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Are you thinking about pre-planning your funeral? Pre-planning is the best way to choose how you're remembered, to ease the emotional and financial burden on your loved ones, to protect yourself from rising funeral costs, and to let your family know your final wishes.
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McAlister-Smith Funeral Home
2501 Bees Ferry Rd.,
Charleston, SC 29414
2501 Bees Ferry Rd.
Charleston, SC US
If you are looking for information on a particular topic, or if you are looking for a loved one who has been entrusted to our care, you can use the form below to narrow down your search.
|Question #1||What do funeral directors do?|
|Answer:||Primarily they care and safeguard the deceased person until final disposition, including embalming and restorative work. A growing number of funeral directors are trained as grief counselors to help families through the bereavement process. They also arrange and provide an orderly series of events that finalize the funeral, the final disposition, and legal paperwork so the family can proceed forward. They also provide the physical establishment in which all of this can be accomplished.|
|Question #2||What purpose does a funeral serve?|
|Answer:||The funeral and the ceremony that accompanies it are indeed very important. For those who are left behind, a funeral provides a place for family and friends to gather for support and to reminisce; an opportunity to celebrate the life and accomplishments of a loved one; a chance to say goodbye; and the focal point from which the healing process can begin. The funeral identifies that a person's life has been lived, not that a death has occurred. It is also important to notify the community that this person has died. There are people beyond the immediate family who have the right to grieve a death. For instance, what would have happened in the United States if there had not been a funeral for President John F. Kennedy?|
|Question #3||How do I decide which funeral service to choose?|
|Answer:||Choosing a Funeral Director can be difficult, especially if you are confronted with having to make a quick decision. Many people ask friends or relatives to recommend a firm that they have dealt with, or have heard positive comments about.|
If you do not have the opportunity to ask advice from others, find out about the firms in your area, perhaps from advertisements in your local press, parish magazines, or Yellow Pages. These will tell you if the firms are members of the National Association of Funeral Directors - this is your guarantee of a quality service. The advertisements may also give you further information, such as whether it is a small family business or part of a larger group.
|Question #4||Why are funerals so expensive?|
|Answer:||There is a great range in prices for services and merchandise from your local funeral directors, depending on the type of funeral you purchase and each company's price structure. The perception that funerals are too expensive usually can be attributed to a lack of familiarity with the normal price range. If you find that the price for certain services and merchandise seems to high, you should check into different types of funerals and different companies until you find the price that fits your budget. Obviously, it is difficult to comparison shop in an at-death situation. Therefore, it is important speak with your local funeral director ahead of time. By preplanning, you can find a provider whose services and merchandise fit your budget.|
|Question #5||Funerals can be expensive. How will I know if I can afford it?|
|Answer:||Funeral Directors who are Members of the National Association of Funeral Directors abide by a Code of Practice which ensures that they treat their clients and the public fairly. Members are required to have price lists available showing the cost of the services they provide.|
To ensure you obtain the best value possible, you should contact at least two Funeral Directors in your area for an estimate of the funeral costs, or obtain a price list from their office to make comparisons. Do not assume that all funeral firms charge the same prices.
If you have chosen a Funeral Director who is a Member of the National Association of Funeral Directors, you will receive a written estimate and confirmation of arrangements before the funeral takes place. This ensures that you are aware of the costs of the funeral you have arranged, and forms the basis of the contract between yourself and the funeral firm.
