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Common Questions

Common Questions

Fear, uncertainty, and anxiety are all normal responses when a loved one passes away.  We have prepared a list of Common Questions to provide answers to questions you may not even know to ask, and to share information that may help ease the decision-making process. If you don't see the answer to your question here, please contact us so we can provide additional information and clarify any of your concerns.

What do I do when a death occurs while out of town or away from home?

What do I do when a death occurs while out of town or away from home?

If a death occurs away from home, you only need to call Dokken-Nelson at 406.587.3184 or toll free at 800.587.3184. We will make all arrangements to bring your loved one home. Through our network with other funeral homes across the country, we will make arrangements on your behalf—which will typically save on expenses incurred if you were to make arrangements on your own with multiple funeral homes.

Likewise, if burial is to take place away from Bozeman, we will handle all of the required transportation arrangements.

What do funeral directors do?

What do funeral directors do?

A funeral director is a licensed professional who specializes in all aspects of funerals and related services. We provide support to the family, guide the arrangement of visitations and funeral ceremonies, prepare the deceased according to the family’s wishes, and ensure that everything goes according to plan. We also arrange for the transfer of your loved on into the care of the funeral home and assist families with any legal or insurance-related paperwork they might need to file. We are experienced at recognizing when an individual is having an extremely difficult time coping with a loss and can provide extra support and recommendations for professional help if needed.

Can I personalize my service?

Can I personalize my service?

Absolutely! Our staff has years of experience getting to know families and incorporating their loved one’s hobbies, activities, interests, and unique requests into meaningful and memorable services. Don’t hesitate to make a request — we’re honored to work with you to create a service that truly reflects and celebrates your loved one’s individual life journey.

Can I still have viewing and funeral services with cremation?

Can I still have viewing and funeral services with cremation?

Definitely. In fact, we encourage you to do so. Choosing cremation only indicates how you’d like to care for your loved one after the service and doesn’t exclude you from celebrating and honoring their life in any way. Whether you’d like to arrange a funeral service before cremation, or wait and hold the service after the cremation, we’re happy to help you design a meaningful service to accompany the cremation.

Why have a viewing?

Why have a viewing?

A viewing/visitation/wake can involve an open or closed casket, and is seen as a vital part of the grieving process. Having your loved one present often helps family and friends to accept the reality of their loss, especially for those who may not have seen him or her in a while. The opportunity to come to terms with the death and say a final farewell is an important step on the road to healing.

Can we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?

Can we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?

Yes. Autopsies and organ donation do not affect your ability to have an open-casket viewing.

Should I bring my children to the funeral service?

Should I bring my children to the funeral service?

You should use your judgment to determine whether your child is old enough to comprehend death, and whether attending the funeral will be meaningful to them. It’s important for children to be allowed to express their grief and share in this important ritual. If you bring young children, explain beforehand what they will see and experience, and make sure that they know the importance of being on their best behavior. If your child becomes cranky or noisy, remove them promptly to avoid disturbing those who are mourning.

What is the purpose of embalming?

What is the purpose of embalming?

In many cases, if you choose to have a viewing before cremation, embalming may be required. Embalming is a process used to sanitize and temporarily preserve the body of a person who has passed away. It also can enhance the appearance of a person that has suffered damage from an accident or illness. By preserving the body through embalming, we can give you and your family time to make personalized and meaningful arrangements.

Is embalming required by law?

Is embalming required by law?

No. Except in rare circumstances, embalming is not required by law. However, most funeral homes do not permit public viewing without embalming. If you opt to not use embalming, usually we can offer a private viewing prior to cremation with minimal preparation excluding embalming.

How long does the cremation process take?

How long does the cremation process take?

This will vary depending on the individual and the casket or container used, but cremation usually takes about 2-4 hours.

How can I be sure that the remains I receive are those of my loved one?

How can I be sure that the remains I receive are those of my loved one?

Dokken-Nelson has its own on-site crematory, so your loved one never leaves our care. Cremation is a regulated process with strict procedures we follow to ensure we’re holding our services to the highest possible standard. All necessary paperwork must be completed prior to cremation, and a unique metal ID tag accompanies your loved one throughout the cremation process. After cremation occurs the ID tag stays with the cremated remains. Your loved one is treated with the utmost respect while in our care, and you can rest assured that you are receiving only your loved one’s cremated remains.

Where can I scatter my loved one's cremated remains? Are there any restrictions?

Where can I scatter my loved one's cremated remains? Are there any restrictions?

In general, the government does not regulate the scattering of cremated remains. Most public parks, including national parks, ask that you submit a formal request and may have restrictions on where you can scatter. If you wish to scatter on private land, consult the landowner first. In most cases, do your due diligence by checking for rules beforehand and be considerate.

What is a columbarium?

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is a place for the interment of urns containing cremated remains. They’re often located in mausoleums, chapels, or memorial gardens, and contain numerous small compartments, or niches, designed to hold urns.

What can I do to help the bereaved after services?

What can I do to help the bereaved after services?

The grieving process doesn’t end with the funeral, and it will take time for the bereaved to heal. 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 continue to 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 anniversaries, especially during the first year following their loss.

What should I say when I run into the bereaved in public?

What should I say when I run into the bereaved in public?

What you’ll say depends upon whether or not you’ve already had contact with the bereaved. If you’ve already offered your condolences, or attended the visitation or service, simply greet the bereaved warmly and express an interest in their wellbeing. If this is your first meeting since the death and you’re in a public setting, it’s best not to bring up the death directly. Instead, say something like, “I understand these must be difficult days for you,” and perhaps ask about when might be a good time to visit, or suggest that you meet for lunch.

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Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service & Crematory
Phone: 406.587.3184  |  Toll-Free: 800.587.3184  |  Fax: 406.587.3185
113 S. Willson Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59715


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