Pre-Planning FAQs

Everything you need to know and want to ask about pre-planning.

What is a funeral?
The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect and grief. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis that death may present. Through the funeral, the bereaved take that first step towards emotional adjustment to their loss.
Can I personalize my funeral service?
Absolutely, in fact, we recommend it. After all, the funeral is a celebration of life. Funeral directors are happy to discuss all options and ensure your funeral is tailored to your wishes. It may be personalized in many unique ways. Contact us to explore the possibilities.
Why do we need an obituary notice?
It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held. A notice can be placed in a local newspaper, or on the internet.
What type of service should I have?
The type of service conducted for the deceased is specified by the family. Funeral directors are trained to help families arrange the type of service they desire. The service is usually held at a place of worship or at the funeral home. The service may vary in ritual according to religious denomination or the wishes of the family. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgment of friendship and support. A private service is by invitation only where selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. A memorial service is usually a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the family’s community and religious affiliations.
Why should we have a public viewing?
There are many reasons to view the deceased. It is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions, and many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process, by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is even encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire to do so, and the process is  explained well.
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are both caregivers and administrators. In their administrative duties, 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. As caregivers, 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. Funeral Directors have many duties when attending to families at a visitation, funeral, or memorial service. When adding our staff to your service, we can guarantee that we will be working with everyone involved to make sure your event runs smoothly and without inconvenience. Every
family’s need and service is different, and our staff is used to expecting the unexpected. The following services are just a small example of what our funeral directors and staff may provide during the visitation and service:
• Provide floral stands, easels, reserved seating signs, pens, tissues, and many other supplies that may be needed
• Accept floral deliveries and display the flowers for viewing
• Greet guests at the door
• Hand out memorial folders and service programs
• Collect memorial cards and gifts
• Direct guests to the register book and make sure there are plenty of pages and pens
• Direct guests where rooms are located (chapel, bathroom, luncheon room, etc.)
• Direct catering where to set-up
• Usher and direct guests before and during the service
• Provide support and aid to the clergy
• Assist with any portion of the service necessary (such as reading poems, prayers, eulogy, etc.)
• Direct casket or urn bearers
• Run technical equipment (sound system, projector, DVDs, CD’s, etc.)
• Deliver flowers and catering to be donated after the service
• Available to provide assistance and guidance through the entire event.
Has the cost of a funeral increased significantly?
Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items.
What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?
Your funeral director can assist you if a death occurs anywhere on the globe. Contact your hometown funeral director of choice immediately. They will assume responsibility and coordinate the arrangements for the return of the deceased person to their community. They may engage the services of a funeral director in the place of death who will act as their agent.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. It 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. Embalming the body enables mourners to view the deceased if they wish. The emotional benefits of viewing the deceased are enormous, particularly to those having difficulty dealing with the death.
Is embalming mandatory by law?
No. But, the factors of time, health and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary. Please note that embalming may be required if the deceased is being transported by air to another country where local laws need to be observed.
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. We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a
memorial service.
Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
Yes. Cremation does not preclude having a visitation period and a funeral service. Cremation is simply one option for final disposition of the body.
Do we need to buy a casket?
A casket is not required however, law requires that at a minimum, the deceased must be placed into a rigid combustible container. Many options of caskets and containers  are available to you.
Who pays for funerals for the indigent?
Other than the family, there may be organizational benefits to help pay for funerals. 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 insure the deceased a respectable burial.
What can we do with the cremated remains?
Burial Cremated remains may be buried in an existing cemetery plot or a new plot may be purchased.
Inurnment The urn may be placed in a niche in an above ground structure called a
Scattering Cremated remains may be scattered on private or public property, if authorization is obtained. Properties may be bought and sold so it is important to know that once the
scattering takes place, the cremated remains are irretrievable. Scattering on either public or private property may offend some people and there may be laws prohibiting such action.
Why are funerals so expensive?
In some respects, funerals are a lot like weddings or birthday celebrations. The type and cost will vary according to the tastes and budget of the consumer. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive 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 in making arrangements;
filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details.
What is an urn?
An urn is a container designed to hold the cremated remains permanently. It may be constructed from a variety of materials such as wood, bronze, copper, steel, pewter, granite, marble, clay pottery or fine porcelain. We have a large selection of urns available designed to reflect the lifestyle of an individual. Urns may also be personalized by engraving. Urns also come in a variety of sizes that allow more than one member of the family to have a portion of the cremated remains.

You may wish for the cremated remains to be shipped to another state or country. We can look into this for you. You may also be permitted to take the cremated remains yourself to another country. Check with us first and we can assist you to obtain any additional documentation that may be required.
Many people prefer to have the urn at home with them. While laws vary state by state, for the most part, remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered.
What options are available beyond ground burial?
Besides ground burial, some cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums. Sunrise Funeral Home and Cemetery has private above-ground mausoleums for full size caskets. In addition, provide choices for those who have selected cremation. At Sunrise Funeral Home and Cemetery this includes placement of cremated remains in a niche of a Columbarium owned and  operated by Sunrise Funeral Home.

