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Funeral & Cremation FAQs

Funeral & Cremation FAQs

We’ve provided a list of answers to questions we frequently receive regarding our services and other activities related to funerals. If you don't see the answer to your question here, feel free to contact us. We'd be happy to give you more information and clarify any of your concerns.

What is the purpose of embalming?

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming is a process used to temporarily preserve a loved one’s body. The process of embalming involves using preservative chemicals as well as cosmetics to make them look as they were when they were alive. It also can be used in instances of visible illness or damage to return a loved one to their normal appearance for a viewing.

Is embalming required by law?

Is embalming required by law?

Embalming is not required by law, but we highly recommend it if you want a viewing. Though it is possible to have a viewing without embalming, certain conditions have to be met. If you want to know more, feel free to give us a call.

What should I say when I run into the bereaved in public?

What should I say when I run into the bereaved in public?

What you’ll say depends upon whether or not you’ve already had contact with the bereaved. If you’ve already offered your condolences, or attended the visitation or service, simply greet the bereaved warmly and express an interest in their well-being. If this is your first meeting since the death and you’re in a public setting, it’s best not to bring up the death directly. Instead, say something like, “I understand these must be difficult days for you,” and perhaps ask about when might be a good time to visit, or suggest that you meet for lunch.

What can I do to help the bereaved after the funeral?

What can I do to help the bereaved after the funeral?

The grieving process doesn’t end with the funeral, and it will take time for the bereaved to heal. The family will need your support for months to come, so make sure to check in on a regular basis. Drop a note, make a phone call, and continue to invite them when you make social plans; they’ll let you know if and when they are ready to participate. Reach out to the family on special occasions, like birthdays or anniversaries, especially during the first year following their loss.

Should I bring my children to the funeral?

Should I bring my children to the funeral?

You should use your judgment to determine whether your child is old enough to comprehend death and whether attending the funeral will be meaningful to them. It’s important for children to be allowed to express their grief and share in this important ritual. If you bring young children, explain beforehand what they will see and experience, and make sure that they know the importance of being on their best behavior. If your child becomes cranky or noisy, remove them promptly to avoid disturbing those who are mourning.

What do funeral directors do?

What do funeral directors do?

A funeral director is a licensed professional who specializes in all aspects of funerals and related services. They provide support to the family, guide the arrangement of visitations and funeral ceremonies, prepare the deceased according to the family’s wishes, and ensure that everything goes according to plan. They also arrange for the removal and transportation of the deceased throughout the process, and assist families with any legal or insurance-related paperwork they might need to file. They’re experienced at recognizing when an individual is having an extremely difficult time coping with a loss, and can provide extra support and recommendations for professional help if needed.

Can I personalize my service?

Can I personalize my service?

Absolutely! Our staff has years of experience getting to know families and incorporating their loved ones' hobbies, activities, interests, and unique requests into meaningful and memorable services. Don’t hesitate to make a request because you think it might be too “out there” — we’re honored to work with you to create a service that truly reflects and celebrates your loved one’s individual life journey.

What do I do when a death occurs away from home?

What do I do when a death occurs away from home?

First, you’ll need to contact emergency personnel such as the police and EMS. Then just give us a call, and we will work with you to make the necessary arrangements to get you and your loved one back home as quickly and easily as possible.

Can I still have viewing with cremation?

Can I still have viewing with cremation?

Definitely! In fact, we encourage you to do so. Choosing cremation only indicates how you’d like to care for your loved one after the service and doesn’t exclude you from celebrating and honoring their life in any way. Whether you’d like to have a visitation beforehand, arrange a funeral service before cremation, or wait and hold the service after the cremation, we’re happy to help you design a meaningful service to accompany the cremation.

How long does the cremation process take?

How long does the cremation process take?

It depends, but generally it takes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.

How can I be sure the ashes I receive are my loved one?

How can I be sure the ashes I receive are my loved one?

Cremation is a regulated process with strict procedures that we follow to ensure we’re holding our services to the highest standard possible. In addition to following these standard procedures, we also keep a metal disk with a unique ID number with your loved one throughout the process, including during cremation.

Are there restrictions on scattering ashes?

Are there restrictions on scattering ashes?

That depends. If it is your private property, there are no restrictions. If it is someone else’s private property, you must have their consent, and it’s a good idea to get it in writing. If it’s public land such as a park, contact your local government or the agency in charge of that space to see what their policies are. In general, if you’re not sure, just scatter them in a respectful way in a place where you are sure they won’t be disruptive to others.

Can we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?

Can we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?

Yes. Autopsies and organ donation do not affect your ability to have an open-casket visitation.

What is a columbarium?

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is a place for the interment of urns containing cremated remains. They’re often located in mausoleums, chapels, or memorial gardens, and contain numerous small compartments, or niches, designed to hold urns.


Cremation FAQs

What Is Cremation?

To begin with, it is probably easier to describe what cremation isn't. Cremation is not the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service. Rather, it is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame. 

What Services Are Available With Cremation?

