Frequently Asked Questions & Veteran Benefits
What purpose does a funeral serve?
The funeral is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process.
What does a funeral director do?
Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for transporting the deceased to the funeral home, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body.
Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to recognize when a person is having difficulty coping with grief and can recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.
Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.
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.
Embalming 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.
Does the body have to be embalmed?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when remains are to be transported from one state to another by common carrier or if final disposition is not to be made within 48 hours after death.
Isn't burial space becoming scarce?
While it is true some metropolitan areas have limited available cemetery space, in most areas of the country, there is enough space set aside for the next 50-150 years without creating new cemeteries. In addition, land available for new cemeteries is more than adequate, especially with the increase in entombment and multi-level grave burial.
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is a method of disposition of the human body and often either follows a traditional funeral service or precedes a memorial service. Cremated remains are often buried in a grave space at a cemetery or placed in a mausoleum niche so that the family has a place to memorialize their loved one.
If I decide on cremation, can I still have a funeral or a viewing?
Yes, most families wish to have a private or public viewing and service prior to the actual cremation of their loved one.
Are funerals expensive?
The cost of a funeral varies, depending on the type of service and merchandise selected by the family. Non-funeral home charges, such as cemetery costs, death certificates, flowers, luncheon costs, etc., also determine the final cost of a funeral. Our funeral directors can plan and direct a funeral service that meets the family's wishes and their financial situation.
A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), overhead expenses such as professional licensing, legal and accounting fees, insurance, parking lot and grounds maintenance, taxes, equipment, furnishings, etc. These expenses are factored into the cost of a funeral. Feel free to view our General Price List.
Who pays for the funeral of an indigent person?
The tax payers ultimately pay for the funerals of those who die in Black Hawk County with limited or no financial means. Benefits may be provided by county, state and federal agencies, as well as veteran, union, and other organizations, if the family meets certain guidelines.
What should I do if a death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Our Funeral Directors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will respond to your requests when notified.
If a loved one dies while away from home, how will Dahl-Van Hove-Schoof Funeral Home help?
If your loved one should die while away from home, our funeral home should be contacted immediately so that we can assist you with the necessary arrangements for the preparation and transporting of your loved one to our funeral home.
What is the difference between a funeral service and a memorial service?
A funeral service is a ceremony where the deceased's casket is present at the service. A memorial service is a ceremony where the deceased is not present at the service, either because the family wished their loved one to be cremated or buried prior to the service.
What funeral benefits are available for deceased veterans?
Honorably discharged deceased veterans qualify for a free monument or marker for installation at a cemetery or mausoleum (Installation costs are the responsiblity of the family), and an American burial flag which can drape the veteran's casket or be displayed in the casket or with an urn. Both of these benefits are supplied by the federal government. Our directors will be happy to apply for these benefits at the family's request.
These same deceased veterans also qualify for military honors either at the cemetery, church or funeral home. We will make arrangements for military funeral honors at the family's request. Families of some deceased veterans qualify for monetary burial benefits.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process through which the court determines that a will is valid, and that the debts of the deceased individual are paid and his or her's assets are distributed correctly. Currently, if the value of an estate is less than $25,000, and consists solely of personal property, probate may not be required, and the estate can be transferred with an affidavit. Detailed information about probate can be found at the Iowa Bar Association website, www.iowabar.org.