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Your Top Questions for a Funeral Director, Answered

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When it comes to planning a funeral, it’s difficult to consider where to even begin, especially while experiencing a wide range of emotions. If you’ve lost a loved one and find yourself taking the lead on planning the final arrangements, you want to make sure you get your questions answered.

Planning a funeral for someone else takes time. You want to make informed and smart decisions, while also following through on your lost loved one’s final wishes—but where do you begin?

Because it can be overwhelming to remember everything you need to ask when you’re coping with a loss, we’ve put together a list of the top questions our caring staff at Busch hears every day from families like yours.

When will I get the death certificate for my loved one?

A death certificate is a government-issued document that declares the date, time, location and cause of death. So, when do you receive the death certificate for a family member who has passed? Well, it depends.

Rules may vary from state to state, but in most cases, funeral directors must file the death certificate with the local health department within 72 hours of the death.

It’s also important to note that once the death certificate is filed, a burial permit is issued—a person cannot be buried in the U.S. without a burial permit.

Funeral directors also commonly get asked, “How many death certificates does one need?” Families will likely want to obtain multiple copies of the death certificate for several purposes (i.e. making arrangements, family member distribution, etc.).

Many people find that ten copies are sufficient.

Is embalming required?

Embalming is a surgical procedure that is minimally invasive. The actual process is typically made up of four parts, which include applying embalming fluid internally and externally. 

So, is it necessary to be embalmed? Yes and no.

The Federal Trade Commission enforces that under the Funeral Rule, funeral homes and crematories are required to inform families that embalming is not required for certain cases. 

In most cases, simple cremation or immediate burial does not require embalming simply because these methods take place immediately following a death.

If the family chooses to have a public viewing or gathering with the body present prior to the burial or cremation, embalming may be required by the chosen provider.

However, it is worth noting that while the state of Ohio does not require embalming, a body must be embalmed, refrigerated or placed in an odor-proof container within 48 hours after death.

How much does a cremation cost?

Statistics have shown that the majority select cremation over burial for financial reasons. It’s hard to narrow down an exact cost for cremation, as prices can vary based on the provider and the options you select for service and personalization.

Most funeral homes offer several cremation packages. Here at Busch, we’ve taken the guesswork out of cremation planning by creating streamlined, affordable cremation service packages to fit any family's budget. Our offerings include:

  • Simple $2,405 - $2,995—This option is for those who do not plan on having a service or gathering with friends and family. This package offers a caring, no-frills way to say goodbye.
  • Partial $2,995 - $5,195—Our most popular option includes having a gathering or memorial with family and friends where the service can be uniquely personalized for your family’s needs.
  • Full $5,195 - $10,000—This option is for those that desire a more traditional viewing and funeral service experience but wish to have cremation as a final disposition.

 For industry price estimates, refer to the NFDA’s median costs of cremation.

Where can I scatter cremated remains?

Cremation opens up the door to many possibilities for final resting places. For example, scattering. While there are rules and regulations related to this disposition method, scattering is a unique and popular way to release remains in a place that was symbolic to the deceased.

So, where are you able to scatter cremated remains? There are a few options:

  • There are no laws in the state of Ohio prohibiting the scattering of cremated remains on land. However, it’s always important to check rules and regulations with private versus public property.
  • Rivers and Lakes. Families may choose to pour the ashes directly into the water or purchase a biodegradable urn, specifically designed to aid the scattering process.
  • Air. Federal aviation laws prohibit the dropping of objects from air that might injure people or property. While cremated remains are not considered a hazardous material, pilots are advised to pour the ashes out of the container when scattering.

Before you go scattering your loved one’s cremated remains just anywhere, it’s important to review state laws.

Why must I sign a cremation authorization form if the deceased asked to be cremated?

If your loved one chooses cremation, one of the most important tasks to complete is filling out a cremation authorization form. This always begs the question, “Why do I have to sign that if they wanted this?” 

It is state law that the next of kin must authorize a cremation after the passing of a loved one. Here is how you can determine if you are authorized:

  1. A legal representative appointed by the deceased to have the right of disposition (pursuant to the required elements).
  2. The deceased person's surviving spouse.
  3. The sole surviving child of the deceased person, or if there is more than one surviving child, all of the surviving children collectively.
  4. The deceased person's surviving parent or parents.
  5. The deceased person's surviving sibling, whether of whole or half blood or if there is more than one sibling all of the surviving siblings collectively.
  6. The deceased person's surviving grandparent or grandparents.
  7. The lineal descendants of the deceased's grandparents.
  8. The person who was the deceased person's guardian at the time of death if a guardian had been appointed.
  9. Any person willing to assume the right of disposition, including the personal representative of the estate or the licensed funeral director with custody of the body, after attesting in writing and good faith that they could not locate any of the persons above in the priority list.

We already said goodbye, why do I have to view again?

Here at Busch, to fulfill the Cremation Authorization mentioned above, we require a viewing to confirm the identity of your loved one. If you do not wish to view, you may select a family member who would be willing to view and confirm your loved one is in our care.

Our caring Busch staff is here to help you through each stage of the process. Whether you’re talking to them over the phone or in person, don’t be afraid to ask any of these questions to make sure you know exactly what to expect.

Your Own Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Final Arrangements

Most people never expect to immediately need to plan an entire funeral service, so it understandably can come as a surprise. We’ve created this funeral planning checklist to help ease that shock and provide you with the necessary steps and answer the most common questions we hear as you embark on planning final arrangements.

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David Napoli
David Napoli
David has been in funeral service for over 10 years as a second career, leaving behind seminary life and working in the Catholic Church for a decade. He enjoys all things family, especially exploring the greater Cleveland area and Metro Parks with his wife, two children and their white shepherd.

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