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Earth burial is the most common means of disposition in the United States. Costs include a casket, cemetery plot, opening and closing of the grave, a grave liner or vault and a memorial or marker. These costs vary considerably by cemetery and locality.
Entombment is the placement of the casket above ground in a mausoleum. Mausoleum space may be more expensive than a cemetery plot.
Most cemeteries require full payment at the time you buy a plot and make burial arrangements and you should be prepared for this by bringing cash or your checkbook with you. Some will take an assignment of insurance if you can prove that the policy is valid and will pay an amount sufficient to cover the expenses. Government life insurance policies are not assignable.
Embalming is not required by Michigan law EXCEPT if burial or cremation does not take place within 48 hours of death or if the deceased had certain communicable diseases. Further, a funeral home normally requires and has the right to require embalming if a public visitation is planned. Additionally, common carrier regulations usually require embalming as a condition for the transportation of a deceased person. You should also check the embalming laws and regulations of other states if the deceased is to be transported outside of Michigan. If embalming is desired, the amount of time that elapses between death and embalming can make a difference in the personal appearance of the body. Permission for embalming should be granted as soon as possible for best results.
Also know as "visitation," a “viewing” “calling hours” or a “wake”, a gathering time involves having the body lie in state with members of the family present so that friends may pay last respects to the deceased. The length of this gathering time may vary from a couple of hours to days depending on the wishes and traditions of the family. You may prefer a private viewing restricted to the family. At Borek Jennings, we call this a Family Farewell.
Arrangements will need to be made with appropriate clergy to set times and types of religious services which can be held in the funeral home chapel or any appropriate place of your choice such as a church, temple, synagogue or hall. These arrangements can be made by the funeral home if you so choose.
When the body or the cremated remains are buried in the ground or entombed in a mausoleum, a service may be held at the gravesite. A graveside service may or may not consist of religious rituals and is usually of shorter duration than a traditional service at a funeral home or church. The times and manner of graveside services may be restricted by cemetery regulations. Arrangements will need to be made with the cemetery to set up the proper facilities. The funeral home will make these arrangements for you.
While cremation is considered a final disposition by law, obviously the cremated remains must be cared for and the funeral director must know your plans. Unless you make arrangements with the funeral director, you bear sole responsibility for their disposition and you should collect them upon notice of their availability. They may be buried in the earth, entombed in a mausoleum, placed in a niche in a columbarium, scattered on or over private land or water with the permission of the owner or remain in the possession of the family, usually in an urn. Scattering of cremated remains must never interfere with the rights of others.
Disposition of the body may occur without any service. Expenses will include removal of the body from the place of death, transportation of the body to the burial or cremation site and whatever may be necessary to meet legal requirements and the minimum requirements of the funeral home involved. For some, not having any services may be a form of psychological denial and can often cause emotional problems and guilt feelings for a family members in the future.
Some persons choose to have their bodies donated to medical teaching facilities either directly or after a service is held. This arrangement with a facility should be made by an individual prior to death. However, many facilities already have more requests on file than their needs warrant.
Funeral homes provide other services such as placing obituary and death notices in the newspaper, obtaining Death Certificates and assisting you in filing for death benefits. They will arrange for transportation of the body to another funeral home in or out of state, transportation to the cemetery, payment of honoraria or gratuities to clergy and musicians. They will order, accept, place and transport all floral wreaths and bouquets. Such services are provided upon request. Some funeral homes will include some or all of these services at their cost without additional fees and some will charge a fee for each service performed. Many funeral homes also provide, without charge, counseling and support group services or referral. At Borek Jennings, we provide more than 27 Healing Support Services that will help your family through the Acute Loss Period and begin healing.
You are now ready to visit the funeral home of your choice to prepare for the funeral. The funeral profession, as a care taking group, has personnel and facilities available for those who need assistance prior to or at the time of death.
There are a number of options available, including: