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Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find answers to the most asked questions about funerals, plus a few bits of information important for you to know.

What services does the funeral home provide to its families?

One of the primary goals of our firm is to offer compassionate, kind, and knowledgeable professionals. Presently our firm employs 3-4 licensed funeral directors, one licensed in insurance, an office manager, a specially trained after-care coordinator, maintenance personnel, beauticians, and funeral coach drivers. The average funeral entails 102 man-hours of labor and service including: removal of remains, scientific preparation of the remains, hairdressing, barbering, securing vital statistics, obtaining state documents and writing obituaries, staffing for visitation times, and staff coordination of the funeral ceremony. Our staff also coordinates all of your wishes with clergy and cemetery, assists you in social security, veterans, and motor vehicle paperwork, and at your request, will help with insurance claims. Our staff is available and on-call on a 24 hour basis.

Our tastefully decorated funeral facilities are available for visitation and include beverage service, air conditioning, ample parking, public address systems, and a musical library by Comfort Music. Additionally; facilities, staff and equipment are available for the funeral service, either at the funeral home or in your church. Office equipment, Liability and Professional Insurance, as well as state of-the-art preparation areas are all part of our facility service. Our motor equipment includes service cars for hospital removal, late model Cadillac equipment for funeral processions, as well as your transportation needs. Should the death occur out of our immediate calling area. At Askew-Houser, our service fee reflects the true cost of offering premium service. The funeral merchandise offered is secondary to the cost and importance of professional service.

Are there different types of funerals?

Absolutely! Though the funeral itself is traditionally a religious ceremony, most funeral consumers confuse the ceremony with the funeral process or disposition. Your Askew-Houser funeral directors want the funeral of your loved one to reflect that loved ones' life as well as YOUR wishes. Whether the disposition be a cemetery interment, mausoleum entombment, cremation, or medical donation, the process at the funeral can be the same. You may wish to receive friends, for in sharing this time with others, your loss can be shared; you will find it a comfort that so many people care. This time of sharing can be held at the funeral home, in your church, or even at your home. In selecting a funeral service, you may desire a funeral ceremony that reflects your desires or that of your loved one. The ceremony can be in the funeral home or in your church; it can include favorite music, scriptural readings, poetry, or testimonials. The funeral ceremony celebrates the life lived and the promise of new life beyond. Please know that whatever your wishes, simple or great, your funeral director has probably had some experience or expertise in that area; ask and you shall receive!

What funeral merchandise is offered?

Our funeral homes display an array of funeral merchandise; your funeral director is on the cutting edge of all options available to you with regards to arranging the funeral. We offer caskets; both protective and non-protective, rental caskets, and cremation oriented caskets. Also available is a full range of special need caskets offering oversize, and infant size options. Burial Vaults are also offered, made of concrete or steel, burial vaults may be required by your cemetery to ensure the beauty of the grounds over time. Cremation Urns, simple and functional ranging to objects d'art; including urn vaults. Cremation scattering service, Peace Lite Memorials, and a myriad of Sundry items including Register Books, Candles, Crosses, and Memorial Folders and Cards, and Jewelery. Our firm can customize many of the above items, often at no additional cost.

What is after-care?

Aftercare is the phrase given to the follow-up program provided by the funeral home after a death. The three days spent during the funeral are not the only days your family will be associated with our firm. We follow-up our care with personal visits, telephone contacts, and annual community service programs to help you adjust to life without your loved one. Our after-care program also includes education programs for youth groups, tours of facilities, and a library of grief-oriented books, films, and brochures. Aftercare is provided at no additional cost to your family.

What pre-need options are available?

Funeral industry analysts predict that by the year 2010 the before-need funeral market will be at 50%. For many reasons, families are interested in talking about funeral arrangements and providing the funding in advance of need. Our firm has many pre-finance options; they include Bank Trust plans through the local banks as well as a master trust plan through Mellon Bank. We also offer Insurance Programs, featuring guarantee issues as well as underwritten plans. Insurance Companies represented at Askew-Houser include Monumental Life, Homesteaders Life, and Columbian Mutual Life Insurance Companies. We also assign insurance policies already held by clients or simply record the family's wishes for payment at the time of need. You do not have to pre-pay for a funeral to pre-plan with us. The funeral consumer is given every option to have complete control of their pre-arrangements.

Should I consider pre-paying funeral expenses?

Quite possibly. Though every situation is unique, many folks have the desire to set funds aside for the eventual time of need. In years past, life insurance was marketed as means to cover funeral costs; however, we have noticed a change in family's needs at a time of death, many older policies are completely exhausted by funeral costs. Today more insurance companies market their products for income recovery, less on the cost of dying. We agree that life insurance is for your family's use after you are gone; a pre-paid funeral reduces the necessity to use any insurance funds toward funeral costs. Also, inflation in this country is rising at an alarming rate. During the past 20 years, funeral costs have doubled, yet the profits to the funeral homes have dropped by almost half. Pre-funding places today's cost of a funeral in a unique investment that assures that this fund will grow at a pace to offset inflation. Every pre-need product our firm offers is transferable, just in case you move. At the time of death, excess money from the fund are returned to your estate. Payments toward a pre-paid funeral may be made in lump sum or gradually over the years; you may select a plan that fits your budget.

Does your firm provide cremation services?

Yes! Interest in the cremation option is increasing in popularity. With this increase in demand has come an increased awareness and increased development of options regarding this plan of funeralization. In addition to providing cremation at a competitive price, the funeral home can better accommodate the wishes of your family before the cremation takes place. Cremation Societies can not provide extra services at the time of death. Your funeral home is unique in that it can provide cremation, plus any special requests, possibly a private family viewing, a memorial service, or help in completing legal forms and providing after-care following the death.

What should we do when a death occurs out-of-state?

With family units spread over larger areas, death sometimes occurs away from home. This is one of the reasons our firm has affiliation with international, as well as, national funeral associations. Our membership by invitation in the International Order of the Golden Rule provides a network of professionals with similar values in regards to service and common education and skills with regards to handling your arrangements. When death occurs out of state, call us FIRST. We have a toll-free telephone number for your convenience 1-800-774-4898.

What payment terms are offered at Askew-Houser?

Every effort will be made to accommodate you with a method of payment based on individual needs. Traditionally, we prefer Net 30 days, but we are indeed mindful that insurance claims may take longer. Our payment options include: Cash, on or before the time of services or Net 30-45 days, Visa and MasterCard are accepted, or assignment of insurance proceeds, pre-need burial trusts and insurance products. For extended payment plans, we offer at-need funeral financing through Cambria Thrift Consumer Discount Company, a local lending institution with locations in Ebensburg, Portage, and Johnstown. Our firm is a participating member of the Johnstown Credit Bureau as well as local Mainstreet and Chamber of Commerce Organizations.