FAQ

We promote being well informed, educated and prepared for when your family experiences a death. We want to make sure all your questions are answered and you receive the most respectful, personalized, and premier service from East Lawn. There are several ways we can help you through this very difficult transition.

EAST LAWN personnel are available to assist you seven days a week 365 days a year. Call us any time of the day or night at (916) 732-2000, or any of our locations directly for assistance.

What can I do before a death occurs?

Call and schedule a time to speak to one of our death care professionals about all your options and to answer any questions you may have.

Attend an informational seminar to receive all options that are available to you and your loved ones.

Come and visit our beautiful, peaceful, and friendly locations.

What do I do when a death occurs?

Unexpected – First call 911 to report the death, then the authorities will explain to you what steps will take place next. Follow up with a call to East Lawn for us to help guide you through the next process.

Hospice Care at Home – First call the hospice nurse to come out and pronounce the death. The hospice nurse can then call East Lawn for you and provide us with the necessary information we need to proceed with bringing your loved one into our care.

Nursing Facility – The facility will contact you when the death has occurred if you are not present. Most facilities will know in advance to contact East Lawn when the time occurs. The nurse or you the family member may call us and we will gather all necessary information to proceed with the transfer of your loved one into our care.

Hospital – Hospitals require a signed release from the funeral home. This can be done through email, fax, or in person. When the death has occurred in a hospital it is best to have a family member or close friend to call us so that we can walk you through the next steps in bringing your loved one into our care.

What do I do if my loved one dies out of state?

East Lawn is absolutely able to assist if your loved one dies out of state. You will need to choose a funeral home in the state that you are in. We will work with the funeral home of your choice to organize the transfer of the deceased back to Sacramento and into our care. Call us at (916) 732-2000 or any of our locations for assistance.

What if there are religious customs or beliefs to consider?

East Lawn we honor and respect all rights, cultures, traditions and beliefs. If you have any questions regarding specific religious practices we recommend consulting with your Church or Clergy to help guide us through the elements of the service that we will provide for your loved one.

Why do I need a Funeral Director?

The role of a funeral director is to help the family take the first steps on their grief journey. It is their objective to help you create a meaningful celebration for your loved one, which will aid you on this journey. They also help with the following technical details:

  • Provide support and guidance through what often is a difficult and unfamiliar experience
  • Make arrangements for the celebration of life or funeral
  • Help notify friends and family through our website
  • Secure necessary permits and death certificates
  • Arrange for the transportation and care of the decedent
  • Coordinate all details with the clergy or officiant
  • Help arrange for burial and/or cremation
  • Interface with the Veterans Administration (VA) if necessary
  • Assist with any insurance-related paperwork that need to be filed
  • Ensure everything goes according to plan for the service(s) and burial
What are my options to memorialize my loved one?

Here at East Lawn we believe every person has a story to be told. We help create a memorable experience for you and your family on behalf of your loved one. We can do this in many personalized ways and locations:

Celebration of Life at:

  • Family home
  • Restaurant
  • Winery
  • Golf club
  • VFW Hall
  • Masonic Lodge
  • Local Park
  • Reception hall
  • Funeral Home
  • Church
  • Or any other location of your choice

We are able to accommodate any of your celebration choices regardless of your decision to use burial or cremation as a form of disposition.

What is the difference between a funeral and memorial service?

We offer everything from traditional to non-traditional services.

Funeral Service: Is when the body of the deceased is present during part of the service. Burial or cremation will take place after the service.

Memorial Service: (Also called Celebration of Life) is when the body of the deceased is not present during the memorial service. The cremation or burial has taken place prior to the celebration of life.

Why should I spend money on a service?

At East Lawn we support the beginning of the grief journey. In order to help our families we serve, this begins by acknowledging the death and honoring the life lived and providing closure to surviving family and friends. We do this by personalizing and accommodating the unique needs of the family. We work closely with our families to stay within their financial means while providing a memorable moment.

Regardless of whether your loved one is buried or cremated, the ritual of a funeral or memorial service offers many benefits:

  • Provides a social support system for the bereaved
  • Helps the bereaved understand that death is final and part of life
  • Integrates the bereaved back into the community
  • Eases the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one
  • Provides a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain
  • Is a “safe space” and a special time to grieve
  • Reaffirms one’s relationship with the person who died
  • Provides a time to say good-bye
  • Allows the bereaved to begin the healing process

Cemetery

Why do I need a cemetery?

