SOME THOUGHTS ON HINDU FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS IN THE LONG ISLAND AND METROPOLITAN AREAS
It is prudent to be aware of the laws and financial implications of death and funerary arrangements, particularly since many people do not plan for deaths in the family. This section will explain and consider Hindu funeral arrangements and their relationship to legal and financial concerns in the Long Island and metropolitan areas.
- The first thing to do is find a funeral parlor in the vicinity. The Yellow Pages are a good start for someone who wants to find a parlor. "Family-owned" parlors are preferable as they are more flexible and more likely to be sensitive to individual needs. Most parlors agree to Hindu rites being conducted in their premises but it is a good idea to ask and confirm nevertheless. Asking for advice and recommendations from Hindu friends and neighbors is also a good policy.
- The services offered by the parlors vary from just doing the basic paper work and conveying the body in a modest casket to the crematorium to providing for an elaborate 'viewing', floral arrangements and refreshments, conduct of the rites in their premises and conveying the body in casket to the crematorium. The simplest would cost around $1200 and the more elaborate could run up to $15000 or more. It is good to have a clear idea of the desired type of funeral and of one's budget and limitations. At present, the average charge for the cremation is around $250, which will be added on to the parlor's bill. The parlor will interact with the available crematorium in order to make the funeral run smoothly. Note: There are very few crematoriums in the area and none in Nassau County.
- Should the death take place in a hospital, things become somewhat simpler. The designated parlor merely has to be informed and they will interact with the hospital and obtain the death certificate. They will also inform the medical examiner, who may contact the family and the hospital to confirm that the death was due to natural causes and that no investigation is required. Once the clearance is given by the examiner, the parlor will collect the body on the day of the funeral, bring it to their premises and embalm and prepare it for the funeral (and viewing, if there is one) as per the requirement of the family.
Should the death take place at home, it is the obligation of the family to obtain the death certificate from the attending physician and provide it to the parlor, who will then inform the medical examiner.