Frequent Questions

Click on the questions below to reveal each respective answer.

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.

  • Pick up the deceased and transport the body to the funeral home (anytime day or night)
  • Notify proper authorities, family and/or relatives
  • Arrange and prepare death certificates
  • Provide certified copies of death certificates for insurance and benefit processing
  • Work with the insurance agent, Social Security or Veterans Administration to ensure that necessary paperwork is filed for receipt of benefits
  • Prepare and submit obituary to the newspapers of your choice
  • Bathe and embalm the deceased body, if necessary
  • Prepare the body for viewing including any restoration that may need to occur,  dressing and cosmetizing
  • Assist the family with funeral arrangements and purchase of casket, urn, burial vault and cemetery plot if needed
  • Schedule the opening and closing of the grave with cemetery personnel, if a burial is to be performed
  • Coordinate with clergy if a funeral or memorial service is to be held
  • Arrange a police escort and transportation to the funeral and/or cemetery for the family
  • Order funeral sprays and other flower arrangements as the family wishes
  • Provide Aftercare, or grief assistance, to the bereaved

The funeral home will help walk you through the arrangements and necessary paperwork.  

  • If you have the following information, bring it with you.  If you don't have it all, we will have time to obtain the information in the days to come.
    • Birth Date
    • Birthplace
    • Father's Name
    • Mother's Name
    • Social Security Number
    • Veteran's Discharge or Claim Number
    • Education
    • Marital Status
  • You can contact your clergy or we can call them together from 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.
  • Think about an appropriate memorial to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, charity or school).  If you don't have one, that is ok.  Many people suggest a charity of one's choice.  It is important to let people express their care for you.  Oftentimes, people express their sympathies through flowers, gifts, monetary donations, or food. 
  • We will help you gather obituary information.  You may want to include such information as age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service , outstanding work, list of survivors in immediate family, and time and place of services.   Once again, we will help you. 
  • 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 a death occurs at a hospital or nursing care facility.  The staff there will notify us when they have completed their protocol that allows a deceased person to be released into our care.

When a death occurs at home or in the workplace, a family member or co-worker should contact emergency personnel. If the death occurs at home with family or friends present, and the person is under a physician's care under hospice, the family will want to call the hospice nurse and then he or she will call us directly.

However, if the death occurs in a residence and no one is there at the time of death, the police will need to be notified and respond to the residence before the deceased is removed from their home.

If in any case you are not sure of who to notify or what to do, you may call (906) 387-2400, and we'll assist you in notifying the proper agencies.   

We will do everything we can to get to place of death as soon as possible.  

 Usually, people are clear on this point. In fact, your loved one may have told you, or someone else, exactly how they wish to be cared for. But it can be a hard decision for some families, especially when the wishes of the deceased were never clearly stated. If that's the case, please know we're able to help you come to the perfect decision for your loved one and for you.

Once you decide, the finer details come into focus. If you've chosen burial, then selection of the casket, vault, and desired cemetery follows. Naturally, we’re here to help you.

If cremation is your choice, there are still options that many do not know exist.  You can choose what the funeral profession calls an immediate cremation, a private family viewing prior to the cremation, or a public viewing and service with the cremation to follow.  You can choose a memorial service that still has a visitation allowing you to be supported by family and friends.  You will then need to make the next decision what will happen with the cremated remains.  The options of burying, scattering, or keeping the cremains are available.  We will help you through the decisions that need to be made and help guide you through the choices available.  

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.   Dr. Alan Wolfeldt  encourages that a viewing helps but one's heart and mind on the same page.  Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity is voluntary.  Rick or Allison will help explain what the children will see so that they don't won't experience the anxiety that we as adults often think they will.  Children also have the right and need to grieve.   If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to us and we will try to set your mind at ease. 

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.   Embalming can also help with restoring the deceased person to a more natural appearance - especially in a situation where there has been a traumatic injury or illness that has changed the person's appearance.  Embalming slows down the changes that occur to the physical body after someone has died. 

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."  The State of Michigan has a 48 hour law which states that if you cannot be cremated or buried within 48 hours of the time of death, embalming is required.   

A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, hearses, etc.), 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.

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 private family viewing where immediate family members come and spend time with the deceased; 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 or a funeral home.  We will still help you through the process of gathering information and talking about the options you will have.  We will do our best to make sure the needs of your family are met.

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.)

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.

You might choose ground burial of the urn. If so, you may usually choose either a bronze memorial or granite monument. Cremation niches in columbariums are also available at some cemeteries. They offer the beauty of a mausoleum setting with the benefits of above ground placement of remains.   We do not have any columbariums in Alger County.  

If you wish to have your cremains 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 scattering.   You may also consider scattering a portion of your cremated remains and allowing your loved ones to have a say in the decision if they have the need for memorializing in their own way.  Again, it is advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place.

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, but some do not.  We can help you get in contact with the cemetery to determine what is their policy.

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.

There are a number of options available, including:

  • Determine if the deceased person qualifies for any entitlements. Check with the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and with your State Fund. Many people 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.
  • Talk to your funeral director about your concerns.  An open dialogue about costs will be appreciated by both the funeral home and your family.

In this section

Frequent Questions

Grief Support

Social Security Benefits

Grieving Alone

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