We are happy to answer any and all questions which come our way – and we hear some over and over again. Those are the ones we’ve included in this section of the website.
However, if you’re question isn’t listed, don’t hesitate to email us. If yours is an urgent need, please call.
|What is a funeral?|
|A funeral is a time when friends and family gather to celebrate a life and mourn the loss of a loved one. They occur in cultures and societies around the world, and have deep personal and social significance. We know a funeral is the starting point of the recovery process and the first step toward healing.|
|You say your funeral home is "family owned and managed." Why is that important?|
|Some events in life are so important that we would prefer to have a friend look after and care for them if we had a choice. For most of us, something as personal and important as a funeral is one of those events. Since our beginnings in 1900, four generations of the Kearns Family and our well qualified, dedicated staff have been serving generations of New York families and for good reason.|
A reputation for personal attention, a caring attitude, and a professional approach in all matters are not just words, but rather they are some of the comments we have heard again and again. We're part of the community, we're proud to be looked to as friends, and we'll be here tomorrow.
This is possible because as a privately owned firm, we have a local, community focus and not a "big business," corporate approach to what we do. The "bottom line" doesn't drive us. Service and satisfaction of each family that calls on us for help is what we're about. We're very flexible and responsive to the needs of each family that calls us for information or service. At the same time, we have the resources, experience and networking ability to assist families wherever and whenever death occurs, regardless of any complications.
In a word, we believe that when death touches a family, local independent ownership has the potential to make the best "fit." At KEARNS we strive to do just that.
|How much does a funeral cost?|
|The cost of a funeral depends entirely on your wishes for the funeral. Funeral costs are made up of professional services, charges for transporting the body and presentation of the body, casket costs, vehicle charges, and fees for the doctor, minister, or cremation. Personalizing a funeral is also a factor in the cost. While we have many options to help you memorialize your loved one in a meaningful way, those options all have costs attached.|
|What can we expect in the way of funeral expenses?|
|Just as the specific kinds of services rendered by The Leo F. Kearns Funeral Homes vary and reflect the needs and wishes of the many families we serve, so too the expenses vary. In each case, they are quoted directly from our General Price List, conforming to the Federal Trade Commission and New York State requirements.|
Our service options range from immediate cremation/burial services to various full-service funerals, and this broad range includes numerous "alternative services" that are tailored to meet specific needs or requests. (A telephone call to us will enable you to speak to one of our licensed funeral directors who can answer any questions you may have, no cost or obligation of course.)
The following describes our traditional "Full Service" funeral which
the majority of families choose from our broad range of services:
A typical Full-Service funeral includes the transfer of the deceased from any local hospital or nursing home by Licensed Funeral Director, arrangements and supervision of all details, embalming, grooming, dressing and casketing of the deceased, our personnel and facilities for an afternoon and evening of visitation, with the funeral the following day from these facilities, Licensed Funeral Director to supervise the funeral service and transfer to any local cemetery or crematory by hearse. Our standard charges for all these items taken from our January 15, 2015 General Price List total $5,122 in QUEENS; $5,422 in NASSAU.
Our caskets range from $1,052 to $10,603. The price of the average casket selected at our funeral homes during 2013 was $2,489. Many families also order personalized memorial cards and/or acknowledgement stationery and these are priced accordingly. Steel & Concrete Burial Vaults are another option, ranging from$975 to $3,225. The charge for a Lady Attendant-Beautician for a woman's funeral is $165.
In addition to the above funeral home expenses, there were various other expenses, many of them optional, for cemetery, crematory, obituary notices, religious honoraria, church fees, professional pallbearers, optional limousines and certified copies of death certificate which totaled an average of about $2,200.
