A photo of Jeff Monreal, owner and operator of Jeff Monreal Funeral Homes posing in a black suit with no background

Painesville Location

1000 Mentor Avenue Painesville, Ohio 44077

Willoughby Location

38001 Euclid Avenue Willoughby, Ohio 44094

Mentor Location

6330 Center Street Mentor, Ohio 44060

Funeral Trends of 2024 from Preplanning to Cremation Rates

In recent years, new services and technology have allowed people to personalize and customize a funeral in untraditional and creative ways.

So, funeral trends may surprise you and are worth investigating, from pre planned funerals to celebrating a loved one. 

Cremation Rates are Rising (along with everything else)

The most common type of funeral practice has been burial. However, since the 1960s, cremation has gained popularity in the USA.

The USA cremation rate has increased by almost 30 percent since 2000. As of 2020, the rate reached 73.1 percent and is expected to grow to 77.6 percent by 2024. 

Lower cost is a significant reason for the increase in cremation rates. Traditional burials range in price from three thousand to over twelve thousand dollars because burials generally include increased funeral expenses.

For example, a casket alone typically runs between two thousand three hundred and five thousand dollars but can also cost upwards of twenty thousand dollars depending on customization. 

In contrast, cremation funeral costs fall between two thousand and five thousand dollars. With people choosing to have simple ceremonies, most of the expense goes toward cremation, provider fees, and urn purchases. Urns range in price from ten dollars to upwards of two thousand dollars. 

Direct cremation further reduces the average costs of a funeral. The remains of the loved one are sent directly to a cremation service center shortly after death, eliminating goods and services such as the casket, embalming, viewing, visitation, and wake. Direct cremation usually falls within the fifteen hundred to four thousand plus dollar price range.

Sustainability is a significant reason cremation has become more popular and is viewed as more environmentally friendly than burials. It requires less energy, is less labor-intensive, and uses fewer resources. 

Cremation also offers many options for the family members. Burial funerals need to take place in a relatively short period, and planning a large funeral becomes stressful. For cremation, families can hold the funeral or memorial immediately or celebrate much later. This also makes celebrating the deceased’s life easier with extended family and friends. 

Funeral Preplanning

The cost of dying has been steadily increasing over time, causing a surge in funeral arrangements made in advance, known as preplanning. People choose to customize funeral arrangements and memorial service ahead of time so that their wishes are followed with specific products and services. Preplanning gives us control over what will happen when we die. 

The prepaid funeral arrangement contract is a legal agreement made before death. This contract can be made with the funeral home service provider or funeral insurance company or within a life insurance policy. Your pre-selected arrangements will pay for the funeral with these allocated funds after death. 

This type of contract also helps protect you from inflation because the services are guaranteed at the pre-selected price.

Cremation Alternatives for Scattering and Burial

In recent years, the cremated remains were buried, scattered, interred in a niche or columbarium, or kept at the family home. Today, there are other options available: 

• Placing the ashes into keepsake jewelry or art

• Sending some of the ashes into space

• Incorporating ashes into fireworks.

• Pressing the ashes into a vinyl record

• Turning the ashes into a memorial diamond

• Turning ashes into memorial stones

• Growing ashes into a tree

• Adding ashes to a plush toy

• Painting a portrait with ashes

• Turning ashes into an underwater reef ball

• Scattering ashes from the sky

The Funeral Party

A growing trend for a funeral is focusing on a more joyous event to celebrate the loved one’s life. A great example is a celebration of life party. A celebration of life can have more solemn and respectful moments, but it is generally a more joyous celebration. Often, it is a mixture of both.

A funeral party allows us to hold a memorial for the deceased person and celebrate their life. Activities such as incorporating favorite foods, music, and decorations are common. 

These are some activity ideas:

  • An open mic night where friends and family take turns on stage sharing memories of their time with the deceased.
  • Memorial videos or slideshows are shared.
  • Participate in a favorite pastime or hobby. For example, go fishing, hiking, stargazing, or a game of golf.
  • Have a DJ play the loved one’s favorite music.
  • Have dinner and serve the deceased person’s favorite foods.

The Crowdfunding Option 

Crowdfunding provides a way for the family of the deceased as an aid in covering some of the costs of the funeral. 

Crowdfunding platforms are used to raise money for causes important to the deceased. Such as breast or lung cancer if that’s what caused the deceased’s death. Some of these raised funds can go to cancer research. 


If you have questions about cremation or the non-traditional funeral service, need information about direct cremation, or have any other concerns, contact us at Jeff Monreal Funeral Home. We can help you make funeral arrangements or to preplan a funeral. Contact us anytime at (440)527-6294.

Most funeral directors and funeral homes employees are trained to deal with grief and frequently deal with people who have lost loved ones. They try to make the process of planning a funeral service as easy and stress-free as possible for those in mourning. They also usually have a working knowledge of grief and how it works, and are able to work with those who have recently experienced loss.

What Can You Do if You Can’t Afford Funeral Home Services?

What do you do if you can’t afford a service at a funeral home? Learn helpful tips for planning a funeral service to help relieve the financial burden.

The cost of funerals varies, but they don’t have to be extravagant and expensive. What do you do if you can’t afford a funeral at a Northeastern Ohio funeral home? Who’s responsible for paying for the funeral, anyway?

Common questions surrounding paying for funeral and cremation services:

• What if there is a refusal to pay for the funeral? 

The funeral home does not have to take custody of the body. The funeral home does not have to accept the body if a family does not pay. Suppose the funeral home already has custody of the body, and the family refuses to pay. In that case, the funeral home will stop all planning, goods and services.

