Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Cremation



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Questions about Cremation

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Why is cremation becoming more popular today?

The cremation rate is rising due to several social, demographic, economic, and religious factors.

1. People travel around and relocate much more than they did just a generation or two ago. Ties to
tradition are not as strong as they once were. The long-standing tradition of the family plot in the local cemetery no longer holds the same significance that it once did.
2. Cremation is significantly less expensive than a traditional burial and funeral.
3. Cremation has become an acceptable alternative to burial from both a popular and religious viewpoint.
4. Cremation offers portability and greater flexibility in memorialization services in a way that
traditional burial cannot match.

What is Direct Cremation?

Direct cremation is immediate cremation with no service of any kind. The cost is usually much lower than other services because there is no embalming, no visitation, use of funeral facilities, etc.

Where can I get more information on cremation?

Online Resources:

The following websites and organizations provide comprehensive educational and informational resources:

International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA):

Cremation Association of North America (CANA):

Individual Industry Members:

You can also contact any local funeral home or crematory provider for more information on cremation.

Can an urn be brought into the church for a funeral or memorial service?

Yes. In such cases, the urn is often displayed in a central place of honor. The family may also want to personalize the service by including memorabilia, photographs, etc. in the display alongside the urn.

Can I take the cremated remains of my loved one home?

Yes. You are not required to bury cremated remains or inter them in a columbarium. If you choose to take the ashes home, you will receive the ashes in either a temporary container or a permanent urn, depending on your instructions.

Can the crematory use the same vessel for cremating pets and human remains?

No. It is against the guidelines of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association for a crematory to use the same chamber for cremating human and animal remains. If the crematory offers both pet and human cremation services, there must be a separate retort for cremating animals.

Can you bury the body of a pet and its owner together?

Some pet cemeteries will accept human remains, but in most states it is illegal to bury pets in human cemeteries. Florida is an exception to this law in that it allows human and non-humans to be buried together. Notwithstanding, it is a fairly common practice for the pet owner to ask the funeral director to secretly place the urn of a deceased pet into the casket prior to its being sealed and placed in the burial vault.

Can the bodies of infants be cremated?

Yes. Many crematories have special, small-sized retorts (cremation chambers) that are especially designed for fetal remains or the bodies of infants.

If I am cremated, can I be buried with my spouse even if he or she was in a casket?

Depending on the cemetery’s policies, you may be able to have your cremated remains put into an urn and buried in the same grave space on top of your spouse’s casket. As an alternative, if there is space next to your spouse, you may be able to bury the urn in the available space.

What is a retort?

The retort is the cremation chamber, or furnace, into which the body is placed. Inside the retort, open flames fueled by natural gas, propane, or diesel heat the chamber to as much as 1800 degrees F. The retort is made of special heat-resistant bricks which hold and reflect the intense heat produced by the flames. Adjustable, computerized control systems monitor the interior of the retort during cremation to determine when the cremation process is complete, and then perform automatic shutdown.

What is a crematory?

A crematory is a facility that performs cremations of human or animal remains through a process called “cremation”. The cremation process uses a combination of high-temperature burning, vaporization, and oxidation, which reduces the body to its basic compounds, also known as “ashes”.

What are some memorialization options for cremated remains?

  • You can place the ashes in an urn
  • Scatter the ashes
  • Bury the urn
  • Place the urn in a cremation niche (columbarium)
  • Keep a portion of the ashes in cremation (keepsake) jewelry

Can extremely overweight people be cremated?

Yes. An extremely obese person can be cremated, but it will require access to a crematory that has a retort (cremation chamber) large enough to accommodate the body. If there is no local cremation facility with an oversized retort, it will be necessary to transfer the body to a facility which does. You will incur additional costs for transportation, usually calculated per mile; extra cost for an oversized cremation container; and excess weight of cremation charge. Depending on the exact services, these additional charges may cause an oversized cremation to run $100-$500 more than a standard cremation.

What can be done with the cremated remains?

Cremated remains may be buried or interred in a columbarium, stored in an urn, scattered, or made into memorial jewelry. Other unusual and creative options include making a synthetic diamond from the ashes, storing the ashes in a specially designed stuffed teddy bear, mixing them into tattoo ink, and including ashes in a fireworks display.

Do I have to make different funeral arrangements if I choose cremation?

The main difference is in the processes involved in the disposition of the body (the cremation process vs. the embalming process). For the funeral ceremony itself, you can have a traditional funeral the same as if the body was present. As with a traditional burial, you can still choose to have a final viewing prior to cremation; but in this case, you may need to have the body embalmed and either purchase or rent a casket for the viewing. If cremation is performed prior to the funeral or memorial service, you can choose to have the urn with the deceased’s ashes present at the service, or not. You can also still have a graveside service if the urn is interred in a burial plot or columbarium.

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