Other Alternative Choices Available
Some other alternative choices from among the services we offer based upon our current January 15, 2015 General Price List:
Direct Cremation Services:
$1,985 - $2185
Direct Burial without family attendance:
Direct Burial Service with family attending:
Memorial Services from:
Cremation with Memorial Service from:
Disinterment Services, from:
$1,670 - $1860
(Cemetery, crematory fees also apply to these alternative services.)
|Is there a fee for making pre-arrangements?|
|There is absolutely no fee, or other charge in New York State when you make "pre-arrangements." Furthermore, when you pre-fund those arrangements through our Pre-Plan Trust, there is no additional expense in establishing the Trust Account.|
No commission sales, no set-up fees, no cancellation fees. Just accurate, helpful, useful information, and an FDIC Insured Trust conforming to all SSI-Medicaid regulations, with the KEARNS guaranteed coverage of the funeral home costs. That's peace of mind, and that's what families ask us for.
|If I pre-pay my complete funeral arrangements with you, are those prices and services guaranteed?|
|When you pre-pay complete funeral arrangements with Leo F. Kearns, they're guaranteed in four ways:|
We guarantee that you or your heirs will not have to pay any additional money due to future price increases for any of the charges made by the funeral home. Once funds for a complete service are deposited in the Pre-Plan Trust, your money will earn a high rate of interest that will cover those future expenses. (We cannot guaranty the cost of third party cash advances, such as cemetery, clergy fees, etc., but those funds will also benefit from the same enhanced rate of interest with the Pre Plan Trust.)
You can have confidence that your wishes are entrusted to a local, family-owned and managed firm that has won the confidence and respect of families for four generations.
Your money is placed in a trust account and remains under your ultimate control. At any time, your principal and interest is refundable without any cancellation fee. (For individuals concerned about Medicaid eligibility, a special irrevocable trust can be established.)
Your money is deposited in a Bank that is fully insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. There's no speculation or chance involved.
Yes, if you pre-pay funeral arrangements with Kearns, your money is completely protected, and your wishes are assured. That's peace of mind!
|What kind of payment options do you offer.|
|Good communication between your family and our staff is important regarding all aspects of funeral arrangements. This includes a discussion of the financial arrangements for the services you ask us to render. We will furnish you with a complete itemized agreement of our charges as well as the estimated cost of "cash advances" made to third parties such as clergy, cemetery, newspaper notices, etc.|
Funeral arrangements can be a difficult task and one for which many are not well prepared. One of the ways we accommodate families in this regard is to offer different payment options for the expenses involved. Each family needs to consider which option best suits its needs.
We offer these payment options:
We accept payment of the third party "cash advances" at the time of arrangements and payment of the funeral home charges through assignment of insurance. We can assist the family with most insurance claims and there is no charge for handling these applications.
We accept payment in full for the funeral home charges and third party "cash advances" prior to the day of the funeral. This may be paid with 50% at the time of Arrangements and the balance prior to the day of the funeral. Personal checks are acceptable. If time is needed for the transfer of money, we will delay deposit of any affected checks as a further consideration.
We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover Cards. Payment for all or part of the funeral home charges may be made in this manner.
We accept payment through Pre-Plan. Pre-Plan is the F.D.I.C. insured funeral trust established to pre-fund funeral arrangements.
We accept any combination of the above options and/or cash, as a family prefers.
Financial arrangements other than the above need to be discussed and agreed to prior to the conclusion of funeral arrangements. It is not our policy to wait for payment from an Estate. The beneficiaries of an Estate and/or the individuals who engage us are expected to pay for all expenses and they will be the first to be reimbursed from Estate assets. It is our intention to assist each family is any way we are able with these financial arrangements.
|What is typically involved with making funeral arrangements?|
|As a service oriented firm, we want to understand just what each family's wishes and needs are in order to tailor our services to be as helpful and meaningful as possible. Our professional staff of licensed funeral directors each averaging over twenty years of experience with the Kearns Family firm are trained and educated to assist each family in making informed, intelligent decisions. Respecting a family's needs and traditions, they make every effort to render sensitive, caring and professional service. The arrangement conference with our licensed funeral director assures this by:|
Furnishing each family with our General Price List of Goods and Services offered.