The body will be refrigerated per Ohio regulations. The family is charged a storage fee for the length of time the body is stored there. The body can be transferred to the State of Ohio at any time.

Are there government bodies that help with funeral costs?

Several government organizations help with funeral costs and the body’s final disposition. These agencies include:

  • Social Security
  • State Department of Health
  • Veteran’s Affairs
  • FEMA (if death occurred due to a natural disaster)

• What about getting a funeral loan? 

Many credit unions, online lenders, and banks offer loans to cover funeral expenses. Anyone can apply for a funeral loan. 

• Do you have to have a funeral?

You’re not required to have a funeral. So, you don’t have to worry if you can’t afford one. To save money, you can select a direct burial or cremation option (the most affordable final disposition services).

But if you want a funeral or service, there are ways to do so without spending too much money. The National Funeral Directors recommend personal loans covering the cost, along with establishing monthly payments.

• If the deceased has no money, who pays? 

The next of kin traditionally pays for funeral expenses if the deceased has no money. If the next-of-kin aren’t able or don’t want to pay, there won’t be a funeral. 

• Are there free burials or cremations? 

The county coroner’s office provides a form for the next of kin to sign, and the state will cremate or bury the body. While this is a free service, you will not have any say in where or how.

•   Is it free to donate the body to science?

Donating a body to science does result in a no-cost cremation. You can donate your body to science to medical schools, medical laboratories, and local hospitals. 

The Bottom Line 

There are numerous ways to deal with getting help to pay for a funeral such as buying a life insurance policy and opening a bank account. There is the option of paying with a credit card, and sometimes families can split the cost. The process is much less stressful when you plan. 

If you are feeling like you can’t afford a funeral home service, don’t fret. Paying for a service at any funeral home can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Take time for the pre-planning funeral options, including how your family members or loved ones will pay for your services. We are here to help if you want to learn more about preplanning or dealing with a recent loss. Call us at Jeff Monreal Funeral Home or visit us today. 

Urn and Keepsake Differences

A cremation keepsake is designed to hold a small amount of ashes which is what makes it different from an urn. Keepsakes can be unique and special small pieces of jewelry or other items representing a loved one. Many people wish to have a keepsake after their loved one is cremated. In addition, many families choose to have a larger full-sized urn holding all the loved one’s ashes.

With keepsakes, families can create various memorial pieces for each family member as a special way to keep their loved ones with them. 

Urn jewelry is simply a small, hollowed-out container that you will fill with a small amount of your loved one’s ashes. It can be a charm or a bead you would put on a bracelet, but more commonly comes as a necklace.

Urn Types

An urn is a container used to hold a person’s cremated remains. Traditionally, urns for human ashes were vase-shaped containers with lids made from wood, metal, glass, cultured marble urns, or ceramic.

Funeral planning involves many difficult choices. Choosing the right urn becomes the next big question once you’ve decided that you want to move forward with cremation. The cremation urn is just as important as the gravestone or casket because it serves the role of both.

Finding the average cost of an urn can be perplexing. The size, material, and origin will all have a part to play in the price.

You want to make sure that the urn you select reflects the wishes and tastes of the deceased and their loved ones. A biodegradable urn might be best if the deceased was concerned about the environment.

You probably don’t want an overly ornate version if they had simple tastes. Chances are, you’ll know which urn is perfect when you see it, but keeping the personality of the deceased can help make the process more personal.

Urns range in size, material, and style. Here are some of the types of urns and their uses:

Scattering Urn

These urns are designed to hold ashes while also allowing for easy scattering. 

Water Urn

Water urns are unique because they are entirely biodegradable urns and will completely dissolve in water. These are eco friendly urns. They allow the remains to be dispersed gently without scattering ash or them blowing away or being accidentally dropped.

Memorial Urn

This urn holds a person’s ashes and is displayed inside the home. They are usually engraved with the family member’s name, date of birth and death, and a favorite saying or quote. 

Cremation Urn for Burial

After cremation, many people want to be buried. The burial urn is a secure type of urn that will hold the person’s ashes when buried. You want to choose an urn that is durable and will not inevitably be crushed by the weight of the earth’s gravity or be destroyed, which is why metal or stone are the best options.

Jeff Monreal can advise the best possible materials suitable for the types of burial the family chooses. You can also decide to purchase an urn vault to contain the urn for extra protection and increased durability.

Tree Urn

Some people wish to plant a young tree with the person’s cremated remains. This allows the tree to use the ashes as it grows, and the remains become a living urn by using material for the growing tree to use.

Planter Urns

Planter urns are unique planters for indoor areas that will hold the loved one’s ashes. These are particularly meaningful if the deceased was known to be a plant person. 

Types of Keepsakes

A keepsake is a small token or memento symbolizing a significant person, event, or place. A memorial keepsake is a small item representing, often quite literally, a person who has passed. They’re meant to be kept in a particular place or on display so you can remember the loved one. 

