Frequently Asked Questions

We have heard thousands of questions, and chosen to provide you with the answers to some of the more common questions relating to a funeral, a funeral service and funeral homes.

What is a funeral?

The funeral is a ceremony of significant value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for those who share in the loss to express their love, respect and grief. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis that death may present. Through the funeral, the bereaved take the first step toward emotional adjustment to their loss.

What type of service should I have?

Only you can answer that question. The type of service conducted for the deceased, if not noted in a pre-plan, is decided by the family. The service is usually held at a place of worship or at the funeral home, and may vary in ritual according to the wishes of the family. A private service is by invitation only, where selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. A memorial service is usually a service without the body present, and can vary according to the family's community and religious affiliations.

Can I personalize my funeral service?

Absolutely. In fact, we recommend it. After all, the funeral is a celebration of life and may be personalized in many unique ways. Our Marietta and Powder Springs funeral directors are happy to discuss all options and ensure the funeral is tailored to your wishes. Contact us at (770) 428-1511 to explore the possibilities.

Why should we have a public viewing?

Not only is public viewing part of many cultural and ethnic traditions, many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process. It helps the bereaved recognize the reality of death, and is even encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire and the process is explained well.

Why do we need an obituary notice?

It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published in a local newspaper or online announcing the death and type of service to be held. 

What do funeral directors do?

Funeral directors are both caregivers and administrators. In their administrative duties, they make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. As caregivers, funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.

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

We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (770) 428-1511. One of our professionals will come when the time is right for you, be it within the hour or after you’ve spent a short time saying goodbye.

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

Your funeral director can assist you if a death occurs anywhere around the globe. Contact your Mayes Ward-Dobbins funeral director of choice immediately. They will assume responsibility and coordinate the arrangements for the return of the deceased to the Cobb County area.

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, slows the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured. It makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them. Embalming also enables mourners to view the deceased if they wish, providing valuable emotional benefits. 

Is embalming mandatory by law?

No. But, certain factors of time, health and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary. Embalming may be required if the deceased is being transported to another country where local laws need be observed.

Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

No, cremation is a disposition alternative to earth burial or entombment and often follows a traditional funeral service.

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

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

Is cremation as a means of disposition increasing in popularity?

Yes, but not dramatically.

Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of a communicable disease, like AIDS?

Yes, a person who dies of a communicable disease, including an AIDS-related illness, is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged; touching the deceased's face or hands is perfectly safe. Because the grief experienced by survivors may include a variety of feelings, they may need even more support than survivors of non-AIDS-related deaths.

Has this cost increased significantly?

No. Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other items.

Why are funerals so expensive?

In some respects, funerals are a lot like weddings or other celebrations. The type and cost will vary according to the tastes and budget of the individual. Additionally, our family-owned funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), which must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; coordinating with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. 

What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?

While most funeral homes provide outstanding services, sometimes things can go wrong. Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the consumer may wish to contact the FTC by contacting the Consumer Response Center by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); TDD: 1-866-653-4261; by mail: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; or on the Internet at, using the online complaint form. You may also choose to contact the local Better Business Bureau or your state consumer protection office.

Who pays for funerals for the indigent?

There are veteran, union and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals if the family is unable. Our funeral directors are aware of the various options and how to obtain them. Often, funeral directors absorb costs above and beyond what is provided by agencies to ensure the deceased a respectable burial.

Cemetery Common Questions

Are cemeteries running out of space? Just like other open spaces, cemeteries are impacted by increased population density in both urban and rural areas. Cemetery spaces are a finite resource, and as such, are at a premium in some regions.

What is Perpetual Care? "Perpetual Care" usually refers to the correct terms Permanent Care or Endowment Care. These Care funds are collected with each Interment Space sale to maintain the grounds, roads and buildings of the cemetery.

Can the vault be personalized? Yes, we can show you the wide range of personalization choices, including customized nameplates and military insignias.

Are there vaults for cremated remains? Yes, we offer urn vaults, designed for in-ground burial of cremated remains.

Can two cremations be performed at once? Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult.

Can the family witness the cremation? Yes, for a nominal fee. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral customs.

Must I purchase a burial vault? In most areas of the country, state or local laws do not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.

What are the advantages of a mausoleum burial? Mausoleum crypts are clean and dry, offering a viable alternative for those who have an aversion of being interred in the ground. Furthermore, with the growing shortage of available land for cemetery use, mausoleums will allow for a maximum number of entombments in a minimum amount of space.

What is a columbarium? A columbarium, often located within a mausoleum, chapel or in a garden setting, is constructed with numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.

While these are answers to the most commonly-asked questions, we know that funerals are very personal. If your question isn't listed, we invite you to contact us anytime.