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Dudgeon-McCulley
Funeral Home

209 Franklin Street
Wapello, Iowa 52653
Tel: (319) 523-2721

Our facility is wheelchair accessible

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Questions:
Why have a Funeral?
What does a Funeral Director do?
What do I do when a death occurs?
When I call, will someone come right away?
Burial or Cremation?
Why have a public viewing?
What is the purpose of embalming?
Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
Why are funerals so expensive?
Do I have to make different funeral arrangements if I chose cremation?
What can be done with the cremated remains?
Can we scatter the cremated remains?
If I am cremated, can I be buried with my spouse even if he or she was in a casket?
What do I need to know about income tax when I lose a spouse?
Is there financial help if I need it?

Answers:

Why have a Funeral?

Funerals fill an important role for those mourning the loss of a loved one. By providing surviving family and friends with an atmosphere of care and support in which to share thoughts and feelings about death, funerals are the first step in the healing process. It is the traditional way to recognize the finality of death. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show their respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grieving process.

You can have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. Planning a personalized ceremony or service will help begin the healing process. Overcoming the pain is never easy, but a meaningful funeral or tribute will help.

What does a Funeral Director Do?

  • Pick up the deceased and transport the body to the funeral home (anytime day or night)
  • Provide the basic initial care of the deceased body which includes cleansing and embalming as necessary
  • Assist the family with funeral arrangements and in various selections such as the casket, burial vault, urn, cemetery, clergy, music, casket bearers, etc.
  • Gather information to prepare the obituary and submitting it to the news media
  • Compile and prepare the death certificate and provide information as to acquiring certified copies
  • Notify Social Security and provide information and assistance relevant to Veterans benefits and insurance claims
  • Coordinate and confirm with the clergy and other participants for a funeral or memorial gathering service
  • Schedule and confirm the opening and closing of the grave for burial
  • Additionally prepare the body for viewing and visitation including dressing, cosmetics, and casketing
  • Assist with floral selections and coordinate the floral arrangements for the visitation and funeral
  • Conduct all aspects of the ceremonies selected

What do I do when a death occurs?

 

  • Bring the following information to complete the State vital statistic requirements:
    • Birth Date
    • Birthplace
    • Father's Name
    • Mother's Name
    • Social Security Number
    • Veteran's Discharge or Claim Number
    • Education
    • Marital Status
  • Contact your clergy. Decide on time and place of funeral or memorial service. This can be done at the funeral home.
  • The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of the death certificates you will be needing and can order them for you.
  • Make a list of immediate family, close friends, and employer or business colleagues. Notify each by phone.
  • Decide on appropriate memorial to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, charity or school).
  • Gather obituary information you want to include such as age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work, and list of survivors in immediate family. Include the time and place of services. The funeral home will normally write the article and submit it to the newspapers .
  • Arrange for members of family or close friends to take turns answering door or phone, keeping careful record of calls. If Social Security checks are automatic deposit, notify the bank of the death.

When I call, will someone come right away?

If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good-bye, that’s perfectly acceptable. Your funeral director will come when your time is right.

Burial or Cremation?

Earth burial with a casket and burial vault is the most common method of final rest in the United States. Cremation can be an alternative disposition.

A funeral service followed by cremation need not be any different from a funeral service followed by a burial. Usually, cremated remains are placed in an urn before being committed to a final resting place. The urn may be buried or retained by the family for a later planned final disposition. Scattering of the cremated remains according to regulations may also be an option.

A funeral memorial service can be held at a later time following either cremation or an immediate burial.

Why have a public viewing?

Viewing is a part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity is voluntary. Along with the immediate family, the viewing may also be very important for the extended generations and or siblings of the deceased.

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them. The technique of embalming along with the additional preparation of the body allows for a greatly improved viewing presentation for the memories of most death circumstances.

Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?

The Federal Trade Commission says, "Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial."

Why are funerals so expensive?

When compared to other major life events like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business with extensive facilities.  These expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral.

Additionally, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; coordinating with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Funeral directors look upon their profession as a service, but it is also a business. Like any business, funeral homes must make a profit to exist. A profitable funeral home continues to provide its services to the community.

Do I have to make different funeral arrangements if I chose cremation?

It really depends entirely on how you wish to commemorate a life. One of the advantages of cremation is that it provides you with increased flexibility when you make your funeral and cemetery arrangements. You might, for example, choose to have a funeral service before the cremation; a memorial service at the time of cremation or after the cremation with the urn present; or a committal service at the final disposition of cremated remains. Funeral or memorial services can be held in a place of worship, a funeral home or other gathering facility. 

What can be done with the cremated remains?

With cremation, your options are numerous. The cremains can be interred in a cemetery plot, i.e., earth burial, retained by a family member, usually in an urn, scattered on private property, or at a place that was significant to the deceased. (It would always be advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place-your funeral director can help you with this.)

Today, there are many different types of memorial options from which to choose. Memorialization is a time-honored tradition that has been practiced for centuries. A memorial serves as a tribute to a life lived and provides a focal point for remembrance, as well as a record for future generations. The type of memorial you choose is a personal decision. The limit is set only by your imagination.

Can we scatter the cremated remains?

If you wish to have your ashes scattered somewhere, it is important to discuss your wishes to be scattered ahead of time with the person or persons who will actually have to do the cremation ashes scattering ceremony, as they might want to let your funeral professional assist in the scattering ceremony. Funeral directors can also be very helpful in creating a meaningful and personal ash scattering ceremony that they will customize to fit your families specific desires. The services can be as formal or informal as you like. Scattering services can also be public or private. Again, it is advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place-your funeral director can help you with this.

If I am cremated, can I be buried with my spouse even if he or she was in a casket?

Yes — Depending upon the cemetery's policy, you may be able to save a grave space by having the cremains buried on top of the casketed remains of your spouse, or utilize the space provided next to him/her. Many cemeteries allow for multiple cremated remains to be interred in a single grave space.

What do I need to know about income tax when I lose a spouse?

Uncertainty about income tax issues can add to the stress experienced from the death of a spouse. You should meet with your family attorney and/or tax advisor as soon as possible to review your particular tax and estate circumstances. Bring a detailed list of your questions to the meeting. If you do not have an attorney or tax advisor, call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 for answers to specific tax questions.

Is there financial help if I need it?

There are a few options available:

  • Determine if the deceased person qualifies for any entitlements. Check with the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and with local or state assistance programs. Some people are are entitled to get financial assistance with their funeral costs from these agencies if they qualify.
  • Review all insurance policies the deceased person has; including life insurance. Some life insurance policies have coverage clauses for funeral related costs
  • Find local charities providing financial help for funeral expenses. Search for non profit organizations and for churches in your area.
  • Talk to your funeral director about cremation and immediate burial options- these can be much less expensive depending on your choices.

 

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