Frequently asked questions
1. Should children view the body?
A viewing is an unusual situation for most people and it poses the question of whether children should attend. Understanding death is an important part of a child’s preparation for life. If they are not included in the funeral or are prevented from attending a viewing, it is possible that they may develop a set of unnatural fears. Note, however, a child should never be forced to attend a viewing if they do not wish to go. Children are likely to get more from a viewing than adults will because it can actually help the child to understand and accept the reality of death, and prevent the feeling that they have been abandoned by a loved one. Children often like to place personal items such as letters, drawings, toys or photos in the coffin. This is a very natural and a very healthy way for the child to form an important link with the deceased.
2. What is the difference between a coffin and a casket?
Contrary to what many believe, coffins are very different to caskets. A casket is rectangular, usually has a hinged lid and is of European origin. Coffins are just how people imagine them, tapered out to a point at the shoulder, and with a lid which usually lifts off completely. Coffins are of English origin. Today, coffins and caskets are made of either particle board (chipboard), timber (including pine, oak, cedar and mahogany), metal (these are imported from the USA) and very recently the outside of some is made of velvet. The lining is made from materials ranging from understated calico to hand ruched satin.
3. What happens at the Coroner’s?
All “reportable deaths” need to be investigated by the State Coroner or by another Coroner. The first step is identification, and the Coroner usually asks for a family member or close family friend to identify the deceased. This can be done either at the place of death, in the presence of the police, or at the Coroner’s office.
4. What is a pre-paid funeral?
A prepaid funeral offers your family and friends the peace of mind knowing that your wishes have been recorded. Additionally, prepaid funerals offered by G Beavan are fixed price. The funeral expenses are paid at today’s prices and are protected from inflation. A prepaid funeral may be paid as a lump sum or paid in monthly instalments over a period of up to three years. When the time comes for the prepaid contract to be used, a simple phonecall from your executor, next of kin or friend is all that is required for us to commence implementing your recorded wishes. All monies paid toward the prepaid funeral contract are invested independently.
5. What is a prearranged funeral?
A “prearranged funeral” is one planned sometimes years in advance. A prearranged funeral offers your family or friends the peace of mind knowing that your wishes have been recorded. The funeral expenses are paid by the family or estate at the time of need. All the funeral details are planned in advance. A phone call from your executor, next of kin or friend is all that is required for us to commence implementing your recorded wishes.
6. Should the body be viewed?
A viewing is a chance for family and friends to spend time with the deceased and to bid farewell in their own special way. A viewing is generally arranged at a time suitable to the family before or at the time of funeral. The body will generally be presented at the viewing in a coffin or casket dressed in clothing supplied by the family or in a shroud like garment supplied by the funeral director. A viewing can help people come to terms with the reality of death.
This is especially important if the death was unexpected or if there are family and friends who had not seen the deceased recently. Children may also benefit from attending the viewing. At the viewing family and friends are welcome to place sentimental items, personal letters, photos, flowers and other memorabilia in the coffin/casket if desired. It is a very personal time between the family, other mourners and the deceased.
7. What’s a Mausoleum?
A mausoleum is a large monumental tomb which has a chamber that contains funeral urns or caskets. Unlike most tombs, mausoleums are generally built above ground allowing the rank and achievements of the deceased to be displayed. The earliest known mausoleums were built over five thousand years ago from huge pieces of stone, and were usually covered with earth or rock. In the centuries that followed, mausoleums were usually built for significant individuals or for prestige. The best known mausoleum is the 17th century Taj Mahal. Today mausoleums can be found in cemeteries around the world – they are usually multi-storeyed and can accommodate hundreds, sometimes thousands, of entombments. G Beavans has extensive experience in the area of Mausoleums
8. Is everything burnt in the cremation?
By law, both the coffin and body are consumed in a cremation. The only items not consumed in a cremation are the metal handles on the coffin. Some crematoria may be required by the local Environmental Protection Authority to remove fittings made of other material. This is because of the adverse effects the material may have on the environment near the crematorium. All these items are destroyed. They are never recycled.
9. How can I be sure I have the right ashes?
Good funeral directors have extensive procedures to ensure correct body identification at every stage of the funeral preparation process which starts when the mortuary ambulance collects the body from the place of death to delivery of the coffin to the crematorium. Crematoria go to great lengths to ensure the correct identity of cremated remains. When a coffin arrives at the crematorium, staff apply strict identification procedures – they check all documents and cross reference these with a nameplate which is secured to the lid of the coffin. The coffin is identified with another temporary label which contains the relevant information. As the coffin enters the cremator, the nameplate is removed and placed on the outside of the cremator. As each chamber has room for only one coffin, it’s a simple case of matching the remains with the label on the outside of the cremator. The label then stays with the remains until they are placed into suitably identified container which may by returned to the family or placed in a memorial urn of the family’s choice.