There are many different types of memorial keepsakes, and mini urns and mini keepsakes, and some popular ones include:

Keepsake Urn

A keepsake urn is a smaller, decorative container designed to hold a small portion of the cremated remains (ashes) of a loved one. These urns have gained popularity for several reasons due to the unique benefits they offer:

  1. Personalization: Keepsake urns come in various shapes, sizes, materials, and designs. This allows you to choose an urn that reflects the deceased’s personality, interests, or hobbies, making it a more personalized and meaningful tribute.
  2. Shared Remembrance: Keepsake urns allow family members and friends to have a portion of the cremated remains. This way, multiple people can share in the remembrance of the loved one, keeping a small piece of them close.
  3. Portability: The smaller keepsake urns make them easier to transport, store, or display in various locations. This can be especially beneficial if you want to keep the urn in different places, such as at home, at a workplace, or while traveling.
  4. Comfort in Grief: For some people, having a keepsake urn can provide comfort in grieving. The physical presence of the urn can serve as a tangible connection to the departed, offering a source of solace during difficult times.
  5. Flexibility in Memorialization: Keepsake urns offer flexibility in memorializing your loved one. You can place them on display shelves, mantelpieces, or memorial cases. Some keepsake urns are designed to be wearable as jewelry, allowing you to carry a small part of your loved one with you wherever you go.
  6. Cost-Effective Option: Traditional full-sized urns can be more expensive due to their larger size and construction. Keepsake urns provide a more affordable option for families who want to distribute the remains among several individuals or keep them in different places.
  7. Cultural and Religious Considerations: Distributing the remains among family members is expected in some cultures and religions. Keepsake urns provide a respectful way to honor these traditions.
  8. Commemorative Ceremonies: Families can hold multiple memorial services or ceremonies using keepsake urns with different groups of people. This allows for more intimate gatherings and sharing of memories.
  9. Flexibility for Final Resting Place: If the family still decides on a permanent resting place for the remains, keepsake urns provide a temporary solution while allowing for more time to make decisions.

It’s important to note that the choice of urn, whether standard or keepsake, is personal. Families should consider their preferences, cultural or religious beliefs, and the deceased’s wishes when selecting the appropriate urn.

Keepsake Jewelry

  • Urn pendants are hollow and hold a tiny amount of cremation ash. They can also be engraved
  • Fingerprint jewelry contains the image of your loved one’s fingerprint and can be made into almost any type of jewelry.

Keepsake Cremation Urns

  • Keepsake urns are small and allow numerous people to keep a small part of the ashes

Keepsake Glass

  • These are small, colorful glass pieces, usually handmade and infused with a small portion of ashes. These come in three typical shapes – hearts, orbs, and touchstones.

Urns and Keepsakes

 Here are some of the differences between urns and keepsakes.

  1. The urn is meant to hold a deceased’s ashes. Keepsakes are tokens for the remembrance of a loved one. 
  2. Full-size or portion urns are much larger than a keepsake, even a keepsake urn.
  3. Keepsakes can be anything small that reminds a person of the deceased. They include everything from photographs to jewelry. 

Compassion When You Need It Most

At Jeff Monreal Funeral Home, we work with people from all over Lake County to plan their cremation services, including Mentor, Eastlake, Willoughby, Willowick, Painesville, Wickliffe and beyond. If cremation services are something you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We are only one phone call away from providing peace of mind and excellent service. Contact us to start planning for your family.

Know your Rights when Planning a Funeral 

Would you know where to start if someone asked you to help plan a funeral? The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Rule allows you to compare prices among funeral homes, and makes it possible for you to select the funeral arrangements you want at the home you use. The FTC rule also provides:

  • Relevant information about funeral services and goods.
  • The different types of funerals.
  • Knowing your rights will help you make informed choices.

You can choose the things you need or want, and you can compare prices.

The FTC’s Rule states that funeral homes must give you services such as product information, including prices, over the phone. Some funeral homes also provide pricing information online.

Consumer Rights

The FTC has promulgated a rule setting forth consumer rights when purchasing funeral goods and services.  Some of these rights in the FTC rule are as follows:

  • -A right to receive price information over the telephone.
  • -The funeral home must give the consumer a general price list.
  • -The consumer has a right to use an alternative container instead of a casket for cremation. For example, the body could be placed in an unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard or cardboard box.
  • -The consumer may purchase a casket elsewhere and the funeral home must accept this casket.
  • -Funeral arrangements can be made without embalming of the body. No State law requires embalming for every death. Refrigeration of the body is an acceptable alternative. However many funeral homes have a policy of requiring embalming if the body will be publicly viewed.

You have rights, whether the arrangements are made online, by telephone, or in person. More rights are listed below:

In Summary, You have the Right to:

  • Purchase only the services (such as a memorial service) and goods (such as a casket) that you want and are not required to buy a package deal 
  • Use a container other than a casket for cremation–such as those made of cardboard, pressed wood, or another material
  • Make use of an urn or casket you purchased elsewhere
  • Receive a written statement after making decisions and before you pay anything. This statement is required to list the price for every service, any goods you have chosen, and the total cost.

You can use the FTC’s Funeral Pricing Checklist to compare costs and ask about available options at different funeral providers. 

The Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), allows you to choose only those services and goods you need and want. The Rule will enable you to compare prices between different funeral homes, making it possible to select the funeral arrangements you want at the funeral home you use. 

Basic Services of the Funeral Home 

The Basic Services fee cannot be declined and is included in all arrangements. This fee covers the death certificate, all required permits, planning for the funeral, coordinating arrangements with the cemetery, cemetery plot, basic sanitation, and holding the remains. This fee is included in the prices shown for immediate burial or direct cremation. 

Compassion When You Need It Most

When you are faced with calling a funeral home, I invite you to call the funeral director at Jeff Monreal Funeral Home at any time of the day or night at (440) 527-6294. You can trust that I will treat your loved one with respect and honor. I will also treat your friends and family members with compassion and dignity during the funeral or cremation process. I pledge that every detail be handled thoroughly and within your budget.

