FAQs

It is sometimes hard to know what questions to ask regarding funerals, this page contains answers to commonly asked questions.

Q. Does a funeral or memorial service have to be held in a funeral home or church?
A. No. Although it’s customary for the service to be held in a funeral home or church, we can organize a service in other locations such as your own home or at a special venue of your choice

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Q. Does CCFS offer non-religious funeral services.
A. Absolutely. We cater to all people from all walks of life and their beliefs.

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Q. Can you do ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’ caskets and services?
A. Yes, we are happy to discuss the range of options for eco-friendly funerals.

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Q. What happens to the casket when a person is cremated?
A. The casket is cremated together with the deceased body, as required by New Zealand law.

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Q. What sort of information do you need?
A. We have to give specific information to officially register the death. This includes the full name and address, occupation, place of birth, details of any marriage(s), and details of the deceased’s children and parents.
We’ll also ask about your choices for the funeral service, such as burial or cremation, casket type, flowers, music, and a variety of other details in order to create a suitably personalised service.

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Q. Is embalming necessary?
A. Strictly speaking no. Embalming disinfects and preserves the body, and is therefore an important tool to remove any health hazards before the body is transported and viewed. Embalming also helps to restore the deceased person’s natural appearance and allows time for friends and family to say goodbye, for example if the body is to be taken home or to a marae for a period of time. There are various levels of preservation and we are happy to discuss the various options available.

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Q. Can I choose what happens at the funeral service?
A. Certainly. These days funerals are seen as a very personalized service, and at CCFS we welcome as much input as you would like to have in designing an appropriate celebration of the life of your loved one.

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Q. Who chooses between burial or cremation?
A. Normally the deceased has expressed their wishes (via pre-arrangement or in writing) they are generally respected and followed. Otherwise the decision is made by the immediate family or executor.

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Q. How much does a funeral cost?
A. It depends on the actual services and merchandise (casket, flowers, urns, etc.) utilised. Rest assured we can arrange funerals to suit a wide range of budgets.

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Q. How and when do I pay for the funeral services?
A. In general terms the account for services rendered is sent out around 14 days following the funeral service. This allows sufficient time for all 3rd party entities to submit their invoices to CCFS. The account is then processed by our accounts manager and sent on to either the Next of Kin or a specified 3rd Party eg a Law firm. The funeral account is due for payment within 26 days of the date of invoice. CCFS is happy to discuss individual payment options regarding payment periods, partial payments or extended payment plans for families prior to the invoice being overdue and incurring default payment fees.after the funeral service. Please contact Roddy McKinnon or Simon Lyford to discuss financial queries in person.

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Q. How long does it take for the death certificate to arrive?
A. The death is registered after the funeral has been completed. The information is sent to Births, Deaths, and Marriages and the certificate is then issued and sent back to CCFS where we check it before sending to the family. This process takes approx. 7-10 working days. Click to view BDM website.

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Q. Is it better to send a gift instead of flowers?
A. While flowers are the traditional sympathy gift, it’s important to remember that flowers eventually die, and for many bereaved people the day they have to throw the flowers away can intensity their feelings of sadness and loss.
A sympathy gift that lasts will extend your message of support and caring. For example, a keepsake box can be used to hold cherished mementos and photos of the deceased. Books are be read and re-read and shared amongst family members. A houseplant or outdoor plant for the garden provides a lasting reminder of the deceased throughout the seasons.

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Q. The family has asked for charitable donations “in lieu of flowers”. Is it still appropriate to send a sympathy gift?
A. Absolutely. Your gift provides visible, emotional support to the bereaved and is your personal message of condolence.
Families often ask for donations because they believe that money is better spent on meaningful charitable work than on flowers. However, they are not saying “we don’t want gifts of support and comfort”.
Remember that you can choose to express sympathy and support in multiple ways: cards, charitable donations, sympathy gifts, food and general help and assistance are all valid and appreciated.

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Q. Should I send a gift commemorating the one-year anniversary of the death?
A. Special anniversaries and holidays can be difficult for the bereaved, and sending a gift provides comfort and support during these more trying times. These sympathy gifts are sometimes called ‘memorial gifts’, and they show the bereaved that they are not forgotten.
Grieving is a long process, and often the bereaved are told they need to ‘move on’ before they’re ready. If you have a friend or family member who is still hurting, it’s okay to acknowledge the anniversary of the death or a special holiday with a memorial gift.

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Q. I was close to the deceased but didn’t really know the family. Who should I address the sympathy card to?
A. You send the card to the closest relative of the person who has died, i.e. the widow/widower or the eldest child, and let the recipient know how you were connected to the deceased.
For example, if a business associate has died you can send a card to the spouse saying something like: “Mike and I worked together at Widget & Sons. He was valuable and much loved colleague. I/we will truly miss him, and we send you our deepest condolences.”

General Questions
Does a funeral or memorial service have to be held in a funeral home or church?
Does CCFS offer non-religious funeral services.
Can you do ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’ caskets and services?
What happens to the casket when a person is cremated?
What sort of information do you need?
Is embalming necessary?
Can I choose what happens at the funeral service?
Who chooses between burial or cremation?
How long does it take for the death certificate to arrive?

Financial Questions
How much does a funeral cost?
How and when do I pay for the funeral services?

Suporting Bereaved Family’s
Is it better to send a gift instead of flowers?
The family has asked for charitable donations “in lieu of flowers”. Is it still appropriate to send a sympathy gift?
Should I send a gift commemorating the one-year anniversary of the death?
I was close to the deceased but didn’t really know the family. Who should I address the sympathy card to?