FAQ

What To Do When Death Occurs


What should I do if death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Our telephones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Memorial counselors are also available to answer questions or address concerns that you may have regarding the care or transferring of your loved one. 


Will someone come right away?
Mortuary attendants will usually arrive about an hour to an hour and a half after the call is received, authorization obtained and attendants dispatched. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it's acceptable. We will come when you are ready. 


What happens next?

We will contact you to arrange a time for you to come in to our office to complete the legal paperwork and help coordinate any ceremonies that you wish.  During that time we will also be working on securing the paperwork with the doctor and making initial preparations to your loved one.


How long should I expext the process to take?

Services generally take 3 to 7 business days for the remains to be ready for their final disposition, Cremation or burial.  The time is largely dependent on securing the death certificate from the Doctor and securing the Permit for Disposition from the state.   


Funeral & Burial Questions


What purpose does a funeral serve?
It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process. 


What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. 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. Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community. 


Do you have to have a funeral director to bury the dead?
In most states, family members may bury their own dead although regulations vary. However, most people find it very trying to be solely responsible for arranging the details and legal matters surrounding a death. 


Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary. 


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 same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceased's face or hands is perfectly safe. Because the grief experienced by survivors may include a variety of feelings, survivors may need even more support than survivors of non-AIDS-related deaths. 


Isn't burial space becoming scarce?
While it is true some metropolitan areas have limited available cemetery space, in most areas of the country, there is enough space set aside for the next 50 years without creating new cemeteries. In addition, land available for new cemeteries is more than adequate, especially with the increase in entombment and multi-level grave burial. 


Embalming Questions


What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and can enhance the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them. 


Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when remains are to be transported interstate or internationally or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours. 

Douglass Family Mortuary FD803                 (310) 632-1171