When your loved one passes away it is, unfortunately, time to plan a funeral. There are many questions that you should ask yourself. Are you certain what kind of service you would like to host?

There are plenty of options. Jeff will discuss five choices in this article that you can consider.

There are a considerable number of funeral homes in Lake County, Ohio, but none provide the compassion and service that Jeff Monreal Funeral home does. We offer several different types of funeral services and we want you to be aware of what they are. The particular kind of service you choose depends on a variety of factors. It is hard to make a decision if you do not know all of your options.

Pros and Cons of Cremation

When making funeral plans for a deceased loved one, two main options are available for families: Cremation and Burial. Cremation is not an easy subject to think about.

Cremation is currently trending in the United States, and over sixty percent of the world’s population chooses cremation over burial. The most used phrase funeral directors hear about cremation is, “It’s cheaper. Mom didn’t want us to spend money on this.” 

Cremation vs. Burial PROS: 

1. You can still have a viewing/funeral before cremation.

  • This keeps the funeral somewhat the same as a traditional burial. Your friends and family can visit during the visitation, view your loved one in a casket, and have a funeral with the body present.
  • It can give you and your family some closure with the passing. It will feel more like a conservative funeral rite. Once the service is over, the cremation can proceed days later.

2. Cremation is less expensive than burial.

  • Casket Burial is more expensive than cremation cost because you need to choose a casket or cemetery plot. However, the costs can differ with your choice of urns or services.

3. Cremation uses less land and helps with overcrowding.

  • Cemeteries have been around for centuries. Many of the cemeteries are beginning to become overcrowded or running out of space for future burials while other families are interested in green burials.
  • With cremation, you can keep your loved ones remains with you, scatter their ashes, and bury them at sea in a coral reef or at the cemetery. Even if you decide to bury your loved one’s ashes at the cemetery, the urn vault is significantly smaller than a burial vault.

4. Cremated remains are portable and can be transferred into other urns.

  • The beauty of cremation is that you can take your loved one’s ashes with you anywhere. Let’s say you decide upon an urn at the time of passing.
  • Some people may want another urn later. You can take the urns to the funeral home, and they can transfer the cremains. The options are unlimited.
  • You can also divide the cremated remains into other urns for family members or friends. There is even an option for cremation jewelry.

5. Families have more time deciding on where the ashes will go.

  • It is very challenging to make any decision during your time of grief and pain. If you decide upon cremation, you and your family will have much more time to plan exactly what you would like to do. Burials are time sensitive and usually completed within a week.
  • In contrast, a cremation can give you more time to breathe and relax and decide what to do with the cremated remains. You can always scatter ashes or bury an urn; however, with burial, you are more pressured on time.

6. There are fewer details to plan for a service.

  • Memorial services generally do not require as much planning as a burial/funeral service. Also, you can plan a memorial service months later upon initial passing.
  • With memorial services, you don’t need to schedule a funeral procession or a graveside service at the cemetery. It may allow you more time to think about how you want to personalize your loved one’s celebration of life. 

Cremation vs. Burial CONS:

1. It is a permanent choice of disposition.

  • Cremation is such an irreversible form of disposition. The best example I can provide is if the death was due to a tragedy, most of the time, families want answers from the Medical Examiner and local police.
  • If your loved one is cremated, there is no physical body for the police to examine as evidence. If someone was buried, the police could exhume the grave (meaning they could take the body out of the ground) to further their investigation.

2. It may be against some religions.

  • Throughout history, some religions have had rules where they are prohibited from cremation or stray away from it. Traditionally, Catholics were opposed to cremation. They still prefer the body to be present during the funeral mass.
  • Still, they will allow cremation if the ashes are buried. Another religion that strictly prohibits cremation is Eastern Orthodox. Suppose your loved one is religious, and you are unsure about the religious aspect of cremation. In that case, calling a local church and asking is always best.

3. Cremation provides limited closure.

  • Whether you choose cremation or burial, spending some final time with your loved one is essential. That closure helps with the healing process. When you spend that final moment with your loved one, it gives you that sense of reality.
  • Those families that want cremation and no services find out later that they are regretful for not being able to see their loved one. Cremation does not give you as much closure in grieving as a full burial funeral.

4. It can cause family tension.

  • Unfortunately, some families do disagree with the final decisions of disposition. It can cause tension between other family members if one child wants cremation and the other wants burial. Another issue comes with the distribution of the ashes.
  • You can decide who gets to keep the ashes. All these decisions can cause families to feud. It may be more challenging for one family member to mourn than another due to the nature of cremation.

5. Cremation and death of a loved one can be hard to explain to children.

  • Children often need to understand death tangibly. This includes seeing their deceased loved one and being taught the truth behind the death. The best way children will learn is to witness the passing and not be sheltered from it.
  • Cremation can be more challenging for kids to understand because the closure of seeing their loved one may not be available. They may not understand the reality of death if they do not get the opportunity to experience it with their own eyes. They need to grieve in their own way, as adults do.

Green Burial

A green burial, also known as a natural burial or eco-friendly burial, is an environmentally conscious approach to burial that minimizes the impact on the Earth and encourages the decomposition of the body in a natural way.

It is an alternative to conventional burials using concrete vaults, which often involve embalming, using non-biodegradable materials, and maintaining manicured lawns in cemeteries.

The body is typically placed directly in the ground without embalming in a green burial. This allows the body to decompose and return to the earth naturally.

