What can be done prior to death occurring?
Record your wishes and advise family members. Any person has the right to direct the manner in which his or her body shall be disposed of after death by executing a sworn affidavit stating the assignment of the right and the name of the person or persons to whom the right has been assigned 21 O.S. §1151.
Who is responsible to make the funeral arrangements?
A spouse, next of kin or legal representative generally can make arrangements for disposition of the deceased. 21 O.S. §1158 provides succession laws regarding the next of kin. Generally the next of kin are in the following order: a. spouse b. adult children c. parents and d. brothers/sisters. Exceptions may apply in certain situations, you may wish to consult an attorney in these cases.
What are the available methods of disposition?
Human remains can be buried, entombed, cremated, or donated for scientific study.
What is embalming and its purpose?
Embalming is the use of chemicals, internally and externally, to disinfect and temporarily preserve the body for open casket viewing and/or for the removal of the body to distant destinations.
Does the law require that a dead human body be embalmed?
No. It does require un-embalmed dead bodies shall be buried or otherwise disposed of within 24 hours after death unless refrigeration facilities are available O.A.C. 235:10-11-1 (14). Although not a state law, many funeral homes will require a body be embalmed if you select a service that includes viewing of the remains. Likewise most airlines and other common carriers will require that a body be embalmed prior to shipping and the laws of the destination state will apply.
What is meant by immediate disposition?
Immediate disposition is the interment, entombment, or cremation of the remains without ceremonies. Immediate disposition usually includes transfer of the remains to the funeral home,merchandise as selected, filing of the necessary documents and transportation to the cemetery or the crematory.
Can a body be cremated immediately following death?
No. The authorization form is signed by the next of kin. (i.e. the state of Oklahoma requires a special permit from the State Medical Examiner before a body can be cremated). Requirements vary from state to state.
What is done with cremated remains?
Cremated remains may be disposed of in a number of ways: buried in a cemetery, placed in a niche in a columbarium, kept by the family in their home, or scattered on private land with the consent of the property owner.
Can a family bury its own dead without using a licensed funeral director?
Yes. See 59 O.S. §396.19 for additional information. The family would be responsible to see that a death certificate is completed and filed at the health department.
Can a family bury on their own property?
Generally, local ordinances, zoning laws, or deed restrictions prohibit burials outside a cemetery within city limits. If you anticipate burial on private property, contact your attorney for guidance. The requirements to establish a cemetery are found in 8 O.S. §181.
How do people select a funeral home?
Visit the funeral home, tour their facilities, and understand the ways in which your needs will be served.
Prices for service, facilities and merchandise may vary significantly from one funeral home to another. Inquire about the terms of payment. Most funeral homes require payment in full before the funeral service, some may accept insurance assignments or take credit cards.
Selecting a funeral home before the need occurs will relieve you of the emotional pressure present when a death has occurred.
How can I tell who owns a funeral home?
The name of the establishment, location, owner and Funeral Director In Charge all appear on the establishments license displayed in the funeral home.
Over time funeral homes may change ownership, prices may change, and levels of service may change although the name of the firm remains the same and the former owner may continue to be employed there. Even if your family has used a funeral home for many years, it is a good idea to re-examine your choice from time to time
How can I learn about funeral costs?
Inquire by telephone or visit the funeral home in person. Any consumer entering a funeral home making inquiries is entitled to receive the General Price List itemizing the costs of funeral services and the merchandise for sale.
When comparing prices evaluate similar goods and services, as well as total price, quality, and value. Depending upon the arrangements you select, the total cost can vary from several hundred to several thousand dollars. The price for a direct cremation or direct burial without any ceremonies can be quite a bit less than a funeral service with visitation, embalming and a casket.
Some funeral directors offer “package pricing” in addition to, not in place of, itemized pricing. The package should list individually each of the goods and services included in the package and state the package price. At the conclusion of the arrangement conference you must be given a written Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected. It lists the items you selected and the cost of each item.
The Board does not have the authority to regulate the amount a funeral home charges for their services and merchandise.
What about other funeral costs?
In addition to the funeral homes charges for service and merchandise, the funeral director may help in coordinating items provided by a third party as a convenience to their clients.
