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240 Mt Prospect Avenue, Newark, NJ 07104
973-483-7000

235 Ege Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07304
201-434-2615
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Frequently Asked Questions

We are happy to answer any and all questions which come our way – and we hear some over and over again. Those are the ones we’ve included in this section of the website.

However, if you’re question isn’t listed, don’t hesitate to email us. If yours is an urgent need, please call.

1. What is a funeral?
 
2. How much does a funeral cost?
 
3. What costs are associated with funerals?
 
4. What do funeral directors do?
 
5. How do I make funeral arrangements?
 
6. What tasks are involved in arranging a funeral?
 
7. Why should I plan a funeral for my loved one?
 
8. What is a pre-arranged funeral?
 
9. How do I make funeral arrangements?
 
10. What type of funeral service should I have?
 
11. Can I personalize my funeral service?
 
12. Why should we have a public viewing?
 
13. What should I do if a death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
 
14. What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?
 
15. What happens if I have a problem with how a funeral was handled?
 
16. What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
 
17. Some people cannot afford basic funeral services. Is financial aid available to the poor?
 
18. Why do we need an obituary notice?
 
19. What is included in an obituary?
 
20. What is embalming?
 
21. Is embalming necessary?
 
22. What is involved in cremation?
 
23. Do I need a casket if I choose cremation?
 
24. Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
 
25. What can be done with the cremated remains?
 
26. Who should be included in the gathering or ceremony?
 

Question #1What is a funeral?
Answer:A funeral is a time when friends and family gather to celebrate a life and mourn the loss of a loved one. They occur in cultures and societies around the world, and have deep personal and social significance. We know a funeral is the starting point of the recovery process and the first step toward healing.

Question #2How much does a funeral cost?
Answer:The cost of a funeral depends entirely on your wishes for the funeral. Funeral costs are made up of professional services, charges for transporting the body and presentation of the body, casket costs, vehicle charges, and fees for the doctor, minister, or cremation. Personalizing a funeral is also a factor in the cost. While we have many options to help you memorialize your loved one in a meaningful way, those options all have costs attached.

Question #3What costs are associated with funerals?
Answer:The cost of a funeral includes all the services of a funeral director (see task list above), merchandise, such as caskets and urns, and transportation. Other costs may apply. In general, funeral homes make only a modest profit. We have included our General Price List on our web site for your convenience.

Question #4What do funeral directors do?
Answer:Funeral directors are caregivers, advisors, and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and carry out the wishes of the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death, are trained to answer questions about grief, and can recommend sources of professional help.

Question #5How do I make funeral arrangements?
Answer:You can call a funeral director to make an appointment or plan it online. We offer this service free of charge, and without obligation.

Question #6What tasks are involved in arranging a funeral?
Answer:There can be as many as 200 tasks when planning a funeral. Many of them are listed below. Our Funeral Director will coordinate most of these for you, after meeting with you at a private consultation.

Obtain the signature of the attending physician, coroner or medical examiner on the required certificate; file the certificate with the registrar of vital statistics where the death occurred
Ensure compliance with government regulators
Transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home (local or out of town)
Obtain family history
Make decisions regarding the remains of the deceased
Determine the budget (if funeral has not been pre-arranged)
Determine the funeral or memorial service location(s), such as church, chapel, or graveside
Plan for a viewing/visitation and determine open or closed casket
Choose the final resting place (cemetery, mausoleum, private land, etc.)
Make necessary arrangements with clergy, church and cemetery officials
Obtain certified copies of the death certificate, as necessary
Procure the burial permit and file with the cemetery
Select and purchase the casket, outer burial container or urn
Select a monument/marker
Order and schedule the delivery of all products/merchandise
Compose and submit newspaper and other media notices
Choose clothing & jewelry
Select poems, scripture, readings
Select music: taped, live musicians, etc.
Choose pallbearers
Arrange for transportation of the deceased
Secure flower/equipment trucks, as necessary
Purchase acknowledgement cards, register books, memorial folders, etc.
Purchase a door wreath & flowers
Arrange for family transportation
Complete social security papers and secure social security benefits
Secure Veterans benefits (if applicable)
Secure life insurance benefits (if applicable)
Contact insurance agents
Complete accounting, clerical and filing work
Answer telephone calls
Notify other organizations that your loved one participated in
Deliver flowers to local nursing homes, hospitals etc. following the funeral

Question #7Why should I plan a funeral for my loved one?
Answer:A funeral or memorial is a customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are held for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process. They also give mourners a chance to share stories, create memories, fulfill religious beliefs & customs, participate in a support system, and gather at a peaceful place during a time of confusion and uncertainty.

Question #8What is a pre-arranged funeral?
Answer:A pre-arranged funeral is a funeral arrangement made prior to death. You can pre-arrange your own funeral or you can pre-arrange a funeral for a loved one. Pre-arrangement is a way for you to make sure your life is celebrated in a way that is meaningful to you. It also relieves your loved ones of the burden of arranging a funeral for you.

Question #9How do I make funeral arrangements?
Answer:You can call a funeral director to make an appointment or plan it online. We offer this service free of charge.

Question #10What type of funeral service should I have?
Answer:The answer to that question is very personal – how would you like it to be? A funeral service can be open to the public or accessible by invitation only. You can choose a large service or a small one. And, if you’re deeply religious, you can follow the liturgy of your faith.

Perhaps you want something completely out-of-the-ordinary, and that’s possible too. Our funeral directors are trained to provide you with support and guidance to help you plan a funeral that truly reflects your needs and desires.

