Frequently Asked Questions
It is true to say that unfortunately many people burdened with the responsibility of arranging the final farewell of a loved one will have little, or no experience in such matters.
Below is a list of 'frequently asked questions'. We hope the answers will be helpful to you. If you have a question that does not appear on the list or does not give you enough explanation, please do not hesitate to call us at any time, or click the 'Ask A Question' box at the bottom of the page.
Here are several Frequently Asked Question;
Question: What should I do if someone dies?
Answer: It depends on the circumstances in which the death occurs. Unless the deceased was under Hospice care, your first call should be your local police or 911. A more complete explanation can be found in the section called 'When Someone Dies'.
Question: Who needs to be advised of the death?
Answer: There are many government and other organizations that should be advised as soon as possible. We can assist you with several of these matters, and can advise you which organizations apply in your circumstance. Here is just some of the people who may need to be advised - their Doctor; family members, relatives and friends; employer and unions; lawyer and Executor of the Will; banks, other financial institutions and insurance companies; religious affiliations and clubs; IRS, Social Security and other government bodies; utility companies; and so on. The complete list is quite extensive.
Question: How do I plan a funeral?
Answer: Planning a funeral can be a simple or complex task depending on the wishes of the immediate family, or any previous requests from the deceased. Fortunately, with more than 20 years personal experience, Joseph Ruggiero will guide you through the many steps, and can attend to most of them for you if you wish. There are many decisions to be made in planning a funeral. From newspaper notices; style of casket or urn; where and when the wake and services will take place; burial or cremation arrangements; clergy or celebrant; to the necessary details such as prayer cards; floral tributes or charity donations; and transportation arrangements, you can always count on Joseph's compassionate assistance and support. More information can be found on the 'Planning A Funeral' page.
Question: What different types of funerals are there?
Answer: After the decision has been made for burial or cremation, we can advise you on the many different types of funerals that you can choose from.
We can personalize the proceeding to meet any requirements you wish. From tradition religious funerals for any denomination, secular (or non-religious) funerals, to creative funerals or memorial services, we will work with you and tailor all the necessary arrangements.
Question: Is a Funeral really necessary?
Answer: There are many reasons why a Funeral is necessary. In a legal sense, it ensures that the deceased is properly buried or cremated according to law. More importantly it should always be remembered that a funeral is for the living, not the dead. It recognizes the value of life, and celebrates with dignity a life well lived. It is an expression of love and respect. A time honored tradition that allows family and friends to come to terms with their loss and recognize the passing of someone who's life moved, touched or influenced their own in some way. It brings together family and friends to extend much needed support to each other, and in many cases it is the first step in overcoming the grieving process for the bereaved.
Question: What if the deceased was not religious?
Answer: Perhaps the most important part of farewelling a loved one, is to give them the last respect of meeting any funeral requests they may have made. All proceedings can be structured to meet any special requirements with the utmost of dignity and tastefulness. It must also be remembered that the needs of the immediate family should also be met too whenever possible.
Question: How soon must the Funeral be held?
Answer: There is no real barriers as to how quickly a funeral can be arranged providing the official documentation regarding 'cause of death' is completed. With modern mortuary facilities and embalming procedures, a funeral can usually be delayed to meet most special circumstances.
Question: How do I choose between burial or cremation?
Answer: The first question to ask yourself is 'has the deceased expressed their wishes to you or a close family member' or have they ever discussed the subject. The decision is a very personal one and some people are guided by their emotional feelings about the two alternatives, or by the deceased's religious or cultural preferences. If cremation is decided upon, it is important that all of the close family members agree.
Question: Is everything burnt at a cremation?
Answer: Yes, the coffin is cremated with the body and great care is taken to make sure the ashes are only those of your loved one.
Question: What happens to the ashes from a cremation?
Answer: Cremated remains are usually placed into a Memorial Urn at the crematory. Memorial Urns are a very symbolic and a time honored tradition. They are available in a wide variety of materials from pottery, marble, polished hardwoods, to bronze, copper and precious metals. They can be placed in a number of memorial locations, or often kept at home as an enduring family possession and lasting link with a loved one. Alternatively the ashes may be buried or even scattered at a favorite location or into the ocean, providing any necessary permission is obtained. We can advise you on such matters. The Memorial Home can also take care of the remains until a decision is made.
Question: Does organ donation affect my Funeral arrangements?
Answer: Organ donation will not affect your funeral plans. If the deceased has made prior arrangements, or the next of kin has given informed consent, such donations by nature must occur generally within the first 24 hours and often only a few hours after the donor dies. Organ donations can only take place at a major hospital.
Question: Should children attend a funeral?
Answer: A parent or guardian is the only person able to make this important decision. The simple answer is that it depends on the individual child. Many professionals would say that children should be given the opportunity, but never forced to attend a funeral, particularly if it is a family member or close relative. As is the case with adults, it will help them too to come to terms with the passing of a loved one. Certainly they should be told beforehand what to expect. An informal visit to the Memorial Home prior to the proceedings may be a good idea, and at Ruggiero-Mazzarella we have special facilities for children, should they change their mind or find it overwhelming.
Question: Should children view the body at a Wake?
Answer: As explained in the above answer, this is always an individual decision for a parent or guardian who fully understands the child's emotional maturity. We are always available for a frank discussion with you as to our previous experiences in this area.
Question: What should I do if I can't attend a funeral?
Answer: It can often be very distressing for someone who simply cannot attend the final opportunity to farewell an old friend or family member. Floral tributes or charity donations, sympathy and spiritual cards are all nice gestures.
Question: What is a Pre-Arranged Funeral?
Answer: A Pre-Arranged Funeral is when you make all or most of your funeral arrangements in advance. Some might say it is a bit strange to plan your own farewell, but there are a great many advantages. Most of all, you will relieve your family and loved ones of one of life's most stressful experiences - trying to predict and agree on 'what you would have wanted'. Often in planning a funeral with a family we see a great deal of pain and guilt in people asking themselves "why don't I know what they wanted". By making all of the decisions yourself, securing a fixed price at today's costs thus relieving your family of unknown future expenses, and shielding them from a great deal of stress at at very difficult time, it may well be one of the most meaningful decisions you can make. There are also several financial advantages and more details are available in 'Pre-Arranged Funerals'.
It is very important to remember that things can change - ownership and people at Funeral Homes change, your choices and your family's wishes can change. This is why that even if you have made pre-arrangement with another Funeral Home, regardless of claims that such arrangements are irrevocable, guaranteed or insured, you as a consumer can always change the agreement to another home.
Question: How much does a funeral cost?
Answer: To determine the cost of a funeral it is important to know exactly what products and services are included in the estimated cost. Comparing one funeral director to another based only on cost will rarely provide an accurate picture of what it really means in terms of the standard of services provided. If you must work to a budget, tell us, and we will work with you to achieve the most dignified and befitting arrangement possible. And a final word on costs, that famous quote that we have all heard and probably experienced at least once... "if it is too good to be true, it probably isn't..."