THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.)     We live a distance away from your Southampton Road facility, but we would like DiGiacomo Funeral Home to handle funeral arrangements for our family in our own neighborhood when the need arises. Is that possible?

Absolutely. For decades, many funeral homes have rented out their facilities to other funeral directors upon request. We at DiGiacomo Funeral Home have practiced that courtesy since our founding in 1940. Therefore, families can call us to conduct funeral services at a funeral home in or closer to their own neighborhood, a church, nursing home, other facility, or even their own residence. We are very proud of the fact that families have for over 70 years continued to place their faith and trust in us and the comfort and assurance that we provide by calling us to conduct their families’ funerals as far away as New York, Maryland and New Jersey.

2.)     What do I do when death occurs?

1.)     Immediately contact the Louis A. DiGiacomo Funeral Home (Phone: 215-677-9300) and notify us of the death. We will make arrangements for the deceased’s remains to be transferred directly to our funeral home.  Note: Before any funeral home can transfer the deceased’s remains, the deceased’s physician must commit to certify the death certificate. If the physician will not certify the death certificate or the deceased has no physician, the county coroner is notified; and the death certificate will be issued by the county coroner. The county coroner is also involved in accidental deaths, suicides, homicides, and suspicious deaths.
2.)     Immediately notify other close family members of the death. Some family members may want to be present at the place of death before the deceased’s body is transferred to the funeral home.
3.)     If not done at the initial call when notifying our funeral home of the death, call our funeral home and set an appointment for the funeral arrangement conference. At that meeting the funeral is planned and every detail is discussed, including the type of service, times and dates, and coordination with religious organizations, newspaper notices and memorial contributions. See “What to bring to the funeral arrangement conference.”
4.)     Make a list of all relatives, close friends, employers, and clubs/organizations in which the deceased was a member and notify them of the death.
5.)     Have preliminary discussions, if possible, with family members regarding the type of funeral service desired and what particular day is preferred.
6.)     Check to see if the deceased had a will or other document indicating his or her final wishes.
7.)     Make arrangements for family or friends to be at the deceased’s (or family member’s) home to answer the door and field telephone calls. Expect people to be visiting, some unannounced, to express their condolences.
8.)     Have a note pad handy so family and friends can write down all messages. Since generally different people will be taking messages, it is wise to have all of the messages written down in one location.
9.)     Give anyone needing information our funeral home’s website (www.DiGiacomoFuneralHome.com) and /or our telephone number (215-677-9300). As we receive information from the family, we will immediately post the information on our website. 
10.)    Delegate to friends or family members household tasks, such as the provision of food over the next few days, cleaning needs, and the care of young children, if applicable.
11.)    Contact the deceased’s attorney, insurance agent, accountant and financial planner, if applicable.
12.)    Locate life insurance policies, if any, and inquire about possible death benefits from employers, clubs, fraternal organizations, credit card companies, and homeowners’ insurance.
For an in-depth and detailed analysis of accounting, legal and financial questions as they relate to the funeral process, please visit the CLIENTS ONLY tab on our website.

3.)     Does your funeral home also handle cremation services?

Yes, we at DiGiacomo Funeral Home provide a full range of cremation services and unique, distinctive cremation products.

4.)     What information do I need to bring to the funeral arrangement conference?

For a detailed list of what to expect at the funeral arrangement conference along with what items and information to bring to the conference, please visit our “Clients Only” section or contact DiGiacomo Funeral Home directly at 215.677.9300.

5.)     How should one proceed if a death occurs away from our area, such as out-of-state?   

With the population of the world becoming more transient every year, it is inevitable that deaths will occur in locations away from home. It is important that the family of the deceased call DiGiacomo Funeral Home (215.677.9300) first, so that we can expeditiously make the necessary and proper calls to the appropriate entities, such as a hospital, coroner, airline, and a network funeral home in the area. (Throughout our 70 years in business, we have developed a network of funeral homes around the country that meet our high standards in transporting the deceased from the place of death and safely back to our area).

By calling DiGiacomo Funeral Home first, families will not only greatly lessen their burden but, more importantly, also have the early stages of the funeral process conducted with our high standards. An added financial benefit to families is the achievement of substantial cost savings by only having to pay one funeral home rather than two for their professional services. Many families do not realize that they can save up to a few thousand dollars by making the initial phone call to our funeral home.

For a in-depth discussion of the many other advantages of using our funeral home for out-of-state deaths along with an outline on how to proceed with deaths that occur in another country, please visit the CLIENTS ONLYtab on our website.

6.)     What are the advantages of pre-planning a funeral and how does one go about the process?

The biggest advantage of pre-planning a funeral, although not the exclusive one, is that it relieves survivors of the tremendous burden of decision making at the time of their loved ones’ death. Dealing with the considerable grief associated with a loss is traumatic in itself and to add decision making regarding choices of type of funeral service, selections, payment, etc., can be overwhelming to survivors. Other advantages include:
  • Peace of mind to the pre-planner that their survivors are relieved of most of the decision making at the pre-planner’s time of death;
  • Avoidance of “emotional overspending” by the survivor’s at that time;
  • Pre-planner’s wishes are made known to his or her survivor’s; they are written and documented;
  • Assurance that the pre-planner’s funeral will be carried out according to his or her final wishes and not the wishes of the survivors or, in a number of cases, the survivor’s spouses;
If the pre-arranged funeral is paid for in-full and in-advance, the price of most goods and services are “locked-in” at the time of the pre-arrangement and other benefits can also accrue:
  • Relief of the financial burden on the survivors;
  • Reducing the decedent’s taxable estate for inheritance/estate tax purposes;
  • Reducing the pre-arranger’s assets in qualifying for Medicaid benefits;
  • In almost all cases, the survivor’s save money because the funeral is purchased at a discounted price compared to when the death of the pre-planner occurs. 
For additional information on pre-planning and more answers to commonly asked pre-planning questions, please visit Pre-planning FAQs. If you are interested in pre-planning funeral arrangements with our firm, you can contact DiGiacomo Funeral Home by telephone at 215.677.9300 or complete our on-line Pre-planning Form and be sure to click the “Submit Request” button at the bottom of the form. If you need further information or have any questions or concerns, we will gladly explain the process and options available.