Using biodegradable materials, such as a simple wooden coffin or biodegradable casket, or a shroud made from natural fibers, is encouraged. The burial site is often chosen in a natural setting, such as a meadow or a forest, rather than a traditional cemetery.

The benefits of green burial include:

  1. Environmental Conservation: Green burials aim to reduce the environmental impact of traditional burial practices. Green burials help preserve natural resources, minimize carbon emissions, and protect ecosystems by avoiding embalming chemicals, non-biodegradable coffins, and concrete burial vaults.
  2. Natural Decomposition: Green burials promote the body’s natural decomposition, allowing it to return to the soil and contribute to the ecosystem. This process facilitates the recycling of nutrients and supports the growth of plants and wildlife.
  3. Cost-effectiveness: Green burials can be more affordable compared to conventional burials, as they often involve simpler and less expensive materials and procedures. This can make them an appealing option for those looking for a more budget-friendly choice.
  4. Emotional Connection to Nature: Green burials allow individuals and their loved ones to be laid to rest in a natural setting, creating a closer connection to the environment. This can offer a sense of peace and comfort for those who appreciate nature.

It’s important to note that green burial practices may vary depending on local regulations and cemetery policies. Suppose you are interested in pursuing a green burial. In that case, it is advisable to research and consult with Jeff Monreal Funeral Home to learn more about eco-friendly burial options.

There are many paths to change the way we approach end of life and after-death decisions. The Green Burial Council provides direction. Choosing unimpeded burial and the time-honored rituals that go with family-centered graveside funerals is one of them. 

Other Factors

There are several factors when making a final decision about your loved one. Keep these different aspects in your thoughts when choosing cremation vs. burial. Remember that the funeral director is there to answer any of your questions. It is a personal decision and every family has reasons for choosing cremation or burial, but it depends on your needs or wants. 

In summary, cremation allows you to still provide personalization in celebrating the life of your loved one. It is significantly less expensive than burial but can add up with all the extras you choose. 

Some religions may prohibit cremation and will not allow a member to be cremated. Cremation is also safer for the environment and takes up less space than burial. Because a memorial service has less to plan for, it can be easier for families who live further away. On the downside of cremation, it can be challenging to properly mourn and obtain closure if you do not view your loved one or have a service.

Jeff Monreal, our Funeral Director here at Jeff Monreal Funeral Home, understands your concerns with funeral arrangements. We focus on providing as much knowledge and education to you and your family before you make this big decision.  

If cremation services are something you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We are only one phone call away from providing peace of mind and excellent service. Contact us to start planning for your family.

What do you do when a loved one dies? 

A checklist for the survivors

The emotional aspect of dealing with bereavement – even one that was expected – can be devastating. It can be easy to overcomplicate the process and get lost on your journey.

is no “right” way to do it. You may need professional help to talk through your feelings or time to process it all on your own.

Here is a list of suggestions for things you should do when a loved one dies:

  1. Take care of yourself. Ensure you eat healthy meals, get plenty of rest, and exercise regularly.
  2. Reach out to family and friends for support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
  3. Take your time when making decisions. You don’t need to rush into anything, and taking your time to think things through is ok.
  4. Make sure to attend to any necessary paperwork and financial matters. Connect with a grief counselor or bereavement support group if needed.
  5. Find ways to honor your loved one’s memory.

Whether it’s through a memorial service, a special tribute, or even a simple act of kindness in their name, take the time to remember them meaningfully.

The steps below outline the main areas you must address, starting immediately following the death. At Jeff Monreal Funeral Home, we can help you with all the important information and considerations along the way.

If you need clarification on where to start following a bereavement, Call Any Time (440) 527-6294, and we can go through your next steps together.


  • ❑ The funeral home should be contacted so that they take charge of adequately caring for your loved one. 
  • ❑ Alert your immediate family members and close friends. 
  • ❑ If employed, contact the deceased’s employer. 
  • ❑ If applicable, notify the deceased’s Power of Attorney. 
  • ❑ If applicable, notify the Executor of the deceased’s Will.
  • ❑ Notify civic organizations and fraternal or religious affiliations. 
  • ❑ For the probate of the estate: notify your attorney
  • ❑ Make arrangements for dependents or pets. 
  • ❑ Secure the residence by removing any valuables. Make the home appear occupied (such as using timers on lamps).
  • ❑ Dispose of perishable foods and empty garbage. 
  • ❑ Notify the Post Office to forward the deceased’s mail. 

Locate loved one’s essential documents:

  • ❑ Will 
  • ❑ Birth certificate
  • ❑ Social Security card
  • ❑ Marriage license
  • ❑ Military discharge papers (DD-214) 
  • ❑ Deed to burial property
  • ❑ Copy of funeral prearrangements 
  • ❑ Life insurance policies 

Compile the following information that the funeral home will need to finalize the death certificate: 

  • ❑ First, middle, and last name of deceased
  • ❑ Maiden Name (if applicable) and Home Address of deceased 
  • ❑ Social Security Number of deceased
  • ❑ Date of Birth of deceased
  • ❑ Date of Death 
  • ❑ Age of deceased
  • ❑ Gender of deceased
  • ❑ Ethnicity/Race 
  • ❑ Marital Status 
  • ❑ First and last name of Spouse
  • ❑ Highest level of education attained by deceased 
  • ❑ Occupation of deceased
  • ❑ Place of Birth (City and State) of deceased
  • ❑ Deceased’s Father’s Name 
  • ❑ Birth City 
  • ❑ Birth State Deceased’s Mother’s Name 
  • ❑ Birth City 
  • ❑ Birth State

