As you and your family face the task of farewelling a loved one, certain frequently asked questions about funerals might need to be answered before you can make informed decisions. Understanding more in relation to these questions can help ensure that your wishes are met during every step of the process.
At Crane Funerals we believe it is important to honour the life of the person who has passed away. However, it is also necessary for people to consider options beneficial to the well being of themselves, their family, and friends left behind. A list of funeral service FAQ’s with answers can be an important first step in the funeral arrangement process.
If you are experiencing the stress of funeral arrangements we aim to answer your questions and assist you by clarifying any misconceptions you may have.
Below are a list of FAQ’s that may help you plan a meaningful funeral or Celebration of Life Service for your loved one.
If you have any further questions please call us on 5977 7198
or 04477CRANE, or submit your funeral query via our contact form.
What should I do first when a death occurs? Who can help? At any time during the process call Crane Funerals for assistance. Helping you during this time is an integral part of our service. Since most deaths occur these days while our loved ones are in health care (hospitals, nursing homes etc), the trained staff at said facilities will be able to assist you with certain preliminary information. If your loved one passes away at home however, please notify the doctor or attending registered nurse to arrange a verification of death. Legally Funeral Directors are not to transfer your loved one without this verification so it is obviously very important. After a death occurs, we want to ensure your loved one is cared for legally, professionally, and with dignity, so the applicable regulations are important to us.
In the case of unexpected or suspicious circumstances you may need to contact the police. Where a doctor is not prepared to fill out a certificate the Coroners Court become involved, in which case they will organise their own transfer technicians to collect your loved one. If your loved one is going into an aged care facility they will often ask you to nominate in advance a funeral home like Crane Funerals to be contacted when your loved one passes away. In this way the staff at the facility will contact our team on your behalf to organise transfer of your loved one into our care. This can save you some extra difficulties if your loved one passes away in the middle of the night for example.
If your loved one has passed away interstate or overseas, Crane Funerals will liaise with the local service providers and Agencies to ensure all applicable regulations are met. In this way your loved one can be bought home as quickly as possible into our care. We hope that the comfort of having them a little closer to you will give you some extra peace of mind while you finalise details of their funeral service with us.
We are aware that every situation is unique and requires special attention. Crane Funerals staff members are people / customer oriented. We help you tailor individual funeral arrangements in line with your family’s wishes. From traditional / classic funeral services, to more contemporary and personalised tributes, we would be honoured to arrange a farewell for your loved one. To discuss your needs, call us today on 5977 7198, or 04477CRANE.
Determining the cause of somebody’s death is vital. When your loved one’s treating doctor will not issue a death certificate the coroner will step in. They will liaise with the doctor in question to obtain a death certificate, or they may provide a Cremation or Burial Permit themselves. You don’t have the right to object to the Coroner’s involvement, but you can request that an autopsy is not performed if you have religious or other strong objections.
Reasons for referring a death to the coroner may include:
- Death due to violence, murder, suicide, or accidental / unusual causes.
- When the cause of death is unknown.
- Death whilst under anaesthetic (or within one day of anaesthetic being used).
- Unexpected death.
- Death of a person in an institution, prison or police custody, drug or alcohol rehab centre.
- When the deceased had diagnosed dementia.
You should notify your chosen funeral provider as soon as possible. Crane Funerals will liaise with the Coroners Court and its staff in regards to the necessary processes, paperwork, and subsequent release date of your loved one.
There are a number of things that happen between your loved one’s passing and their funeral service. In the past, death more often occurred at home, surrounded by family. These days we see more and more people passing away in hospitals, nursing homes, or palliative care units. On some occasions – due to family networks breaking down – people may pass away at home alone and not be found for quite some time. As unpleasant as this is, this person still needs to be collected and cared for with dignity.
Certain physical process will occur after death. Most people are aware of rigor mortis. Rigor mortis is the stiffening of the body and it begins a few hours after death. It will reach it’s maximum state 8 – 12 hours after death. The condition actually then begins to reverse 24 – 48 hours after this, and the body will return to a state of flaccidity.
