Resources

Common Questions

We have provided some answers to the most common questions related to funeral and memorial services.  If you have a question that was not addressed, please contact one of our funeral service professionals at (877)872-2736.


What are the benefits of Pre Planning?

We strongly encourage you to Pre-Plan and here are the reasons and benefits:

    • Your Family – Without a doubt, the most important reason for making arrangements in advance is to spare your family the financial responsibility of doing so. This certainly reduces the stress for family and friends at an already emotional time.
    • Saves You Money – Funding your arrangements in advance through an independent funeral insurance policy secures the cost at today’s prices and guarantees that those costs for services and memorial products will never increase.
    • Let’s Your Wishes Be Known – You may have specific wishes as to how you want to be memorialized. Advance planning will allow you to let your wishes be known for the type of funeral or cremation arrangement you want and will lift the burden of those difficult decisions from your family.
    • Fully Transferable Insurance Policy – Should you move out of the area, your funeral insurance policy is fully transferable to a mortuary of your choice in another city, state or country.
    • Travel Plan – Should your death occur while you are traveling anywhere in the United States or abroad (100 miles from your residence) our Travel Plan will guarantee to file the appropriate paperwork and transport you back to O'Connor Mortuary. This will spare your family the logistics of arranging transportation and legal paperwork, saving them thousands of dollars.

We all want to think that there is plenty of time to prepare. But like any future need, being well educated will provide you with the insight to make good decisions without undue stress and un-wanted spending. The benefits are significant but the peace-of-mind you will have is priceless.


Can I pay for my arrangements in advance?

Yes, and we encourage you to do so. When you choose to pre-fund your arrangement, we place your funds in a top-rated insurance company until needed. This policy guarantees that you will never pay any more for the products and services you select. And, when you pre-fund your arrangements, by law, the services you choose can never be altered by anyone other than yourself.


How do I find the right provider?

Finding the right mortuary means asking the right questions. Here are some suggestions we trust will be helpful.

  • Asking your family, friends, clergy or community leaders for a recommendation is the best way to find a quality mortuary.
  • Visiting websites will allow you to learn more about their company, their resources, and their commitment to your community. Such as:
    • Do they offer specific resources before, during and after the service?
    • Do they offer additional service enhancements that add extra value to your ceremony?
    • Do they have individual plans specifically designed for your faith tradition?
    • Do the service plans they offer meet your needs?
  • Before you meet with any mortuary make a call and see how you are treated over the phone? Were they polite and courteous? Did they listen to your needs and answer your specific questions? Did they invite you in for an appointment?
  • Visit the mortuary – This is another very important component in finding the right provider. There is no obligation and the visit should be educational. A staff member who has genuine interest in your visit should greet you at the door. At first glance, the mortuary should be clean, modern, comfortable and well maintained. Ask to tour the public areas as well as some private areas of the mortuary, which would include the preparation room and the crematory if they have one. Here are 3 important questions to ask: (1) How will you serve me? (2) How can I trust you? (3) What makes you different? We believe your decision of selecting a funeral provider should not be based on price alone, but on whether they are worthy of serving your family.
  • Is the funeral provider involved in the community? Do they invest in the education of volunteers and community professionals? Do they actively participate in service organizations, community events, and chambers of commerce?

What should I do if the death occurs while we are out of town?

Your first step is to call us at 877-872-2736 7/24, where we are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Your phone call to us will begin the process of helping you and your family. Our staff will coordinate all the necessary details to bring your loved one into our care. Arrangements can be made via fax, email and over the phone. You can rest assure that your loved one will be in our care until you return.


What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?

We are here to coordinate all of the arrangements necessary to return your loved one home. Our membership in the Selected Independent Funeral Home organization gives us access to other Selected Independent Funeral Homes across the nation and around the world. This group of family owned mortuaries has the same level of honesty and integrity that we demand of ourselves. You only need to call us, anytime day or night to handle the details and care for your loved one.


What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

Your first step is to call us at (877) 872-2736, where we are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Your phone call to us will begin the process of helping you and your family. We can also schedule your appointment for the next day or on the weekend.