These may include such things as cemetery or crematory services, permits, transportation, honorariums, flowers, obituary notices, certified death certificates etc.
You may have to pay these other parties directly prior to the funeral or final disposition of the body.
Choosing a casket and outside enclosure:
Caskets and outside enclosures are not required by law. A casket or alternative container (such as a cardboard box or unfinished wood box) is a practical necessity for transporting the body for burial or cremation.
There is no direct relationship between the protective features of the casket and the preservation of the body.
Outside enclosures are designed to enclose the casket and support the weight of the grave and are required by most cemeteries. Some may provide additional features as well.
Is there a law that prohibits funeral directors from advertising?
No, but consumer protection statutes require all advertising to be truthful, factual and clear in content.
Should I consider a prearranged funeral?
Some individuals like the peace of mind in knowing their preferences for funeral arrangements will be followed after their death. It is a good idea to let your family know of your wishes, and to write those instructions down. Keep them in a handy place, other than a safe deposit box, as it may be inaccessible on weekends or holidays. Some individuals may even desire to prepay their own funeral.
What should happen if my loved one dies away from home?
Death Away From Home
When funeral arrangements must unexpectedly be made away from home, and family hearts are filled with mixed emotions, it is difficult to consider costs. If you want to limit costs, the best practice is to contact the funeral firm in the area where the funeral service and burial is to take place.
WHAT TO DO FIRST
Call G.C. Williams Funeral Home Inc. We take charge from then on and make all the arrangements for conveying of the deceased to the local funeral home for embalming and preparation for return to their home state. You only need contact us with some basic information and call us when you return to set a time for an arrangement conference. For us to assume the costs as outlined the death must have occurred in one of the forty-eight contiguous states and you must call us direct so we can engage our representatives at the place of death. (DO NOT contact a funeral firm where the death occurs. WE MUST DO THIS.)
The standard receiving policy in most other funeral homes is to give you a credit for the embalming against their standard prices. You must pay all other charges such as transfer casket, transfer container, out-of-town funeral home facilities, professional and staff services, transfer documents and transportation charges. These costs can easily mount up, depending on the cost of transportation and charges of the out-of-town funeral home. Transportation costs differ and fees are not uniform from funeral firm to funeral firm, so we cannot say exactly how much this might be.
WHAT DO YOU SAVE?
We pay all most normal out-of-town costs except cash advances. These normal charges include out-of-town removal service, standard embalming, transfer of remains to airport, outer transfer container, all documents for transfer and burial, out-of-town funeral facilities, professional staff and services. This means your only additional costs are transportation and transfer of remains to the funeral home from the airport. Since we use a light weight transfer casket and outer container we help to keep the air fare to a minimum.
What should I do when death occurs?
- Make an appointment with G.C. Williams Funeral Home Inc. Our winning team will help coordinate arrangements with the cemetery. Some information to complete the State vital statistic requirements is listed below:
-Social Security Number
-Veteran’s Discharge or Claim Number
- Contact your Minister, the funeral home will assist if none is available. Decide on time and place of funeral or memorial service.
- The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of 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 including age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work, list survivors in immediate family. The funeral home will normally make arrangements to run obituary in the newspaper.
- 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.
- Coordinate the supplying of food for the next several days.
- Arrange for child care, if necessary.
- Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. (Avoid anyone with heart or back difficulties, or make them honorary pallbearers).
- Plan for disposition of flowers after funeral (church, hospital or rest home).
- Prepare list of distant persons to be notified by letter and/or printed notice, and decide which to send to each.
- Prepare list of persons to receive acknowledgments of flowers, calls, etc. Send appropriate acknowledgments (can be a written note, printed acknowledgments, or some of each). Include “thank you” notes to those who have given their time as well.
- Notify insurance companies.
- Locate the will and notify lawyer and executor.
- Check carefully all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military. Check also on income for survivors from these sources.
- Check promptly on all debts and installment payments, including credit cards. Some may carry insurance clauses that will cancel them. If there is to be a delay in meeting payments, consult with creditors and ask for more time before the payments are due.
- If deceased was living alone, notify utilities and landlord and tell post office where to send mail.
- The Funeral Director will assist you with the preparation of the Social Security Form SSA 721. Check with Social Security Office to see that the SS number is retired.