Frequently Asked Questions

We have been asked countless questions over the years and herein have selected those to share which are some of the more common questions relating to a funeral service and or funeral homes. If you a different question that we can help with, contact us and we will provide you with the answer.

  • If I have a prearrangement funeral or insurance with another local funeral home, can I use that at Bradford-O’Keefe?
    Absolutely. Any local prearrangement will be honored 100%. However, we can only make this commitment for prearranged funerals and/or cremations we consider to be in our local service area. Otherwise, any insurance or financial credits you have can be applied toward the service of your choice.

  • What purpose does a funeral serve?
    A Funeral or Memorial Service purpose is to honor the life of your loved one and also gives family and friends an opportunity to begin the process of healing in regard to the loss. It’s typically a reverent and respect means of recognizing one’s life accomplishments.

  • What do funeral directors do?
    Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for transportation of the decedent, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the decedent. Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Directors are trained to answer questions about meaningful tributes for a loved one, and can be a conduit when a person is having difficulty coping with the recommendation for sources of professional help, support groups within the community.

  • Do you have to have a funeral director to bury the dead?
    Most states are governed by Funeral Service Boards that require licensure after educational requirements are met but this can vary from state to state. Most people find comfort in entrusting their loved one to a responsible funeral director for arranging the details and legal matters surrounding a death. We also encourage this to ensure all aspects of the burial are properly taken care of.

  • Why have a public viewing or visitation
    Viewing is a natural part of the process for many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize and cope with the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and approached in a voluntary manner.

  • What is the purpose of embalming?
    Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and can enhance the appearance of a body affected by trauma or illness. Embalming also 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 a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
    No. Not in most states, however, embalming is highly recommended when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when remains are to be transported from one state to another by common carrier. Additionally, if final disposition is not to be made within a reasonable time frame, refrigeration or embalming is mandated.

  • 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 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 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 personal or local 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 could value even more support than survivors of non-AIDS-related deaths.

  • How much does a funeral cost?

    In 2006 the charge for an adult, full-service funeral, was $6,195. This includes a professional service charge, transfer-of remains, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, of facilities for ceremony, hearse, limousine, and casket. The casket included in this price was an 18-gauge steel casket with velvet interior which may or may not be the most common casket chosen. Vault, cemetery and monument charges are additional.

Item Price
Non-declinable basic services fee $1,595
Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home $233
Embalming $550
Other preparation of the body $203
Use of facilities/staff for viewing $406
Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony $463
Use of a hearse $251
Use of a service car/van $120
Basic memorial printed package $119
Subtotal without Casket: $3,940
Metal Casket $2,255
Subtotal with Casket: $6,195
Vault $1,128
Total Cost $7,323


Source: 2006 NFDA General Price List Survey. NFDA will release new data in 2010.

  • Has this cost increased significantly?
    Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items. The following figures show increases over the last 25 years for an adult, full-service funeral from NFDA survey’s from 1985 to 2010.

*See question above for what is included in these costs

  • Is it right to make a profit from death?
    Funeral directors look upon their profession as a service, but it is also a business. Like any business, funeral homes must make a profit to exist. As long as the profit is reasonable and the services rendered are necessary, complete, and satisfactory to the family, a reasonable profit is entirely in order to sustain ordinary business continuance.

  • What elements of cost drive funeral prices?
    When compared to other major life cycle events, like births and weddings, etc., funerals are relatively reasonable. A wedding may cost as much as three times that of a funeral. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, which can have extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, trained staff, hearses, etc.), all of which are elements of overhead. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise such as the casket but also include services of a licensed funeral director in making arrangements and carrying out all of the necessary details comprised in completing a funeral service.

    Many funeral homes are family owned with modest profit margins compared to the large corporate conglomerates. The average statistics below may be helpful in assessing the true economic picture of a family owned funeral home:

Family-owned 85%
Avg. Years in Business 63 years
Average Calls/Year 167
Before Tax Profit 11. 3%

  • What agencies regulate funeral homes?
    The Funeral Service Industry is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and additionally each state has licensing and regulatory boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If a matter is reportable, the consumer may wish to contact the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program. FSCAP provides information, mediates disputes, provides arbitration, and maintains a consumer guarantee fund for reimbursement of services rendered. (To contact FSCAP, you may call 708-827-6337 or 800-662-7666).

  • Do funeral directors take advantage of the bereaved?
    Funeral directors are caring individuals who help people deal with a very stressful time. Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Directors have served some families for many generations over the years. Many of our funeral directors and the families we serve both have lived within these communities their entire lives. If our directors took advantage of families during times of bereavement, these families would not continue to place their trust in us during their times of need. We routinely survey our families and the results reflect a high level of satisfaction. The fact that Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Homes have been in business since 1865, spanning six generations, stands as a testament to the respect given each family we serve.

  • Who pays for funerals for the indigent?
    Other than the family members or friends, funeral benefits are sometimes paid by the County Board of Supervisors in Mississippi although they typically only cover a fraction of the cost of an indigent service. Sometimes other benefits are available through Veterans Organizations and Social Security but more times than not these are only modest in nature. Our goal is to provide service to each and every individual that we are called upon to do so irrespective of their financial means.

  • What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
    Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Directors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may call upon us at will.

  • Will someone come right away?
    Yes, we have staff available for immediate assistance. If a family desires additional time for everyone to have a chance to gather, that is not a problem. Our staff will be there at the appropriate time as specified by you and your family.

  • If a loved one dies out of state, can Bradford-O’Keefe still help?
    Yes, we can assist you with any out-of-state arrangements you desire. Either by means of transferring the remains to our facilities from another funeral home out of state or to another funeral home out of state from one of our locations.

  • What exactly is the cremation process?
    Cremation is a process during which human remains are reduced to ash and or particle elements by the application of intense heat. By state law, the decedent must be in a container prior to being placed into the crematory retort. Typically that container is a casket or what’s referred to as an alternative container.

    The choice of cremation containers may be influenced by your choice of services, memorialization and or desire for final disposition. Your decisions should reflect your family’s preferences, traditions and religious beliefs.

    Following the cremation process, the cremated remains are placed in a second container called an Urn. The urn can be of a temporary or permanent in nature. We offer a wide variety of urns to our customers, and can assist you with a selection to reflect your family’s preference.

  • Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
    It is our opinion that Memorialization is the most valued aspect of paying tribute to a loved one. We encourage memorialization regardless of a family’s choice of cremation or a traditional funeral. Cremation is a means of final disposition of the human remains. All customary services desired by a family can be fulfilled prior to cremation or after cremation.

  • I’ve decided on cremation. Can I still have a funeral or a viewing?
    Yes, quite often a viewing precedes the actual cremation process. Bradford-O’Keefe has facilities to conduct a public or private gathering, funeral and/or memorial services. Our funeral directors are here to listen to the family’s preferences, offer options, and carry out those wishes.

  • Is cremation as a means of disposition increasing?
    According to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), cremation was the disposition of choice in about 27% of all deaths in the United States in the year 2001. It is projected that the percentage will rise to about 39% in 2010 and 47% in 2025. These figures represent the United States as a whole; individual states may have lower or higher rates of cremation.

    Source: Cremation Association of North America