Frequently Asked Questions

In an effort to help our families understand more about funerals and the funeral planning process, we have compiled some of the most common questions we're asked. If you have any questions that are not addressed in the pages below, please do not hesitate to give us a call and speak with a funeral professional.

- 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.

- What type of service should I have?Only you can answer that question. The type of service conducted for the deceased, if not noted in a pre-plan, is decided by the family. 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.

- 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 at (561) 744-2030 to discuss options. You may wish to explore possibilities using our unique planning tool in the What We Do section of this Web site (scroll to bottom of page).

- What is a viewing/visitation/wake?Depending on the area of the country in which you live or your religious tradition, viewing, visitation, and wake are generally synonymous terms for an informal gathering that precedes the funeral. Traditionally, it takes place the day before the funeral. Often, the deceased is embalmed and in an open casket, but the casket may be closed or not present at all. This ceremony is an informal time for family, friends, and colleagues of the deceased to stop by and offer condolences to the bereaved and socialize with others. A visitation typically lasts for several hours, allowing people more flexibility on when they may pay their respects to the family. It is not necessary to remain for the entire time, and guests may feel comfortable leaving after offering words of support to the bereaved.

- 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. Taylor & Modeen provides families with a Memorial Website, a permanent place for your loved one's obituary, in addition to photos and videos. 

- 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.

- What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  If the death occurs in a medical facility a representative of the facility will call us when your loved one is ready to be released into our care.  If your loved one is a hospice patient, you will call hospice if you believe they have passed away.  The hospice nurse will call us when they are ready to release the decedent to us.  If, however, the death occurs at home and unexpectedly you should call 911 for emergency service.

- What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?Our funeral home staff will arrange with another funeral home or mortuary where the death occurred to have preparation and transportation made back to our funeral home. We can also help you if you are planning to have a service prior to having the family member returned to your home area. Visit the When a Death Occurs section of this Web site for more information.

Who should come with me to the arrangement conference?If you are the only next-of-kin, do not feel like you need to make all the arrangements alone. Families often come to the arrangement conference in groups for moral support and to participate in the funeral experience.

What if there was a pre-arrangement?If your loved one made a pre-arrangement with our funeral home, we'll have that information on file here for you. We will use the time in the arrangement conference to go over any details that were not yet planned for.

If your loved one pre-arranged their funeral with another funeral home and you wish to transfer that arrangement to us, please let us know as soon as possible. If the funeral has been pre-paid at another funeral home, you can request that the funds be transferred to our funeral home for final disposition. 

What if there is no will?Dying intestate – dying without a will – means that the law of the state controls the distribution of a decedent's assets upon death. A probate judge will appoint an administrator (known as a personal representative in Florida) of the deceased's estate. If you are chosen as the administrator/personal representative, your responsibilities will be similar to those of an executor/personal representative of a will: distributing assets, notifying paying creditors and balancing the estate.

Many people assume that upon a person's death without a will, all assets will immediately go to the spouse. If there is no will, this is not always the case. Most states will divide assets between the surviving spouse and any children, regardless of the ages of the children. In Florida, the assets of an intestate estate are divided between the spouse and the children of the decedent born of a prior marriage. If there are no children, some assets may be granted to the parents of the deceased. In the case of a single person with children, the entire estate will be divided among them depending on state laws. When a person is single with no children, the estate may be granted to the parents (or siblings, if parents are deceased).

It is important to remember that state probate laws vary, and individual situations may be taken into account in probate court when decisions are made to distribute the deceased's assets. If you have any questions or concerns, you may want to consult an attorney that is experienced in end-of-life planning and probate.

- My loved one was a veteran. What benefits can he or she receive?Benefits are available to veterans whether they are interred in a national cemetery or a private cemetery. Visit the Veteran's Services section on our Web site to learn more.

- Does my religion allow cremation? Most religions today accept the practice of cremation, with the exception of Orthodox Judaism and Islam. In some traditions, such as Hinduism, it is the preferred method of disposition. If you aren't sure whether cremation is acceptable in your own religious tradition, the funeral home staff would be happy to help you find the answer to this question.

- Are traditional services and cremation services different? No, they don't have to be. If your preference is cremation, you may be surprised to learn that choosing cremation does not mean that you cannot also hold traditional services such as a viewing and a funeral. Whether you choose cremation or burial, the same services are available to you, including formal services that include music, prayers, and other rites. A viewing with an open casket may precede the cremation. In fact, it is important to still hold some kind of special service to assist the bereaved in the grieving process.

It is important to remember that the cremation process is not an end in itself. As cremation grows in popularity, so does the memorial service, a special service that takes place after cremation has occurred. The body is not present during a memorial service, but the cremated remains in a urn could be included. A memorial service allows family and friends to come together to remember the deceased, just as a visitation does.

Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?Absolutely. Choosing cremation does not limit the types of services you may choose. If you choose to have a visitation/viewing or a funeral, the cremation process will take place after these ceremonies have concluded. You can choose to have an open casket at the funeral. Nearly every wooden casket can be cremated, and we offer several attractive wooden caskets that are designed specifically for cremation. Ask your funeral director to see a selection of cremation caskets from which to choose.

How can we personalize a cremation? Even if your preference is cremation, you can choose to hold many different types of services – a visitation, funeral service, witness cremation, graveside service, or a memorial service. Any of these can be personalized in a number of ways. Each ceremony should be as unique as the life being celebrated. Ideas for a special service are always welcome in our funeral home.

