This is an online version of the booklet, Considerations, which is available upon request at the funeral chapel.
We have created this booklet, Considerations, as a planning guide with the objective of providing you and your family with useful information in the planning of a funeral. This guide follows a “Frequently Asked Questions” sheet and expands upon each of those questions; however, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our funeral directors after you have reviewed this information to discuss your wishes and options further and to address your unique questions and concerns.
We know how difficult it can be to consider funeral planning, but we commend you for your foresight to talk with us and for the trust you have placed in our family and funeral chapel.
Deborah D. Cutright
Nicholas T. Cutright
Licensed Funeral Director
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q: What decisions are there to be made when a family member dies?
A: There are countless decisions and selections to be made when a family member dies; some of the weightiest and most immediate decisions include:
- Which funeral home will we call?
- Will the body be embalmed?
- What services will be held?
- Will the body be buried or cremated?
- If the body is to be buried or entombed, which casket will we choose?
- If the body is to be buried, will we use a vault? If so, what type?
2. Q: How do I select a funeral home?
A: Of course, there are many factors that one should consider when choosing a funeral home. Some of the primary considerations include:
- Which funeral director do I feel will serve me and my family best?
- Which facility is the most convenient for my family?
- Which funeral home offers the best value for the cost?
- If embalming is desired, which funeral home does the best restorative work?
- Do I have prior experience with any funeral home; if so, was I pleased?
It may be worthwhile for you to visit some of the local funeral homes and meet the director/s to see with which you are most comfortable. Most directors will take the time to offer you a tour of the facilities and discuss the services they offer with you.
3. Q: What is embalming and why should I consider it?
A: Embalming is a process aimed at accomplishing three distinct tasks: Sanitation, Preservation, and Restoration. Embalming is only required by law if the body is infected with a contagious disease or if the body is to be removed from the state in which death occurred. Funeral homes often require embalming for open-casket public visitations in order to ensure public safety.
4. Q: Which services are offered and which should I choose?
A: Visitations, viewings, funeral services, graveside committals, and memorial services are all offered. There are no “rules” as to which services should be held; each situation is unique and the services should be customized to the family’s preferences.
5. Q: What caskets are offered and what is the difference?
A: Caskets are manufactured from various different materials, the primary two being metal and wood. Metal caskets are constructed of various thicknesses (known as gauges) of steel, as well as stainless steel, copper, and bronze. The difference in these is the integrity and durability of the material being used. Wood caskets are constructed from various species of hard and soft woods.
6. Q: What is a vault, what are the different types of vault, are vaults required, and why should I choose to purchase one?
A: A vault is an encasement for the casket which provides an additional layer of protection. Vaults serve two purposes: to protect the casket from the elements--providing an additional seal, and to protect the casket from the weight of the earth being placed upon it, preventing the crushing of the casket lid.
7. Q: What is a preneed and if I pay for my funeral ahead of time, how do I know my money is safe?
A: Preneeds can take several different forms, including: Recording of Final Wishes, Payments to a Preneed Trust, Prepaid Funeral Services, and Assignment of Life Insurance. Any preneed involving a monetary transaction is registered with the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office, which guarantees the contract.
About Our Funeral Chapel
The Heavner & Cutright Funeral Chapel was formed in July 1998, by funeral director Deborah Cutright and her husband Brent. The current building was completely renovated to serve as a funeral chapel earlier that year and our first family was served in December 1998. Since then, a lot has changed in both our industry and society, but our motto has remained the same: “Our family caring for your family.” In carrying out that pledge, we remain family owned and operated, with Nicholas T. Cutright, son of Brent and Deborah, receiving licensure from the WV Board of Funeral Service in 2016, and joining his parents in the operation of the funeral chapel. We continue to provide grieving families with the comfort and compassion they need at their most difficult time, and most importantly, we continue to provide the deceased loved ones entrusted to our care with paramount levels of respect and dignity.
Our spacious chapel is capable of seating 125 people comfortably in one room for services. Fully handicap accessible, the entire facility open to the public is on one level, with ample parking on the same side of the road. A kitchenette with refrigerator, coffee pot, and sink are available for use by the family during services as well.
We are fully staffed by members of our own family. You and your family are guaranteed to receive the level of personal service that comes from years of caring tradition. Phone calls are answered 24/7 by a member of our family who will offer empathy and understanding when it is needed most.
We pledge to provide your loved one with the same respect and dignity in death that you provided them in life. We consider each family unique, and tirelessly attempt to cater to each family’s particularly desires and requests. If we are able to lighten the heavy load which death brings in any way, we are accomplishing our goal.
Embalming is a procedure which aims at accomplishing three distinct tasks: Sanitation, Preservation, and Restoration.
