Cremation FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

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Cremation is the process of reducing the body to ashes and bone fragments through the use of intense heat. The process usually takes from two to four hours. The cremated remains are then pulverized to break up larger bone fragments to a granular texture.

Direct Cremation is the lowest cost cremation option.  With this option, the body is cremated shortly after death, without embalming, viewing or visitation. If a funeral home is used, their charges will include the necessary paperwork, basic services fee, transportation, a container for cremation, and typically the crematory fee.  For more information, please click:  Direct Cremation: Lowest Cost Option

A reasonable price for direct cremation ranges from $595 to $1,200 depending on the region. Adding visiting hours, a funeral service, or casket can increase the price substantially. It makes no difference whether you buy a direct cremation from a funeral home or from a cremation-only business. When a funeral home uses a third-party crematory, which is common, an additional cremation charge is usually between $200 and $400. Be sure to check if that charge is included in the quoted price for the cremation or if it’s additional.

Most religions do. Canon Law now permits cremation for Roman Catholics, but the remains must be buried or entombed, not scattered or kept. Muslim, Greek and Jewish Orthodox faiths forbid cremation, as do some fundamentalist Protestant groups.

No. Some funeral homes will urge you to purchase a decorative urn, but you may simply use the plain container in which the ashes are returned from the crematory. The cardboard or plastic container is perfectly adequate for burial, shipping, storing, or placing in a columbarium.

No, a casket is never required for cremation. However, most crematories do require that the body be enclosed in a rigid, combustible container. Under federal regulations, all funeral providers must make available an inexpensive cremation container, often referred to as an “alternative container.” Or you can make or furnish your own suitable container instead.

Many funeral homes will rent an attractive casket to families who want the body present for visitation or service before cremation. After the service, the body is transferred to an inexpensive container for cremation. Rental caskets often cost around $800 however, so you might consider using the less expensive alternative container and draping it with an attractive cloth, a quilt, or a flag.

You have a wide range of choices. They can be put in a niche in a columbarium, buried, scattered, or kept by the family. Cremated remains might be divided among family members to be kept, sprinkled or buried in several different places (i.e. with a first and second spouse). The ashes are sterile and pose no health hazard. Their disposition is generally not regulated by law.

Cremated remains may be mailed or carried by hand to another destination. For mailing, they must be placed in an inner container within a padded outer container. If you are taking them on a plane you should leave them in the box just as it came from the crematory, with the official documents attached. Security requires that they be x-rayed, so they must be in a non-metal container.

In some states, only a licensed funeral director can arrange a cremation. But most states permit private citizens to obtain the necessary death certificate and permits for transit and disposition. You should check first to make sure the crematory will accept the body directly from the family, as some crematories will only work through funeral homes.