Thinking about a career in funeral service? Thinking about what happens after you die? What happens during a cremation? Thinking if you can move your dead grandmother to Springfield when you move? An interesting blog about a funeral director friend who spills trade secrets under the alias “Mort”.
They list 10 things that everyone should know about all things funeral. Not being a big fan of corporate funeral homes, number 5 hits a chord.
5. Big corporations have purchased many funeral homes that had been in the same families for generations. The largest death-care corporation is Service Corporation International and it operates over 1500 funeral homes. When Service Corporation International purchased the second largest death-care corporation, Stewart Enterprises Inc., in 2013, many Portland funeral homes and crematorium were swept up in the corporate mix. Corporate funeral homes have a reputation of acting suspiciously like corporations with an emphasis on streamlining and systems, lots of death-packages to choose from, and, an eyeball toward profits. Mort’s mortuary is not corporate so there is a lot of leniency in terms of how family members can decorate their vaults and niches in the mausoleum. One niche contained the ashes and photos of a delightful-looking woman…and her iPhone because her family said she would have never wanted to be without it. Mort just hoped it never rang.
Please ask who owns your funeral home. Corporate funeral homes over charge families and have a history of unfair funeral practices. Most recently they have been investigated for mass graves in a Texas cemetery owned by SCI. Corporate funeral homes have a reputation of acting suspiciously like corporations.
Here is a great article on home funerals. If you have an interest in the Home Funeral movement or are just curious, have a look.
Filed under At home Services, Cremations, Funeral Adviser, funeral broker, Funeral Consultant, Funeral Expert, Funeral Insider, low cost cremations, low cost funerals, saving money on a funeral, Uncategorized, Veterans
10 Terrifying things you should know about funeral homes.
Great article about the current funeral home situation. This is a 5 minute read which is well worth it.
Want to say thank you to the Ladies at the Putney Library for including me in their Death Matters program. I was happy to answer questions and I hope I got to answer all of them. The weather stunk and we still had a sizable crowd. I was surprised to hear the amount of questions that were centered around unattended deaths at home.
Most of the conversation was about the timeline that starts after the death. If someone dies at home and is not being actively seen by a doctor, or the person is not under Hospice care, the first phone call is always to the police. Once the police arrive, everything becomes a potential crime scene. Regardless of age, most of these deaths will have to be reviewed by a medical examiner.
Some question were raised about who could move the body to and from the Medical Examiners office in Burlington. If the deceased has died at home and is going to the Medical Examiners office someone representing a funeral home is going to do the transport . The funeral home is working for the state at that point. They are not working with or for the family. This has to do with a chain of evidence if there was foul play. Once the medical examiner has reviewed the body, a death certificate is signed and the body is released to the family. The family dose not have to use the funeral home that picked up the body originally.
As far as timing, all of this, including autopsy, happens in about 48 hours or less.
Looking for more information? Contact me direct at 802 353-0021.
It looks like someone has blinked in Chicago.
“Funeral industry giant Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) has accepted Teamsters Local 727’s offer to enter federal mediation as the union attempts to reach an agreement on a new contract for Chicago-area funeral workers.” says author Maggie Jenkins from the local Teamsters in Chicago. The article here provides the details.
The strike/lockout has been going on for months. In the beginning SCI, corporate owners of the Chicago funeral homes, said they would not negotiate with the Teamsters at all. Evidently things have changed. Accepting an offer to mediate was not something I thought SCI would ever have thought agreeable. In the beginning, SCI was waving the corporate flag. I expect history to repeat itself; SCI will do nothing until some time passes and they are no longer in the public eye. Below is a list of what SCI is demanding from its employees.
In its most recent contract proposal, the company (SCI) is demanding to:
- · Eradicate job security
- · Significantly limit authority of the arbitrator in any disciplinary decision
- · Dismantle seniority rights
- · Eliminate guaranteed employment for full-time drivers
- · Retain unilateral ability to slash health care benefits at the company’s discretion
SCI once again proves to be the corporate bully. SCI has to be realizing that the damage done may never be repaired. Customers will not be coming back. If there is a reasonable option, families will chose another provider. The good employees will leave. Potential new employees will not be interested. The bad employees will stay. The cost of a funeral will increase to try to make up what SCI has lost in number of calls.
This has always been a problem at every funeral home I have worked at. For what ever the reason, someone always gets left behind.
The idea of unclaimed cremains is a problem for funeral homes now and will continue to be a problem in the future. As the cremation rate climbs so will funeral homes frustration that cremains are being forgotten at an alarming rate. The other problem is that funeral homes are really not sure what they should do and how they should legally handle the situation.
Legally, the cremains are the property of who ever signed the contract. The deceased are no longer a “person. ” Cremains have to be treated differently. As far as the government goes, the cremation is the end of the line. Final disposition is the address of the crematory. If the cremains are interred later, according to your death certificate, your place of final disposition was 101 Crematory Lane not Happy-view Cemetery where the cremains were interred. For some people this is a problem.
I digress. As a funeral director I saw this problem at every funeral home I worked for. Here is an article which sheds some light on what funeral homes are trying to do to solve the problem. The funeral homes listed in the article provided the local paper with a list of names of unclaimed cremains with the hopes that someone will recognize a name on the list and contact the funeral home.
There are a million reasons why cremains are not picked up. With the cremation rate rising this is going to continue to be a problem. Funeral homes are going to have to contact families immediately after the cremation is completed. It would be in everyone advantage if the two party’s stay actively connected until the cremains are claimed.
As always, if you have a question don’t hesitate to call (802) 353-0021 or email me directly at email@example.com.
Also, I will be speaking at the Putney Library on November 17, 2014 at 7 pm. The talk is being sponsored by The Death Group of Putney.