Common Questions

We’ve provided a list of answers to questions we frequently receive regarding our services and other activities related to funerals. If you don't see the answer to your question here, feel free to contact us. We'd be happy to give you more information and clarify any of your concerns.


What is the Social Security death benefit?

A one-time lump sum payment of $255 is paid to a surviving spouse or a dependent child.

We automatically send Social Security a form notifying them of a death, but the surviving spouse or dependent child must still apply for the benefit by contacting the local Social Security office

What do I need to file a claim for Veteran Death Benefits?

For veterans of the Korean Conflict and prior, we need a copy of the Honorable Discharge Certificate.

For all other veterans, except National Guard, we need a DD Form 214. For National Guard (Air Guard and Army Guard) we need an NGB Form 22.

These forms must all show date and place of entry and exit from your military service.

Where does the money for my pre-arrangement go?

Funds can be used to purchase a funeral insurance policy or they can be placed in a trust fund. Both options have benefits depending on your individual situation.

In Montana, 100% of all funds must be placed in a qualified trust fund or be used to purchase funeral insurance. There are no administrative costs.

Can I transfer my pre-arrangements from one funeral home to another?

Yes. The funds set aside in your prearrangement are yours.

Should you move or wish to choose a different funeral home, those funds can be transferred at your discretion. We can easily assist you with this process.

If a loved one dies out of state, what steps should be taken?

Call the funeral home from the deceased’s hometown and share with the director what your wishes are for the deceased.

The funeral director will contact the out of state funeral home and handle all funeral and transportation arrangements per your wishes.

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

If your loved one is under hospice care, call hospice. If not, call the funeral home and we will take your loved one into our care.

We do not use an answering service. Our trained staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week regardless of the hour. Our staff will then guide you in the next steps that must be taken.

When will the personnel from the funeral home pick up a loved one who has passed away?

Should the death occur inside a care facility, we will coordinate with their staff to bring your loved one into our care. If the death occurs at home, we will come to the home as soon as the family wishes.

If coroner contact is required, we must wait until coroner authorization is received.

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming is a process that temporarily preserves your loved one. This provides the family time to gather and make decisions on how they would like to celebrate their loved one’s life.

Embalming also allows the greater community to say their final goodbyes.

Is there a time when embalming is required?

If your loved one passes away and needs to be transported through public means, such as airplane or train, embalming is required by regulation for public health safety reasons.

For that same reason, Schnider and O’Connor Funeral Homes require embalming for public visitations.

Is cremation able to take place immediately following a death?

According to Montana state law, when someone dies, the funeral home must wait at least 24 hours before cremation may take place.

The funeral home must also receive coroner authorization prior to cremation.