Choosing end-of-life services for yourself or a loved one is a challenge. It can be mentally exhausting even if there are no contentious discussions among the family members making the decision. Add a little family drama to the mix and things get stressful fast. Even after choosing cremation plans as opposed to a traditional burial, there are still other choices to be made.
There will be difficult decisions to make, but the process itself doesn’t have to be complicated. This simple guide helps you navigate some of the common aspects of making cremation plans to help ease your stress during this emotional time.
Choose the Right Cremation Provider
Before investigating the details of cremation pre planning, it’s important to choose a cremation services provider that will fulfill your needs and the wishes of the deceased. You will need to do research to find the right provider for you and your loved one.
You may ask others in your community for recommendations and experiences with local providers. Simply choosing a provider based on their website or other online presence, without further confirming their reputation, may lead to unanticipated issues. Most businesses, including those that offer cremation services, have reviews on Google or other review platforms from former customers that detail their service offerings and how well they were delivered.
Know Your Cremation Options
Making cremation plans does not mean you can’t incorporate some of the more traditional and/or personalized services often associated with a funeral. Many funeral homes and crematoriums are willing and able to provide customized services to meet your needs and wishes, including the utilization of an officiant to perform services. Gatherings or viewings may still be held for family and friends before a cremation is performed (or after). Incorporating such services prior to the cremation is becoming more popular.
Cremation services include traditional cremation, direct cremation and memorial services. Many cremation providers will also work with families to build cremation packages specifically for veterans. Be sure to ask any potential provider what types of cremation packages are available, which services are included, and at what price.
What Happens Before, During and After the Cremation Process
Prior to the cremation process, it’s crucial that the deceased is properly identified and documented to avoid any issues with misidentification after the cremation. You will need to choose a cremation container of some sort, and refrigerated space should be reserved for the cremation at your provider’s facility. Your cremation provider should have a reliable tracking system in place to save the personal information of the deceased. A medical examiner should carefully review the necessary records and forms to identify any possible issues before the cremation takes place. You can see the Cremation Society of New Hampshire’s 10-Step Peace of Mind Cremation Process as an example.
The date and time of the cremation process should be recorded accurately, and all cremation remains should be properly cooled and processed before they are placed into an urn or other cremation container of your choice, with proper identification included. Family members can then pick up the cremated remains at an agreed upon date and time. Each step of the process, from beginning to end, should be carefully and accurately noted and stored in a tracking system for proper record keeping.
When and Where to Scatter Cremated Remains
There is no specific time period or limit when it comes to disposing of cremated remains. Rather, they may be disposed of or dispersed when the time feels right for you. Some families choose to scatter or bury cremated remains years after cremation, while others may want to do it much sooner. It is completely dependent upon your preferences. Different states and common areas in states have different laws and/or strong suggestions for where and how to scatter or bury cremated remains. For example, placing cremated remains into the ocean can be done only in international waters, which likely would require chartering a boat or making arrangements with a third-party business that specializes in releasing remains at sea. International waters are defined as being 12 nautical miles (or 13.8 miles) from the low water mark of a coastal state.
You may have many more questions about the cremation process, some of which relate to cost, which is why we created this free downloadable guide to cremation costs.