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Reputation is usually considered the best criterion. Excellence of service to other families can be a good guideline for what you can expect. This selection should be a key point in your pre-planning. Ask friends about funeral directors. Visit the funeral home and then make your selection.
Except in certain cases, embalming is not required by law. However, embalming may be necessary if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing.
Specific costs for the service you have in mind should be discussed openly with your funeral director. Estimates can be given for funerals taking place in the near future. Your funeral director will gladly help you create a detailed cost estimate, showing the various charges involved, and making suggestions for the service. Inflation makes it difficult to say what ANYTHING will cost five or ten years from now, but the funeral profession has done a remarkable job of keeping costs down.
North Carolina law does not require a vault (outer burial container); however, most cemeteries require either a grave liner or 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.
Two important documents are obtained through the service of the funeral director: the death certificate and the permit for burial, cremation, or shipping. Military discharge papers and proof of entitlement to union benefits should be available. And, of course, life insurance policies and a copy of the current Will and Testament should be accessible.
Veterans have a benefit that contributes a modest amount toward burial. Also, there may be Social Security benefits available. At the time of counseling, your funeral director will help you determine if the deceased qualifies for any of these benefits.