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Understanding Cremation

Do I need to purchase a casket for cremation?

No. State law only requires that an alternative container is used, such as a cremation container or a simple container made of wood that is cremated with the body.

Is embalming required prior to cremation?

No. And it is illegal for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.

Can family members view the body even without embalming?

Yes. We have a private viewing room where immediate family members may briefly view the deceased prior to cremation. We prepare the deceased for viewing by washing and dressing them. The deceased may also be viewed in our crematory without any preparation. No additional refrigeration charges are incurred if the viewing is concluded within the state-mandated 48-hour waiting period.

Is the family allowed the attend the cremation?

Yes. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to accommodate family members who wish to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber.

Do all religions accept cremation?

Most religions allow cremation. The only exceptions are Orthodox Jew, Islamic, Eastern Orthodox, and several Fundamentalist Christian Faiths. The Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings. If you are unsure you should talk to your pastor or church leader for guidance.

Can an urn be brought into a church?

Most Protestant churches allow urns in the church during a memorial service. The Catholic Church also allows the cremated remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. We strongly encourage families planning a memorial service to have the remains present and visible to act as a focal point for the service.

What can be done with the cremated remains?

You have several options. Remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inturned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered on private property. We also offer a scattering service off the coast of New Hampshire near the Isles of Shoals. Our staff will be happy to discuss these options with you and make any arrangements.

What are the reasons that people choose cremation?

While many people choose cremation because it is a cost-effective option, that isn’t the only reason. Other people may choose cremation for its simplicity and dignity, environmental concerns, and the flexibility it affords in ceremony planning and final disposition.

What are the laws that govern cremation?

Each state has its own laws that govern cremation. New Hampshire and Vermont have several cremation laws that you should know.

  • There is a 48-hour waiting period in NH and a 24-hour waiting period in VT from the time of death until the cremation can take place.
  • The deceased must be cremated in a suitable solid cremation container.
  • A cremation authorization form must be signed by the individual legally authorized to make the cremation arrangements.
  • Cremation cannot take place until the NH or VT Medical Examiner has authorized the cremations to take place.

For a complete list of applicable State laws, refer to New Hampshire RSA 325-A and He-P 600 or Vermont 18 V.S.A. Paragraph 5201(b) or ask for a copy of our Cremation Authorization Form.

Don’t most funeral homes have a crematory?

No. Most funeral homes subcontract this procedure to a third-party provider which removes most, if not all, of the funeral home’s control over the process. The family often incurs additional expenses such as transportation as well as needless delay.

How can I be certain that I receive the correct cremains?

We have a rigorous set of operating policies and procedures, along with some of the highest standards in the industry, that even exceed all legal requirements, to ensure that we have maximized our level of service while minimizing the potential for human error. We issue the deceased a unique ID tag that is present throughout every stage of the cremation process to ensure proper identification of remains. Our cremation chamber is also monitored 24 hours a day using a closed-circuit security system and only licensed professionals are allowed to operate our cremation equipment. You can refer to our 10-Step Peace of Mind Cremation Process for additional information.

How long does the cremation take?

Cremation of an average adult takes two to three hours at normal operating temperatures which are between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F. A larger person will take more time and a smaller person will take less.

Can two cremations be performed at once?

No. That is a violation of cremation laws.

What happens after the cremation is complete?

All organic bone fragments are separated from non-consumed metal items in a special cooling pan at the back of the cremation chamber. This is done through visual inspection and the use of a strong magnet. All the remains are then processed in a machine to ensure consistent size then place in the temporary or permanent urn that the family has selected.

What do the cremated remains look like?

They resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey. The cremains of an average sized adult weigh between four to six pounds.

Do I need an urn?

While most families select and urn, there is no law that requires it. If the family chooses not to select an urn, the cremated remains are returned in a temporary plastic container. If families are obtaining their own urn, the urn should be at lest 200 cubic inches to accommodate the cremated remains. For liability reasons, we are not able to fill third party urns. To see a complete list and pictures of all our urns, please refer to the Cremation Urns section of this site.

Are There Any Special Benefits For Veterans?

Most honorably discharged veterans who served in active duty are eligible for a free burial at a veterans cemetery, a burial flag, and military honors, and we also offer a Veterans Package.

Is There Any Assistance For Families On Welfare?

It is our policy that no one be denied a proper and dignified cremation due to financial limitations. City and town welfare departments provide financial assistance for deceased residents who are indigent, or whose immediate family members do not have the ability to pay for a cremation. It is the family’s responsibility to request financial assistance from the agency. Once the agency has approved the request for financial assistance and the amount to be paid in writing, we will apply this amount towards our discounted cremation fee of $1,000 offered to those in need. While many welfare departments pay $1,000 as a benefit, some pay less. If the city or town benefit does not cover our discounted charge, then the balance will need to be paid by the family, person in charge of arrangements or other parties prior to the cremation taking place. Please be aware that we significantly discount our fees in order to be able to provide this community service and are not able to accept less than $1,000. Ask your counselor to provide you with our complete Social Services Policy on Financial Assistance.

Don’t be scared. We have a guide for you:

Everything You Wanted to Know About Cremation (But Were Afraid to Ask)