Understanding the Cremation Process: A Guide for Families

What Is Cremation?

Cremation is most commonly considered to be an alternative to a traditional casket burial. Cremated remains can be buried as well, but cremation does provide more options as to how you or your loved one will prefer to rest. 

Many people are under the impression that cremation takes just 15-20 minutes. While it is a fast process, it can take anywhere from two to three hours to properly cremate a body. 

Anything that cannot be cremated, such as jewelry, will be removed in preparation. The body is placed in an alternative casket, otherwise known as a cremation casket. These are made of either durable cardboard or wood. Typically, the body will be cremated in whatever clothing the deceased wore at the time of their passing unless the family has requested otherwise. 

How Much Does Cremation Cost?

The cost of cremation depends on when the cremation occurs. The least expensive option is direct cremation, which means the person’s body is cremated shortly after their death. In the event of a direct cremation, there will be no embalming, visitation, or viewing. There is still the opportunity to hold a funeral, which can have varying costs depending upon the funeral home chosen as well as the type of funeral desired. 

Often when the deceased person or their family has opted for direct cremation, the funeral home will take care of transporting the body from their place of death. After the cremation, you will be able to receive the ashes or have them sent to a different location. Additionally, the funeral home or crematorium will handle filling out and filing the necessary paperwork, like the death certificate.  

Cremation can cost anywhere between $500 and $10,000, with direct cremation being your cheapest option. A “normal” cremation will be on the higher end. A normal cremation will obviously be a bit more extravagant, but it will also cost you considerably more. With a normal cremation, you will also be paying for a memorial service, viewing, embalming, a casket, and a cemetery plot if the ashes are to be buried. 

Other than the type of cremation and funeral service your loved one requested, the location of their cremation will have an impact on the overall costs. For example, the minimum costs for cremation in Providence, Rhode Island has a minimum cost of $1,400 and maxes out at $4,100, where a cremation in New York City has a minimum cost of $550 caps at $10,200. 

What Are The Remains?

What exactly do you receive when you collect your loved one’s remains? We have already established that items unable to withstand cremation are removed from the body prior to cremation, but there are still a few items that will need to be removed following the cremation. 

The remains are examined and any surgical screws or dental fillings will be removed, as well as any larger bone fragments that did not break down to consistency. If for any reason you are under the belief that the body of your loved one or their remains have been mishandled, there are legal resources available to help you and your family get the justice you deserve. Firms such as Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman in New Jersey are there to offer compassionate support for this sort of misdoing. 

 Once you receive the remains, you will be free to spread them or place them somewhere significant and meaningful. The ashes can be scattered in a sacred place, divided by family members, kept at home, or buried. Ultimately, what to do with the remains is entirely up to you and your loved one. 

Sadie Allen


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