If your loved one was a Veteran 

  • ❑ Service Date Entered
  • ❑ Service Place Entered
  • ❑ Service Number
  • ❑ Service Date Separated
  • ❑ Service Place Separated
  • ❑ Rank, or Rating, and Grade
  • ❑ Service Branch or Organization


  • ❑ If applicable, talk to an attorney about probate. 
  • ❑ Talk to an accountant to discuss estate taxes. File claims with life insurance companies. 
  • ❑ Get in touch with the Social Security Administration and other government offices that may have paid the decedent.
  • ❑ If your spouse died, ask about new benefits and whether you are eligible. 
  • ❑ Notify Registrar of Voters. 
  • ❑ Cancel home services, like cable, internet, newspaper delivery, etc. 
  • ❑ Cancel any of the deceased’s prescriptions. 
  • ❑ Cancel the deceased’s driver’s license and transfer titles of all vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles. 
  • ❑ Contact the deceased’s employer.
  • ❑ Inquire about any 401 (k), pension, or company benefits to which the decedent may be entitled. 
  • ❑ Notify all three credit reporting agencies (see below). 
  • ❑ Obtain a current copy of your loved one’s credit report. 
  • ❑ Verify whether benefits are available on existing insurance policies depending on the circumstances of the death (accidental?).
  • ❑ Check benefits available through existing credit card or loan accounts for life insurance.
  • Ask about benefits you may receive through the VA if your loved one was a veteran.
  • ❑ File any outstanding claims for Medicare or health insurance 
  • ❑ Obtain copies of the deceased’s outstanding bills. 
  • ❑ Locate and obtain other important paperwork necessary for the settlement of their estate:
  • ❑ At least 12 copies of the death certificate in the form of certified Death Certificates 
  • ❑ Real estate deeds and titles 
  • ❑ Stock certificates
  • ❑ Real estate titles
  • ❑ Loan paperwork 
  • ❑ Bank and retirement account statements
  • ❑ Tax returns: the past four years
  • ❑ Notify all creditors in writing that a death has occurred. 
  • ❑ Change ownership of assets and lines of credit. 
  • ❑ Update your Will. 
  • ❑ Update beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, if necessary. 
  • ❑ Send acknowledgment cards for flowers, donations, food, and kindness. Also, remember to thank pallbearers. 
  • ❑ Organize and distribute the decedent’s personal belongings. 
  • ❑ Remove loved ones from marketing and mailing lists. 

❑ Update all legal documents, such as Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Trusts.

❑ Obtain copies of all insurance policies, including life, health, and long-term care policies. ❑ Apply for Social Security benefits.

❑ File final income tax returns and estate taxes.

❑ Pay any outstanding debts and bills.

❑ Make arrangements for the funeral and burial services.

❑ Work with an attorney to file probate documents.

❑ Retitle any jointly held assets in the surviving spouse’s name.

❑ Close all bank accounts and credit cards in the decedent’s name.

❑ Contact the decedent’s employer and file for any benefits.

❑ Collect any unpaid wages or vacation pay due to the deceased.

❑ Notify state and federal agencies of the death.

❑ Cancel any subscriptions or memberships in the decedent’s name.

❑ Distribute any remaining assets in accordance with the will.



1-800-827-1000 https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/


1-800-772-1213 www.ssa.gov/pgm/links_survivor.htm 



1-800-685-1111 • www.Equifax.com 


1-800-888-4213 • www.TransUnion.com


1-888-397-3742 • www.Experian.com

Funeral Etiquette: Knowing the Do’s and Don’ts

Knowing what to do or say after a loved one dies can be challenging. You may be grieving too. Proper funeral etiquette can be confusing. Ensuring you don’t offend family members in pain is essential. 

You’re not alone if you don’t know what to do at a funeral. Sharing your condolences and learning how to do so is a part of funeral etiquette that many people don’t know much about. There are some things you can and should not do to express your sympathy during this trying time.

Proper Funeral Etiquette

Social practices and religious and personal preferences are involved in funeral etiquette, which varies considerably. But, the main idea is for you to share your support and participation in grieving for the deceased.

A primary rule is to be understanding and respectful. People do and say things they usually would not do or say when grieving. Your presence or a kind word means a lot to suffering people now.

Be Prompt

Celebrating the deceased person’s life is the purpose of the funeral.

Still, it’s also a time you may see many people you usually do not see very often. Suppose you were asked to participate in the service. It would be best to arrive at least thirty minutes early so that the officiant can review your role.

Choosing your Outfit 

Social customs, traditions, and observed religious services can affect your choice of clothing. The traditional option is black clothing, but this is not required. Today, dressy attire in neutral colors is also appropriate.

Follow Religious Customs

Funerals that take place at a house of worship can vary greatly. You can research ahead of time to be prepared and comfortable. Just remember there will be people at the service to guide you.


The grieving family usually is seated in the first few rows. Typically, you can sit anywhere other than those few first rows. If a family member or friend is having a hard time, you can go to them to offer your support if you would not disturb the ceremony.

Should we bring the children?

If you choose to bring your child, help them prepare beforehand, so they understand what grieving is and that it’s alright to have these feelings now. Whether you should bring the kids depends on whether they were close to the deceased and the child’s age and temperament. Very young children, or those who did not know the deceased, are better off remaining home.


Flowers are an uplifting way to celebrate the deceased’s life and are common at funerals. Avoid anything too upbeat, such as arrangements with stuffed animals or balloons.

Some people prefer to donate to a favorite charity rather than sending flowers. Checking the obituary for a charity the deceased was interested in is a great indicator.