If the death occurs at the residence, the transfer of your loved one into our care should take place as soon as possible. However, we certainly understand if you require additional time alone with your loved one. Therefore, our arrival will be at your request. If the death occurs at the hospital, the hospital staff will take your loved one to the morgue and the transfer of your loved one into our care would take place the following morning. However, if it is your wish to have your loved one brought into our care from the bedside, we can accommodate you.


What happens if the Coroner’s Office is involved?

The Coroner’s Office or Medical Examiner’s office will become involved if the death occurs at home and your loved one has not been seen by a physician within 20 days, or if the death was due to a homicide, suicide, accident or is suspicious or unexplained. Depending on the circumstances, the coroner may release your loved one into our care from your home without the need for autopsy. However if the coroner’s office determines the need to perform an autopsy we will bring your loved one into our care from the coroner’s office within usually 2 to 5 business days. In order to bring your loved one into our care, Coroner requires a signed release from the next of kin. The phone number for the Orange County Coroner’s Office is (714) 647-7400.


What role does Hospice have when a death occurs?

Hospice plays an important role in the care of those who are facing end of life. Most patients receive this care at home with the hospice staff visiting them regularly. At the time of death, the Hospice volunteer or staff member and/or family members are instructed to call the hospice (instead of 911). A nurse will come to support the family and make the necessary calls to notify the physician, the coroner if required and the mortuary.

 

Back to top


Embalming – It’s Purpose and Requirements

The purpose of embalming is to disinfect and preserve a body for a limited time. Embalming would be necessary under the following circumstances: If there is to be a public or private open casket viewing. At O'Connor Mortuary, if you prefer your loved one to be dressed, whether or not the casket is opened or closed, we require embalming. If your loved one is to be transported by common carrier across state lines, then embalming is necessary. There are also some occasions when the Coroner's or Medical Examiners office will embalm a body for investigative reasons.


How long after the death occurs should we have a service?

It is common that services be planned 5 to 7 days after the death has occurred. It’s not uncommon for families to decide to wait 10 days for their services, while their friends and family come from out of town. However, should there be religious or personal reasons for the service to occur sooner, we can certainly help you in providing a ceremony in a shorter time frame. This is a one-time event that, when done with care, will bring peace of mind and healing to you, your family and friends.


What do funeral directors do?

Our funeral directors will want to learn more the about your loved one’s life experiences, their family and friends, as well as hobbies, religious or military affiliations, and service organizations they may have belonged. They will also advise, support and implement all of the choices made by the family. This would include any needed transportation, necessary legal paperwork for the burial or cremation, memorial products and aftercare resources. Our highly trained funeral service professionals are able to help you create a service designed to honor and pay tribute to your loved one. Our years of experience, coupled with our perspective on the importance of ceremony, will help you discover the value of your service, both now and in the future.


What is a funeral?

A funeral is a ceremony within a community for celebrating, sanctifying or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funeral customs can vary based on the beliefs and practices used by your loved one’s culture or faith tradition. There are reasons that we come together as a community. We celebrate many special occasions: birthdays, graduations, weddings, and anniversaries. It’s equally important that we come together in our greatest time of need? Psychologists and grief counselors agree that funerals can be a healing experience. There are many ceremonial ways to honor your loved one and your service can be as elaborate or simple as you wish.

Funerals also provide a meaningful opportunity to receive the gift of memories that others have shared with the person who has died. Many families are pleasantly surprised as they listen to stories they had never heard before about their loved one. Being surrounded by family and friends and learning how their lives were touched can bring your family great comfort.

There are two important things to reflect upon. The first has to do with the ceremony itself, and the second with either burial or cremation. We invite you to speak with one of our funeral service professionals anytime at no obligation. Please call (877) 872-2736 to answer any of your questions or explore your funeral and memorial options.


What type of service should I have?

Your funeral service can be as distinct as your loved ones life. You may want a traditional funeral service, or a ceremony that is unique or simple.

That's where we come in - our funeral directors will provide their expertise to help you create a memorable experience by getting to know your loved one’s life story. We will present you with options and help you design the service of your choice. This can include the location, order of the service, clergy or officiant, obituaries, musicians, poems and or prayers, butterfly or dove release or a veteran honor guard. The possibilities are endless.

