Facts About Funerals - Consumer Brochure
Q: What do Funeral Directors and Embalmers do?
A: Primarily they care and safeguard the deceased person until final disposition. Recently, the control of the spread of communicable disease by embalming has become very important. Embalming also allows the delay of the funeral until distant relatives and friends can arrive. Funeral directors receive training in the grief process and are able to help families during 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.
Q: Why have a funeral service?
A: For those who are left behind, a funeral provides a time and a place for family and friends to gather for support and to reminisce; an opportunity to remember 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 need to grieve the death.
Q: Are the services of a funeral director necessary to bury the dead?
A: In the State of Texas, a funeral director is not required to be present for the burial unless his services have been paid for. The cemetery must also be provided with the required legal paperwork before burial which is one of the services of a funeral director.
Q: Is a funeral or memorial service always held in a funeral home or place of worship?
A: 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 location.
Q: Why are funerals so expensive?
The main reason is that adequate staff must be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to serve. Beyond that 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 the price for certain goods and services seem to be too high, you should check into different types of funerals and different funeral homes until you find the price that fits your budget. Although funerals can be expensive, their increase in cost has been less than the increase in cost of other important event ceremonies in our life, like weddings.
Q: What are the options concerning the time of a service?
A: While most services are held during the standard workweek: 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, some families chose the weekend or off hour times for special reasons and these can usually be accommodated.
Q: Do funeral directors have the opportunity to take advantage of the bereaved??
A: The most important quality that enables the funeral director to provide services in the community is his or her reputation for honesty and good will. In fact, a good reputation is the key factor in being able to stay in business. If a particular funeral director took advantage of the bereaved, it would not be long before the community responded to those actions by going to a different funeral director.
Q: What is cremation?
A: Cremation is simply a form of final disposition. The cremation casket, made of combustible materials, is placed in a cremation chamber where, through a process of heat and evaporation, the body is reduced to its original elements- bone fragments, not ashes. These are called cremated remains or "cremains".
Q: Can you have cremation with an open casket visitation?
A: Yes, many families select an appropriate service to take place before or after the cremation. You may still have a traditional funeral with visitation, with the cremation disposition taking place after the service. The psychological benefits of viewing our loved ones and having the opportunity to say good-bye are well documented and are before cremation.
Q: Where does the cremation take place?
A: Families who select Baum-Carlock-Bumgardner Funeral Home are comforted in knowing that the cremation will be done at the local crematory in Mineral Wells locally owned and run by licensed professionals.
Q: What do you do with cremated remains?
A: Most families select a form of memorialization with their cemetery of choice. At Baum-Carlock-Bumgardner Funeral Home we view the inurnment as the dignified act of memorializing cremated remains within a place of permanent rest.
Q: Can cremated remains be scattered?
A: A family may, if they wish, scatter the cremated remains of their loved one on privately owned property with the consent of the property owner. If you select scattering, always be sure to check your local, state and federal laws concerning scattering of remains. Scattering, however, is neither practical nor considerate of all concerned. It may be very traumatic for family members to scatter fragmented, yet recognizable bone fragments of their loved one. In addition, later generations of the family may not have a place to go to pay tribute, if that private property has been sold or developed into something else. Only a cemetery provides for the dignified, permanent record and memorialization of cremated remains.
Q: Does the process of cremation transform human remains into ashes?
A; The encased body is placed in the cremation chamber where, through heat and evaporation, the body is reduced to its basic elements. These elements are referred to as cremated remains. Ashes are not the final result since cremated remains have neither the appearance nor the chemical properties of ashes. Cremated remains are, in fact, bone fragments. Following preparation, these remains are either placed in a permanent urn or in a temporary container.
Q: Is cremation not socially or theologically accepted?
A: Most religious faiths accept cremation. In fact, cremation is increasing in popularity across the nation. More people are turning to cremation as a more environmentally conscious option to traditional burial.
Q: What really is embalming?
A: Embalming is a temporary preservation and disinfection of the body of a dead human person. This process is accomplished by a surgical-like technique of injecting chemical solutions into the deceased's vascular system, thus producing a safe, natural lifelike appearance. This process dramatically retards tissue decomposition creating a time frame for a viewing and/or funeral service.
Q: Regarding embalming, what are my rights as a consumer?
A: According to the Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule, all funeral homes are required to get permission to embalm. If you select a funeral service which requires embalming, such as a funeral with a viewing, you may have to pay for embalming. You are not required to have embalming if you selected arrangements such as direct cremation or immediate burial. If a funeral home charges for embalming, they must explain why in writing. EXAMPLES: (i) Selected a service with a viewing or (ii) Arranged for shipment by common carrier or (iii) Selected arrangements that require the funeral home to hold the remains for more than 24 hours provided that no refrigeration is available or a hermetically sealed container is not used and provided that embalming does not conflict with religious beliefs or medical examination.
