Frequently Asked Questions
• What is the cost of the average funeral?
Currently the average charge for an adult full-service funeral is $8,000 in the Howard County area. This includes a professional service charge, transfer of remains, embalming, other preparation, use of facilities, viewing and visitation one day with a service the next day, hearse, limousine, and casket. The casket in this price range is an 18 gauge steel casket. (There are many to choose from in this price range.) Cemetery charges would be additional as well as the charge for a vault required by most cemeteries in Howard County.
• When someone dies at home, does a coroner need to be called before removal of the deceased?
The circumstances of death enter into the answer. If an elderly person under a doctor's care dies at home, the doctor will usually sign the death certificate and the removal may be made. If suicide, homicide, accident, or unusual or suspicious circumstances are present, a coroner may need to order an autopsy. When in doubt, a call to 911 will answer the question in a particular situation.
• Is it possible to have a traditional service and still choose cremation?
Yes, many options are available for those who choose cremation. Family members may view the body before disposition, public visitation may be observed with the use of a casket (rental caskets are also available), and memorial services or traditional funeral services are often held before cremation takes place. In the case of a direct cremation, a memorial service may be held at a later date.
• Should children attend the funeral or visitation of a family member or close friend?
The relationship of the deceased to the child enters into the decision as well as the age of the child. Children can usually accept the reality of life and death if presented to them in an environment of love and honesty. We usually suggest including children in the funeral rites, and depending on their age, they may play an active role in the decision-making, even taking an active part in the service. Children and grandchildren often speak or offer musical selections as well as serving as pall bearers. We have grief resources available especially for children.
• What happens when someone dies of AIDS or AIDS-related illness?
A person who dies of AIDS can have a traditional funeral if the family desires. If public viewing is desired, that option is encouraged. It is safe to touch the hands and face of the deceased if one chooses to do so. The grief experienced by survivors of one who has suffered with AIDS is often very intense and those people may need even more support than survivors of other non-AIDS related deaths.