Funeral Planning Frequently Asked Questions
Questions About Planning Ahead
What to do When a Death Occurs
For individual terms, see our comprehensive Glossary.
Does being cremated mean you can't have a funeral?
Absolutely not. For example, a Viewing and Visitation can be held before a body is cremated. Following cremation, a memorial or other ceremony may be held, with or without the cremated remains present. If cremated remains are going to be buried, a graveside ceremony is an option. If cremated remains are going to be Scattered, a ceremony can be held at that time. We will work with you to plan the type of ceremony that best meets your needs.
What is cremation?
Cremation is the process of exposing the deceased to extreme heat and flame in order to reduce the body into cremains or ashes, commonly refered to as cremated remains.
What happens to the cremated remains after cremation?
There are several options for cremated remains after cremation. Cremated remains can be placed in an Urn or other container and buried in a cemetery. They can be placed in a Columbarium or Mausoleum. They can be Scattered. in a variety of ways. You can also take them home with you. There are also other options, such as making gemstone jewelry from a portion of the cremated remains so they may be worn in memory of someone. A Bliley's funeral director will review with you the many options available.
What is a Cremation Society?
Cremation societies can be confused with memorial societies. While most memorial societies are not-for-profit consumer groups who help people by providing information, a cremation "society" usually operates for profit, offering services for money to the general public. In addition, you may have to pay "membership dues" to arrange for their services - that's in addition to paying for the services themselves. Using the word "society" in their name can be misleading to consumers. Before you arrange for services with a cremation society, be sure to ask questions about membership fees and pricing. You can also ask if they are a not-for-profit group.
Do you have to be embalmed if you are going to be cremated?
Not necessarily. Embalming is not needed for a simple identification viewing by the family or someone designated by the family. Embalming is necessary if the family of the deceased chooses to have an open casket, public viewing and visitation of their loved one, prior to the ceremony or cremation process. Embalming is also not necessary when the casket is going to be closed to the family and public during visitation periods. In certain instances, religious customs dictate that embalming is not permitted.
Do you have to have a casket if you are going to be cremated?
A casket is not required for cremation, but under the Federal Trade Commission Rule (FTC Funeral Rule), funeral homes must have an unfinished wooden box or similar container available for cremation.
Can I supply my own container to hold cremated remains following cremation?
Yes. You do not have to purchase a container from Bliley's. Cremated Remains will be returned to you in a simple container from the crematorium which will be suitable for burial or shipping. Bliley's also offers a wide variety of other containers, from which you can select should you desire to do so.
Can I take cremated remains home with me?
Yes, you may take cremated remains home with you.
Is cremation cheaper than burial?
The cost of both cremation and burial will vary, depending on what options, merchandise, and services are chosen. Bliley's staff will work with you to review options so that you can select one that best meets your needs.
Can I be present during the cremation?
Yes. You may make arrangements with your funeral director to be present during cremation.
What kinds of services can I have with a burial?
As with a cremation, there are a variety of options available, depending on personal wishes and/or religious beliefs. Before the actual burial, Viewing, Visitation, and Funeral Service are choices. At the time of burial, a Graveside Service is an option. Bliley's will also work with you to plan something entirely different if that is your wish.
Can I buy a casket from somewhere else?
Yes. You may purchase a casket from any vendor you choose. Some individuals have made their own caskets. There is an added element of convenience, however, when you purchase your casket from the funeral home you are working with, so you don't have to plan storage and/or transportation of your casket. But whatever your choice, Bliley's will work with you.
Why do people have public viewings?
A Viewing is a period of time set aside for friends and family to view the body of the person who has died. This is a very literal way for the living to find closure and say their final good-byes.
Who takes the flowers to the cemetery?
While the family may choose to take the flowers from the funeral ceremony to the cemetery themselves, Bliley's can also transport the flowers as part of the services they offer. Once all ceremonies have been held, families may also make arrangements for Blileys to deliver flowers to local nursing homes or places of worship.
How will the immediate family get to the cemetery?
Members of the immediate family can drive and ride in their own vehicles to the cemetery, or Bliley's can arrange for transportation for them in a limousine or Family Car.
What if I want to be buried right away so I don't have to be embalmed. Can my family still come say goodbye?
Yes. You can also arrange a small, private viewing at Bliley's.
Why should I have a funeral?
Funerals are a way for the living to honor those who have died. In addition to being a way to say good-bye, they also allow each life to be celebrated and remembered. Different funeral and memorial ceremonies, as well as a variety of burial and cremation practices, have been observed and handed down in multiple cultures for hundreds of years. The decision to hold a funeral or not, however, is a personal choice.
What is a funeral director?
A funeral director is the Bliley's staff member who works with a family to arrange burial, cremation or other funeral services. The director, who must be licensed to practice in Virginia, will also help personalize individual services, as well as carefully prepare remains for burial or cremation.
How can a funeral home help me?
In addition to the services provided by a Funeral Director, a Funeral Home can offer physical space in which to hold private or public gatherings, and provide for and carry out the preparation and transportation of remains. They also sell a variety of merchandise, such as caskets and urns, and offer a number of services, from placing obituary and other newspaper announcements to assistance with insurance and benefits paperwork. The funeral home can also serve as the primary contact for information for a funeral ceremony, relieving the family of this additional task during a difficult time. To find out more about the many ways a funeral home can help, Contact Us.
What is embalming?
Embalming is the process of using chemicals to help preserve a body.
What determines the cost of a funeral?
The cost of a funeral will depend on all the different services and products that are chosen. Physical items such as caskets, urns, grave liners and space rental are one aspect of overall price. Service items such as transportation, planning and staffing are another. Bliley's will help you make arrangements that best meet your needs.
