Frequently Asked Questions

We have heard thousands of questions, and chosen to provide you with the answers to some of the more common questions relating to a funeral, a funeral service and funeral homes.

- What exactly is a funeral?
The funeral is a ceremony of proven value and worth for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the family members and others who share in the loss to express their respect, love, and grief. It allows us to face the crisis that death may present. Through a funeral, the bereaved take that first step towards adjustment to their loss.

- What type of ceremonial service should I have?
Only you can answer that. The type of service conducted for your loved one, if not noted in a pre-plan, is decided by the family. The service is usually held at a place of worship or funeral home. The service may vary in ritual according to religious denomination or the wishes of the family. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgment of friendship and support. A private service is by invitation only where selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. A memorial service is usually a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the family's community and religious affiliations.

- Can I personalize my funeral service?
Yes, in fact, we recommend it. After all, the funeral is a celebration of life. Funeral directors are happy to discuss options and ensure your funeral is tailored to your wishes. It may be personalized in many unique ways. Contact us at (970) 243-2450 to explore the possibilities.

- Why should we have a public viewing?
There are many reasons to view the deceased. It is part of many ethnic and cultural traditions, and many grief specialists believe that viewing aids help the grief process, by helping recognize the reality of death. Viewing is even encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire to do so, and the process is explained. 

- Why do we need an obituary notice?
It is helpful to friends to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held. A notice can be placed in the newspaper or online. 

- What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are both caregivers and administrators in the process. In their administrative duties, they make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. As caregivers, funeral directors are listeners, advisors of what to do. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death and after. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the Grand Junction community.

- What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or during the weekend?
We are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. All you need to do is give us a call at (970) 243-2450. If you request immediate assistance, one of our professionals can be there within the hour. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye. It is totally acceptable. 

- What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?
Your funeral director can assist you if a death occurs around the globe. Contact your hometown funeral director of choice immediately. They will assume responsibility and coordinate the arrangements for the return of the deceased person to their community. They may engage the services of a funeral director in the place of death who will act as their agent and get them safely home.

- What is the purpose of embalming a body?
Embalming preserves and sanitizes the body, slows the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. It makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them. Embalming the body enables mourners to a viewing if they wish. The emotional benefits of viewing the deceased are enormous, particularly to those having difficulty dealing with death.

- Is embalming mandatory?
No. But, certain factors of health, time and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary. Please note that embalming may be required if the deceased is being transported by air to another country where local laws need be observed.

- Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition and often follows a normal funeral service. We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral after and before.

- Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
Yes. Cremation does not preclude having a visitation period and a funeral service. Cremation is one option for final disposition of your loved one.

- Is cremation as a means of disposition increasing?
Yes, but not drastically. 

- Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?
Yes, a person who dies of an AIDS-related illness is entitled to the service options afforded to everybody else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is highly encouraged. Touching the deceased's face or hands is perfectly fine. The grief experienced by survivors may include all kinds of feelings, survivors may need even more support than survivors of non-AIDS-related deaths.

- How much does a funeral cost?
Funerals can cost as little as $1000 for a simple direct disposition. (Direct disposition includes registering the death, a basic casket or container, and transporting the deceased to a local cemetery) For an adult, normal full-service funeral, consumers choose to spend an average of $5000. This includes all professional services, including transfer-of remains, embalming, and other preparation; use of viewing facilities and the facilities for the ceremony; hearse, limousine, and the purchase of a fine casket.

- Has this cost increased significantly?
Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for normal consumer items. 

- Why are funerals cost so much?
In some respects, funerals are a lot like birthday celebrations and weddings. The cost and type will vary according to the tastes and budget of the consumer. Not only that, a funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making  all kinds of arrangements such as; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, florists, ministers, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Contrary to popular belief, funeral homes are mostly family-owned with a modest profit margin.

- What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
While most funeral homes provide great services, sometimes things can go wrong. Funeral service is heavily regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, you should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the you may wish to contact the FTC by contacting the Consumer Response Center by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); TDD: 1-866-653-4261; by mail: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; or on the Internet at www.ftc.gov, using the online form. You may also choose to contact the local Better Business Bureau, or your state consumer office.

- Who pays for funerals for the indigent?
Other than the family, there are veterans, unions, and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals. Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them for the deceased. However, funeral directors often absorb costs above and beyond what is provided by agencies to insure the deceased has a respectable burial.

Cemetery Common Questions

The answers below are the most commonly-asked questions. If yours isn't listed, we invite you to call us. We're here to provide the information you need...

- Are cemeteries running out of space?
Just like other spaces, cemeteries are impacted by increased population density in both rural and urban areas. Cemetery spaces are a finite resource, and as such, comes at a premium price in some regions.

- What is Perpetual Care?
"Perpetual Care" usually refers to the correct terms Endowment Care or Permanent Care. These funds are collected with each Interment Space sale to maintain the roads, grounds, and buildings of the cemetery.

- Can the vault be personalized?
Yes, we can show you the wide range of personalization choices, including customized nameplates and custom military insignias.

- Are there vaults for cremated remains?
Yes, we offer urn vaults, designed for in-ground burial of the cremated remains.

- Can two cremations be performed together?
Never. Not only is it highly illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one full sized adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations at the same time. 

- Can the family view the cremation?
Yes, for a fee. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their custom.

- Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?
No, embalming is not requirement for burial. Your choice may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public viewing of the body with an open casket; or to enhance the deceased's appearance for a private family viewing; or if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the burial.

- Requirement to purchase a burial vault?
In most areas of the state, local laws do not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink in. Either a burial vault or grave liner will satisfy these requirements.

- What are the positives of a mausoleum burial?
Mausoleum crypts are both dry and clean. They offer a alternative for those who simply have an aversion of being interred in the ground. Furthermore, with the growing shortage of available space for cemetery use, mausoleums will allow for a maximum number of entombments in a minimum amount of space.

- What is a columbarium?
A columbarium, often located inside a mausoleum, chapel or in a garden setting, is constructed with small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.