Q: Is embalming a requirement?
A: It may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public or private viewing of the body with an open casket; if the body is going to be transported by air or rail; or because of the length of time prior to the burial or cremation.
Q: How can I help a child deal with the death of a loved one?
A: 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. Adults may not view a child behavior as grief as it is often demonstrated in behavioral patterns which we misunderstand and do not appear to us to be grief such as "moody," "cranky," or "withdrawn." 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 are 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.
Q: How can I help an adult friend or family member deal with the death of a loved one?
A: Someone you know may be experiencing grief- perhaps the loss of a loved one, perhaps another type of loss - and you want to help. The fear of making things worse may encourage you to do nothing. Yet you do not wish to appear to be uncaring. Remember that it is better to try to do something, inadequate as you may feel, than to do nothing at all. Don't attempt to soothe or stifle the emotions of the griever. Tears and anger are an important part of the healing process. Grief is not a sign of weakness. It is the result of a strong relationship and deserves the honor of strong emotion. When supporting someone in their grief the most important thing is to simply listen. Grief is a very confusing process; expressions of logic are lost on the griever. The question "tell me how you are feeling" followed by a patient and attentive ear will seem like a major blessing to the grief stricken. Be present, reveal your caring, listen. Your desire is to assist your friend down the path of healing. They will find their own way down that path, but they need a helping hand, an assurance that they are not entirely alone on their journey. It does not matter that you do not understand the details, your presence is enough. Risk a visit, it need not be long. The mourner may need time to be alone but will surely appreciate the effort you made to visit. Do some act of kindness. There are always ways to help. Run errands, answer the phone, prepare meals, mow the lawn, care for the children, shop for groceries, meet incoming planes or provide lodging for out of town relatives. The smallest good deed is better than the grandest good intention.
Q: Why should I prearrange my funeral?
A: When you plan ahead, you will be able to consider the many options available. You will have the opportunity to make an informed decision about your funeral arrangements and the kind of service you prefer. You will be able to make choices that are meaningful to you and your family, and you will be relieving your family of the emotional and financial burden associated with making difficult decisions when a death occurs. In addition, by prepaying your funeral services, a guaranteed price contract will allow you to purchase at today’s prices, free from inflationary pressures in the future.
Q: How do I prearrange my funeral?
A: Select a funeral home you are comfortable with, call with your questions or make an appointment to meet with a funeral director face-to-face. Information is free and there is no obligation to purchase until you are ready. Shopping around for the best value is often a good idea. You should not sign a preneed contract until you are comfortable in doing so.
Q: If I pre-plan and prepay my funeral, how do I know that the money will be there when I die?
A: It’s important to remember that prearrangement is a two part transaction. The first is the agreement between you and the funeral home to provide goods and services at a guaranteed price once the preneed contract is paid for. The second is the actual funding of the agreement at the time of need. The funeral home is very concerned with the question of the funds being available at death. That’s why they carefully consider the financial soundness of where your funds are invested.
Q: If I prepay my funeral, what happens to the interest that my money earns?
A: If you have a prearranged funeral that is comprised of items that are guaranteed to be performed by the funeral home at no additional cost to you, the interest (or growth if a life insurance policy) is retained by the funeral home to offset the rising costs of those specified goods and services over time. That’s the value of prearranging and prepaying at today’s costs.
Q: Can I change any of these prepaid funeral services later?
A: In Texas, the purchaser (or owner, in the case of insurance) of the policy may sometimes change the contract. This often affects the terms of the guarantees, including the price, so act carefully. Changing the terms of the agreement could jeopardize one’s qualification for assistance such as SSI or Medicaid.
Q: What if your funeral home changes ownership?
A: Prior contractual agreements are not voided simply because a change of ownership occurs. The funeral planning agreement you have with the prior ownership is carried forward with successor owners as part of their purchase agreement.
Q: Is there a penalty for paying off these arrangements in advance?
A: Although some plans may allow for a penalty, our plans do not. We never charge a penalty for advance payment.
Q: Can social services take my prearrangements away from me?
A: They may challenge the amount being set aside to pay for an exorbitantly expensive funeral, but funds set aside to pay for a reasonable funeral are not counted as assets for one to qualify for social services.
Important consumer information to be aware of before you purchase a prepaid funeral contract is available at the Texas Department of Banking website;
. The email address for complaints is
When Death Occurs