Many families add a personal touch to funeral services by incorporating memorabilia that represent a loved one's hobbies or passions. For the avid sports fan, a few of his or her collector's items could be displayed. For the artist, a display of recent works or even the artist's tools can provide a personal touch. These unique touches can help family and friends remember the deceased's personality and relive the traditions that meant so much. Photo albums and memorial tribute DVDs are also great ways to remember the past.

Personalized merchandise is also popular. Some caskets include interchangeable corners, and you may choose corners that represent the life of your loved one. Caskets can also be personalized with an embroidered panel. Cremation urns and keepsakes can be engraved. The funeral home also offers a wide variety of other merchandise such as keepsake jewelry and stationery products that can reflect the life of your loved one.

Today, it is becoming more popular to hold unique services outside of the funeral home. This is especially true for families choosing cremation. After the cremation takes place, memorial services can take place nearly anywhere. Whatever your preferences or ideas may be, we can work to help you create a memorable and meaningful tribute.

- Can we visit the crematory?Taylor & Modeen owns and operates Oak Hammock Crematory in Indiantown, Florida. Your funeral director will provide the details of our witnessed cremation service.

- Can I plan for cremation in advance?Yes. For more information about planning cremation and other funeral services in advance, please visit the Plan Ahead section of this Web site.

- How can we be sure that we receive the correct cremated remains back?Many families are concerned that they will not receive the correct cremated remains back from the crematory. This stress arises from the simple fact that cremation is an irreversible process, and cremation destroys all DNA evidence in the remains. Our crematory places the utmost importance on our identification process. This ensures that you will receive the cremated remains of your loved one. Additionally we offer the ability to witness the body being placed in the cremation chamber. This can help ease anxieties about whose remains are returned to the family. If you are concerned, ask your funeral director for more information.

- Can two cremations be performed at once?Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.

- Is a casket required for cremation?Most crematories require that the body be encased in a combustible, rigid container. Any wood casket will satisfy this requirement. Some wood caskets are designed specifically for cremation. You can also choose to use alternative containers of cardboard, particle board, etc. Generally speaking, a cremation container must be strong enough to assure the safety of the crematory operator as well as provide proper covering and meet reasonable standards of respect and dignity of the deceased. Ask your funeral director what options are available.

- Can we take cremated remains on a plane?Yes, you can carry cremated remains with you on an airline. Some airlines do not accept cremated remains as checked luggage. You must contact the airline directly to verify this. If you plan to transport an urn as a carry-on item, the urn must be able to pass through the x-ray scanner. You'll also need to carry proper documentation with you (certified death certificate, certificate of cremation, etc.). If the urn cannot be scanned, it will not be permitted on the flight. Under no circumstances will a TSA employee open an urn to inspect its contents, even if the family insists. Click here for the TSA's official guidelines regarding the transport of cremated remains.

- 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. Embalming preserves the body, often allowing more time for arrangements. If the deceased is to be directly buried or cremated, embalming is not necessary. However, Florida law mandates that the deceased be either refrigerated or embalmed if final disposition isn't made within 24 hours.

How much does a funeral cost?The cost of a funeral can vary widely depending on the selections a family chooses to include. Whether the family chooses a cremation or a burial is a significant factor. There are also a variety of service selections, burial details, and merchandise options to choose from as well. Your funeral director can help you select a meaningful array of services that fit your needs as well as your budget.

- 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. Not only that, a funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.) with expenses that 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. Many funeral homes are still family owned and operated and operate with a modest profit margin.

- What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?While most funeral homes provide outstanding services, sometimes things can go wrong. Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the FTC by contacting the Consumer Response Center by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); TDD: 1-866-653-4261; by mail: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; or on the Internet at, using the online complaint form. You may also choose to contact the local Better Business Bureau, or your state consumer protection office.

- Who pays for funerals for the indigent?Other than the family, there are veteran, union, and other organizational benefits to 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.

- Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?Yes, a person who dies of an AIDS-related illness is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceased's face or hands is perfectly safe. Because the grief experienced by survivors may include a variety of feelings, survivors may need even more support than survivors of non-AIDS-related deaths.

- What if I still need support after the funeral is over?Remember, effects of grief can be both emotional and physical, and every individual grieves in his or her own way. Never hesitate to ask for help. We are here to serve you.

Cemetery Common Questions

The answers below are here because these are the most commonly-asked questions. If yours isn't listed, we invite you to contact us. We're here to provide the information you need, when you need it.

- Are cemeteries running out of space?Just like other open spaces, cemeteries are impacted by increased population density in both urban and rural areas. Cemetery spaces are a finite resource, and as such, are at a premium in some regions.

- What is Perpetual Care?"Perpetual Care" usually refers to the correct terms Permanent Care or Endowment Care. These Care funds are collected with each Interment Space sale to maintain the grounds, roads, and buildings of the cemetery.

- Can the vault be personalized?Yes, we can show you the wide range of personalization choices, including customized nameplates and military insignias.

- Are there vaults for cremated remains?Yes, we offer urn vaults, designed for in-ground burial of cremated remains.

- Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?No, embalming is not required for burial. It is always your choice. Your decision may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public viewing of the body with an open casket; or to enhance the deceased's appearance for a private family viewing; or if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the burial.

- Must I 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. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.

- What are the advantages of a mausoleum burial?Mausoleum crypts are both clean and dry. They offer a viable alternative for those who simply have an aversion of being interred in the ground. Furthermore, with the growing shortage of available land for cemetery use, mausoleums will allow for a maximum number of entombments in a minimum amount of space.

- What is a columbarium?A columbarium, often located within a mausoleum, chapel or in a garden setting, is constructed with numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.