How can I personalize a funeral ceremony?
Ceremonies can be personalized in many ways to reflect the person being remembered - from choice and location of gathering to the inclusion of music and mementos. See our "Personalizing Your Experience" page for additional information and examples. Please feel free to Contact Us directly for more information.
Does it matter what time I hold a funeral ceremony?
Ceremonies can be held at any time. Morning and afternoon hours are very popular, but ceremonies can also be held in the evening so attendees can come following work hours.
Do you still have to wear black to a funeral?
It used to be customary to wear black to a funeral. Modern funerals, however, allow for a variety of attire. Individuals may come straight from their offices after work, for example. When choosing what to wear to a funeral, it is still good to keep in mind that dressing appropriately is always a sign of respect to the deceased and the family.
What should I send the family to show my condolences?
Sending flowers is very common. You may also make donations in memory of someone to a charity, or cause they were fond of or supported. Families will sometimes ask that donations be made instead of flowers, and suggest which charitable organizations might be appropriate. As people explore ways to personalize funeral services, other choices may also be appropriate, such as planting trees in designated areas, or offering hours of community service.
Can I have more than one ceremony?
Multiple ceremonies can be held and may be especially appropriate in some situations. For example, if the person who died lived out of town, a family may elect to hold a simple graveside ceremony for the immediate family at the cemetery, followed by a memorial ceremony in the community in which the deceased lived. For some, a family may choose to hold a ceremony for coworkers in the evening hours, and a second one for community members and friends during the day.
Do I have to hold ceremonies at the funeral home?
No. Our funeral directors will help you plan ceremonies wherever you choose to hold them, such as at the graveside, at an ash-scattering, at a place of worship, at a community or social venue, etc. When ceremonies are held at a Bliley's location, there are charges related to utilizing the facility and the staff. For ceremonies held at other locations, there is a charge to cover Bliley's staff.
What if a burial will take place in another State?
Bliley's can carefully arrange for safe transport of remains to practically anywhere in the world.
Questions About Planning Ahead
Why would someone want to make their own arrangements?
Funerals are for the living, but they are also for the person being remembered.
- Sometimes there are specific ceremonies or traditions that are important to someone, and they want to make sure that they are carried out after they die.
- Someone else might like to help spare family and friends the stress of planning a funeral in the event something unexpected happens. Making arrangements in advance can help solve these issues, preventing any disagreements on details and services.
Additional peace of mind can be secured by also paying for a funeral in advance, not just planning one. Bliley's licensed, experienced funeral directors and advance planning counselors will be pleased to walk you through all of the options that are available - from Pre-Planning to Pre-Paying.
What are the advantages of Pre-planning?
When you make your arrangements in advance:
- you have the opportunity to select the services and merchandise and choose the type of ceremony you want without rushing
- you get to plan all the details you want
- you can help reduce emotional stress on your survivors
- you can achieve a spend-down to qualify for Medicaid
- during the process, other family members may choose to plan ahead
What is the advantage of Pre-paying?
- you can make sure any expenses that may occur are covered, and that money is available after your death to fulfill your wishes
- you can pay for many services at current prices insuring protection against inflation
- you can reduce the financial stress to your survivors
What if I move out of state after I prepay for my arrangements?
Any funds you have set up with Bliley's will "travel with you," and can be used if you move out of Virginia. If you use another funeral home, however, prices cannot be guaranteed. Rather, any funds you have set aside will be applied to the cost of services that you arrange elsewhere.
What if my family disagrees with my wishes after I am gone?
In Virginia, you can sign a legal document outlining your wishes so they are carried out after your death, even if some/all of your remaining relatives disagree. A designee form is an agreement between you and the person you place in charge of managing your arrangements after your death. So if, for example, you want to be cremated, and not all of your children agree, your legal document supersedes and your wishes will be carried out, as your designee directs. However, these kinds of legal agreements MUST be made prior to your death.
Who will pay for my funeral?
Settling this before your death can ease the stress and worry on family members. You can set aside money for your arrangements, and you can also set up a special account with Bliley's. Cost will depend on your individual arrangements, but many things can be pre-paid for, such as services of a funeral home. See our Planning Ahead page for more information.
What if my family doesn't want to talk about death or my personal plans?
Explain you are trying to help save them worry later on. You can also set up your arrangements directly with Bliley's, and let your family know that Bliley's has a record of your arrangements and preferences. Contact one of our directors or advance planning counselors for more information on the options that are available to you for pre-planning and pre-paying.
Who do I talk to if I want to plan ahead?
If you would like to simply record your personal wishes regarding your final arrangements, you can speak to one of our directors. If you would also like to explore pre-paying for your arrangements, you can speak to one of our advance planning counselors.
Are there any useful tips for making my own arrangements?
- Re-evaluate your plans every few years to make sure you still want the same arrangements, and that your situation and wishes have not changed.
- Register your wishes in advance with a funeral home like Bliley's, whether or not you choose to pre-pay for services. Then tell your family what your wishes are, and let them know which funeral home to contact in the event of your death.
- Keep a copy of any financial or planning papers in a safe place.
What To Do When a Death Occurs
What do I do if someone dies at home? Or in another state?
Call us. We are always available to assist you. Bliley's can help no matter where a death occurs. Experienced staff members can help with transportation, arrangements and next steps. If someone dies in another state, Bliley's can help arrange for transportation to Virginia.
What do I do if a death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Feel free to call us at any time. We have staff available to take your call—not an answering service—24 hours a day, every day of the year.