- What is the purpose of the funeral service?
- What is the role of the funeral director?
- What do we do when someone dies?
- What is the role of the Coroner?
- What are the costs of a funeral?
- How and when do I pay?
- Can I plan and prepare ahead for my own funeral?
- May the family choose the casket?
- What kind of casket is best for the environment?
- What happens to the casket in a cremation?
- Who chooses between burial and cremation?
- What about children? Should they attend funerals?
- Is embalming necessary?
- Is embalming harmful to the environment?
- What about viewing the body?
- What sort of technology is available for a funeral service?
- What is the significance of Christmas when you have faced a recent bereavement?
- Why choose a qualified Funeral Director?
- How do I arrange a plot at a Cemetery?
- What if I want an alternative funeral service?
What is the purpose of the funeral service?
Since the beginning of time people have used many different, varied ways of farewelling their dead. Almost all these customs and rituals pay tribute to the deceased and celebrate, in one way or other, their life.
The funeral is the final opportunity for family and friends to publicly express their love for the deceased and to mourn their death. It is the first important step towards working through grief and adjusting to life without the deceased. It is a chance to acknowledge the death, and celebrate the life of the deceased. It allows those who, through their life, have had contact with the deceased, acknowledge their life and death, and support the family. It also reaffirms a families relationships, while acknowledging the death and loss.
Funerals assure a legal, reverent and hygienic burial or cremation and should be arranged carefully, with sensitivity, to express the feelings and fulfil the needs of those attending.
What is the role of the funeral director?
The funeral director is a professional person with specialised services and technical skills in caring for the dead and helping the bereaved families. Along with other family members, clergy and doctors, the funeral director helps you to make all the necessary arrangements after death.
The funeral director will also assist you to make the right choices about the type of ceremony, the best location for the service, who should officiate, selection of casket, the choice of music and any after-service gathering. He or she also has experience in dealing with the often-extensive paperwork after a death and will assist you in securing and filling out the necessary forms.
At Marsden House we operate under a strict code of ethics, recognising the responsibilities entrusted to us by the bereaved, the public at large and the profession of which we are part.
What do we do when someone dies?
Whether unexpected or not, death leaves us in a state of shock, wondering what to do next. The family Doctor should be contacted to confirm that death has occurred. In some case when the death is unexpected, and the doctor is unavailable, the death will need to be reported to the coroner – the Police act as agents for the coroner. The Funeral Director is then contacted and will assist in the procedures to follow. The family will normally need some time to accept the transition from life to death. Taking this time significantly helps with the grieving process. In some cases death may be expected. Often preparations of what to do following death have been made. Marsden House can assist with this planning and offer free advice on pre-planned and pre-paid funerals. The staff at Marsden House are here to help you cope with your loss and are always available to answer any questions you may have.
What is the role of the Coroner?
The Coroner will investigate and decide upon the cause of death. Sometimes this means a pathologist may have to carry out a detailed medical examination known as a post-mortem examination or autopsy. After establishing the cause of death the Coroner may decide to hold an inquest into the circumstances relevant at the time of death. This inquest is a formal hearing in a court of law.
The Accident Compensation Corporation compensates the dependants of an accident victim and contributes towards funeral expenses so the cause of death has particular relevance. If no inquest is necessary all ACC claims and the estate probate can proceed immediately.
Even when the Coroner is involved it is still the family’s right and responsibility to contact their chosen funeral director. There should be no interference with funeral plans as long as the advice of your family funeral director is followed.
What are the costs of a funeral?
There are so many options and variables that determine costs and we can provide a cost estimation without any obligation. We will provide a service based on your needs and financial circumstances and can give you costings based on that. If you have any financial worries let us know of those concerns as soon as possible. We will be able to guide you and suggest possible agencies that may be able to assist you at this time.
After the funeral you will receive an invoice that comprises three accounts
- our charge for services
- the cost of the casket;
- disbursements, ie any items paid out by us when acting as an agent for the family. These could include flowers, newspaper notices, toll calls, mourners’ cars, and cemetery or cremation fees.
How and when do I pay?
We generally send the account direct to the family with a copy to the family solicitor if required. We operate under normal commercial practice, which requires you to pay on the due date. Sometimes, however, payment is dependent on the settlement of an estate. If this is the case families often choose to pay the account and recover the costs from the estate later.
Marsden House Funeral Services is able accept payment in the form of cheque, cash, direct credit and either Mastercard or Visa.
Can I plan and prepare ahead for my own funeral?
Many people are now choosing to pre-arrange and/or in many cases prepay their funeral, to help ease the burden on their families at the time of death. To pre-arrange a funeral one of our staff will meet with you and discuss your wishes, which are then held by us securely and confidentially. Our funeral directors can advise you on the many options that are available to you. Many also choose to prepay their funeral. Payments are held securely, in an independent trust for payment of the funeral expenses. Interest accrued is compounded back into your prepaid trust. Payments of up to $10,000 are not subject to asset testing which is an important consideration for those in care. The balance of your funds remaining, following the payment of funeral expenses, are returned to your estate. Please feel free to call and discuss your wishes with one of our staff.
