Answering Your Funeral Service Questions

Making arrangements for a funeral can be stressful and confusing. With all of the funeral options available, we want to make planning a funeral as smooth as possible. To assist in this time of your life, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, please feel free to call our Chippewa Falls funeral chapel at 715-723-4649.

Funeral & Burial Questions  |  Embalming Questions  |  Cremation Questions  |  Green Funeral Questions

why is having a funeral important?

Although they are a time of mourning, funerals give surviving family and friends the chance to recognize the death of a loved one, support one another, and share thoughts, feelings, and memories of the deceased. Funerals are the first step in the healing process. The ritual of 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

It is possible to have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process.

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

Likely at some time in all our lives we will need to make or assist in making funeral arrangements. We offer these smart planning tips for this difficult time:

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

Be prepared to make decisions and organize details in advance

Plan a personalized and meaningful ceremony to help you begin healing

How are funeral expenses paid for?

Arranging a funeral service that meets your individual, family, and financial needs is our primary goal. We encourage you to discuss your service options openly with us including any funeral service fees.

For your convenience, we accept the following methods of payment:

Cash/Check/Debit Card

Visa/MasterCard/Discover

Insurance Assignment of a Verifiable Policy

Funded Pre-Arrangement

What do funeral directors do?

As caregivers and administrators, funeral directors arrange for the transportation of the deceased, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement decisions made by the family for the funeral and

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final disposition of the deceased. Assisting the bereaved in coping with death through listening, advising, and giving support is at the heart of the services offered by funeral directors. The funeral directors at Pederson-Volker hold bachelor's degrees in mortuary science and are licensed by the State of Wisconsin.

At Pederson-Volker Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services, our funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Our Chippewa Falls funeral directors can assist in linking survivors with grief support groups in the Chippewa Valley area.

What types of funeral services are available to me?

Because a funeral is such a personal experience, every family can personalize a funeral to commemorate their loved one. Funeral services are often influenced by religious and cultural traditions, and personal preferences.

Whether you desire an elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, our Chippewa Falls funeral chapel is here to assist you. You can also choose to have the body present at the funeral, to hold a viewing or visitation, and to have the remains buried or cremated.

What is the purpose of embalming?

The process of embalming sanitizes and preserves the deceased, slows decomposition, and enhances the appearance of someone disfigured by traumatic death or illness. In order to allow the family members enough time to arrange and participate in the funeral service, we use embalming to lengthen the time between death and final disposition.

Is embalming required by law?

Although embalming is not always required, most states enforce embalming if death is caused by a reported contagious disease, when the deceased will be transported from one state to another, if the final disposition will not take place within the allotted time frame, or if a public viewing is desired.

Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

As cremation becomes more and more popular, we want to make sure all funeral service options are presented to you. You may have a misconception that choosing cremation offers fewer options for a ceremony. In actuality, cremation allows for many options when planning a funeral. Cremation gives you the flexibility to plan a tribute that truly honors your loved one. You can arrange a meaningful memorial that includes:

A visitation prior to the service

An open or closed casket

Personalized music

A ceremony at the funeral chapel, your place of worship, or other special location

Participation by friends and family

If you select cremation, you also have a selection of final resting choices. Urns, indoor/outdoor mausoleum or columbarium, family burial plots, or scattering of the remains are common choices.

Who can offer cremation and what
are cremation societies?

Although some believe cremation is only available at a cremation society or crematory, most funeral homes offer cremation. A cremation society is simply a business that performs cremations. These societies may provide membership for a fee which provides a small discount on their cremation fees.

At our Chippewa Falls funeral home, we offer cremation services and can assist in designing a memorial service meaningful to you. If you are considering cremation or would like to know more, please feel free to contact us at 715-723-4649. Remember, a cremation society is not your only option.

What does a funeral home offer that
a cremation society may not?

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Choosing a funeral service provider can be difficult. You want to consider several factors when choosing cremation and the funeral home to care for your family during this difficult time. Because our Chippewa Falls funeral chapel offers a variety of funeral services, we can provide more options to truly personalize a funeral service.

Experience the Pederson-Volker difference:

Our funeral home is proud to offer all types of funeral services to families in need, including both cremation (including direct cremation) and burial services.

Unlike other businesses, our Wisconsin funeral home does not require membership fees, and you do not need to sign up ahead of time to receive our professional funeral services.

If you choose, you can pre-pay for your cremation services with our Chippewa Falls funeral home. All funds invested in pre-funding your cremation service are tax free and are applicable for compounded annual growth.

To assist you best, our funeral home staff is knowledgeable about difficult subjects such as probate, social security, Veterans services, and more. Unlike others who may not be staffed as we are, we can provide round-the-clock assistance and answers to any questions you might have.

We are your local, Chippewa Falls funeral home. Often, we personally know the families we serve and strive to provide the care and compassion we would want for our own loved ones. Our care extends to local support groups, as well as Chippewa Valley community seminars and events, to help families through the grieving process.

Making the families in our community aware of the personal and professional services we provide is important. In such a difficult time, we strive to let families know we are here for them. Our expertise and experience in guiding families during the difficulty of losing a loved one is just one of the many reasons families value the services of our funeral home over those of a low-cost provider or cremation society.

How long after death can a cremation take place?

Because cremation is an irreversible process and will eliminate any ability to determine exact cause of death, many states require that each cremation be authorized by the coroner or medical examiner. Some states have specific minimum time limits that must elapse before cremation may take place. Wisconsin has a 48 hour waiting period.

Is any other preparation required prior to cremation?

Anything you wish to keep should be removed from the deceased. These items may include special mementos like jewelry. The staff at Pederson-Volker Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services take time to make sure valuables are removed and given back to the family.

