By Jason Meidl, funeral director/managing director at Creston Valley Funeral Services
The most common question I get as a funeral director is; “Why did you become a funeral director”. This question is often accompanied by a curious and inquisitive look. There are more than a few answers to this seemingly simple question. I did not grow up in a funeral home so to be honest I never thought I would be a funeral director and like many of my colleagues I took on the mantle later in life after already working other careers. For me, the first answer to this question was simply timing. I found myself searching for a new career change and was given the opportunity to work as the office manager at a local funeral home. It was not long after working in the funeral home before I realized I wanted to be a funeral director. Not soon after I started my apprenticeship and well the rest is history. This comes to the second part of my answer as to why I became a funeral director. A few years prior to starting to work at the funeral home I lost my best friend, Shane, to a sudden and unexpected accident. I was devastated and could not understand this loss, every thought possible ran through my mind, thoughts like how someone as good as Shane could be gone. I could not understand it and never found my way through the grief. I saw that as a funeral director I was able to be of service to my families during one of the most difficult and traumatic times in one’s life, the loss of a loved one. Serving my families with compassion and care is my driving force as well as a main reason I became a funeral director.
Some questions that I received this week.
“Is there a charge for switching from one funeral home to another?” Lynn
Most funeral homes have what is called prearrangements which can be paid ahead of time and assigned to a funeral home of your choosing. Funeral homes for the most part use funeral insurance companies, and one of the most common ones in our area is Assurant Life / Purple Shield / Familyside, which are all the same company but over the years have gone by a few different names. When a person arranges with a funeral home with a company such as Assurant Life, it is important to remember that the policy belongs to the family not the funeral home. The importance in this is that the family can take the policy with them wherever they go as Assurant Life is accepted right across Canada and even into the States. Most funeral homes will accept these policies at face value when transferred from one funeral home to another. Where you might see a cost in moving a policy or having another funeral home apply to the policy to pay for funeral expenses is when you are moving from a lower cost funeral home to a higher cost funeral home. The best way to know whether moving the policy is going to cost you is to call the funeral home where you are thinking of moving the policy directly and they can let you know if there would be a cost. Funeral homes also can hold a policy directly with the funeral home in a trust account but these type of polices are less and less common these days.
“What do I do if my loved one passes away at home or the hospital?” Doug
If the person passes away at home and does not have the correct paper work in place from a doctor ( which is call the Expected Notification of Death in the Home form ), the police will have to be notified immediately. The police will be dispatched to the home and will place the call to the coroner. From there, the coroner will remove the body and determine whether further action is necessary. The coroner must release the body before a funeral home can do anything. The staff of a care facility, such as a hospital or nursing home, will notify you and the necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred. Once you have been notified that the passing has occurred, you will need to contact the funeral home and make arrangements for them to bring your loved one into their care. The important thing to remember is that wherever the passing occurs, whether it be the home, hospital, care facility, etc it is always up the family to call the funeral home of their choosing. The reason for this is that a funeral director can only take permission from the person legally responsible to make that call to initiate that transfer. Part of our job and legal responsibility is to determine who that person is.
Keep the questions coming!