May the family choose the casket?
At Marsden House we have a range you may choose from of different styles at different prices. You may even, if you wish, choose an unpainted casket that the family or friends can decorate to celebrate their loved one!
What kind of casket is best for the environment?
There is currently a lot of discussion as to the most environmentally friendly caskets to use for cremation and burial. Still the most suitable material for the safe and effective carriage of the body is untreated pine. This renewable resource breaks down naturally with no harmful emissions. Interestingly, it also uses considerably less fuel in the cremation process than the recently introduced cardboard caskets.
What happens to the casket in a cremation?
The casket is cremated too. The casket protects the cremation operator and complies with Health and Safety requirements.
Who chooses between burial and cremation?
If the wishes of the deceased are known they are normally respected and followed. If their wishes are not known the family or the executor of the estate decides.
What about children? Should they attend funerals?
Our leaflet ‘Helping children to grieve’ answers this question more fully. Children need to know that death is a fact of life and it is important for caregivers to talk openly and honestly about death. The funeral service is a very important part of the grieving process and it is recommended that children attend. The final choice should be left up to the child if he or she is old enough to make that decision.
Is embalming necessary?
Modern embalming ensures disinfection and preservation during the funeral period. It is a skilled process and should be performed only by trained practitioners. It is necessary if viewing of the deceased will take place, either at home or at the funeral home, as it removes any health hazards and enables a more natural appearance. Embalming is also important if the deceased is to be transported any distance.
Is embalming harmful to the environment?
There has been some debate of late in regards to environmental issues relating to embalming. Beyond the obvious benefits of enabling a family to take the time required to prepare for a funeral there are also established health reasons for embalming, and important long-term environmental benefits.
The risk of infection from leaving the body untreated prior to the funeral makes embalming the healthiest option for family members and any others coming into contact with the body.
After dealing to any existing infection or disease, Aldehydes, the principal ingredient of most embalming fluids, consisting of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, are neutralized upon contact with soil. During cremation these Aldehydes are completely destroyed, becoming carbon dioxide and water. Recent studies of ground water in cemeteries, as well as air samples from crematoria, have shown that embalming causes no pollution to burial grounds or the atmosphere.
What about viewing the body?
Many people who are at first hesitant say later how much they were helped in the grieving process by spending time with their loved one. This is an old tradition, which really does provide great comfort and help with the acceptance that someone has died.
Some families like to have their loved one at home with them or the days prior to the funeral, and we can arrange this for you if it is appropriate. Other families prefer their loved one to lie in the viewing room at our funeral home. You may also choose to have an open casket at the funeral so others can pay their respects. The choice is yours.
What sort of technology is available for a funeral service?
With the advent of new technologies, funeral services can be creative multi-media memorials. As well as the use of pre-recorded video and audio, Marsden House can accommodate a range of computer-based presentations into a funeral service. We also offer the opportunity to list funeral notices online and have a new service allowing personal testimonials to be uploaded to the web, giving people from around the globe the chance to post messages of condolence and support. For a full range of the facilities available please contact Marsden House.
What is the significance of Christmas when you have faced a recent bereavement?
Anniversaries and special occasions are always difficult times, especially when we face the first occasion without a partner, close family member or friend. Christmas is normally a happy family gathering and it is a time for remembering our loved ones. You may rejoice in the happy memories of those who will not be with families this festive season. As a Funeral Director I feel for all those who find this time difficult. From all the staff at Marsden House may we wish you the peace of Christmas.
Why choose a qualified Funeral Director?
Choosing a qualified Funeral Director with a Diploma in Funeral Services assures you that you are dealing with a person who has an in-depth knowledge of how to help people through the difficult time of death and grieving. A qualified Funeral Director studies a wide range of subjects including religions and cultures, law and behavioural science. The Funeral Director must also comply with a strict code of ethics and engage in ongoing training. It pays to check that you are dealing with a qualified professional when choosing a Funeral Director. If you have any questions please call the qualified professionals at Marsden House.
How do I arrange a plot at a Cemetery?
Burial and ashes plots can be selected and pre-purchased at any time or arranged at the time of death with the Funeral Director. Ownership of the cemeteries is by Local Authorities or Trusts. Often families like to select their own plot from the areas available. The staff at Marsden House can assist and advise you of the procedure and local contacts.
What if I want an alternative funeral service?
In today’s diverse society, many people choose an alternative ceremony, and there are many choices available. A ceremony in a funeral home may include thoughts on life and death, a tribute to the life of the deceased, special musical selections or poetry readings. You may choose to hold the ceremony in a favourite location away from a funeral home or church. These days you also have a number of choices when it comes to casket selection. When making decisions about a funeral service, remember the service can have great importance for friends and colleagues who wish to show their support, pay their last respects and say their farewells. Marsden House can assist you in preparing an alternative ceremony.