1. Can I pay the funeral home in advance, or by installments, for future funeral services?
Pre-arranging your funeral is a great idea, but if you pay the funeral home directly in advance, you risk losing everything if the funeral home goes out of business. Instead of trusts or prepayments, sign up for a preneed insurance policy through a third company or open a payable on death bank account at your local bank. Your money will be secured.
2. My father is a Navy veteran. What kind of burial benefits is he entitled to?
If you or your spouse is an honorably discharged veteran, burial is free at a Veterans Affairs National Cemetery. Veterans Benefits includes the grave or vault, opening and closing, marker, and setting fee. Our staff will take care of arrangements with the National Cemetery on behalf of the family at no cost.
3. What kind of casket is included in your standard burial package?
Most Funeral Homes offer composite caskets made of lesser grade materials for an exorbitant price. Bakersfield Funeral Home includes a 20 gauge steel casket in its Standard Burial Package (see price list fir pricing). This package includes removal of decedent from place of death (or morgue), refrigerated storage, sanitary handling and preparation for burial, transportation by hearse to cemetery and total graveside service. There is no better value in Kern county.
*sales tax not included
4. I want to have a memorial service and viewing for my father before his cremation. Do I still have to purchase a casket?
A rental casket is available for that kind of purpose, great for families on a budget or wanting to reduce environmental impact. The body is laid in the casket in an attractively adorned and sturdy insert container, which is then removed for cremation.
5. Is embalming necessary for my father’s funeral service and burial? Someone told me it wasn’t.
Viewings can be presented without embalming if the viewing can be conducted within a few days of death. However, embalming is necessary when the time between death and burial or cremation will be extended due to transport or extenuating circumstances.
6. I’m going to shop around before I make a decision on which funeral home to choose for my mother’s funeral. Can you give me some tips?
Caveat emptor. Some hard-sell phrases to be wary of: “Given your position in the community …,” “I’m sure you want what’s best for your mother,” and “Your mother had excellent taste. When she made arrangements for Aunt Nellie, this is what she chose.” Are some examples of “up-selling” in the Funeral industry. I advise clients to use common-sense and take emotion out of the process. Just as in any financial transaction, the consumer wants to get value for their money. It should be the same in choosing a Funeral Home. Are they upfront and honest? Do they adhere to all California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau and Public Health Department guidelines and regulations? Are their clients satisfied?
7. I saw an advertisement for “protective” caskets that can prevent decomposition. Is this true?
“Protective” caskets with a rubber gasket do not stop decomposition. In fact, the moisture and gases they trap inside have caused caskets to explode! Unless mummified, all organic matter eventually decays and ends up as “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” It’s just another disingenuous selling ploy.
8. What is the average going rate for funeral services and cremations? My family is on a tight budget and my father’s passing was totally unexpected.
Shop around. Prices at funeral homes vary wildly, with direct cremation costing $800 at one funeral home and $3,000 down the street. (Federal law requires that prices be provided over the phone.) These variations can apply to identical services and products!
9. Do “package” deals save you money on funeral services?
If you are sold a package that is portrayed as “saving you money,” ask for the individual price list. Funeral Homes often offer packages that include services you don’t want or need.
10. Money is tight these days for my family, but we wanted to hold a memorial service for my father’s passing. Do you have any suggestions?
It is unnecessary to spend a lot of money to have a memorable service. Consider a potluck at the widow’s home or an informal ceremony at a favorite park, and ask family and friends to tell stories or read favorite poems of the deceased loved one. In the end it’s a matter of the heart, not the wallet.