|Question #6||Should a child attend a funeral?|
|Answer:||Children grieve just as adults do. Any child old enough to form a relationship will experience some form of grief when a relationship is severed. As adults we may not view a childs behavior as grief as it often is demonstrated in ways which we misunderstand as "moody", "cranky", "withdrawn" or other behavioral patterns which do not appear to us to be grief. When a death occurs children need to be surrounded by feelings of warmth, acceptance and understanding. This may be a tall order to expect of the adults who are experiencing their own grief and upset. Caring adults can guide children through this time when the child is experiencing feelings for which they have no words and thus can not identify. In a very real way, this time can be a growth experience for the child, teaching about love and relationships. The first task is to create an atmosphere in which the child's thoughts, fears and wishes are recognized. This means that they should be allowed to participate in any of the arrangements, ceremonies and gatherings which are comfortable for them. First, explain what will be happening and why it is happening at a level the child can understand. A child may not be able to speak at a grandparent's funeral but would benefit greatly from the opportunity to draw a picture to be placed in the casket or displayed at the service. Be aware that children will probably have short attention spans and may need to leave a service or gathering before the adults are ready. Many families provide a non-family attendant to care for the children in this event. The key is to allow the participation, not to force it. Forced participation can be harmful. Children instinctively have a good sense of how involved they wish to be. They should be listened to carefully.|
|Question #7||Is a funeral or memorial service always held in a funeral home or place of worship?|
|Answer:||A service can usually be held at any location that family and friends feel would be comfortable and appropriate. Your funeral director can assist with arranging a meaningful service.|
|Question #8||Why would I need to purchase Certified Copies of a death certificate?|
|Answer:||Certified copies are used as proof of death for the transfer of stocks and bonds, banking transactions and life insurance. You funeral provider can help you determine how many you may need to settle an estate and also secure them for you.|
|Question #9||We have never been a religious family - do we have to have a vicar to take the ceremony?|
|Answer:||No - there is no requirement to hold a religious funeral service, and there are a number of alternatives. Perhaps a relative or friend could take the service if they feel able to do so. Other Members of the congregation could speak or read verses or poems. The British Humanist Association has a network of officiants who will provide a very personal non-religious ceremony.|
|Question #10||Does VA pay for veterans' funerals?|
|Answer:||Although the Veterans Administration does not pay for complete funerals, it does provide certain merchandise, services and reimbursements. Your local VA office or funeral home can provide you with the variety of benefits available. In general, any veteran with a discharge other than dishonorable is entitled to be buried in an accepting national cemetery. He or she may also receive a free grave liner, bronze marker and a flag holder appropriately marked with the veteran's rank, war served and religious icon. Other specific circumstances, better explained by your VA benefits counselor, may avail additional burial-related benefits.|
|Question #11||What are green funerals?|
|Answer:||'Green funeral' is a term often used to describe funerals which are designed to be simple and environmentally friendly. In fact a green funeral is about personal preference, for some people it is having a wicker coffin and a natural burial - for others, it is simply deciding not to have any flowers at the funeral.|
|Question #12||How long can you wait to have a funeral without embalming?|
|Answer:||Most states require that a deceased person either be embalmed or placed in refrigeration after a period of 24 hours from the time of death. Funeral services can be held at any time after that. |
|Question #13||What should I do if a relative dies at home?|
|Answer:||When a death which has been expected occurs at home or at a nursing home, the Doctor who has been treating the deceased should be contacted. The Doctor or a colleague will either attend to confirm that death has occurred, or will give permission for the deceased to be transferred to a Funeral Director's premises, if this is your wish.|
You can then contact the Funeral Director of your choice, who will attend to transfer the deceased to their premises.
|Question #14||What should I do if a relative dies in hospital?|
|Answer:||If a relative who has been a hospital inpatient dies, the doctors who have been treating the deceased will usually be able to issue the Medical Certificate. Ask the ward staff or Doctor what you need to do to collect this Certificate, or ring your local Funeral Director for advice and contact numbers.|
Most hospitals will give family members the opportunity to sit with the deceased before transfer from the ward or private room. The deceased will then be taken to the mortuary, prior to collection by your chosen Funeral Director.
|Question #15||Why are some casket prices more than others?|
|Answer:||It depends upon the materials with which the casket is made. Obviously, a casket made of bronze would be priced higher than one made of steel. A casket made of solid mahogany would be more costly to manufacture than one of soft pine wood. A casket with a crepe interior materials would be priced less than an interior of velvet because of the cost of the material. It depends upon what materials the casket shell is made of, the interior materials and any protective features included in that particular model.|
|Question #16||What are burial vaults and graveliners?|
|Answer:||These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket, and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass. A graveliner is a lightweight version of a vault which simply keeps the grave surface from sinking in.|
|Question #17||How soon after or long after a death must an individual be buried?|
|Answer:||This may vary by state so check with your local funeral director. Considerations include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site and religious considerations. For example, Orthodox Judaism requires that the body be interred within 24 hours of death. Some states have limitations on the maximum length of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. Consult your local funeral provider for any applicable regulations.|
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