Any traditional funeral service with the body present can precede the cremation. Alternatively, a memorial service can take place after the cremation has been completed.

Is A Casket Needed For Cremation?

The only time a casket is required is when the family chooses a public service with the body present prior to cremation. For these occasions we offer a selection of inexpensive cremation caskets as well as economical rental caskets.

Is Embalming Required Prior To Cremation?

Absolutely not and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise. The only time embalming is legally required is if the family chooses a public service with an open casket prior to cremation.

Can The Body Be Viewed Without Embalming?

No, an unembalmed body presents a health hazard to our employees and to the general public. The deceased is bathed, features set with cotton and placed in refrigeration. With all cremations, we require identification of the deceased. This is done by one person during the arrangement conference by viewing the person or photo identification.

If viewing they must sign a waiver about the risks involved in viewing an unembalmed body. We require preparation and embalming for private family viewing. 

Can The Family Witness The Cremation? 

Yes. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom. 

Is Cremation Accepted By All Religions?

Today most religions allow cremation except for Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, Eastern Orthodox and a few Fundamentalist Christian faiths. The Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings. Some people believe that cremation is against the teachings of the Bible, but according to one famous Biblical scholar, "what occurs to the body after death has no bearing on the soul's resurrection. The body that rises is not made of the same substances as the one that was buried, or cremated, but is immortal and incorruptible."

What Can Be Done With The Cremated Remains?

There are many options. Remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered on private property. Our staff will be happy to discuss these options with you and make any arrangements.

Are There Any Laws Governing Cremation? 

Cremation regulations vary from state-to-state. There are several laws which the consumer should be aware. First, the deceased must be cremated in a suitable cremation container. Second, a cremation authorization form must be signed by the individual legally authorized to make the cremation arrangements. Lastly certain states require cremation permits or death certificates to be filed before cremation can occur.

Do People Choose Cremation Only To Save Money?

While some people select cremation for economy, many choose this option for other reasons. The simplicity and dignity of cremation, environmental concerns, and the flexibility cremation affords in ceremony planning and final disposition all add to its increasing popularity. 

Don't Most Funeral Homes Have A Crematory?

Most funeral homes subcontract this delicate procedure out to a third party provider in another town where the funeral home has little or no control over the crematory's operating procedures. Often, the family incurs additional transportation expenses and needless delay. By contrast, we own our cremation equipment which is operated by our fully licensed and highly trained staff. Our cremation equipment is state-of-the-art and equals or exceeds every state and local operating standard and requirement. Our crematory is open for inspection any time during normal business hours.

How Can I Be Sure I Receive The Correct Remains?

We have developed the most rigorous set of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize our level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Positive identification of the deceased is assured throughout each stage of the cremation process using our ten-step identification, control and security system. All activities outside the cremation chamber are monitored 24-hours a day using closed-circuit security system. We only allow licensed professionals to operate our cremation equipment. None of these safeguards are required by law and no other cremation facility in the state can match our rigid operating procedures. 

How Long Does The Actual Cremation Take?

It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F.

What Happens After The Cremation is Complete?

All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items are "swept" into the back of the the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridge work, are separated from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a temporary or permanent urn, selected by the family. 

Can Two Cremations Be Performed At Once? 

It is our policy to do all cremations individually. However, the law does allow a husband and wife, to be cremated together in the cases of concurrent deaths. The family will have to request this and special provisions will be made by our funeral home to accommodate this wish.

What Do The Cremated Remains Look Like?

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light gray in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to six pounds.

Are All The Cremated Remains Returned?

With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family. 

Do I Need An Urn?

An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased through us, or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary container. 

Are There Any Special Benefits For Veterans?

We have a special program for veteran's who pass away in a VA hospital, or a VA contracted health care facility. We will process the VA benefit and reimburse the family for the cost of our direct cremation fee once the benefit is paid by the VA. Additional fees will apply if the veteran in interred in a veterans cemetery.

Is There Any Assistance For Families On Welfare?

State, city and town welfare departments all provide benefits for deceased residents who are indigent, or whose families cannot pay for their funerals. Whichever of these options applies, we will consider the State, city or town benefit as payment in full for our basic cremation services. Families will not be asked to pay anything additional. 

Finally, How Much Does Cremation Cost?

There are many options for cremation services available at different budgets. Please refer to our link below or call us at our Raiguel Funeral Home location 304-643-2913 or our McCullough location 304-659-2251 to give you a personalized cost estimate for the services you wish. Memorialization fees including an urn, cemetery charges and a monument would be in addition to these figures. Please see our Cremation Packages for more information

McCullough Raiguel Funeral Homes & Crematory
Phone: (304) 643-2913 | Fax: (304) 643-2351
1200 E Main Street,
PO Box 204, Harrisville, WV 26362
Get Directions

McCullough Raiguel Funeral Homes & Crematory
Phone: (304) 659-2251 | Fax: (304) 659-2978
447 W Myles Avenue,
PO Box 485, Pennsboro, WV 26415
Get Directions


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