Discussion with the family as to the services we offer and which of those services are desired.
Discussing the options and/or requirements related to cemetery, crematory, religious or fraternal services, obituary and newspaper notices, transcripts of death certificate, out-of-state or international transfers, Social Security and Veterans Administrations benefits and forms, insurance assistance and completion of forms, Public Administrator's Office, foreign consulates, Notary Public assistance, memorialization of cremated remains, monument inscriptions, and floral needs are the most commonly addressed matters.
Estimating the various third party expenses, which usually include some of the following items: cemetery, crematory newspaper notices, transcripts of the death certificate, church/clergy honorarium, pallbearers, out-of-state funeral directors and air line transportation.
Establishing an appropriate time schedule for calling hours, religious services, funeral time as needed.
Providing each family with a selection of funeral merchandise appropriate for the service we are to perform. These will include some or all of the following: personalized memorial cards and/or service folders, personalized acknowledgement stationery, casket, burial vault, cremation coffin, urn for cremation ashes, burial clothing and flowers. A complete price list of all these items is furnished at the time of arrangements.
Coordination with hospital/physician and/or Medical Examiner concerning the death certificate and timely release and transfer of deceased from place of death to funeral home.
And above all, listening to each family.
|How do I make funeral arrangements?|
|You can call a funeral director to make an appointment or plan it online. We offer this service free of charge, and without obligation. |
|What is a pre-arranged funeral?|
|A pre-arranged funeral is a funeral arrangement made prior to death. You can pre-arrange your own funeral or you can pre-arrange a funeral for a loved one. Pre-arrangement is a way for you to make sure your life is celebrated in a way that is meaningful to you. It also relieves your loved ones of the burden of arranging a funeral for you.|
|How do I make funeral arrangements?|
|You can call a funeral director to make an appointment or plan it online. We offer this service free of charge.|
|What type of funeral service should I have?|
|The answer to that question is very personal – how would you like it to be? A funeral service can be open to the public or accessible by invitation only. You can choose a large service or a small one. And, if you’re deeply religious, you can follow the liturgy of your faith. |
Perhaps you want something completely out-of-the-ordinary, and that’s possible too. Our funeral directors are trained to provide you with support and guidance to help you plan a funeral that truly reflects your needs and desires.
|Can I personalize my funeral service?|
|In a word, yes. We believe that each funeral should reflect the life of the deceased – and no two people are the same. We invite – no, we encourage –you to let us know exactly how you want you or your loved one to be remembered, and we will do our best to create a ceremony that will truly celebrate the life lived. |
|Why should we have a public viewing?|
|Not every tradition encourages a public viewing, but we believe that they serve a purpose. In making a viewing part of your funeral service, you provide a certain amount of closure to all in attendance. This isn’t just our opinion; studies show that viewing the body helps everyone recognize the reality of death which is an important stepping stone in the grieving process.|
|What should I do if a death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?|
|It’s simple: call us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need immediate assistance, one of our funeral directors will be there.|
|What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?|
|It’s comforting to know that our funeral directors can help you no matter where a death has occurred. We’ll take care of everything from bringing your loved one back home; to helping you arrange the service. All you need to do is call us. We’ll take care of the rest. |
|We're expecting a death in another state, but we want to use your funeral home in New York. What's the best procedure?|
|If you anticipate having all the desired services here in New York as opposed to having them in Florida or elsewhere, it's to your advantage to contact us directly as soon as the death occurs and not engage a separate funeral home out-of-town. A single call to us will enable us to coordinate all the details both in the city where the death occurs and here in New York where the wake, services and interment take place. This can save you and your family time, avoid some anxiety and usually lower expenses as well. You'll be able to make your decisions in more familiar surroundings and with people you know. Furthermore, you may want to consider the pre-arrangement of these matters and know exactly what will be happening when that difficult time comes. This is something more and more families are asking our firm to do.|
|What happens if I have a problem with how a funeral was handled?|
|If you’re not satisfied with how we attempt to resolve the issue, then you can reach out to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and/or our state licensing board.|
Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20580
|Why do we need an obituary notice?|
|An obituary notice is helpful for friends and family of the deceased. It informs them that a death has occurred and gives them information about the service. Obituaries can be placed in newspapers and online.|
|What is included in an obituary?|
|"Funeral arrangements are being made by the funeral home and will be announced at a later date."|
You may wish to add additional details, such as the names of any children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, parents, other close relatives or special friends. You may wish to write about the deceased’s life, accomplishments and legacy. You may suggest preferred charities for memorial contributions and let people know if you would rather not receive flowers.