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
The state of MN & WI have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.
What are burial vaults and grave liners?
These are the outside containers into which the casket or urn is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze.
A grave liner is a version of a vault which simply keeps the grave surface from sinking in - made of cement. At Sunrise we like to explain the difference in simple terms like this: Vaults are sealed and graveliners are non-sealed units. Both are used to keep the weight of the soil off the casket, and to prevent the grave from over-settling. If the grave does over-settle damage or leaning of the head stone may occur.

Why is it so important to have a place to visit?
To remember and to be remembered are natural human needs. A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing our loved ones. Throughout human history, memorialization of our dead has been a key component of almost every culture. Psychologists say that remembrance practices serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them 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, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.
Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?
The simple and legal answer is no. Embalming is a choice which may depend on several factors - if there is to be an open casket viewing of the deceased or if there is to be an extended time between death and interment. State, federal and
international health laws may require embalming if your loved one is going to be transported by air or rail. At Sunrise, we encourage embalming as we believe in the practice and the benefits embalming provide. The three main purposes of embalming are for public safety, to restore (after illness or injury,) and to preserve (to delay the natural breakdown after death.)
Must I purchase a burial vault?
In many of our rural cemeteries here in the North Country grave liners and vaults are optional (the family’s choice). This means the casket may be buried directly in the ground with no outer receptacle required. At Sunrise Funeral Home and Cemetery the minimum requirement is the use of a concrete liner. Note: At Sunrise, we believe in using some form of outer-receptacle to prevent oversettling of the grave. If you want to learn more, please give us a call. We will be glad to share our thoughts and personal experiences that have brought us to this conclusion. Point of Interest: In Northern Minnesota, Northwest Wisconsin and other major cemeteries throughout North America, the minimum requirement for an outer receptacle is a concrete liner with a lid. If you have questions, please give us a call. We would be pleased to have a conversation with you and there’s absolutely no obligation. If you prefer, please send us an email or even drop by and speak to us face-to-face. Our family will guide you through the necessary steps and decisions that come with planning a burial.

Here are some questions that often come up from others at the same stage:

Pre-planning versus pre-funding? I’ve heard both terms, what is the difference?

Pre-planning is much like it sounds, it is making the decisions of how you would like to be remembered. It allows you to make your wishes known to your loved ones and gives you the opportunity to create a unique celebration...just how you would have wanted it. Pre-funding is the next logical step in the planning process. Your loved ones will greatly appreciate you pre-planning as it alleviates questions like "I'm not sure what he would have wanted". However, knowing your choices still leaves a financial burden for those left behind. Pre-funding allows you to pay for your funeral plans, saving loved ones from incurring those costs. There are several different options of pre-funding your funeral which our pre-arrangement specialists will guide you through.

Can I move a previously planned arrangement?

Yes, your arrangements are yours and can be transferred. The process of pre-arranging is a benefit to you and your family... It's not a way to lock you into being served by a specific or particular funeral home or cemetery.

Do I need to purchase a burial vault?

In most areas of the country, state or local laws do not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. Sunrise Memorial Park Cemetery Funeral Home & Cremation does require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink and the safety of our visitors and staff is protected.

I’ve heard about mausoleum burials - what are the benefits?

People choose mausoleum crypts because they are both clean and dry. They offer a good alternative for those who prefer to not be interred in the ground.

Are there vaults for cremated remains?

Yes, we offer urn vaults, designed for in-ground burial of cremated remains. We have a wide selection available, so we are sure we can help you find a beautiful option that is a good fit for your taste and preferences.

Can two cremations be performed at once?

No. Most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult.

Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes. Most families do not watch it is a very mechanical process and is not what most people want as the last memory of their loved one.

Are cemeteries running out of space?

Just like other open spaces, cemeteries have been impacted by the sheer number of people on our planet. However, funeral homes and local cemeteries can always help you find the space you need, so don’t ever feel that there is not an option to meet your needs. Sunrise Memorial Park Cemetery Funeral Home & Cremation has sufficient space for generations to come.

I’ve heard of Endowment Care - what is it?

In short, Endowment Care refers to the funds that keep the cemetery grounds beautiful and well-kept, ensuring that your loved one will be taken care of each and every day over the long term. Once the service is over and those in attendance have left the grounds, we want to ensure that peacefulness and beauty are permanent parts of our grounds and Endowment Care makes this possible.

We know that you may have other questions, so feel free to call us at anytime so that we can walk you your options and help you create the best possible plan for you.

(218) 727-6869