Question #11Can I personalize my funeral service?
Answer:In a word, yes. We believe that each funeral should reflect the life of the deceased – and no two people are the same. We invite – no, we encourage –you to let us know exactly how you want you or your loved one to be remembered, and we will do our best to create a ceremony that will truly celebrate the life lived.

Question #12Why should we have a public viewing?
Answer:Not every tradition encourages a public viewing, but we believe that they serve a purpose. In making a viewing part of your funeral service, you provide a certain amount of closure to all in attendance. This isn’t just our opinion; studies show that viewing the body helps everyone recognize the reality of death which is an important stepping stone in the grieving process.

Question #13What should I do if a death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Answer:It’s simple: call us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need immediate assistance, one of our funeral directors will be there.

Question #14What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?
Answer:It’s comforting to know that our funeral directors can help you no matter where a death has occurred.  We’ll take care of everything from bringing your loved one back home; to helping you arrange the service. All you need to do is call us. We’ll take care of the rest.

Question #15What happens if I have a problem with how a funeral was handled?
Answer:If you’re not satisfied with how we attempt to resolve the issue, then you can reach out to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and/or our state licensing board.

Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC  20580

www.ftc.gov

1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).

Question #16What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
Answer:Funeral service is regulated by the FTC and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program. FSCAP provides information, mediates disputes, provides arbitration, and maintains a consumer guarantee fund for reimbursement of services rendered. (To contact FSCAP, call 708-827-6337 or 800-662-7666).

Question #17Some people cannot afford basic funeral services. Is financial aid available to the poor?
Answer:Other than the family, there are veteran, union, and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals, including, in certain instances, a lump sum death payment from Social Security. In most states, some form of public aid allowances are available from either the state, county, city, or a combination. Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them.

Question #18Why do we need an obituary notice?
Answer:An obituary notice is helpful for friends and family of the deceased. It informs them that a death has occurred and gives them information about the service.  Obituaries can be placed in newspapers and online.

Question #19What is included in an obituary?
Answer:"Funeral arrangements are being made by the funeral home and will be announced at a later date."

You may wish to add additional details, such as the names of any children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, parents, other close relatives or special friends. You may wish to write about the deceased’s life, accomplishments and legacy. You may suggest preferred charities for memorial contributions and let people know if you would rather not receive flowers.

Question #20What is embalming?
Answer:Embalming is the temporary disinfection, preservation, and restoration of the body. During the embalming process, the body is washed and dressed and cosmetics are applied.

Question #21Is embalming necessary?
Answer:If the body has to be transported to a country that requires embalming, then yes, it is necessary. Otherwise the decision is up to you. Some religious traditions forbid embalming. If your religion allows it, we recommend embalming if there is a long wait before burial or cremation.

Question #22What is involved in cremation?
Answer:The casket or container is placed in the cremation chamber where the temperature reaches 1,400-1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. After approximately 2.5 hours, all organic material is consumed by heat and evaporation, and the bone fragments are left behind. These are known as the cremated remains, which are then carefully removed from the chamber and processed into fine particles to be placed in a container or urn for the family.

Question #23Do I need a casket if I choose cremation?
Answer:No, you do not need to purchase a traditional casket. But, for sanitary reasons, crematories usually require a combustible, leak-proof, covered container. Commonly, a relatively-inexpensive cardboard cremation container is all you need to purchase. However there are other, more elegant options available as well. Visit our online cremation container showroom to explore your options.

Question #24Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
Answer:By all means, yes. We encourage families to have a gathering – whether it’s a simple visitation, or a more elaborate funeral or memorial service – to support the bereaved and begin to mend the social fabric, torn by the loss of a member of the community.

Question #25What can be done with the cremated remains?
Answer:The cremated remains can be interred in a cemetery plot or retained by a family member -- usually in an urn, scattered on private property or at a place that was important to the deceased. The cremated remains can be scattered at sea, or the skies above a special, well-loved place. You can also incorporate the remains into an artificial reef, to be lowered onto the sea floor. There, your loved one provides sanctuary for sea life for years to come.

There are also elegant ways to memorialize a loved one using small amounts of the cremated remains, including art glass, oil paintings, and man-made diamonds. Or you can take a small amount of the cremated remains to include in a piece of cremation jewelry. Please view our online cremation keepsakes and jewelry selection for inspiration.

Question #26Who should be included in the gathering or ceremony?
Answer:Family, close friends, co-workers, fellow worshippers, neighbors & acquaintances, and in some cases, the greater community.

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Proudly Serving the Communities of Newark and The State of New Jersey for over 20 years
973-483-7000 Alvarez Funeral Home, Inc. | 240 Mt Prospect Avenue | Newark, NJ 07104 | Fax: | Email: jaime@alvarezfuneralhome.com 201-434-2615 Alvarez-Marshello Funeral Home | 235 Ege Avenue | Jersey City, NJ 07304 | Fax: | Email: jaime@alvarezfuneralhome.com 973-483-7000 Alvarez Funeral Home, Inc. | 240 Mt Prospect Avenue | Newark, NJ 07104 | Fax: | Email: jaime@alvarezfuneralhome.com 973-483-7000 Alvarez Funeral Home, Inc. | 240 Mt Prospect Avenue | Newark, NJ 07104 | Fax: | Email: jaime@alvarezfuneralhome.com 973-483-7000 Alvarez Funeral Home, Inc. | 240 Mt Prospect Avenue | Newark, NJ 07104 | Fax: | Email: jaime@alvarezfuneralhome.com