Cremation FAQ

What is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.  Cremation is neither the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service.

Is a casket needed for Cremation?

No -- Most states require an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard. In other states, no container is required. 

Is embalming required prior to cremation?

No -- It is illegal for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.

Can the body be viewed without embalming?

Yes -- Most crematories allow immediate family members to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation.

Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes -- Some cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber.  Some religious groups even include this as part of their funeral custom.

Can an urn be brought into church?

Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service.  Most Catholic Churches also allow the remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. It is encouraged that cremated remains be a part of a funeral as it provides a focal point for the service. 

What can be done with the cremated remains?

Laws vary from state to state. In most, remains may be buried in a cemetery lot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered.

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?

All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous operating policies and procedures to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error.  It is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, so is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.

How long does the actual cremation take?

The weight of the individual will impact the time it takes for completion.  For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

What do the cremated remains look like?

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color.  The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 8 pounds.

Are all the cremated remains returned?

With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.

Do I need an urn?

No -- An urn is not required by law.  In many cases, an urn is chosen when there will be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetary.  If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.