Q: Why have a funeral?

A: Funerals are the best way to pay respect to a deceased loved one and provide a time of grieving and recovery for those left. Families and friends are able to gather and celebrate the life that was. It’s a time of reminiscence, support and sharing in closure together. Those who aren’€™t able to have this form of closure tend to have more difficultly dealing with the death. Funeral directors help make this time unique for everyone involved.

Q: What is the role of a funeral director?

A: Funeral directors are licensed professionals trained to assist anyone dealing with the death of a loved one. Funeral directors are able to deal with every aspect of death and grieving with an individual and provide professional service. You and your family are the funeral directors€™ number one priority. A funeral director, along with other funeral service professionals, will assist you in making the right decisions regarding the funeral service itself and steps to handle the grieving process entirely.

Think of a funeral director as someone who is there for you from the moment of death through the entire funeral process and then provides suggestions after the funeral is complete.

Q: Does your loved one have to be embalmed?

A: In the state of Oklahoma, it’€™s required that someone is embalmed following death. It’s also necessary for preservation of the body and the slowing of decomposition. For families that desire an open-casket viewing or funeral, embalming is vital for preserving the body for viewing.

Q: What is cremation and is it an alternative for a funeral?

A: Cremation is any mechanical, chemical or thermal process of reducing a body to what is commonly called “ashes.”€ These ashes pose no health hazard to anyone once the process is complete. The distinction between cremation and a traditional burial is just what is done to the body. A funeral is typically conducted in either case, as a funeral is a service to celebrate and commemorate the life of the deceased. Some families choose to bury the ashes while others decide to keep, entomb or scatter the ashes.

Q: To bury a deceased person, do you have to have a funeral director?

A: State laws are strict regarding the handling and burial of the deceased. Law enforcement must ensure that no foul play was involved in the death. Public health professionals must track communicable diseases and ensure proper handling of the deceased. Appropriate paperwork must be completed, including social security, veteran affairs, life insurance, death certificate, etc. A funeral director plays a pivotal role in this entire process and is trained to handle every step of the process.

Q: How long does it take to obtain a death certificate?

A: In Oklahoma, it depends on the filing process. If you file for a certificate by mail, expect at least 4 weeks time. If you file in person, then expect only an hour or more. For more information regarding death certificates, reference the following:  http://www.ok.gov/health/Birth_and_Death_Certificates/Death_Certificates/

Q: I don't have any funds for a funeral, what can I do?

A: Indigent care funds are available in each area. Each county has varying amounts for these instances. Please contact your County Court Clerk or Probate Court in your area for more information.