What to say when someone dies?

Finding the right words at a funeral is one of the times most people struggle. Hearing from others during their loss is immensely comforting for grieving people. But don’t let the fear of saying the wrong things keep you from conveying your heartfelt feelings.

Simple phrases such as, “I’m sorry for your loss,” “Sincerest condolences,” or “I’m here for you” work well. Sharing a fond memory of the deceased is also appropriate. It is best to avoid sentiments such as “They’re in a better place now” or “This happened for a reason.”

One of the best ways to extend condolences is by sending a handwritten note or card. Emailing or texting privately is also an appropriate way to reach out. Be careful when using social media, as posting condolences on a family member’s public feed can seem inauthentic or showy. It’s also not a way that such news should be conveyed.

If you are not a family member or close friend, express your sincerest condolences and move along so others can speak to the family.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic change funeral etiquette?

Funerals can look different these days. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s no need to delay a funeral or memorial service because of COVID-19 if you follow proper safety precautions. This includes:

  • Social distancing and mask-wearing
  • Avoiding sharing communal materials, like prayer books or programs
  • Reducing the number of people who are singing or chanting to reduce the spread of the virus through the air
  • Reconsidering traditional customs, like touching the deceased’s body

Some families might choose to delay funerals or hold virtual services as a precautionary measure, which can make grieving harder. Seeing and hugging others can be a powerful source of comfort that many families don’t have right now. Consider other ways to reach out still and show your support, like sharing comforting words or memories via video calls, texts, or letters.

Heartfelt Communication

Knowing how to comfort a grieving person can be an uncomfortable situation. When you know some basic funeral etiquette, you can support the people around you during the funeral service and the grieving process.

Contact us today at Jeff Monreal Funeral Home or learn more about our services.

Difference Between Burial Insurance and Life Insurance

For some families, meeting day-to-day expenses is hard enough without having to also think about estate planning or how they’ll one day pay for their funeral. Death can be an uncomfortable topic, and thinking about final expenses can amplify that discomfort.

Many people want their life insurance to cover any burial or funeral expenses and help provide income for their families in the event of their death. Others, however, want specific plans to pay for the type of burial they want or any other arrangements they desire. 

For some, insurance provides the benefit of helping them plan for their final resting place. For others, however, it can be a waste of money.

Is burial insurance worth it for you? Here are some key factors to consider.

Life Insurance

There are many different types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. In a similar way, Burial Insurance is a type of Life Insurance. 

For some Life Insurance policies, you may be asked to submit to a medical examination. People in good health tend to qualify for better rates. After the insurance company approves you, you will pay the company a preset amount regularly. Life Insurance aims to ensure enough money to provide for the needs of your family and to settle outstanding debts. 

Two popular life insurance types include Term Life Insurance and Whole Life Insurance. The difference is that Term Life has a set limit of years that it can cover you, usually with limits of 15 to 30 years. Whole Life Insurance does not expire. 

Burial Insurance

One key difference between Burial Insurance and Life Insurance is that a Burial Insurance policy does not require a medical exam. You must answer a few medical questions and clarify your medication history to get approval. Once you qualify, most insurance companies can issue your policy in just a few days.

Once you have your insurance, Burial Insurance can pay your funeral expenses quickly. This insurance policy will cover funeral and burial costs, burial plot, grave marker, cemetery fees, cremation, embalming, flowers, a hearse, and other final expenses. 

Most funeral homes accept it as direct payment without any additional requirements. In fact, some Burial Insurance policies could pay benefits as fast as 24 hours without a death certificate. This can be a great advantage when covering your death-related expenses.

You can use Burial Insurance to help your loved ones pay any final funeral expenses. There is a lower monetary amount due to its smaller focus. The cost of the policy is based on health and age when you start.

Many people have funds set aside for their final arrangements. This type of policy helps your loved ones pay your final expenses.

Your beneficiary can use this coverage not only to pay for funeral costs, but for any expenes encountered at the end of life. Such as outstanding credit card debt, unpaid medical bills, among other bills in the month of your passing. This includes utility bills, car payment, or phone bills.

Research Before You Decide

Before deciding on Burial Insurance vs. Life Insurance or both, not all companies provide you with the same type of policies. If you only want to cover the basic costs of your loved one or yourself, consider choosing Burial Insurance. However, if you’d like them to have extra money to cover expenses outside the funeral arrangements, select the Life Insurance policy that works best for them. 

Familiarize yourself with each detail to verify that this insurance policy is correct for you and your beneficiaries. Not understanding all the particulars ahead of time could cost your surviving loved ones much aggravation and more grief.

Being fully prepared will make planning your funeral much more manageable. Ultimately, consider purchasing both policies to provide your family with the ideal protection.

When you are faced with calling a funeral home, I invite you to call Jeff Monreal Funeral Home any time of the day or night at (440) 527-6294. You can trust that I will treat your loved one with respect and honor. I will also treat your family with compassion and dignity during the funeral or cremation process. I pledge that every detail be handled thoroughly and within your budget.

What you need to know about an Urn Vault

Urn vaults are very sturdy containers for cremation urns. You may need an urn vault if you plan to bury the cremation urn in certain cemeteries that require its use.

Urn Vaults: Providing Protection for Cremation Urns

Regardless of people’s many choices, most families like to stay with tradition. If you wish to place an urn in a consecrated cemetery, then a cremation urn vault will be necessary. As more Americans choose cremation, they face many choices on whether to display cremation urns, bury them, place them in columbarium niches, or scatter the ashes.