Once the death has been correctly certified by a Doctor or Registered Nurse, Crane Funerals can arrange our transfer technicians to come to collect your loved one. Your loved will will come back to our modern mortuary facilities and will be cared for with the utmost dignity and professionalism. When the deceased is placed into refrigeration at Crane Funeral’s mortuary, rigor mortis is stalled. This refrigeration also slows the onset of inevitable deterioration / decomposition. Under certain circumstances embalming can be used to restore a more pleasant appearance to your loved one, or in cases where there will be a lengthy delay before their funeral service.
Different Cultures and Religions will approach the care of their deceased in varying ways. Hindu and Sikh families often wash their loved ones themselves. If the deceased is male, then male family members wash – if female then the women will wash. Muslim people will generally be washed by the Imam and wrapped in unbleached cloth prior to the funeral. Many cultures still practice this washing and caring for their own deceased relatives, although younger generations sometimes elect to forego this process. In most cases our fully qualified staff will take care of the washing without family involvement.
After your loved one is washed and prepared, we can dress them in one of their favourite outfits as requested. Crane Funerals lovingly prepares your loved one as though they would have prepared themselves in life. We believe that people deserve this care and dignified service even more so in death because they can no longer care for themselves. Chinese families will often provide spare clothes for their loved ones journey into the next life. Many other families like to place some kind of symbol into the coffin as well – to represent the memory of – or connection to – their loved one. In any case, your loved one is placed into their coffin or casket after all preparations are complete, to await their funeral or Celebration of Life Service.
The short answer is that you don’t need to. The hospital or certifying doctor should do so within 48 hours of your loved one’s passing. In some circumstances there may be a slight delay but Crane Funerals can coordinate the registration on your behalf. This registration that we undertake will lead to the generation of the Certified Death Certificate at the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.
Normally on the day of the funeral service we will provide you with a photocopy of the Doctor’s death certificate. On your behalf we electronically apply for the Certified Death Certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, which will take around 3 – 4 weeks to be provided to you. The registry will send this out to your nominated address. This official document is often needed for legal or Estate issues that need to be attended to. In certain circumstances the waiting period for the Certified Certificate can be expedited so be sure to let us know if you require it urgently.
This will depend not only on your instructions to us, but also on the circumstances of the death of your loved one. When the Coroners are involved the delay can – but certainly not always – be a day or two longer. If you have family coming from Interstate or Overseas then we can put processes in place to stall the funeral service. We advise families not to rush – basically take as long as you feel you need.
In our experience viewing your loved one helps family and friends not only face the reality of their death, but it also gives the chance to say one last goodbye. We know that it is a very personal decision and all of us are different, so we will offer our advice in relation to any questions you may have. Even where the immediate family don’t see the need, there may be other people at the service who would appreciate the chance to view.
There are a number of reasons why a viewing can be beneficial:
- It can be comforting to see a loved one at peace after a lengthy battle with illness.
- In the case of a sudden death, the viewing confirms that death has indeed happened.
- It can satisfy the yearning need to see someone one last time.
- Sometimes only upon seeing the deceased can people begin to accept / heal.
- It provides a final opportunity to express your feelings to the deceased, and maybe place a photo, letter, card, or other memento in the coffin with them.
- “Unfinished business” with the deceased can be resolved.
The therapeutic benefits of a viewing to the grieving process are well documented in many and varied psychological papers and publications. Ultimately however the decision rests with the deceased’s next of kin and what their personal beliefs are. We encourage you to consider carefully – keep in mind that you will not have a second chance after the funeral.
Crane Funerals offers distinctive customer service combined with a meaningful farewell for your loved one. You can feel secure in our level of care and professionalism due to the fact that we are fully registered, and are also a Funeral Association accredited Company. We are also qualified and accredited members of the Australian Institute of Embalming (AIE). These industry leading organisations have strict Codes of Ethics and Conduct. We are bound by these Codes to meet community needs through all suburbs of Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula, and to exceed the expectations of our clients whenever possible.