Washing and disinfection of the body is the most important and immediate aim of embalming. This process helps to ensure no communicable diseases are spread to the public in their contact with the body.
This task includes the use of specialized elements to help deter the decomposition of the body. It is this facet of embalming which allows for a delay between the time of death and the time of services.
The final aim of the embalmer is to restore the body to the condition in which it was prior to any illness or disease before death. This process takes the most time, in order to ensure the family is provided with a pleasant memory of their loved one.
Embalming can only be practiced in West Virginia by licensed embalmers. Our funeral home has on staff two embalmers: Deborah and Nicholas Cutright, both educated at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in the Art and Science of Embalming and Restoration. Their dedication to their craft is evident in the painstaking efforts they undergo with each body entrusted to their care.
Embalming is only required by law if transport is made across the state line or if a communicable disease prevents a public health concern. Our funeral home does require embalming if a public visitation is to be held, or if a lengthy delay will exist between the time of death and time of burial.
Service & Memorialization Offerings
Includes one day of visitation/viewing, usually in the afternoon or evening, followed by a funeral service the next day. After the funeral service, the body is transported in the funeral coach followed by the procession to the cemetery where a committal service is held at the graveside.
Includes a one-hour visitation/viewing, followed by a funeral service on the same day. The body is then transported to the cemetery in procession and a committal service is held at the graveside.
The family and friends gather at the graveside for committal services; no services are held at the funeral chapel.
Services followed by Cremation
Visitation/viewing is held followed by a funeral service at the funeral chapel. Cremation then takes place after the services.
These services are held after cremation has taken place, with or without the cremated remains present. This service can occur at the funeral chapel, a church, or any suitable location.
A slideshow of photographs with video and music backgrounds. We offer scanning services, or can take the photos from disc or flash drive.
Each decedent entrusted to our care is fingerprinted, so that the family may order jewelry or keepsakes at a later time.
Candles are a popular way to remember your loved one, with their picture and name in the glass votive.
Our most requested memorial item, these laminated bookmarks keep the picture and obituary from being worn or stained.
What is Cremation?
The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) defines cremation as: "The mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments followed by processing which includes the pulverization of the bone fragments.”
Direct Cremation. Body is removed from place of death and transported to funeral chapel where it is held until necessary paperwork is completed. Once authorizations are signed, the body is transported to the crematorium. After the cremation and processing of the remains, the cremated remains are returned to the family. The direct cremation option does not include any services at the funeral chapel.
Cremation with Memorial Service. The same procedures described for direct cremation occur, followed by a memorial service held at the funeral chapel, church, or other location.
Traditional Services followed by Cremation. The body is removed from the place of death and transported to the funeral chapel where embalming is performed. A rental casket is used for a visitation (viewing) and funeral, after which cremation is performed. In this option, cremation simply takes the place of burial as a means of disposition.
Disposition of Cremated Remains
- Burial: Cremated remains may be placed in an urn and buried at a cemetery or other location.
- Scattering: Cremated remains may be scattered on private property or cemetery property, per legal and cemetery requirements.
- Inurnment: Cremated remains may be placed in an urn, then kept within a residence, church, or columbarium/mausoleum.
- Other options: Small amounts of cremated remains can be placed in jewelry and other keepsakes for the surviving family.
Requirements for Cremation
Because cremation is irreversible, funeral homes and crematories exercise extreme care in ensuring no future objections will arise to the cremation, wherein the funeral home and crematory can be found liable. A majority of the immediate surviving family members must agree to and sign the authorization for cremation. The funeral home and crematory reserve the right to refuse cremation if any family member protests the cremation. A completed preneed contract or legal will which states the decedent’s desire for cremation will generally satisfy these requirements.
Many people do not realize the vast options available when it comes to selecting a casket. At a time when one is overwhelmed with grief, it is very difficult to understand the difference in the caskets. The two main types of caskets are metal and wood. Below we will explain the differences in each and the various types in each category.
Metal caskets are available in both sealing and non-sealing versions. The seal helps to prevent moisture and earth from entering the casket.
The various types of metal caskets include:
- 20 Gauge Steel
- 1/20 of an inch thick steel, simplistic designs, most affordable
- 18 Gauge Steel
- 1/18 of an inch thick steel, offers longer protection than 20 gauge
- Increased color and interior options
- 16 Gauge Steel
- 1/16 of an inch thick steel, offers longer protection than 18 gauge
- Most intricate designs of the standard steel series
- Stainless Steel
- Rust-resistant material which provides longest protection of steel caskets
- Mid-range prices
- Will never rust, indefinite longevity
- Available in brushed exteriors with rich, lustrous colors
- The most durable, longest-lasting of all metal caskets
- Includes the most ornate designs and interiors
Wood caskets are available in both hardwood and softwood species. Wood caskets do not seal, and are advised for use only with a vault.