Cemeteries require urn vaults to properly maintain a person’s ashes. Options are available so you can select among the best options available to suit your needs.

Burial Options

For burial in a cemetery you can choose the type of burial: a columbarium or a traditional burial plot. 

Columbaria are simiilar to mausoleums. For those who would like to place their ashes in a columbarium, you may be required to obtain one.

If you choose a burial plot, more protection is usually required.

What is the purpose of an Urn Vault?

An urn vault offers additional protective layer is added so that the deceased ashes remain intact. Essentially, it is a sturdy container that can hold the urn itself.

Materials comprising urn vaults vary. Mostly made from eco friendly stone or wood, today they can be made from special polymers or concrete so that over time erosion is avoided.

Style Options

Many different styles and customizations are available today’s urn vault.


  1. Families can decide if the urn vault will hold one urn or more than one urn. 
  2. Families can select the urn material they want from many options.

Material Types Available:

• Polymer

• Concrete

• Marble

• Wood

Many urn vaults are also lined with plastics or metals (such as stainless steel). These materials are designed to offer more protection from the weight of the earth and by the prevention of water penetration.

3. Families can choose from many options and designs to fit their needs. Some vault manufacturers offer a specific design cut directly into the vault and many different colors. Others are plainer and more traditional, with a sleek, elegant presentation.

Customization Options

Adding custom choices is essential to help cemetery maintenance staff identify the remains without disturbing urns. 

Many manufacturers of urn vaults have further customization, such as handmade plates for the top and front of the urn vault. Some manufacturers also have the option of adding photographs of the people whose ashes are contained within. 

Urn vaults allow people to ensure their cremation urns are protected for decades. With the many choices available for materials, lining, colors, styles, and customization options, family members can select the urn vault that best represent the personality of their loved ones.

The price tags on urn vaults will vary depending on what they’re made out of, and how much protection they provide. But cremation costs and the cremation process is affordable and you shouldn’t have to break the bank to customize your loved ones remains. 

Jeff Monreal Funeral Home can aid you when you consider pre-planning your funeral arrangements and funeral service. We will make sure your wishes are honored and to relieve your family of the often difficult decisions that come with burying or cremation planned for a loved one.

Planning a Private Funeral and What to Expect

The private funeral is an invitation-only service that is not open to the public. Generally, family of the deceased, close loved ones and close friends of the deceased individual are invited to attend.

Private Funeral

This type of memorial service is a more intimate way to honor the life of your loved one. In addition, it’s important to some people to spend time with those who were most important to the deceased.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Private Funeral Service

Some of the advantages and disadvantages of the service are listed below:


• Planning is easier as compared to larger funeral services

• Overall, it can be less expensive

• Usually, have fewer people

• More privacy, especially if this is the family custom


• It lessens chances for outreach and support by the community

• Fewer people and a smaller crowd can be a con for some people

Planning a Private Funeral

There are a few steps to follow when planning a private funeral.

• Make your guest list with your family or loved ones

• The death announcement or obituary should mention that it is a private funeral

• Know your budget

• Choose your venue

• Send invitations

• Considerations regarding whether to serve a meal or small bites

Private Funeral Service Announcement

The obituary should mention that this will be a private funeral. In addition, send informal or formal invitations to those invited to the private service.

Appropriate wording examples for a private funeral service:

  1. With great love the ________________________ family asky you to join our private celebration of life of _____________________. A graveside service will be held at __________________________. We will have a small reception at our home __________________________________.
  2. The _____________________family invites you to join us in honoring the life of our beloved ____________________________. A private service and reception at our residence will be held ____________________________. If you cannot attend, please let us know. 

Private Funeral Ideas

There is flexibility in your choice of location

Location flexibility considerations:

  • You can hold a private funeral in your family home. An advantage is that you can save a lot of money by avoiding payment for a venue. Ordering favorite meals is an option, or as a potluck, or even serving appetizers or small bites.
  • A graveside service can eliminate the need for a post-funeral service reception. Instead, you can go to someone’s home or a restaurant to spend more time together. 
  • You can hold the service in a favorite public place, such as a park, a lake, or a beach. This option can be especially meaningful to invited loved ones who spent much time with the deceased at this location. 
  • You can choose to have the service at an event space or restaurant. Both places will need to be contacted beforehand to make reservations. 

Private Funeral Etiquette

Knowing what to expect is helpful.

Who Attends a Private Funeral?

A private funeral is by invitation only and usually includes close family members. Others wish to include close friends as well. 

What to Expect when Attending a Private Funeral

If you attend a private funeral:

  • Private funeral services and post-funeral gatherings tend to be shorter as compared to large funerals
  • You can expect to see family only, or a few close friends in attendance
  • Sometimes, the family may ask you to share any special memories
  • A more casual service and dress can be more casual
  • Do not ask why the family chose a private funeral

What Does It Mean to Have a Private Funeral?

Honoring the life of a deceased loved one in a more intimate private funeral can be a family custom or a personal preference. Deciding if a private funeral works best for you and your family’s needs is an entirely personal choice.

One of the most important things to plan for your funeral is the cost. Once you’ve decided what type of service you’re looking to have and whether you’d like to be buried or cremated, planning how you’ll finance it is important. Letting your loved ones know what to expect in advance takes a huge burden off of them during an already difficult time.

If you’re still thinking about how to arrange your private funeral service, Jeff Monreal Funeral Home can answer your questions and help you make a decision that’s right for you and your family. 

Learn why you should choose us to be your Funeral home.