Why is refrigeration of the remains necessary?

Barring embalming, refrigeration is the only process that will retard tissue decomposition. This process also protects family and friends, the crematory operator, and the general public from potential health hazards.

Is embalming necessary for cremation?

In most cases the choice to have embalming is up to you. This decision may depend on factors such as whether or not the family selected a public viewing, there is to be a funeral service, or if refrigeration is available. Embalming may also be necessary if the body is going to be transported by air or rail or because of the length of time prior to the cremation.

Is a casket required for cremation?

Although it is not required, for sanitary reasons, ease of placement, and dignity, many crematories request the deceased be cremated in a combustible, leak proof, rigid, covered container. However this does not need to be a casket as such.

An enclosed, rigid container made of wood or another combustible material to ensure dignified handling of the deceased is required. The type of container is up to you. Caskets or cremation containers are available in materials ranging from simple cardboard to intricate handmade oak, maple, or mahogany caskets.

Do I have to make different funeral
arrangements if I chose cremation?

How you choose to make funeral arrangements depends entirely on how you wish to commemorate the life of your loved one.

You can select a funeral service before the cremation process takes place, a memorial service at the time of cremation or after cremation with an urn present, or a committal service at the final disposition of cremated remains. Funeral or memorial services can be held in a place of worship, funeral home, or at the place of your choosing.

what can i do with the cremated remains?

You have a number of choices for the cremated remains. The remains can be interred in a cemetery plot (i.e. earth burial), retained by a family member in an urn, or scattered on private property or a place that was significant to the deceased. We strongly advise you check for local regulations on scattering cremated remains in a public place.

What is memorialization for a cremation?

Cremation is just one step in the commemorative process. There are many different types of memorial options from which to choose. Memorialization is a time-honored tradition that has been practiced for centuries. This tradition serves as a tribute to a life lived and provides a focal point for remembrance, as well as a record for future generations.

Memorialization for cremated remains include ground burial of the urn, bronze memorial or monument, cremation niches in a columbarium, or scattering the remains in a scattering garden. Columbariums offer the beauty of a mausoleum with the benefits of above ground placement. Scattering gardens are offered by many cemeteries as a peaceful place where family and friends can come and reflect.

What is a columbarium?

Columbariums are indoor or outdoor structures constructed of a number of small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns. These structures are often located within a mausoleum or chapel or can be free-standing.

If I'm going to be cremated, why would I want my remains to
be placed in a columbarium, interred, or scattered at the cemetery rather than scattered in a place of my choosing?

As long as it is permitted by local regulations, cremated remains can be scattered in a place that is meaningful to you. However, this can present a number of difficulties for your survivors. Some find it difficult to simply pour the mortal remains of a loved one onto the ground or into the sea. If you choose to have your cremated remains scattered somewhere, it is important to make your desires clear with the persons who will be doing so ahead of time.

Apart from the difficulty some may have with scattering your remains, obstacles may occur in the future that would prohibit your loved ones from visiting the location. If scattered in an anonymous, unmarked, or public place, access to this are may be restricted, developed, or any host of other situations in the future.

Remains are not easily collected once scattered; it is important to consider the location carefully. Having your remains placed or interred on a cemetery’s grounds ensures future generations have a place to go to remember. If you choose to have your remains scattered somewhere outside the cemetery, a memorial of some type is often allowed to be placed on cemetery grounds as a place to visit in the future.

Why is having a place to visit so important?

Memorializing a loved one in one location allows that person to be remembered forever. To remember, and be remembered, are natural human needs.

Throughout history, memorialization has been a key component of almost every culture. The Washington Monument, Tomb of the Unknowns, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall USA in Washington, D.C are examples of memorialization which demonstrate how we honor our dead. Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial services to permanent memorialization, serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping to bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin.

Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one's mortal remains and fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.

Can I take the cremated remains home?

Yes. Typically, cremated remains are placed in an urn which can be displayed in the home.

Do all religions permit cremation?

Some religions prefer cremation and some do not recommend the practice; however, most permit you the choice. Should you have any questions or concerns, we suggest you speak with a member of your clergy or contact our Chippewa Falls cremation experts for more details.

For more information on cremation, please contact our Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
funeral home at 715-723-4649.

What is natural or green burial?

In a purely natural or green burial, the body is buried, without embalming, in a natural setting. Any shroud or casket that is used must be biodegradable, nontoxic, and of sustainable material. Traditional standing headstones are not permitted. Rather flat rocks, plants, or trees serve as grave markers. Some cemeteries use GPS to mark the locations of grave sites.

A natural/green burial may also simply mean burial without embalming, in a biodegradable casket without a vault, when permitted by a cemetery.

What is a green cemetery?

A green cemetery is a burial site that does not permit vaults, non-biodegradable caskets, or embalming chemicals. It uses no herbicides, pesticides, or irrigation for maintenance of the cemetery grounds. Any material used at a green cemetery must meet the goal of replenishing the earth. There are cemeteries in the U.S. that accommodate both conventional burial practices and vault-less burial on their premises. Others incorporate some features of a green cemetery such as sustainable landscape design and natural memorialization.

Although cemeteries in the Chippewa Valley area have not yet embraced the concept of green burial, we believe it may happen in the future. As funeral directors, we regularly visit with cemetery officials and encourage the offering of all options to families who choose burial.

What about cremation? Is it considered "green"?

In general, cremation is not considered "green". Even though cremation does use fewer resources than conventional forms of disposition, the cremation process uses non-renewable fossil fuels. Cremation also produces airborne emissions. However, cremated remains do not need to be interred in a cemetery, which reduces land use.