Throughout history, burial grounds have provided a dedicated place for survivors to visit, to reflect, to remember and to heal. The impact of a death and the massive loss of relationships that can occur are too much of a burden for most people to take in at one time. Periodic Visits to a cemetery, over time or years that it takes to adjust to a loss, assist many survivors to return to a life now lived without the deceased. Cemeteries offer future generations the ability to learn about their families and connect with their forefathers.

Why should I use an East Lawn cemetery?

No, you do not need to use and East Lawn cemetery. However, EAST LAWN has three, well-established cemeteries in the Greater Sacramento Area. We offer a full range of above and below-ground, as well as indoor and outdoor interment options, for both traditional casket burial or for cremated remains.

However, if you use an EAST LAWN funeral home for your mortuary arrangements, you may find it very convenient to hold the funeral services and the burial services at the same location.

Is burial space sold-out at East Lawn Memorial Park on Folsom Boulevard?

No. We have all types of burial spaces available still. At East Lawn Memorial Park, our first burial took place in 1904 and since then, we’ve been privileged to handle placements of over 100,000 people and, again, still have years of burial space available. If you are interested in learning about pre-arranging or taking a historical tour at East Lawn Memorial Park call us at (916) 732-2000.

Funeral and Memorial Service Etiquette

Do I need to be invited to a funeral or memorial service?

Services are typically open to anyone, unless the family requests that it be a private ceremony in which case a funeral director will inform you upon arrival. Private ceremonies are quite rare so if you are feeling like you need to attend a friend’s service it is likely public and the family would be happy you took the time to go.

Do I have to wear black?

No, wearing colorful clothing is no longer inappropriate for relatives and friends. Please not that this may vary according to the family’s cultural traditions and beliefs. Most people however, still choose dark neutral colored dress clothes, and men often wear a suit and tie.

May I bring a mobile phone?

Out of respect for the family, all mobile phones should be turned off or switched to silent mode before entering the service and at the graveside.

Can children go to a funeral?

Yes, use your judgment to determine whether your child is old enough that the experience will be meaningful to them. It is important for children to be allowed to express their grief and share in this important ritual especially if they were directly impacted by the loss. It’s a good idea to prepare them beforehand so they know what to expect, and to remind them of the importance of being on their best behavior. If your young children become disruptive, which happens during long services, please take them out of the chapel to calm them down where they won’t disturb those who are mourning.

Do I send flowers or gifts?

It is completely up to you and depends on the closeness of your relationship with the family or the deceased. You can send flowers to the funeral home prior to the funeral or to the family residence at any time. Florists know what is appropriate to send in the funeral context.

Charitable donations in honor of the deceased are often made, particularly when the family has requested gifts in lieu of flowers. The family is notified of the donation by personal note from the charity or other organization. If you like, you may send the family a note to let them know of your contribution.

Even if you don’t make a gift or send flowers, it is entirely appropriate to send a note or card to the deceased person’s family expressing your sympathy, especially if you weren’t able to attend the service.

What do I do when I arrive at the service?

When you arrive, quietly take a seat if the service is being held in a church or chapel. The first few rows are typically reserved for the immediate family and will likely be marked as such. If the ceremony is being held at the grave or interment site, seating is usually only for the immediate family or the infirm. Everyone else should plan to stand.

Do I approach the casket? If so, what do I do?

The decision of whether or not to approach the casket is a very individual one. It is not required or considered rude if you decide against it. Many people find that viewing the deceased helps them bring closure. If you decide to approach the casket, you may use that time to say your good-byes and pay your respects. Keep in mind that there are often long lines to follow and everyone deserves their moment with the deceased.

Who travels with the funeral procession?

When the funeral ceremony and the burial are both held within the local area, it is appropriate for friends and relatives to accompany the family to the cemetery.

What happens at the cemetery?

Traditionally the pall bearers will carry the casket from the hearse to a device that will eventually lower it into the grave. The casket is normally placed on a device that will eventually lower it into the grave by the pall bearers. People attending the burial will gather around the casket, often to listen to the rites of burial given by the clergy person or celebrant. Following the clergy’s remarks, family members often times are asked to place a flower on the casket. After the service concludes flowers are often placed upon the casket by loved ones. In some instances the pall bearers will place their boutonniere and white gloves on the casket. Followed by other attendees placing a flower as well.

