Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do when a loved one passes away?

It is never easy to lose a loved one, and unfortunately, it is an unavoidable experience that we all must endure. When your loved one passes away, you will need to have that individual’s vital information (i.e.: Social Security Number, place of birth, date of birth, family lineage, etc.).

If your loved one passed away at home without health care professionals present, call 911.

What is the process of planning the service of my loved one?

Once you call the funeral home and speak to a licensed funeral director, it is important to know that it is Federal Law for funeral homes to present their clients with a general price list, casket price list (if applicable), and outer burial container price list (if applicable), before any discussion of cost has taken place.

The process of planning a final disposition requires contacting the funeral home to arrange the transfer of your loved one to our funeral home, gathering of information, determining what kind of service(s) are required, the presentation of the general price list(s) as per Federal Trade Commission Guidelines, selection of merchandise (caskets, vaults, prayer cards, print packages, etc.), signing of cremation/embalming authorizations and other legal documents, obituary composition, digital publications, and logistical preparation of services.

What are my options?

Funeral and Cremation options have changed drastically since the 1990s. It is also important to know what your religion requires or allows. For instance, those who are of the Jewish faith must be buried by sundown the following day, while some religions do not allow for cremation, and others require the body to be present in a church before cremation. If you are unsure of the customs and culture of your community, church, or religion, you can speak with your spiritual leader or contact us and we can walk you through the options. In our experience, it is important for the mental well-being of the individuals of the family as well as the community to have some sort of service for their loved one, whether it be traditional, cremation, adaptive, unconventional, nondenominational, or something new, we are here to serve you.

Traditional funerals can be tailored to each family.

  • If an open casket, public, or private viewing is requested, embalming is required.
  • Viewings are typically held the day prior to the burial
  • The day of the burial:
  • Services can be held in the funeral home, at a church, or cemetery.
  • Typically, burials are done in the morning hours and sometimes with a luncheon afterward.
  • Funeral procession leaving from the funeral home.

Cremations can be broken down into 3 types of services

  • A traditional funeral service with cremation after
  • A memorial service (cremation first, with a service to follow with the cremated remains present)
  • Direct cremation: No memorial or religious services

Can I plan ahead for my own service?

Yes, pre-planning your service, or your loved one’s funeral is a relatively simple process. You can pre-pay funeral expenses with an irrevocable burial account or with an assignment from life insurance.

By pre-planning a funeral or memorial service, you are alleviating that burden from your loved ones who will be coping with the loss. Your wishes will be carried out according to exactly what you have chosen, and your loved ones will be certain as to what your wishes are. Families that we have served have been so relieved, because of pre-planning, as there is no question as to how their loved one has chosen to be remembered.

What is the purpose of embalming?

The disinfection of the deceased is the main purpose of embalming, while the preservation of the deceased is secondary, in order for there to be an open casket for a public or private viewing. In our country embalming became prevalent during the Civil War so that families of the deceased could have the opportunity to see their loved one and grieve. They typically had a service and a farewell before the burial that lasted for days, or even weeks, after the death of their loved one. Because of this, embalming became a standard practice to enable loved ones to have a final farewell in a dignified manner.

What costs are associated with funerals and burials?

Costs vary depending on the wishes of each family. Basic cremation with a memorial service is the lowest cost for a funeral service. Private and public viewings tend to cost more because many other items are needed for a traditional funeral. These items include a casket, an outer burial container or vault, a cemetery plot for burial, the cost of digging the burial space, a burial marker or tombstone, floral arrangements, PA Certified Death Certificates (if needed), newspaper obituary fees, prayer cards, or any other elements the family chooses. All of our services can be customized to a family’s choices.

What death benefits are afforded to veterans?

All men and women who have served in the military and hold an Honorable Discharge receive a burial flag and a bronze, marble, or granite grave marker at no charge. If a service member passes in a veteran’s hospital, nursing home, or homebound under VA supervision, there are benefits that the Department of Veterans Affairs will forward to the funeral home. These expenses often include transportation, burial allowances, and additional items if the veteran has service-connected disabilities. Any veteran can be buried (full casket or cremation urn) in Veteran National Cemeteries, with some offering niche crypts for urns. A spouse of the veteran or minor child can also be buried with the veteran if the VA cemetery is notified at the time of the veteran’s burial. The veteran’s DD-214 or proof of service is required by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The veteran’s spouse may be interred if she passes before the veteran and all of the above must be verified as if it were the veteran.

What can be done with cremated remains?

Cremated remains may be buried, placed in a crypt, spread, buried at sea, or held by the next of kin. Again, religious guidelines do have some restrictions. The funeral director will assist in performing your wishes.

Contact The Edward J. Chomko Funeral Home for more
information or to submit a question to our frequently asked questions.