|What is embalming?|
|Embalming is the temporary disinfection, preservation, and restoration of the body. During the embalming process, the body is washed and dressed and cosmetics are applied.|
|Is embalming necessary?|
|If the body has to be transported to a country that requires embalming, then yes, it is necessary. Otherwise the decision is up to you. Some religious traditions forbid embalming. If your religion allows it, we recommend embalming if there is a long wait before burial or cremation.|
|What is involved in cremation?|
|The casket or container is placed in the cremation chamber where the temperature reaches 1,400-1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. After approximately 2.5 hours, all organic material is consumed by heat and evaporation, and the bone fragments are left behind. These are known as the cremated remains, which are then carefully removed from the chamber and processed into fine particles to be placed in a container or urn for the family.|
|Do I need a casket if I choose cremation?|
|No, you do not need to purchase a traditional casket. But, for sanitary reasons, crematories usually require a combustible, leak-proof, covered container. Commonly, a relatively-inexpensive cardboard cremation container is all you need to purchase. However there are other, more elegant options available as well. Visit our online cremation container showroom to explore your options. |
|Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?|
|By all means, yes. We encourage families to have a gathering – whether it’s a simple visitation, or a more elaborate funeral or memorial service – to support the bereaved and begin to mend the social fabric, torn by the loss of a member of the community. |
|If I choose cremation, must I purchase a casket?|
|With cremation, the purchase of a casket will depend largely on what services you want performed. Families having services such as a visitation period, funeral mass or other service in church, or other opportunity for family and friends to gather will select a casket. We have a broad range of caskets that begins at $995. Other families may prefer cremation without any visitation period, church service or other family or public gathering and, in these circumstances, they have the option of cremation with the use of a simple "alternative container", the price of which is included with our Direct Cremation services.|
Really, the choice is yours, and regardless of your choice, you can depend on KEARNS for a professional approach, services that you desire, and that are conducted in good taste. If you have a question or concern, feel free to call us. Our licensed staff is known for the ability to give knowledgeable answers that you can depend on.
|What can be done with the cremated remains?|
|The cremated remains can be interred in a cemetery plot or retained by a family member -- usually in an urn, scattered on private property or at a place that was important to the deceased. The cremated remains can be scattered at sea, or the skies above a special, well-loved place. You can also incorporate the remains into an artificial reef, to be lowered onto the sea floor. There, your loved one provides sanctuary for sea life for years to come. |
There are also elegant ways to memorialize a loved one using small amounts of the cremated remains, including art glass, oil paintings, and man-made diamonds. Or you can take a small amount of the cremated remains to include in a piece of cremation jewelry. Please view our online cremation keepsakes and jewelry selection for inspiration.
|Following cremation, what can be done with the cremation ashes?|
|Many people ask us about proper disposition of the cremation ashes. Actually, the options are very broad and our licensed staff can help the family with the choice best suited for its needs. Here are some of the ways that families frequently handle cremated remains:|
Burial of the cremation ashes in a family cemetery plot. This readily allows for appropriate memorialization on a new or existing monument or marker.
Burial of the ashes at a National Cemetery, if the deceased or his/her spouse is a veteran.
