Frequently Asked Questions

It’s important to recognize that the Celebration of Life is for the living … for those who are affected by the loss of a loved one. It is through the celebration process that a number of emotional needs are met for those who grieve.

Question #1: What purpose does a funeral serve?
It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process.

Question #2: What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.

Question #3: Do you have to have a funeral director to bury the dead?
In most states, family members may bury their own dead although regulations vary. However, most people find it very trying to be solely responsible for arranging the details and legal matters surrounding a death.

Question #4: Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.

Question #5: What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, slows the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.

Question #6: Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when remains are to be transported from one state to another by common carrier or if final disposition (burial or cremation) is not made within 48 hours of the death. If public viewing is requested, Schuchert Funeral Home policy does require embalming.

Question #7: Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body’s final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service that includes a viewing and a memorial service.

Question #8: Why are funerals so expensive?
A funeral home is a professional 24-hour, personal service business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director and staff in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; working with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Schuchert Funeral Home & Cremation Service is a family-owned community funeral home and has options available for all economic considerations.

Question #9: Do funeral directors take advantage of the bereaved?
Funeral directors are caring individuals who help people cope with a very stressful time. We are dedicated to serving families, and many of our staff have spent most of their lives in the community. If we took advantage of bereaved families, we could not stay in business.

Question #10: Is it right to make a profit from death?
Funeral directors look upon their profession as a service, but it is also a business. Like any business, funeral homes must make a profit to exist. As long as the profit is reasonable and the services rendered are necessary, complete, and satisfactory to the family, profit is legitimate.

Question #11: Don’t funeral directors mark caskets up tremendously, at least 400%?
No. Talking about the mark up on caskets is really not the point. Most items–clothing, furniture, jewelry–are marked up as much or more than caskets. The real question is whether the funeral director is making an excessive profit, And that answer is “No.” Profits run around 12.5% before taxes — not excessive by any standard.

Question #12: Who pays for funerals for the indigent?
Other than the family, there are few resources available to pay for funerals. In most Iowa counties, some form of General Assistance allowances are available. Resources and eligibility requirements vary by county. We are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them for the indigent. However, we often absorb costs above and beyond what is provided by agencies to insure the deceased a respectable final disposition.

Question #13: What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Our funeral directors are available for service at all times and our telephone is always answered no matter the time or the day.  If you have a death occur in the middle of the night, during a weekend, or on a holiday, simply call our number and we’ll be there to take care of you.

Question #14: Will someone come right away?
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it’s acceptable. We will come when your time is right.

Question #15: If a loved one dies out of state, can the local Funeral Home still help?
Yes, we can assist you with out-of-state arrangements, either to transfer the remains to another state or from another state.  We make these arrangements often. Call us anytime and we will answer all your questions and make the calls for you and your family.

Question #16: So, I’ve decided on cremation. Can I still have a funeral or a viewing?
Answer: Yes, quite often some sort of viewing precedes the actual cremation. We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.  Call one of our family service representatives to help carry out your personal wishes.

Question #17: What government agencies help defray final expenses?
We will help gather the necessary information to apply for financial assistance from Social Security, Veteran’s, retirements and any others.