With 20 years of experience serving families in Regional Victoria and Melbourne, our Director takes pride in our nurturing approach to the families we serve. As second Generation Funeral Directors we are committed to honouring the life of your loved one whilst providing this superior level of customer service to our clients and all funeral attendees.
Generally the family of the deceased will arrange a funeral in conjunction with their chosen funeral director. The executor of the Will – who may or may not be a family member – will also often times be involved in the arrangements. Under certain circumstances a Public Trustee may need to facilitate the arrangement process. Crane Funerals will ensure you have the information and support that you require in arranging a funeral.
Family and friends of the deceased will of course be the first priority to be notified. You might choose to share this process among immediate family members so the added stress doesn’t fall on just one person’s shoulders. There will be other people you will need to notify in time.
These may include:
- Executor of Will
- Department of Veteran’s Affairs
- Solicitor and / or public trustee
- Insurance companies (life, accident, home / contents, vehicle etc)
- Church or religious groups
- Home nursing service
- Medical or Hospital Benefits Fund
- Associated health professionals – dentist, physiotherapist, social worker
- Household help such as Meals on Wheels
- Home delivery services such as newspapers or milk
- Landlord / housing authority
- Banks, building societies, credit unions, financial institutions, and credit card providers
- Clubs (RSL, Community, Sporting)
- Utilities and suppliers – electricity, gas, phone etc.
- Motor Transport Authority – licence and registration
- Digital monetary accounts such as PayPal and eBay
- Electoral office
- Tax office and accountant
- Post office (mail redirection)
- Digital social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and e-mail accounts)
- Superannuation providers
- Trade unions or professional associations
- Home appliance rental, medical aids rental company
- Local Government for Rates, fire levy, etc.
- Ambulance Service
- School or college
- Chamber of Commerce
- Service organisations – e.g. Rotary, Lions, Apex, Red Cross, and Blood bank
Crane Funerals is proud to offer a funeral discount for Pensioners in the community. We provide 15% off our Service Fee, and 10% off any coffin fee. Covering all suburbs of Melbourne, this Pensioners Funeral Discount entitles those on an Aged, Veterans Affairs (Service), or Disability Pension to a more affordable funeral service. Our standard funeral services honour the life of our deceased loved ones. This Pensioners deal aims to further honour those who were part of the War effort to keep our great country free; the elderly who have taught us all so much and have given their lives in part to the betterment of our Country and its citizens: and those who for one reason or another have been left incapacitated for work in a usual “9-5” profession due to illness or injury of some kind. We hope that this more affordable service option for Pensioners makes their end of life experience a little more bearable for them and their families left behind. Simply provide us with proof of your current Pensioner status when claiming these discounted services.
Before meeting with a Funeral Director, it is often a good idea to have discussions with your family. Not only will sharing your grief help to slightly dampen its initial shock, but you will also be able to discuss some of the funeral options available to you. During this stage it is good to attempt to pinpoint as a family what your loved one’s wishes may have been – and also what you all feel might make a fitting farewell. When you meet with Crane Funerals we will work with you to create a unique funeral service for your loved one. Your choices will be explained to you, and your special requests will be incorporated into the arrangement. The process is always working towards a meaningful service for you and your family. You can be honest and think creatively during this time, as expressing your heartfelt wishes is what leads to a special funeral for all concerned.
The family normally has complete choice over the funeral arrangements and final disposition style of their loved one. Having said that, in certain murder cases the Coroner may grant permission for burial only.
If you are considering the funeral options open to you then don’t let tradition stand in your way. There are a variety of options available to you. The funeral service that you arrange with us will be unique and meaningful. Keep in mind the values and thoughts your loved one held dear when considering options for their service. Don’t be limited by preconceived ideas – discuss with us your ideas and let’s make them a reality together. Crane Funerals aim is to help you through your journey of grieving and subsequent “healing” as best we can. Experiencing a unique and meaningful funeral service can greatly assist in this journey, and we aim to implement your personal requests to make the funeral service one to remember. Please refer to our Celebration Of Life options page (need to make LINK) for more ideas.