What should I say?

No matter what means you use to express your sympathy, whether it is by phone call, in person, or via sympathy card; it is important to clearly identify yourself to the family and remind them of your relationship to the deceased. In addition to expressing sympathy, it is appropriate, to relate to family members your fond memories of their loved one. In most circumstances it is not appropriate to inquire as to the cause or details of death. Using simple statements of condolence like: “My sympathy to you;” “It was good to know John;” “John was well-respected at work and a fine person. He will be missed;” “My sympathy to you and your mother” or similar expressions are appropriate.

How can I help my friend through this tough time?

One of the best ways you can help your friend is to be there for them, to feel whatever emotions they are going through. Grief is a very personal experience, and belongs solely to them. Try to anticipate their needs and offer to fill them by committing to a day and time to complete. Listen to them, and overall provide consistent support, every day will look different to them.

How often should I stay in touch?

The grieving process doesn’t end with the funeral, the family will need your support for months to come, so make sure to check in on a regular basis. Drop a note, make a phone call, and/or invite them when you make social plans; they’ll let you know if and when they are ready to participate. Reach out to the family on special occasions, like birthdays or holidays, especially during the first year following their loss.

What are the benefits of pre-arranging for myself or a family member?

There are many benefits to pre-arranging both your burial and funeral home wishes.

  1. You assume the financial responsibility for your funeral. Planning ahead enables you to make financial arrangements to cover your funeral and burial costs. Even if you are leaving behind sufficient money, will your survivors be able to access it?
  2. You will ease the burden on your family. If your wishes are unknown when you die, they will be faced with making difficult decisions at a trying time. Will they know if you wish to be buried or cremated? Will they agree on an open or closed casket? Will they agree on how much to spend? Confusion and disagreements are common occurrences when there is no plan to follow. You can avoid all of this by pre-arranging.
  3. Your final wishes will be followed. If you have specific preferences for the disposition of your remains and the nature of your funeral services, you can clearly express them in your funeral plan. You may have a preference for burial or cremation, the epitaph on your headstone, or the music and readings at your funeral. Or you may not want a funeral ceremony. Whatever your wishes, they need to be set forth in your funeral plan.
  4. Your friends and family will have the benefit of a meaningful funeral. A funeral is an important event for a grieving family. Psychologically, it provides a sense of closure and enables the family to begin the healing process. Families benefit emotionally and socially by honoring the lives of their loved ones with a fitting ceremony and by giving them a proper send off. It is difficult to make the funeral the best it can be when planning at the time of need.
  5. Your affairs will be in order at the end of your life. Taking care of your funeral arrangements is a thoughtful and caring thing to do for your family. It is comforting to know that you have done all you can do to ease their burden. And you can be assured that they will appreciate that your caring for them continued after you are gone.

If you are interested click “contact us” and one of our counselors will reach out to you soon.

What will the pre-arranged funeral service cost?

Your assigned counselor will work with you to prepare an agreement and fully itemized statement for your review based on your preferences and budget.

If you are interested click “contact us” and one of our counselors will reach out to you soon.

How is advanced planning handled?

An EAST LAWN Family Service Counselor will meet with you and walk you through all of the necessary decisions from choosing cemetery spaces at one of our three gorgeous parks to the intricacies of funeral planning. There is absolutely no pressure; the decisions will be all yours. Once you have made your selections, you will learn the payment options available to you. A record of your selections will be kept on file at EAST LAWN until needed.

If you are interested click “contact us” and one of our counselors will reach out to you soon.

What are the benefits of prepaying for your funeral prior to your eligibility for SSI or Medi-Cal?

If you are planning on applying for Medi-Cal, a pre-needed funeral policy can be a way to spend down your assets.

Medi-Cal applicants must spend down their available assets until they reach the qualifying level (usually around $2,000). By pre-needing your funeral, you can turn available assets into an exempt asset that won’t affect your eligibility. In order for a pre-needed funeral policy to be exempt from Medi-Cal asset rules, the contract must be irrevocable. That means you can’t change it or cancel it once it is signed.