Planning a Funeral

Where to Begin

Planning a funeral can be overwhelming, but you are not alone in this. We’re here to support you throughout this journey and make this process one of love, healing, and life celebration. Below is some information to help you get started, but you can contact us at any time if you need help.

What to expect when we meet

When you meet with a member of our staff to discuss your arrangements, we’ll first provide you with a general price list to give you a basic idea of what our services cost.

We’ll then ask you about your loved one to gain an understanding of the person the services will honor. Use this time to communicate your ideas and preferences, share your loved one’s life story, revisit memories, and highlight their accomplishments. Our professionals will use this information to guide you in the creation of a personalized, meaningful celebration of your loved one’s life. 

This process may include:

When a death Occurs

Whether a death is sudden or expected, the loss of a loved one is indescribable. When you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem staggering. This section seeks to guide you through the immediate hours following a passing. This guide also contains a form to help you gather some of the vital information that we will need to help plan for your loved one’s funeral.

If the person was not under hospice care, the police will have to be notified immediately. The police will be dispatched to the home and will place the call to the coroner or medical examiner. From there, the coroner or medical examiner will remove the body and determine whether further action is necessary. The coroner or medical examiner must release the body before a funeral home can do anything. If the person was under hospice care, contact the hospice representative, and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow.

The staff of a care facility, such as a hospital or nursing home, will notify you and the necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred. If a funeral home has been provided to the hospital or nursing home, they will be notified at the time of passing. If you are present at the hospital when the funeral director arrives, they will ask a few questions about the deceased’s wishes and set up a time to make arrangements. If you are not present, a funeral director will contact you by telephone to discuss these arrangements.

Once everything has been cleared with the proper authorities, the next call you place should be to a licensed funeral director. Funeral directors are here to help you obtain a death certificate, transport the body, and, in the event a plan ahead was not done, select a casket or urn and arrange the funeral or memorial service. The funeral director will also help you notify the employer and insurance company of the deceased. Funeral directors are there to help you and advise you.

You should meet with a funeral director within 24 hours of a death to begin making final arrangements for your loved one. Deciding on these final arrangements may seem like a very daunting task, especially when you are in heightened emotional state. Do not worry: funeral home staff have years of experience, and will strive to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Making arrangements

First, the Funeral Director will gather information required for the death certificate. This includes:
If no plan ahead has been done, necessary arrangements need to be made for the funeral service such as:

A funeral director will guide you through all of these steps, using your wants, needs and desires as a foundation to create a memorable funeral for your loved one. From here the funeral services can be personalized. Did your loved one have a favorite sports team? What was their favorite type of music? What activity was your loved one known best for? Sharing these memories with the grieving process will allow you to pay tribute to the life of your loved one.

Funeral Planning

Planning a funeral is one of the most thoughtful things you can do for your family. However, grief is a confusing and difficult time, and planning a funeral in the midst of these emotions can be overwhelming. By looking over this guide it may help lift some of the burden off your friends and family.

Service Options

We take pride in doing our absolute best to ensure your needs are met. Planning a funeral service can be a very difficult process for families who have just lost a loved one. In the interest of providing as much information to our families as possible, a catalog of services is available online.

Webcasting

We can help you use technology to bring together family and friends from all over the world. Webcasting your loved one’s service is a great way to involve those who are too ill to travel, those serving in the military, those who cannot afford to travel, or those who can’t make it for other reasons.

Online Arrangements

The first step is to gather some information. We will be using the following information to complete and file a death certificate. One thing to think about is how many certified copies of the death certificates you will need.

Burial

There are many things to consider when deciding if burial is right for either you or your family, whether it is at the time of death or if you are pre-planning a funeral. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make involves choosing both the cemetery and the specific grave location within its grounds.

Whatever your preference, the caring staff at DeVito Funeral Home will listen to your needs and together we can create a meaningful service that is right for your family. With the special touches we can add to any memorial your loved one’s tribute will be poignant and personal. We can help you choose the ritual, ceremony, and resting place that best reflects your values, lifestyle, and fits your budget. We invite you to call or come to our office where we will help you craft a service that truly expresses the story of your loved one’s life.

Monumental Cemetery

Monumental Cemetery

A monumental cemetery is the traditional style of cemetery where headstones or other monuments made of marble or granite rise vertically above the ground. There are countless different types of designs for headstones, ranging from very simple, to large and complex.

Lawn Cemetery

Lawn Cemetery

A lawn cemetery is where each grave is marked with a small commemorative plaque that is placed horizontally at the head of the grave at ground-level. Families can still be involved in the design and in choosing the information contained on the plaque, but in most cases the plaques are a standard design.

Mausoleum

Mausoleum

A mausoleum is an external, free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or people. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb, or the tomb may be considered to be within the mausoleum. The most famous mausoleum is the Taj Mahal in India.

Columbarium

Columbarium

Columbarium walls are generally reserved for cremated remains. While cremated remains can be kept at home by families, or scattered somewhere significant to the deceased, a columbarium provides friends and family a place to come to visit. Columbarium walls do not take up a lot of space and a cheaper alternative to a burial plot.

Natural Cemeteries

Natural Cemeteries

Natural cemeteries, also known as eco-cemeteries or green cemeteries, are a new style of cemetery set aside for natural burials. Natural burials are motivated by the desire to be environmentally conscious. While natural burials can be performed at any type of cemetery, they are usually done in a natural woodland area. Conventional markings, such as headstones, are generally replaced with a tree, bush, or the placement of a natural stone.

Ash Scattering and
Scattering at Sea

Ash Scattering and
Scattering at Sea

On Land—The State of MA has a comprehensive guide online that covers all of the current rules for scattering remains. The state laws mandate that ashes can be scattered anywhere that it isn’t illegal to do so. The law simply requires people to conform with federal laws or state property laws. You are able to scatter your loved ones ashes on your own land. Public, state, or land owned by others would need permission.