The cremation rate in Australia has steadily increased over the past 40 years. Cremations now vastly outnumber burials in Australia. In our major cities this is certainly not surprising considering that our cemeteries have a finite number of burial plots and available land.
Your choice of burial or cremation might be based on personal issues of family traditions or beliefs. Some cultures still frown upon cremation (for religious or other reasons), whereas some embrace it as the best option – such as the Hindu culture.
There are points for and against both cremation and burial, but the decision is a matter of personal family choice and we will proceed with whichever option you choose.
A recent trend toward “green” funerals has seen much debate as to the benefits of both options for the environment. The available information seems to have cremation and burial fairly evenly matched in the “Earth friendly” stakes.
Even in our multicultural society, funeral services often include many of the same elements. You can however craft a meaningful and unique ceremony via your choices of venue, music, readings, poetry, eulogies, symbols, DVD presentations, and refreshments.
If you have your own Cultural or Religious variations of any or all of these elements, Crane Funerals would be honoured to arrange them into a fond farewell to your loved one.
As far as unique symbols are concerned, none could be more unique than the body of your loved one themselves! They are the focus of our emotions and the chance to say a final farewell is very important to many people. Generally we encourage you to have the coffin present at the funeral. In lieu of that we can expedite a private cremation and have an urn with their ashes present instead. Crane Funerals can also help you create a special memorial service without a coffin or urn being present at all. Your wishes are most important to us and we will do our best to make them a reality.
Perhaps having your loved one’s beloved pet present during the service could be an option? A motorcade of vehicles your loved one enjoyed driving / riding during their life? Live bagpipe music to escort your loved one on their final journey, or a guard of honour at the end of the funeral when the hearse is driving away? Other options may include inviting mourners to write a brief memory of the deceased and pinning it on a memory board – or a dove, balloon or butterfly release.
Use our Contact Form or call us on 5977 7198 or 04477CRANE if you would like to discuss your options.
You will be greatly assisted by Crane Funerals in the planning process, and also in overseeing a meaningful funeral on the day of your choosing. You can rest assured that our training and expertise will positively influence your funeral / Celebration of Life experience. Your thoughts and ideas combined with our compassion, advice, and attention to detail will create a personalised and meaningful farewell for your loved one. Our Celebration Of Life Service page may be a good place to start if you are searching for unique ideas for a funeral. The experienced and empathetic Celebrants or Ministers that we match you with will also be an extra source of advice for the funeral service.
Some funeral related costs are fixed and do not – or should not – vary between Funeral Directors. The main factor influencing the price of the funeral will be your choice of Funeral Director and their associated funeral products and services. You can rest assured that Crane Funerals will provide a quality service at an affordable price. Other factors that go in to the price include:
- Preference of Burial or Cremation.
- Venue of the Funeral Service.
- Coffin or casket selection.
- Minister or Celebrant.
- The type of service required.
- The amount of people you are expecting (think orders of service and refreshments!)
- Numbers and types of newspaper advertisements
We are happy to provide a No Hidden Fee Guarantee to you, while allowing you the opportunity and scope to create your own special funeral or Celebration Of Life for your loved one. We will work with you to ensure the service is as simple or as elaborate as you require.
Further information about funeral costs
An Order of Service is a step by step account on what your guests can expect throughout the ceremony. We hand them out to people attending the funeral when they sign the memorial / guest book. We can arrange a personalised Order of Service with your loved ones photo on the front cover, and perhaps a “theme” reminiscent of your loved one’s hobbies etc. There is often a special poem or prayer inside the Order of Service, as well as a run down of who is speaking during the funeral. The Order Of Service becomes a piece of the funeral which people can take home and cherish. Alternatively, those who could not be at the funeral can receive one. This seemingly simple paper can be so significant in helping people hold dear the memory of your loved one. We will ensure the Order Of Service is beautifully produced and ready on time for the funeral.
