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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q:What purpose does a funeral serve?


    A funeral 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 healing process. Funerals should be customized to the individual, and serve as a way to celebrate their life and bring together their friends and family.

  • Q:Why have a public viewing?


    A viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grieving process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death.

  • Q:How much does a funeral cost?


    Funeral costs are divided into three parts. The first part is the funeral home service charges. The second part is the casket, outer burial container and/or urn selected. The third part is the non-funeral home costs like cemetery/crematory expenses and newspaper notices.

    1. We currently offer a “complete funeral service package” which includes all of the services necessary to have a gathering of friends (also referred to as a wake or visiting hours), a church service or funeral home service, the hearse and limousine, pallbearers/funeral assistants, administrative support, obituary website listing, and the full attention of our funeral caregivers in creating a meaningful service. Our charge for this complete package is $6,675, which is discounted from $7,020 if a casket is purchased from the funeral home. If other services are selected, individual costs will be itemized. Our complete general price list is available in our funeral homes. You can request a copy in person, over the phone, or via email.

    2. Caskets range in price from $995 to $12,995 depending on the material they are constructed from (i.e. cherry, pine, mahogany, poplar, oak, steel, stainless steel, copper, bronze), the interior fabric (velvet or crepe), the finish (polished or satin), and the thickness of the material. Outer burial containers range in price from $1,595 to $10,495. Urns range in price form $55 to $595.

    3. The non-funeral costs are outside charges, which the funeral home pays on the family’s behalf. After receiving payment from the family, the funeral home distributes each payment accordingly. These costs include cemetery expenses (which can range from $500 to $5,000 or more), newspaper notices (which can range from $400 to $950 or more), flowers, musicians, clergy offerings, and many other items. We highly recommend sitting down with us to discuss the type of services that would be appropriate for your family, enabling us to create a complete estimate of expense.

  • Q:Is cremation less expensive than burial?


    In most cases cremation is less expensive than burial. Cremation does not require a burial vault and the crematory fees are typically less expensive than cemetery grave opening fees. If someone is eligible to be buried in the Massachusetts National Cemetery, then burial is actually less expensive than cremation because the cemetery provides the grave, the grave opening, and the grave liner at no cost to the family.

  • Q:Are casket stores a less expensive option?


    We have found that our pricing structure for caskets is comparable with casket stores. Families appreciate the convenience and comfort of making this decision while they are here in the funeral home, with our in-house high-resolution virtual catalogue, as opposed to entering a large room full of caskets.

  • Q:Is burial space becoming scarce?


    Although some metropolitan areas have limited available cemetery space, in most areas of the country, there is enough space set aside for the next 50 years without creating new cemeteries. In addition, land available for new cemeteries is more than adequate, especially with the increase in entombment and multi-level grave burial.

  • Q:If a loved one dies out of state, can the local funeral home still help?


    Yes, we recommend calling us first. We will arrange with an out of state colleague to assist you on our behalf. This prevents having to pay two full service charges.

  • Q:I’ve decided on cremation. Can I still have a funeral or a viewing?


    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 for a memorial service.

  • Q:Who pays for funerals for the indigent?


    Other than the family, there are veteran, union, and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals, including, in certain instances, a lump sum death payment from Social Security. In most states, some public aid allowances are available from the state, county, city, or a combination. Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them for the indigent. However, funeral directors often absorb costs above and beyond what is provided by agencies to ensure the deceased a respectable burial.

  • Q:What do funeral directors do?


    We spend the majority of our time helping families create a meaningful tribute to their loved one. Listening is perhaps our greatest skill, and learning about the person who lived is very important to us. Working as a team, we strive to create a comfortable environment for families, visitors, and friends. There is also a tremendous amount of administrative responsibilities and event planning that we handle behind the scenes, including coordination with clergy, cemeteries, crematories, reception halls, restaurants, florists, musicians, veteran honor guards, veteran benefit offices, social security, city/town clerks and health departments, doctors offices, medical examiners offices, newspapers, airlines, websites, etc. We truly love what we do!

  • Q:Do funeral directors go to school to learn funeral service?


    Yes. In Massachusetts, we are required to complete two years of schooling and two years of an apprenticeship. Following these requirements, a state and a national exam must be passed to become a licensed funeral director. Continuing education has always been a hallmark at Keohane and all of our funeral directors continue to attend many seminars and courses.

  • Q:Should children attend funerals?


    Yes. Attending the funeral allows the child to be part of the family at a time when they need love and attention the most. If a child is leery of the funeral, perhaps you can arrange a private moment before or after the service for the child to say goodbye. Or ask your funeral director if their facility has a playroom where the child could stay until the service is complete. The important thing is that the child is with friends and family and not isolated from the situation.

  • Q:How can I help a grieving child?


    We have a few tips to help a grieving child:

    • Be there for the child. Listen when they need to talk, and hug them when they need comfort.
    • Relay fond memories about the loved one to the child, and encourage them to share their own memories.
    • Encourage the child to draw a picture or write a letter to their loved one. These items could be placed in the casket or displayed during the cremation.
    • Frame a picture of the loved one for the child or give the child another memento to remember their loved one by.
    • Involve the child in the funeral service. Let them read a poem or letter they have written, sing or play a song during the service, or even just attend the funeral with family and friends.
Thank you so much for making such a difficult situation much easier for me and my whole family. The funeral could not have been more peaceful and beau...
Julie Walsh
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