At Sea—A sea scattering involves scattering cremated ashes of a person or pet in the ocean. U.S. federal law requires that this takes place at least three nautical miles from shore (3.45 mi). There are urns designed for this specific purpose that are marine life friendly and biodegradable—please ask us for more information.

For you to consider

Opening and closing fees can include up to and beyond 50 separate services provided by the cemetery. Typically, the opening and closing fees include administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission, and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files), opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space), installation and removal of the lowering device, placement and removal of artificial grass dressing and coco-matting at the grave site, leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the grave site, and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles.

The actual opening and closing of the grave is just one component of the opening and closing fee. Due to safety issues which arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property, and the protection of other gravesites, the actual opening and closing of the grave is conducted by cemetery grounds personnel only.

To remember, and to be remembered. A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased. Memorialization of the dead is a key component in almost every culture. Psychologists say that remembrance practices serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure, which allows the healing process to begin. The provision of a permanent resting place is an important part of this process.

When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community. Most cemeteries have crematoriums, and some historic cemeteries even offer guided tours.

We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity. There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.

There is no law that states a specific time-span for burial. Considerations that will affect the timeline include: the need to secure all permits and authorizations; notification of family and friends; preparation of cemetery site, and religious considerations. Public health laws may limit the maximum amount of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. Contact your local funeral provider for more details.

No. Embalming is generally a choice, one which depends on factors like if there is to be an open casket viewing of the body, or if there will be an extended time between death and internment. Public health laws may require embalming if the body is going to be transported by air or rail.



Besides ground burial, some cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums. In addition, most cemeteries provide options for those who have selected cremation. These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or interment in an urn space. 



These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket and may be made of a variety of materials, including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic, or fiberglass. A grave liner is a lightweight version of a vault which keeps the grave surface from sinking in.

Most large, active cemeteries have regulations that require the use of a basic grave liner for maintenance and safety purposes. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements. Some smaller rural or churchyard cemeteries do not require use of a container to surround the casket in the grave. There are alternatives to burial. See Cremation Services below.



Cremation Services

Many people believe that if you choose cremation, you cannot have a gathering, visitation or a ceremony – however just the opposite is true. Cremation does not limit choices, but, in fact, provides you with more options to personalize a service. It is a process which is performed in a respectful and dignified manner and can be memorialized in many ways. Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral, but rather an alternative to burials or other forms of disposition.

A cremation service can be arranged with a family gathering or with a funeral service. A traditional visitation followed by a religious or personalized celebrant led service and cremation may be just the ritual needed by one family. For other families, an unaccompanied (direct) cremation followed by a contemporary memorial service may be more spiritually fulfilling for another. Cremation services can be simple or elaborate, traditional or non-traditional to meet the needs and preferences of your family. 

Ritual and ceremony should be as individual and unique as you or your loved one. Whatever your preference, the caring staff at DeVito Funeral Home will listen to your needs and together we can create a meaningful service that is right for your family. With the special touches we can add to any memorial your loved one’s tribute will be poignant and personal.

Just as with every step of the cremation process, you have several options to consider about a final resting place. We will be here to help you determine whether bringing them home in an urn, scattering in a meaningful location or burial is the best choice for you and your family. Some cemeteries will allow you to bury them in an existing family plot, even if the plot is full.

Reach out to our caring staff to discuss all the options available in a cremation arrangement.

For you to consider

Cremation is the process of reducing the human body using high heat and flame. Cremation is not the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service.



No, a casket is not required. Most states require an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard; however, in some states, no container is required.

No. It is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.

Yes, most crematories allow immediate family members to view the deceased prior to cremation.

Yes they can; some cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. Some religious groups ask for this as part of their funeral custom.

Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. Most Catholic Churches also allow the remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. Including cremated remains as a part of the funeral provides a focal point for the service.

While laws vary state by state, for the most part, remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or in a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered.



All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.

It all depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average sized adult usually weigh between 7 and 8 pounds.

An urn is not required by law. An urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.

Time to plan ahead

One of the most thoughtful things one can do for your family is to plan ahead for your funeral. It is the sensible thing to do, saving your loved ones the stress and worry of planning a funeral at an already difficult time.This may provide special financial benefits to pensioners and retirees. Serious consideration should be given to this concept. 

We welcome the opportunity to speak with us to discuss planning ahead for you, or for a member of your family. The dedicated staff at DeVito Funeral Home are available to meet with you to discuss the options with you. We can tailor our services to meet the needs and wishes of you and your family, and assure you of our best service at all times. The procedure can be as simple or detailed as you desire and the benefits include:

Financial

Taking away the financial burden for your loved ones plus at the same time taking advantage of any Centrelink benefits that might be available.

Organization

Greatly reducing the amount of time your family will have to spend on difficult administrative matters, you can get all the planning out of the way.

Family Focus

By planning ahead, when the time comes your family can focus on supporting each other and working through their grief.

Comfort

Reassure your family that you were prepared and your wishes are being carried out. Planning will assist your family to find a level of peace. 

Ways to plan ahead

General

Participants

Final Disposition

Info you'll need

Affiliations

Military service information

Funeral Service

Church Materials

We have selections from the Old Testament and New Testament Readings, as well as a selection of music, that can be used during the funeral mass. Our Selections form can be printed and then used as a convenient way to record your selections, so that one of our funeral directors can make all of the appropriate arrangements.

Planning a Funeral Form

Pre-Planning

Your Information

Spouse's Information

Father & Mother Information

Work & Education

Military Information

Funeral Service Information

Disposition Information

Additional Information

Special Instructions

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