residence when a physician is not present should be reported
to the local law enforcement authority immediately. Do not disturb the
body. When the police arrive, they will notify the proper authorities for
removal of the body. Let the police know your preference of funeral home.
Depending on the circumstances of death, it may be required that the remains
be first transported to and/or released by the County Medical Examiner.
When death at home is anticipated, normally the patient is under Hospice
care. When the death occurs, you should contact Hospice.
will often facilitate many of the procedures listed above, including contact
with the funeral home of your choice.
What happens when
a death occurs away from home?
If you are traveling (or living away from
your home town) immediately contact your home town funeral director who
will be able to make the necessary professional contacts for you (including,
if necessary, a funeral home in the location of the death), usually within
minutes, often avoiding costs resulting from duplication of services.
What happens when
a death occurs overseas?
If death occurs in a foreign country, the
U.S. Consulate in that country can assist in making arrangements. These
arrangements vary in cost and can be very expensive, so be sure to insist
upon careful cost estimates. Also be sure to obtain at least ten English
translations of the death certificate at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
When should funeral
arrangements be made?
There is no especially "right" time to
make funeral arrangements. Many families find that planning ahead puts
their mind at ease, and for these families pre-arrangements may be very
helpful. As many families feel that they need not make these difficult
decisions until they have to, and for these families making arrangements
when a death occurs makes most sense. For many families attached to religious
or ethnic traditions, the arrangements and decisions are fairly simple,
following a pattern long established by their church or culture. There
is no time when information, education, and open discussion of these matters
is not useful. Still, no one can "pre-feel" their feelings or "pre-grieve"
their grief, even though they may pre-arrange a funeral.
plan your funeral ahead of time?
Planning ahead most importantly ensures
that your personal funeral preferences and wishes are satisfied.
When making funeral arrangements, many
decisions need to be made. Planning ahead allows you, as well as
your family, to be active participants in the arrangement and planning
Planning ahead ensures that your family
is not left with a financial burden.
Although not required, funding a funeral
ahead of time ensures that the cost of the funeral is guaranteed
with our funeral home, unlike most other funeral homes.
Planning ahead allows you to set aside
funds prior to entering a long term care situation.
Can you plan a
funeral ahead of time without funding?
YES. Although there are many advantages
to funding a funeral ahead of time at today's costs, funding ahead of time
is not required. It is just as important to have your wishes on record
at the funeral home.
What is the first
step in funeral planning?
We have an informational questionnaire
to help you get started on the many questions which are involved in planning
a funeral in advance. We at the funeral home use this form to compile
legal documents and obituary information.
for a Funeral
||Acknowledges that a life has been lived.
||Allows mourners to remember and honor
their loved one in a special way.
||Serves as a central gathering place for
family and friends to give emotional and physical support to one another.
||Provides closure for the bereaved.
||Initiates the grieving process.
||Confirms the reality and finality of the
||Encourages mourners to face the pain of
their loss and express their thoughts and feelings.
||Helps survivors to better cope with their
grief and enables them to move forward with their lives.