7.)     What documentation is needed for veterans in order to receive military funeral honors and benefits?

In order to receive military funeral honors, the family of the deceased must provide our funeral home the following information:
a.)    Deceased’s full name;
b.)    Deceased’s Social Security number;
c.)    Deceased’s birth date and place of birth;
d.)    Deceased’s rank, service serial number, and branch of service;
e.)    Copy of deceased’s discharge papers (DD-214).

For eligibility for military funeral honors, follow this link: http://www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil/eligpage.html

Lost or misplaced discharge papers, follow this link:  http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

   or

contact the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) at:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
Phone: 314-801-0800
Fax Number: 314-801-9195

8.)     How can I get a copy of lost or misplaced military discharge papers?

1.)    You can request a copy of military records electronically by following this link: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/
or
2.)    You can complete federal government Standard Form 180 (SF-180) {click here} and fax it or mail it to:
   
    National Personnel Records Center
    Military Personnel Records
    9700 Page Avenue
    St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

    Phone: 314-801-0800
    Fax Number: 314-801-9195

9.)     Does a family of a deceased person who is receiving a monthly Social Security check have to send back the Social Security check that is received after the death?

If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, the check that is received very early in the month is the benefit payment for the prior month.  You must return the benefit received for the month of death and any later months. For example, if the person dies in July, you must return the benefit paid in August. Whether the person lived one day of the month or just one day short of the whole month, the entire benefit must be returned. If benefits were paid by direct deposit, contact the bank or other financial institution. Request that any funds received for the month of death or later be returned to Social Security. If the benefits were paid by check, do not cash any check received for the month in which the person dies or later. Return the checks to Social Security as soon as possible.

10.)    Is there sales tax on funeral goods and services in Pennsylvania?

Currently, funeral goods and services are exempt from sales tax in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. However, Governor Rendell (D – Pennsylvania) has proposed in his most recent budget (2010) the expansion of the state sales tax to include funeral goods and services.

11.)    Why do I need certified copies of the death certificate?

A certified copy of the death certificate is the legal document proving the death occurred. It is used to probate a will, to change ownership/title of assets and liabilities in the deceased’s name, and to file for contractual claims, such as life insurance and pension benefits.

For an in-depth and detailed analysis of specific uses of certified copies of death, accounting, legal and financial questions as they relate to the funeral process, please visit the CLIENTS ONLY tab on our website.

12.)    How can I obtain additional death certificates?

We at DiGiacomo Funeral Home will gladly assist our families in obtaining additional certified copies of the original death certificate. In Pennsylvania, the original death certificate, once filed by the funeral director, is always kept at the Division of Vital Records. From the original death certificate, the state issues certified copies, which act as an original death certificate. It is the certified copies that the survivors use to conduct the legal and financial matters of the deceased’s estate.

Anyone requesting vital records information must be eligible to apply for the records.

Persons eligible include:

  • Legal representative of decedent's estate;
  • Immediate family members;
  • Extended family members who indicate a direct relationship to the decedent;
  • Anyone who holds Power of Attorney;
  • If applicant is retained by a city/county/state office who has assumed administration of an estate, a letter signed by an official of the city/county/state office is required indicating for what purpose they have retained the services of the applicant and identify whose estate is involved.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Vital Records website at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/death_certificates/14122, provides information on ordering birth and death certificates online, by mail, or in-person at one of their regional offices.

To order online, follow this link: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/death_and_fetal_death_certificates/14122/death_records_-_by_internet/556824

To order by mail: complete form HD1107F and mail it along with payment and a valid government issued photo ID (ex. driver’s license) of the individual requesting the record to:
                Division of Vital Records
                P.O. Box 1528
                New Castle, PA 16103
                Phone:  1-877-PA-HEALTH or (724) 656-3100

To order in person, visit one of the Division of Vital Records regional offices:

Philadelphia Public Office             
Division of Vital Records

110 North 8th Street; Suite 108
Philadelphia, PA 19107-2412
(215) 560-3054
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=556854&mode=2  

Harrisburg Public Office
Division of Vital Records

Room 129, Health & Welfare Building
625 Forster Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0012
(717) 772-3480
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=556848&mode=2

Scranton Public Office 
Division of Vital Records

Room 112, Scranton State Office Building
100 Lackawanna Avenue
Scranton, PA 18503-1928
(570) 963-4595
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=556849&mode=2

Pittsburgh Public Office
Division of Vital Records

411 7th Avenue, Suite 360
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1973
(412) 565-5113
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=556851&mode=2

New Castle Public Office
Division of Vital Records

Room 401 Central Building
101 South Mercer Street
New Castle, PA 16101
1-877-PA-HEALTH or (724) 656-3100
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=556853&mode=

2

Erie Public Office 
Division of Vital Records

1910 West 26th Street
Erie, PA 16508-1148
(814) 871-4261
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=556852&mode=2

13.)    When is payment for funeral services required and what forms of payment are acceptable?

Payment in full is required at the time funeral arrangements are made. We accept cash, certified check, personal check, VISA and most major credit and debit cards, or a pre-arranged funeral contract.



 

 

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