Sometimes your loved one’s favourite song/s will be readily known to you. Otherwise you may have a good idea of what musical genre they preferred. Perhaps it was Classical, Country & Western, Rock, Instrumental, Jazz, or Blues? Prerecorded music can be played at the service, or perhaps you might find live music more fitting? In our Music for funerals page we have some options that you can listen to to see if they might be suitable to be played prior to, during, or even after the funeral service. When it comes to the Tribute Video which is a photographic journey of your loved ones life which can be played at the Ceremony, may we suggest checking what piece of music you can legally and freely play online? This is so if you would like the tribute video to be available for family and friends to view online, there will be no legal ramifications. With the right music incorporated into the tribute, the video can be hosted online without any problems as a permanent memorial to your loved one.
Most people would be surprised at how minimally invasive the actual embalming process is. Those who don’t understand or can’t perform the process, like to make out it is very invasive. In our mortuary, when performed by our qualified and skilled practitioner, we usually only need to make one incision, one to two inches long. One other instrument is used that enters the body, creating an opening smaller than a 5¢ piece in circumference.
The process generally involves chemical treatment of your loved one to disinfect and preserve them. In the case of viewings when preservation is not the key aim, we can embalm to remove discolourations and return a more peaceful appearance to your loved one. Embalming for viewing is often referred to as cosmetic embalming.
With Crane Funerals you are able to choose the exact level of care that your loved one receives. All of our professional mortuary work is performed in accordance with State Health Regulations. Full embalming with preservative products is only required for a Repatriation overseas, or often for an above ground burial in a crypt or vault. Full embalming satisfies all health Regulations and requirements when they need to be followed. It also allows the deceased’s family to view them even months after the death if circumstances require this.
With the advent of modern green / eco friendly embalming products, the face of embalming has changed over the last 5-10 years. These embalming products are endorsed by the Green Burial Council. The Green Burial Council has very strict and modern guidelines, so please don’t let outdated and untrue fear mongering about “toxic chemicals” make you shun embalming. Modern ‘eco’ chemicals are very safe for the embalmer, and certified for use in natural burial grounds. Please study the facts as opposed to false advertising.
Embalming involves injecting the preservative – or eco / green product as the case may be – into an artery that is raised via a small incision in the skin. Once enough of the product has been injected to remove discolourations and restore ‘condition’ to the deceased, blood can be drained from the vein which lies alongside the artery that is already raised.
Any “full embalming” that we undertake works to disinfect and preserve the deceased extremely well. At Crane Funerals this is always backed up and accompanied by a Certificate of Embalming from a fully qualified and experienced embalmer.
In Australia, only one person / coffin is inserted into a cremator at any one time. The only exception to this rule may be in the case of a mother and baby. Also where twin children have died some crematoria will accept both in the same coffin. These requests are put to the relevant authorities at the time, and it is up to their discretion to make the final decision in these matters.
Before the cremation an I.D card is created. This card is used throughout the process to ensure correct identification. Each cremator is sized to receive only one coffin at a time. After the cremation the remains are carefully removed from the cremator, reduced to ash and further labelled to ensure they are kept separate and correctly identified. There are strict systems in place relating to cremation, and all crematoriums go to great lengths to ensure that ashes do not get mixed.
People enter the funeral profession from diverse backgrounds with a variety of skills and motivations. A strong desire to work in a human service profession drives many individuals. The idea of being able to offer such valuable assistance in people’s time of need can be a strong motivation. Other people may view funeral service as “depression proof” and enter the profession with the view that work will always be available. A lot of funeral service professionals are women, although many caring and dedicated men willingly serve families with great compassion and integrity also.
The Director of Crane Funerals – Damian Meehan – has served thousands of families during his time in the embalming and funeral service profession. He has enjoyed the countless opportunities to help people through a difficult time in their lives, and to provide a meaningful farewell to their loved ones. Damian’s wife Kelly is in the business also. Being a traditional Chinese girl, she shares Damian’s strong customer service qualities – they are both more than happy to assist families of any Culture or Religion.
Only a small percentage of a funeral directors time is spent preparing bodies. In actual fact a lot of funeral directors will not even prepare bodies – instead leaving the task to specialist technicians / embalmers. The majority of time is rather spent working directly with grieving families. As such, funeral service is often referred to as a “human service profession.”
