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 should I do if a death occurs at home?

When death occurs, Mountain Empire Cremation & Burial Services personnel are available to assist you at any hour, seven days a week. Please call (423) 547-0379.

Will someone come right away?

If you request immediate assistance, yes. If your family wishes to spend a short time with your loved one to say goodbye, this is acceptable. Our staff will come when the time is right for you.

What areas does Mountain Empire Cremation & Burial Services serve?

  • Tennessee :  Hamblen County (Morristown), Greene County (Greeneville), Hawkins County (Rogersville), Sullivan County (Kingsport, Blountville & Bristol), Washington County (Johnson City & Jonesborough) , Johnson County (Mountain City), Unicoi County (Erwin), and Carter County (Elizabethton).
  • Virginia :  Washington County (Abingdon), Scott County (Gate City & Weber City), and Bristol, VA

If a loved one dies out of state, can Mountain Empire Cremation & Burial Services still help?

When death occurs away from home, Mountain Empire Cremation & Burial Services can assist you with out-of-state arrangements and transfer your loved one to a preferred location. Please call (423) 547-0379 for assistance.

Is a Casket Needed for Cremation?

No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is usually required by most states is an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard, which is cremated with the body. In some states, no container is required.

Is Embalming required prior to Cremation?

Absolutely not and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.  However, some families do choose to have their loved one embalmed for a viewing prior to the cremation process.

Can the Body be Viewed without Embalming?

Yes, most cremation providers allow immediate family members to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation.

Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes, in many cases, cremation providers will 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 custom. (Additional charges may apply)

Is cremation accepted by all religions?

Today most religions allow cremation except for Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, Eastern Orthodox and a few Fundamentalist Christian faiths. The Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings.

What can be done with cremated remains?

There are many options and laws vary state to state. Most families prefer to place the cremated remains in a cemetery where they can be buried in a plot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, placed in a glass-front niche or inside a cremation bronze memorial or granite bench.  Some families decide to take the cremated remains home with them by putting a cremation bench in their garden, placing remains inside cremation jewelry, keeping the cremated remains in an urn inside the home, or scattering the remains. Please check the Permanent Memorialization page for more information.

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?

All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. If you have questions, ask the cremation providers what procedures they use.

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. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.

How much do death certificates cost and how do we get them?

The fee for certified copies is set by the local county health department. The county where the death occurs is the county where the certificate is filed, and that is the rate that must be paid.

Is cremation as a means of disposition increasing?

The specific number necessary depends solely on the assets and jointly held assets of the individual at the time of death. Otherwise, it is difficult to establish ahead of time how many will be needed but here are some guidelines.

Original certified copies are generally required to:

  • file life insurance claims
  • cancel pensions or social security benefits
  • transfer of stocks and annuities
  • property title transfers

Banks generally want to see a certified copy, but do not always require one for their permanent records. Generally it is best to call each institution for specific information on whether they require a certified copy and if they will retain it.

What delivery options are available?

The method of shipment is by registered United States Postal Service. USPS is the only carrier that knowingly ships cremated remains, and registered mail is the most secure method of shipment.

What is refrigeration for, and why is it necessary? 

State law requires that an unembalmed body be kept in a climate controlled environment. We do not embalm therefore we maintain a cooled environment. This includes the time necessary for us to obtain required medical certifications, Medical Examiner approvals, permits and filing of the death certificate as required by law. Extended use of our climate controlled environment will result in additional costs.

Do you transfer into your care a loved one from the place of death?

Yes, we transfer into our care your loved one weekends and holidays; our staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Arrangement times are scheduled with families Monday thru Friday, excluding Holidays.   

Do we need an obituary notice?

It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held. A notice can be placed in a local newspaper and we place a complimentary death notice on our website.

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.          

What is a Burial Vault?

A vault is built of strong materials and sealed before interment, it protects an urn or casket from subsoil elements and the weight of the earth and cemetery maintenance equipment. Burial vaults are available in many styles and prices to suit different preferences, and can be personalized.

Are there vaults for cremated remains?

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

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 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.