What is a Funeral?
All we need to do is say the word "funeral" and within microseconds, you have an image in your mind of what a funeral looks like. This mental image comes from many sources: the geographical place, culture and society in which we live; our faith; our life experience. Obviously then, a funeral service in Borneo would look very different from one held in Tanzania; there are even significant differences between the funerals held in ethnically and/or geographically diverse regions of North America.
Yet, despite the differences, these funeral services have much in common. We invite you to read further to learn the really simple answer to the question "what is a funeral?" Should you have questions about what you read here, we encourage you to call us. One of our funeral professionals will be delighted to explore the commonalities behind the wide spectrum of funeral ceremonies seen around the world.
What Makes a Funeral?
No matter where it's held, a funeral is a structured ceremony, with a beginning, middle and end. Each is intended to engage the living participants in activities which will transform their status within the community, provide mourners with a collective grieving experience, and celebrate a life lived. It's a socially-acceptable way for members of a community to re-affirm and express their social attachments.
Anthropologists label a funeral as a rite of passage, which affects everyone involved–including the deceased. His or her social status changes dramatically, from a living contributing member of the community to one whose contributions are in the past, and relegated to memory. But the status of each of the survivors—the immediate family most especially—has also changed. In fact, the funeral service can be the start of a defined period of mourning for bereaved family members, marking this transition in a uniquely identifiable way.
It could be said then, the focus of a funeral—no matter where, no matter when—lies in acknowledging change. And without doubt, human beings (as individuals and as a community) have trouble dealing with profound changes like the death of an integral member of the group. When you take this perspective, it becomes easier to understand the importance of ceremonially acknowledging the tear in the social fabric and the symbolic restoration of its integrity.
Funeral Services in Our Area
For families and individuals living in this region (as elsewhere in the nation), a funeral service can mean many things. Some fall back on what is commonly called a "traditional funeral"; others see that same traditional service as an emotionally unfulfilling event. Fortunately, thanks to a number of unique social forces, there are alternatives. Today, end-of-life commemorative services range from the traditional funeral, to a memorial service and the increasingly popular celebrations-of-life. If you have yet to realize the immense value of such a collective acknowledgement of loss, reach out to us. Call to speak with one of our experienced funeral service professionals.
Source: Huntington, Richard and Peter Metcalf, Celebrations of Death: The Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual, Cambridge University Press, 1979
FAQ: Burial Services
First is the purchase price of the "right to use" the burial plot (unlike a real estate purchase, where you buy the land and all the structures on it; here you are only purchasing what is called the "interment rights" to the land). In addition, there are fees for the "opening" and "closing" of the gravesite; and any fees required to obtain the necessary permits and to maintain cemetery files and records. In addition, there's the fee for the use of any special equipment (such as a casket-lowering device); as well as the costs for any other services or items purchased. There's also the headstone or grave marker installation fee, and a one-time "perpetual care" (sometimes called "endowment care") fee paid to ensure your loved one's burial site is well-maintained.
Sometimes estate settlement is one of the hardest aspects of dealing with the death of a family member. This doesn't have to be the case if proper preparation of all estate documents took place prior to the death. If you have the services of an experienced estate lawyer at your disposal, there can be even less worry and strife.
What Makes a Funeral?
Probate: the official proving of a will. The probate process is intended to establish the legal validity of a will but it involves so much more than merely confirming that the signed, witnessed, and registered copy of a will is authentic.
The Probate Process
In addition to proving in a court of law that the deceased individual's will is valid, probate also declares the probate process also involves:
- Identifying and inventorying the deceased's personal and real property
- Having the property appraised
- Paying debts and taxes
- Distributing the remaining property as the will (or if there is no will, then state law) directs
Hiring an Attorney
Losing a loved one can be an overwhelming experience and when you add in estate settlement issues, the months following the death can be much more than we bargained for. That's when it might be advantageous to hire an attorney.
When faced with this situation, it's best to turn to the experts in estate settlement.
Veteran Funeral Services
We believe the story of every veteran's life deserves to be shared. We are deeply committed to providing families with exceptional veterans services and can assist you in securing military burial benefits. When it comes time for you to make arrangements for the veteran in your life, know that our staff is both qualified and committed to providing them with the military honors they deserve.
When arranging for veterans' burial services, you can rely on us to complete all the necessary paperwork involved in obtaining the military death and burial benefits that are available. These can include:
- Burial Flag
- Headstone or Marker
- Burial in a National or State Veterans Administration Cemetery
- Presidential Memorial Certificate
CALL US to learn how we can work together to pay tribute to your veteran.