Funeral & Burial Questions

What does the average funeral cost?

In 2014, the national average cost of an adult, full-service funeral was $7,181. This includes a professional service charge, transfer of deceased, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, service car or van, and metal casket. (Source: 2015 NFDA General Price List Survey.)

How is Brandywine Valley Funeral Care able to provide quality care at affordable prices?

By offering a simplified funeral selection process, Brandywine Valley Funeral Care is able to keep costs lower and pass the savings on to our clients while still providing excellent service.

What is the purpose of a funeral?

Funerals provide surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to recognize the death of a loved one and to share thoughts and feelings about that person. Funerals are the first step in the healing process. Attending a funeral service provides many benefits including:

  • Providing a social support system for the bereaved
  • Helping the bereaved understand death is final and part of life
  • Integrating the bereaved back into the community
  • Easing the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one
  • Providing a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain
  • Reaffirming one's relationship with the person who died
  • Providing a time to say good-bye

I've never arranged a funeral before. What do I need to know?

At some time in our lives, most of us will make or assist in making funeral arrangements. This will not be an easy time, but we offer these tips for smart planning:

  • Be an informed consumer and ask questions
  • Choose an independent funeral home and a licensed funeral director
  • Discuss all service and payment options during the funeral arrangements
  • Make sure you receive a copy of the funeral home's General Price List
  • Be prepared to make decisions and organize details in advance of need
  • Plan a personalized and meaningful ceremony to help you begin healing

What do funeral directors do?

Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the deceased.

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.

What types of funeral services exist?

Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs, and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and, if so, whether the casket will be open or closed and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.

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 is voluntary.

Cremation Questions

Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

Often funeral directors find that people have a preconception that they have fewer choices for a ceremony when selecting cremation for themselves or a loved one. In actuality, cremation is only part of the commemorative experience. In fact, cremation gives people the flexibility to search for types of tributes that reflect the life being honored. But, this doesn't mean that aspects of traditional funeral services have to be discarded. Even with cremation, a meaningful memorial that is personalized to reflect the life of the deceased could include:

  • A visitation prior to the service
  • An open or closed casket
  • A ceremony at the funeral chapel, your place of worship, or other special location
  • Participation by friends and family

Where can I get more information on cremation?

Brandywine Valley Funeral Care can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral or memorial service with a cremation. For more technical information about the cremation process, we encourage you to view information online at the National Funeral Directors Association.

Embalming Questions

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the deceased, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of someone 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.

Is embalming required by law?

No. Most states, however, require embalming when death is caused by a reportable contagious disease, when a deceased is to be transported from one state to another by a common carrier, or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.