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Funeral FAQ
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funeral faq

Many funeral homes provide brochures which discuss funeral laws and regulations. Our purpose is to answer general questions about funerals. Please note that many of our responses are specific to laws in "Illinois". Other states and countries may have different regulations.

How do most people select a funeral director?
Almost always by reputation. The selection of a funeral director from ads is almost never the way a choice is made. The way a funeral director serves families is readily known in most communities. If you need a funeral director and for some reason do not know one, the reference of a relative or friend who has been served satisfactorily is one wise way to make a decision. The best way is to know in advance who you would select and then visit the funeral home, talk with the funeral director, examine their facilities and selection room, ask about prices and understand the ways in which they will serve you. If the funeral director is a member of their professional association, he/she has accepted an obligation to adhere to a fundamental code of ethics, a point which you may weigh in his or her favor.

Does the law require that a deceased human body be embalmed?
No, Illinois law does not require embalming under any circumstances.
What is the purpose of embalming?
It preserves the body so that it can sanitarily be available for the funeral.

Is there a law which requires that caskets be placed in vaults prior to burial?
There is no such law. Cemeteries may require that some type of hard container house the casket to prevent cave-ins at the cemetery. Usually, a concrete box or a vault will meet cemetery requirements.
What other purpose is met by a vault?
A properly sealed vault offers protection to the casket from water seepage and other elements.
Is a casket required by law when a deceased human body is to be cremated?
No, it is not. Some type of container is required by the crematory to avoid directly handling the remains. It is true, however, that many people select a casket for the funeral and prefer that it be cremated with the remains.
What is the percentage of cremation?
Latest statistics indicate a nationwide average of about 45.1%. In Illinois, about 48.1% of all remains are cremated. The decision regarding cremation should reflect the wishes of the deceased. Other parts of the country have varying rates of cremation usage. Many who choose cremation also select a funeral service. Cremation is an alternative form of disposition.

Can I bury Dad on the farm?
Yes, you may do so, if you own the farm or have permission.
Are we running out of cemetery space? What are the facts?

There is sufficient cemetery space, already dedicated, to bury those expected to die for the next one hundred years.
Who has the right to control disposition or make funeral arrangements?
The right to control disposition is determined by Illinois law and the Disposition of Remains Act. The rights and responsibility go to the following people in order:
  • a person designated in the will, prepaid funeral or burial contract, health care power of attorney, cremation authorization form, etc
  • the executor or legal representative of the estate
  • the surviving spouse
  • the adult child, or a majority of the children if there are more than one
  • parents
  • next of kin
  • a designated public official, or
  • any person willing to take on the legal and financial responsibility
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