We're here to shepherd you through the process with the decisions that will meet your needs now, and in the future. These decisions can have an impact on your family and friends for a long time; so doing the right thing now can make all the difference in your peace-of-mind through the coming years. Contact us today, we are here to serve you.


Should I bring my young children to the viewing or funeral?

It is our firm belief that children should be a part of any services conducted for your loved one. Offering your child choices is the best thing a parent can do. Depending on the child's age, give them the opportunity to choose whether to attend or participate. Give clear explanations of what they will experience during the funeral or memorial service, as well as what will happen after.

If a young child will be attending a funeral service, it may be helpful to bring along a neighbor or someone they are close to who can care for them during the service should they get restless.


Can I personalize my service?

Absolutely! In fact, we recommend it. After all, the service not only mourns the loss, but also celebrates the life. There are many ways to personalize a service and we want to make sure that the service you select is as unique as the life lived. Using our Signature Services and Service Enhancements, you are able to customize a ceremony that will honor your loved one. Our Funeral Service Professionals are available to discuss all options and ensure that your service is tailored to your wishes.


Why should we have a public viewing?

A visitation or public viewing is an important part of the grief process. It allows private family time with your loved one as well as offering friends and family an opportunity to say goodbye. Many grief specialists believe that viewing supports the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. It is also part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Viewing is even encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire to do so, and that the process is explained well before hand. Our highly trained staff will provide the highest quality preparation to allow this to be a distinct part of your ceremony.


Can I participate in fixing my mom/dad’s hair and make-up?

Yes, of course. Many cultural and religions traditions take part in dressing and preparing their loved one for burial. Should you want to take part in styling your loved ones hair and/or applying any cosmetics, please talk with your funeral director for an explanation on all of the details.


Can I have a visitation and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?

Yes. Cremation does not preclude having a visitation and/or funeral service. Cremation is simply one option for final disposition of the body.


Do all mortuaries and cremation providers have a crematory?

Most mortuaries and cremation providers do not own their own crematory. They will out-source their cremations to a third party provider. Since 1991, O’Connor Mortuary has operated their own, on-site, crematory at our Laguna Hills location. We reserve this for only the families we serve and do not contract with other providers to use our crematory. We are a transparent company and we are proud of our services, offering witness cremation and witness processing of the cremated remains. If you would like a tour of our crematory please call us at (877) 872-2736 to schedule an appointment.

To take a virtual tour of our Laguna Hills Chapel & Crematory, click here.


What types of disposition are available for cremated remains?

Your funeral director will help to explain the various ways of disposition. The State of California regulates the disposition of cremated remains and listed below are the State mandated methods:

  • Placement in a columbarium or mausoleum
  • Burial in a plot in a cemetery
  • Scattering in areas of the state where no local prohibition exists and with written permission of the property owner or governing agency. The cremated remains must be removed from the container and scattered in a manner so they are not distinguishable to the public.
  • Scatter in a cemetery scattering garden
  • You may scatter at sea as long as it is at least 500 yards from shore. (This also includes inland navigable waters, except for lakes and streams. Cremated remains may not be transported without a permit from the county health department and they may not be disposed of in refuse.

How long does it take to cremate or bury?

We recommend that services be planned 5 to 7 days after the death has occurred. It’s not uncommon for families to decide to wait 10 days for their services, while their friends and family come from out of town. However, should there be religious or personal reasons for the service to occur sooner, we can certainly help you in providing a ceremony in a shorter time frame. This is a one-time event that, when done with care, will bring peace of mind and healing to you, your family and friends.


Do I have to buy my casket from you?

There is no requirement to purchase your casket through a mortuary. However, we believe that when you select your casket from O’Connor Mortuary, you will see the following overall benefits.