Burial of the cremation ashes at a later date in the casket of the spouse who chooses earth burial as opposed to cremation.
Placing the cremation ashes in a niche or columbarium at a cemetery or crematory offering this option. Today, nearly all cemeteries offer choices for the memorialization of cremated remains, including the National Veterans cemeteries.
Placing the cremation ashes in a suitable and appropriately inscribed urn, to be kept by the family in a place of honor in the home.
Scattering or burial of the cremation ashes at sea.
Private burial or scattering of the ashes on private property, perhaps in a garden or other suitable place.
Temporary holding of the cremation ashes until a final decision or opportunity is decided upon.
Return of the cremation ashes to the country of birth for final burial.
Nearly all these options allow for ceremony and memorialization -- something which most families find important as they seek closure and further opportunity for remembering a life that was lived. Our staff of licensed funeral directors can be very helpful to a family as they consider these other options. We welcome a call about the options we and the local cemeteries and crematories offer.
|I'm considering cremation, but my family has concerns about it. What choices are there?|
|Concerns about cremation often come about through misunderstandings and misinformation. When death of a loved one occurs, the family needs and generally wants the time to gather, to experience the support of one another, their faith and the community. Unfortunately, many believe that cremation eliminates all these healthy, supportive opportunities. Cremation is simply the final physical step, just as burial is a final step.|
A religious service and other cultural traditions and experiences associated with a funeral can and should take place whether burial or cremation is the choice. We offer a range of cremation oriented services which have the opportunity for family and friends to gather, for clergy to be present or for a service or mass in church and for the death of a loved one to be marked in a meaningful manner. If you have questions about cremation and funerals, call us. We have the experience and understanding to bring value and meaning to whichever service you choose.
|I'm considering organ donation. Can I do this and still have funeral services for the benefit of our surviving family members?|
|You certainly can. The generous act of organ donation does not preclude whatever funeral services you and your family deem appropriate. When a death occurs, and organ donation is a consideration, early communication and cooperation between the family, funeral director and the medical profession is very important. Once that is accomplished, all needs can be met. The "gift of life" with organ donation does not have to interfere with services and will allow the surviving family, friends and community to experience the funeral.|
At Leo F. Kearns, we're prepared to help in all these matters and our positive approach and broad experience can be a big help with these concerns.
|"What Can Be Done About Missing Documents?"|
|In the event of a death, it is important that a family have quick access to the cemetery deed and military discharge papers, if any. We've always found it wise, therefore, to assure yourself that these papers are readily available.|
If either has been misplaced, a duplicate record can be obtained. But we suggest that the time to apply for duplicates is now -- before they're needed. When you have them in hand, keep them in a secure location, and make sure your family knows where to find them. But remember a bank safety deposit box is not the best place for such documents, because access to it is not always assured over a holiday or weekend, or following the death of the deposit box holder.
|"Can You Help Us With Our Insurance Claim?"|
|We're here to help. We know that filing insurance claims can be a confusing, time-consuming procedure, and unfamiliar forms are just another added burden. That is the reason that many families ask us if we can assist in handling life insurance policies.|
We have claim forms for most insurance companies and we are familiar with how they should be filed. We can make sure that these important benefits are obtained without delay. We know that this is the kind of extra service that families appreciate -- especially in times of stress.
|"Have Government Burial Allowances Been Eliminated?"|
|Allowances are still available, but fewer people are entitled to receive them.|
Social Security continues to provide a burial allowance payable to the surviving spouse or minor children of a deceased worker. And the Veterans Administration has a number of benefits for those who qualify and apply for them.
For example, those receiving VA pensions or compensation and veterans who die in a VA hospital are qualified. Transportation allowances are provided as well to some. Other benefits include a grave or urn site, and a memorial marker for the veteran and spouse.
We file all the necessary applications as part of our standard service. And we are always available to answer your questions about specific benefits. We're here to serve you. There is no obligation.