The various species of wood caskets include:
- Veneers: A blend of woods bonded together with a wood-like coated exterior.
- Poplar: Most affordable of the solid wood caskets.
- Pine: The only softwood casket commonly produced. Distinctive appearance.
- Maple: Generally light in color, often with feminine interiors.
- Oak: Hard, durable wood available in many different stains. Mid-range prices.
- Cherry: Rich, unique color. Velvet interiors.
- Walnut: Dark appearance. Intricate designs and interiors.
- Mahogany: Most expensive with most ornate designs and interiors.
Outer Burial Containers
An outer burial container is used to encase the casket and provide an additional level of protection. Outer burial containers can be constructed of many different materials including: steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, concrete, and plastic. Our funeral chapel offers two main types of Outer Burial Containers: Steel Graveliners and Clark Grave Vaults.
A graveliner is a steel encasement for the casket which prevents the weight of the earth from crushing the casket lid; however, it does not seal, leaving the opportunity for moisture to enter the graveliner.
Clark Grave Vaults are offered in various thicknesses of steel, as well as stainless steel and copper. These grave vaults add an additional layer of protection to the casket which prevents the weight of the earth from collapsing the casket lid, as well as offering an air seal, which prevents water from entering the casket.
Why Metal? Steel and other metals are predominantly used in this region because of their durability and relative ease of transport. Other areas of the country commonly use concrete and even plastic. Because of many churchyard cemeteries being in rural locations, which are often not easily accessible, and due to limited space, concrete vaults are rarely used in this region of the country, and because of the very rocky soil, plastic outer burial containers are also not recommended, but preferred for regions with soft, sandy soil.
Our Burial Container Choices
- Steel Graveliner: Supports weight of the earth placed upon it, but does not seal.
- 12 Gauge Standard Steel: Supports weight of the earth placed upon it, air seals. 1/12 inch thick. 400 lbs.
- 12 Gauge Galvanized Steel: Supports weight of the earth placed upon it, air seals, dipped in molten zinc to deter rust. 1/12 inch thick. 425 lbs.
- 10 Gauge Galvanized Steel: Supports weight of the earth placed upon it, air seals, dipped in molten zinc to deter rust. 1/10 inch thick. 525 lbs.
- 7 Gauge Galvanized Steel: Supports weight of the earth placed upon it, air seals, dipped in molten zinc to deter rust. 1/7 inch thick. 725 lbs.
- 12 Gauge Stainless Steel: Supports weight of the earth placed upon it, air seals. 1/12 inch thick. 388 lbs.
- 12 Gauge Copper: Supports weight of the earth placed upon it, air seals. 1/12 inch thick. 525 lbs.
Pre-planning is the process of making funeral plans before the time of need. These arrangements not only allow a person to specify their unique desires for a funeral, but they also relieve the burden of arrangements on the family at the time of need, and in the case of pre-funded plans, provide significant financial benefits as well. Pre-planning can take four different forms:
Prearrangement of Final Wishes
This type of prearrangement allows for the recording of information regarding the final wishes of the person prearranging which the funeral home will keep on file for use at the time of need. This type of prearrangement involves no monetary transaction.
Assignment of Life Insurance
A holder of a life insurance policy may assign the policy to the funeral home for use at the time of need. The remaining funds, if any exist, are then distributed to the beneficiary of the policy upon death of the insured. It is important to note that this form of prearrangement does not lock-in, or guarantee, any prices and the prices are subject to changes resulting from inflation while the amount of the life insurance policy itself will not grow. These assignments are commonly completed as part of a required Medicaid “spend-down.”
Depository Trust Account
This option allows the purchaser to select merchandise and services, and then to deposit money with the funeral home which is placed in a trust account at a local bank. This money bears minimal interest, usually equivalent to a passbook savings account. It is important to note that this form of prearrangement does not lock-in, or guarantee, any prices and the prices are subject to changes resulting from inflation while the amount of the trust account itself accrues minimal interest.
A prearrangement plan purchased through the funeral home, the preneed is the only option which allows the buyer to lock-in, or guarantee, prices at the day the preneed is purchased. The money is then placed into a specialized form of insurance or bank account which grows with inflation so that the prices today are guaranteed. Variable costs, such as West Virginia Sales Tax and grave opening and closing, are not guaranteed because the funeral home has no control over these costs.
*Any pre-plan that includes a financial transaction is guaranteed with the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office so you may be confident your money is secure.