  • Value and Selection –  We have access to hundreds of caskets from a variety of the best casket manufacturers for you to make your selection.  We have aligned ourselves with the manufacturers whom we feel provide the best quality, service and value.  Our funeral directors are trained to walk you through the process to understand your needs.   Whether your preference is for a casket that has a special feature, color, material or price, our funeral directors will present you with options that will suit your needs without having to deal with a third party.
  • Convenience – We manage the ordering and receiving of all caskets from quality casket providers to ensure the casket is delivered on time.  If there is an issue with the casket when it is delivered, O'Connor Mortuary will deal directly with the manufacturer to rectify the issue.  If you do elect to purchase a casket from a third party, you will be required to contact the third party provider directly in the event there the problem since you contracted directly with them. 
  • Savings and Guarantees – Purchasing your memorial products from O'Connor Mortuary will help you save time and money. You can save up to 10% on the memorial products you select with our Memorial Products Savings Plan, please consult your funeral director for the details. In addition, all of our memorial products are guaranteed, if you are not completely satisfied, we will gladly refund the cost.
  • Trust – The casket purchase is an extension and integral part of the overall service you receive.  By letting O'Connor Mortuary handle all of your service and memorial products needs, you will have peace of mind knowing that there is one trusted advisor to shepherd you through all the arrangement details.

Why does the cemetery require a vault?

Most all cemeteries require the casket be placed in a vault. Because heavy earth moving equipment is used to dig the grave, vaults and protective liners provide adequate strength to keep the earth from sinking.


Can you arrange for shipping to another state or country?

Yes, absolutely. Through our membership in Selected Independent Funeral Homes, we have access to quality mortuary resources across the nation as well as around the world. We can assure you that all of your arrangements will be as you planned.


Are there any death benefits for veterans?

Yes. With an honorable discharge from the Military every Veteran is entitled to burial in a National Cemetery, a military marker, a US flag and an Honor Guard, at no cost to the family. If the death occurs in a VA Hospital or if the veteran is receiving a VA pension, certain additional monies may be available. If burial is in a National Cemetery, a grave can be reserved for a surviving spouse or any dependent children.


Why do we need an obituary notice?

It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and the type of service to be held. We can help you by placing an obituary in newspapers, locally, nationally or internationally and on our website. Most newspapers charge a fee for this service. We offer all of our families an online obituary on our website at no cost.


Do you notify Social Security?

We will provide information directly to Social Security through the Social Security Statement of Death by Funeral Director form. This form may be used in connection with an application for Social Security Benefits. However, family members still have the legal responsibility to notify Social Security of the death. You may contact the local Social Security office at (949) 581-9096


Who orders the Death Certificates and how long does it take to receive them?

At the time of your arrangement, your funeral director will discuss your need for certified copies of the death certificate. This may include the following: Social Security, Veteran Benefits, trust accounts, bank accounts, deeds of trust, transfers of ownership, and stocks and bonds. Our staff will place the order for Certified Copies with the County of Death. We suggest ordering 2 to 3 more than you foresee. It usually will take 10 to 14 days from the time it reaches the Health Department. The certificates will be mailed directly from the Health Department to the address you provide.


Do you accept life insurance policies?

It is not our policy to accept life insurance policies. However, should you need to use a life insurance policy as the only form of payment, we will contact the insurance provider to see if the policy is in force and assignable. If it is, we will obtain your signature on the assignment documents and file the paperwork with the insurance company. This will allow them to release funds directly to O’Connor Mortuary.


Preparing for your appointment.

Once you have scheduled an appointment to meet with one of our Funeral Directors, here is some basic information you will want to gather for our meeting:

  • Copy of any pre-arrangment plans that have been made
  • Discharge Papers (Form DD214 - Honorable Discharge) and service record if involved in military
  • Cemetery property information if applicable
  • Clothing, including undergarments
  • Recent color photograph
  • Social Security number
  • Mother's last name including maiden name
  • Father's name
  • Last school grade or highest degree completed
  • Legal address
  • Occupation - jot that they worked in most during their life
  • Method of payment

Who regulates mortuaries, crematories and cemeteries in California?

The Department of Consumer Affairs regulates all funeral establishments in California. At O'Connor Mortuary, our services and products are guaranteed to meet your expectations. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the services we have provided, we encourage you to contact one of our owners, who will discuss an appropriate resolution for the situation. For more information on Funeral, Cemetery and Cremation matters, contact the Department of Consumer Affairs Cemetery and Funeral Bureau, 1625 North Market Blvd. Suite S-208, Sacramento, CA 95834 (916) 574-7870 or (800) 952-5210.