In the midst of such an emotionally draining time in your life, a funeral service can allow you and your family to focus your energies on something positive. In planning a funeral you will explore the very meaning of your loved ones life, and have the chance to consider the ways in which they touched the lives of the people around them. These memories can be quite cathartic during your time of grieving.
Remembering, honouring, reflecting, and making informed choices throughout the planning and conducting of the funeral service helps you create a memorable and moving experience for everybody who attends.
There certainly have been discussions about available burial space, especially in our major cities. Limited space for new cemeteries will see cremation numbers continue to rise. With the current trend of “green burials” generally allowing for only 1 interment per grave, this issue of space does not augur well for the future of such burial styles. However the jury is still out on whether burial or cremation is the “greener” option anyhow.
Protecting children is a perfectly natural reaction for parents. While funerals may well be painful, children have a right to attend. It might be beneficial to all concerned to include children in the funeral process in appropriate ways. If you explain the funeral to them with reference to what will happen before, during, and after the ceremony then they will be more prepared. If you intend to take your child for the viewing, again an explanation of what the coffin and your loved one will look like is recommended. You can explain to them what cremation or burial means and answer any questions they may have about both processes. Some children might like the chance to read a poem or prayer at the service. Others may prefer something a little less in the limelight such as lighting a candle or placing a symbol or personal memento either in or on top of the coffin. Keep in mind that children will be children and their playing, fighting, or talking at seemingly inappropriate times is simply an indication that their grieving process is a little different than adults – it doesn’t indicate that they mean any disrespect to the deceased.
The benefits of pre paying for your funeral are many and varied. Feel free to learn more on our preplanning page.
Modern formaldehyde based embalming chemicals are much gentler on the environment than those used throughout history. Arsenic for example used to be an ingredient in embalming chemicals. This posed a serious health risk to embalmers, and was also a strong contaminant in grave yards. Formaldehyde does build up in the environment to some extent, but it has been shown to break down due to natural bacterial processes in the soil.
Much negative press has surrounded embalming and formaldehyde recently. It is time that the public was given a little bit more of an insight into the counter argument. You might like to keep an eye our blog to read articles about embalming to learn more. However, to answer the question briefly in this section, some quotes from authoritative sources may also be of benefit:
Wikipedia tells us “When formaldehyde is used for embalming, it breaks down, and the chemicals released into the ground after burial and ensuing decomposition are inert”.
While the Compendium of Environmental Standards shares that “The effects of the substance in soil are unknown, however no bioaccumulation has been established to date. Infiltration into the groundwater is of minor concern because of the tendency of formaldehyde to evaporate from soil”.
And further, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in Atlanta Georgia says that “Formaldehyde has not been detected in soils, likely due to its high removal rate when released to soils”.
The American Chemistry Council in Washington tells us that not only is “formaldehyde in the environment quickly broken down by sunlight in the air or by bacteria present in soil or water, but ALL organic life forms – bacteria, plants, fish, animals and humans – naturally produce formaldehyde as part of the natural biological processes of cell metabolism”.
As far as cremation is concerned, modern crematoria are also much more environmentally friendly than in the past. They use a process where exhaust gases are re-ignited to ensure discharges to the atmosphere are kept to an absolute minimum. In this way mercury from fillings in teeth, gases from decomposition, and formaldehyde from embalming chemicals are destroyed during the cremation process. In fact, as long as your Funeral Director keeps the coffin free from other contaminates such as plastics, then pollutant emissions due to cremation are extremely small. With knowledge, science, modern cemetery / crematorium practices, and Crane Funerals, whether you choose one of our green eco-friendly funeral options or not, the environment is being as well looked after as it can be with modern technologies. Technologies will continue to be streamlined into even more “Earth friendly” practices as the Funeral Profession moves forward.
Knowledge is an amazing thing – don’t allow yourself to be susceptible to targeted marketing campaigns from self proclaimed “Green” Companies. Research for yourself – in caring for the environment, we all owe ourselves and the Earth at least this much.