Answers to Questions About Funeral Services From Saddleback Chapel

Saddleback Chapel offers these answers to the most frequently asked questions about funeral services.

General Questions

How do we pay for funeral services?
Saddleback Chapel accepts the following forms of payment: cash, checks, debit, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, veterans benefits, and insurance. Often a combination of the above payment forms is used to cover funeral costs.

View a copy of our general price list for information about costs for funeral services from Saddleback Chapel.

What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are service professionals, both caregivers and administrators. When a death occurs, the funeral director will transport the body to the funeral home, embalm the body as required or requested, sanitize the body, and stay in contact with the family. The funeral director will meet with the family to arrange the visitation and funeral service; contact the clergy, church, or cemetery; assist in creating an obituary; gather data for the death certificate; fill out the necessary paperwork for the government and military, as applicable; assist the family with filing insurance claims; and make any other arrangements the family requests.

Funeral & Burial

What purpose does a funeral serve?
It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living, to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process.

Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions and many grief specialists believe it aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death.

Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of communicable diseases?
Yes, a person who dies of a communicable disease is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceasedís face or hands is perfectly safe.

What is a disposition?
Final disposition means the entombment, burial in a cemetery, or cremation of a dead human body.

Is burial space becoming scarce?
While it is true some metropolitan areas have limited available cemetery space, in most areas of the country, there is enough space set aside for the next 200 years without creating new cemeteries. In addition, land available for new cemeteries is more than adequate, especially with the increase in entombment and multi-level grave burial.

What are some funeral service options?

  • Visitation night before, body present in a casket, church service next day, earth burial
  • Visitation day of funeral, body present in a casket, church service same day, earth burial
  • Visitation day before or day of, body present in casket, church service, cremation/burial or scattering at a later date
  • Cremation, memorial service at the funeral home, burial/scatter/retain ashes
  • Cremation, burial/scatter/retain ashes
  • Immediate burial with no service
  • Immediate cremation with no service


What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, slows the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.

Does a body have to be embalmed?
Embalming is not required except if burial or cremation does not take place within 48 hours of death or if the deceased had certain communicable diseases. Further, a funeral home normally requires and has the right to require embalming if a public visitation is planned. Additionally, common carrier regulations usually require embalming as a condition for the transportation.

Refrigeration is an alternate means of preserving the body for a short time when deciding against embalming. Discuss your wishes with the funeral director to determine which option is right for you and your loved one.


What is cremation?
Cremation is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.

Is a casket needed for cremation?
No, a casket is not required for cremation. Most, but not all, states require an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard, which is cremated with the body.

Do we need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, we will return the cremated remains in a temporary container.

Is embalming required prior to cremation?
No, embalming is not required for cremation.

Do people choose cremation only to save money?
Some people do select cremation for economic reasons. However, the simplicity and dignity of cremation, environmental concerns, and the flexibility cremation affords in ceremony planning and final disposition all add to its increasing popularity. View a copy of our general price list for information about costs for cremation services from Saddleback Chapel.

Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes, family members may be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.

Is cremation accepted by all religions?
Today, most religions allow cremation except for Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, Eastern Orthodox, and a few Fundamentalist Christian faiths. The Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons that are contrary to Christian teachings.

Can an urn be brought into church?
Nearly all Protestant and Catholic churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service or mass. If the family is planning on a memorial service, we encourage the cremated remains be present to provide a focal point for the service.

What is done with the cremated remains?
There are many options, and laws vary from state to state. Remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, scattered, or even made into artwork or jewelry.

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
There are rigorous policies and procedures that dictate this process. We will be pleased to review these procedures with you during your consultation.

How long does cremation take?
It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F.

What happens after the cremation?
All organic bone fragments and non-consumed metal items are swept to the back of the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, such as metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridgework, are separated from the cremated remains. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a temporary or permanent urn selected by the family.

Can two cremations be performed at once?
No. Not only is it illegal to do so, but also most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult.

What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to six pounds.

Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of minute particles impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given to the family.

Single point-of-contact from beginning to end. Wow. Amazing service! —P.E.