Pre-Planning FAQs

Everything you need to know and want to ask about pre-planning.

You’ve taken an important step by choosing to pre-plan. Congratulations. By taking steps to arrange these important plans now, you’ve taken a large burden off of your beloved family, providing them with greater peace of mind. You’re relieving your family of the cost that can be associated with planning a burial, allowing them to celebrate and honor your life. And finally, you’re ensuring that every last detail is planned according to your own wishes and needs.

You might have some questions as you begin the path towards pre-planning. We’re here to help answer them.



Pre-planning versus pre-funding? I’ve heard both terms, what is the difference?

Pre-planning is much like it sounds, it is making the decisions of how you would like to be remembered. It allows you to make your wishes known to your loved ones and gives you the opportunity to create a unique celebration...just how you would have wanted it. Pre-funding is the next logical step in the planning process. Your loved ones will greatly appreciate you pre-planning as it alleviates questions like "I'm not sure what he would have wanted". However, knowing your choices still leaves a financial burden for those left behind. Pre-funding allows you to pay for your funeral plans, saving loved ones from incurring those costs. There are several different options of pre-funding your funeral which our Pre-Planning Specialists will guide you through.

Here are some questions that often come up from others at the same stage:


Can I move a previously planned arrangement?

Yes, your arrangements are yours and can be transferred. The process of pre-arranging is a benefit to you and your family... It's not a way to lock you into being served by a specific or particular funeral home or cemetery.


Do I need to 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. Most all area cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink and for the safety of visitors and staff.


I’ve heard about mausoleum burials - what are the benefits?

People choose mausoleum crypts because they are both clean and dry. They offer a good alternative for those who prefer to not be interred in the ground.


Are there vaults for cremated remains?

Yes, we offer urn vaults, designed for in-ground burial of cremated remains. We have a wide selection available, so we are sure we can help you find a beautiful option that is a good fit for your taste and preferences.


Can two cremations be performed at once?

No. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. We own and operate our own crematory at our funeral home in Marion, Iowa, so we have full control over the cremation process.


Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes. Our cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom. As anything, this is a personal choice on whether you want to witness this event.


Are cemeteries running out of space?

Just like other open spaces, cemeteries have been impacted by the sheer number of people on our planet. However, funeral homes and local cemeteries can always help you find the space you need, so don’t ever feel that there is not an option to meet your needs. Our cemetery, Linwood Cemetery in Cedar Rapids, has sufficient space for generations to come.


I’ve heard of Perpetual Care - what is it?

In short, Perpetual Care refers to the funds that keep the cemetery grounds beautiful and well-kept, ensuring that your loved one will be taken care of each and every day over the long term. Once the service is over and those in attendance have left the grounds, we want to ensure that peacefulness and beauty are permanent parts of our grounds and Perpetual Care makes this possible.


Isn't it true not having a gathering or funeral makes it easier for my family?

Absolutely not! Friends and family want an opportunity to show you they care and to remember your loved one. Planning a gathering or funeral will allow you to control when and how this happens. When opting to not have a gathering or funeral, people will no doubt stop you at the grocery store, at work, at school and at times when you aren’t prepared for it. 


Can I have a funeral if I don't have a minister or don't want a religious service?

Absolutely! We have on staff a Certified Celebrant is a trained LIFE TRIBUTE professional. The Celebrant will work with you to learn about your loved one and turn favorite stories, memories and interests of the loved one into a beautiful and personalized celebration of life.

    A Certified Celebrant is a person who has been trained and certified through InSight Life Tribute Specialists to meet the needs of families during their time of loss. A Funeral Celebrant serves by providing a funeral service, memorial service or tribute that is personalized and individualized to reflect the personality and lifestyle of the deceased after consultation with the family and loved ones and coordination with the funeral home.


Isn't cremation the same at all funeral homes?

NO! All local funeral homes offer cremation services, but did you know most don’t even have a crematory. If you are considering cremation make sure you ask the following  questions:

    1) Where is your crematory located?
    2) Who owns the crematory?
    3) Who operates the crematory?
    4) When can I see the crematory?

The Murdoch Crematory is owned by our funeral home and is located at our Marion, Iowa, location. Only our State of Iowa Licensed Funeral Directors operate it. We invite families to inspect our crematory at their convenience.

If you are looking for a cremation provider, make sure you find one that doesn’t contract this to another funeral home provider that you may not know or trust or use a warehouse-type provider that is run by non-licensed operators. We feel this important process should be handled personally from start to finish by the funeral home you choose.


Can I have a party instead of funeral?

We have this request frequently and we are the best at helping you organize that party. We can take care of all the details. Our location, food and drinks will help get the memory sharing to begin. 

We know that you may have other questions, so feel free to call us at anytime so that we can walk you your options and help you create the best possible plan for you.

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