Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the selection of a funeral home important?

The death of a loved one forces you to deal with unfamiliar decisions at a time when you are emotionally vulnerable. You must depend, in large part, on guidance from your funeral director. It is important that you are confident that the funeral director is open, honest and has your best interests at heart when helping you plan a funeral.

How are Bauer Family Funeral Homes different from other funeral homes?

We offer unrivaled continuity of care throughout the entire funeral process and beyond, including advance planning, making funeral arrangements and continued follow up after the service. We provide guidance in creating funeral services that are both meaningful and individually designed to fit specific needs. We honor each family's requests to assure the most personalized service possible and we're most concerned with how we provide those services. We are an independent, family owned funeral home whose mission is to give the finest funeral service with constant attention to compassion, dignity, and respect.

What purpose does a funeral serve?

The benefit of a funeral is for the living. It provides an opportunity for the living to honor their loved one and helps survivors begin the healing process. A funeral provides an occasion for family and friends to come together in mutual support and to begin adjusting to their loss. Finally, a funeral gives survivors a specific and meaningful way to express their grief and to accept encouragement and sympathy from others.

What do funeral directors do?

The funeral director gives dignified care to the deceased through embalming and other preparations. He or she also guides families through the many decisions they will have to make when a loved one dies, helping them to create a meaningful tribute to their loved one. A funeral director should educate the family on the many options available to them including a traditional funeral service, cremation, a memorial service, or graveside services. The funeral director will then assist the family in choosing the option with which they are most comfortable and that best fits their budget. A funeral director should also listen carefully to the family's wishes and offer suggestions to help them create a meaningful, personalized and memorable tribute to their loved one.

Once a family has decided on the type of service they prefer, it is the funeral director's responsibility to implement their decisions. This includes handling such matters as coordination with clergy, churches, cemeteries, crematories, reception halls, restaurants, florists, musicians, veteran honor guards, veterans benefit offices, the Social Security Administration, health departments, doctor's offices, the medical examiner's office, newspapers, airlines, the funeral home web site, etc.

What is the difference between a funeral and a memorial service?

Both a funeral and a memorial service are services conducted in memory of the deceased person. When a body is present, the service is called a funeral. Without the presence of a body, it is referred to as a memorial service.

Is embalming required, according to law?

Embalming is NOT required, according to law. However, most states require embalming in the following circumstances:

  • When death was caused by a reportable contagious disease.
  • When the remains are to be transported from one state to another by common carrier.
  • If final disposition will not occur within a prescribed period of time.

What is the purpose of embalming?

The purpose of embalming is to sanitize and preserve the body, retard the decomposition process and enhance its appearance. Embalming also makes it possible to prolong the length of time between death and final disposition, allowing family members adequate time to arrange and gather for the type of service they will find most comforting.

Should we have a viewing?

A viewing is a customary part of the funeral ritual. Many grief specialists believe that a viewing supports the grief process by helping the bereaved to recognize the reality of their loved one's death. Viewing is encouraged for children of appropriate age so long as the process is lovingly explained and their participation is totally voluntary. Your loved one's viewing may be public for family and friends or private for only invited family and friends.

How much does a funeral cost?

The cost of a funeral is determined by a family's choices in three different areas:

  • Services (professional services, staffing, equipment and facilities, automobiles, etc.)
  • Merchandise (caskets, vaults, urns, register books, cards, etc.).
  • Cash Advances (for services provided by others such as obituaries, grave openings, honorarium and newspaper notices).

Ultimately, the price of a funeral is determined by the combination of goods and services selected by the family. The funeral directors at Bauer Family Funeral Homes will assist you in planning a personalized and dignified service to fit both your family's needs and budget.

What do I do when death occurs in the middle of the night or on a weekend or a holiday?

You can call the funeral home anytime of the day or night. The funeral directors at Bauer Family Funeral Homes are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How soon will a funeral director come?

Bauer Family Funeral Homes always has a funeral director available to come quickly. If you wish to spend some private time with your loved one to say goodbye, just notify the funeral director and he or she will arrive when you wish.

What do I do if my loved one dies out of state?

If your loved one's death occurs in another state, we recommend calling us first. There is no need to contact a funeral director in the state where the death occurred and doing so may result in unnecessary additional expense. Once you contact Bauer Family Funeral Homes, our staff will immediately make the appropriate arrangements to bring your loved one home. Through the support of our professional organization, Selected Independent Funeral Homes, we have contacts in all fifty states and many parts of the world to whom we entrust the care of the loved ones of the families we serve.

Who regulates funeral homes?

Funeral homes are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards.

What is a General Price List?

The General Price List shows itemized prices for the various goods and services a funeral home offers. The GPL enables consumers to make comparisons and to purchase, on an itemized basis, only those goods and services they desire. A funeral home must give the general price list to anyone who asks, in person, about funeral goods, services, or the prices of such goods or services. If you are making comparisons, be certain to ask the funeral home for a copy of their GPL to take with you. By law, funeral homes must have printed GPLs available to anyone who inquires about the prices of their goods and services.

What is a "Statement of Goods and Services Selected"?

The Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected is an itemized list of the selections that the family has made during the arrangement conference. The Statement allows family members to evaluate their selections and provides time to make any desired changes. By law, funeral homes must present their clients with a completed copy of the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected at the end of the arrangement conference.

Do I have to buy an outer burial container or vault?

There is not a federal or state law that requires the purchase of an outer burial container (vault or grave liner/cave proof container). However, most cemeteries require that an outer burial container be used. We have a selection of outer burial containers available at many price levels.

How do I obtain a death certificate for a relative of mine who passed away?

Death certificates are issued through the Pennsylvania Department of Vital Statistics. We will be happy to assist you in obtaining death certificates or you may order them online.

How do you become a funeral director?

To become a licensed Pennsylvania funeral director, a person must complete 60 college credits, one year of mortuary school and a one-year apprenticeship. Following successful completion of these requirements, a state and a national exam must be passed. To maintain licensure, the Pennsylvania Funeral Board requires that funeral directors successfully complete continuing education credits every two years.