FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What is Cremation?
During cremation, a dead body is burned and vaporized at high temperatures, leaving only ashes. The ashes are specifically from the destruction of bones. Other tissues are vaporized.
Are there Laws in place to insure you receive only the ashes of your loved one?
Yes, there are State by State cremation laws governed by the Federal Trade Commission and In general they're controlled by each state. Common practice is that strict identification of the deceased is initiated at the place of death. By normal procedure an ankle ID band is placed around the ankle that includes several points of information including name, birth date, date of death and location to insure the correct ID of the body. The ID band will be checked several times by the funeral home and the cremetory during the process. At the crematory a special assigned ID on a stainless steel disk is assigned to the paperwork of the deceased and is placed with the remains of the body. The disc stays with the cremated ashes which when finished is placed in the plastic bag. The bag of cremated ashes is placed in a temporary plastic or cardboard container urn. This urn is then is given to a designated person by the family.
How long and where can the remains be kept?
Cremated remains are safe to be kept in the temporary urn for as long as needed, however most people wish to honor their deceased loved ones with a more suitable permanent container called an urn. Urns, are sometimes called vessels for holding cremains/ashes are made of many different materials. It is up to each family to choose what they wish for their deceased loved one.
After cremation what do we do with the cremains?
There are 6 major ways that cremains can be handled. There is water burial, scattering of ashes where allowed, use of ashes in plants and trees, ground burial and display at home or niches in columbariums. Many people are turnng to biodegradable materials often called echo urns that are friendly with nature. After you have made a decision according to your family, religious beleifs or in honoring the wishes of the deceased, you can choose the most fitting urn to fill your needs. Please be sure that you understand each States' laws that govern how all these methods are handled and the best way to find out may be to consult with a local funeral director in your area. In some states in order to keep cremains at a home a designated person must be chosen who will carefully handle the cremains/ashes after you have passed on. So each step needs to be given thought about and within the letter of the law for the state of burial (interment). The office of Secretary of State can refer you to the laws that govern that state.
What is pre-planning?
Many people have made their wishes known by pre-planning how they want their final wishes followed. The advantages of this are many.
1. It alleviates undue stress for family members at the time of your passing. When a loved one dies, grieving family members and friends are confronted with dozens of decisions about the funeral - all of which must be made quickly and often under great emotional duress. This can avoid emotional overspending as well. With all of the little details made ahead of time you have more control to have things the way you feel comfortable having them happen. It also gives you control over how much money will be spent. No one in your family needs to feel any quilt by following your final wishes. You can make the best choices for yourself.
2. Shop in advance. It allows you to comparison shop without time duress. It creates an opportunity for family discussion and lifts some of the burden from your family. Decisions can be made with a clear head.
3. Even though you might choose cremation over traditional burial, you can still have all that a traditional funeral entails or you can choose to have a plainer service if you wish. People associate cremation with a cheaper way of taking care of a body, but some think of it as being an alternative way that offers a lot of options to families. Whatever you decide IS the right way for you. It is not necessary to have the fanciest casket or urn or the most elaborate funeral to properly honor a loved one.
4. If you find the urn you feel is just right for yourself or your loved one, remember it may not be available in a few months or years, so be wise and buy it as it can be easily store away for your future need. Styles keep changing. Some classic standard urns will always be around. This might give you time to have a custom urn made as well. Planning ahead can eliminate expedited costs of rushing to purchase an urn under a time limit. Saving money is always smart.
5. We suggest once you have made your decisions about how you want things to be handled, put them in writing or some type of accessible digital data storage and have a close family member or close friend know where to find the writing or data.
How can I find out if scattering of ashes is legal or how to go about water or burial at sea?
Again, please contact your local funeral home as they often deal with issues like these. There are professionally regulated businesses that can perform these services for a fee. Most states allow scattering of ashes, but be sure you know what the restrictions are and to contact the city or state government for answers. Most states require permits, especially on state and national parks property or water. Some have set aside special areas for scattering and special conditions to follow. LovedOnesUrns strongly encourages you to know the laws and follow them at all times. Scattering ashes on private property is only allowed by the permission of the property owner. A few states have no scattering of ashes policies. Again, please become familiar with your states rules or the state where interment will take place.
Is a Casket required for Cremation?
Each state has laws about containers used in the cremation process. Most states will require the body to be cremated in an approved container. A container can be a strong cardboard container to a full wooden casket. The final decision is up to the family except when the deceased has prior plans which should be honored if at all possible.
Do I have to purchase an Urn from a funeral home?
No, you are not required to purchase an Urn or Casket from the funeral home under the Federal Rules & Regulations and Laws in the U.S. According to the "Funeral Rule" a funeral home cannot require you to purchase a casket when you have ordered cremation services. You are allowed to buy an urn elsewhere like online and have it shipped to the funeral home directly, or bring the urn in yourself. The funeral home is not permitted to refuse to handle the urn you purchased or require you to be present when it arrives or you deliver it to the funeral home. If you purchase cremation jewelry online or through the funeral home, the funeral home will usually handle the cremains for you for a fee. Call the funeral home for more information. Some people don't want to handle the cremains and this is a way around it, or ask a friend or other family member.
How do I transport the urn or cremains/ashes back to a different state, city for interment?
Since we live in a time when families are so spread out across the country, it may require transporting the cremains to another state, city or area for final disposition. For example, which creation urns are suitable for airline travel? LovedOnesUrns has done some research into this issue to determine current and correct information. According to the Transportation TSA (Transport Security Administration) who addressed this issue to the International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association, who stated that the "TSA recommends that consumers purchase a temporary container made of plastic, wood, or a non-lead lined ceramic urn for transporting your loved oned remains" so as to pass through the TSA's security screenings. Generally most airlines will allow you to bring a cremation urn of this type as carry-on luggage, since it like you passed though security screening. Beware that not all airlines allow cremated remains as checked luggage. It is necessary to check with the air carrier BEFORE attempting to transport a crematory container in checked luggage. Out of respect for the deceased and family, airport security personnel will NEVER OPEN the cremation container even if the family insists. Transport restrictions then could result in the final interment not to happen on schedule. To avoid this from happening to your family, plan to use an urn which will pass through the airline x-ray screening. Cremated remains can be shipped by land and air shipping service after the following of special guidelines and labeling of cremated remains. The urn can be shipped in this manner and you can be reunited with them at your destination. You could purchase an urn at point of destination or purchase an urn and have it shipped to the same destination. LovedOnesUrns has a special section with approved temporary or permanent ashes containers made of an approved material such as fabric, plastic or wood that can successfully be x-rayed. By answering this question we hope to save you some inconvenience in the future. We don't want this to be a an extra stressful time for your family.
Are there rules for shipping Urns?
Yes, the common commercial carriers will have set rules they must follow. As an example the U.S. Postal Service requires that the urn be shift-proof, tightly closed and padded. So when you purchase an urn that will have to be transported keep these factors in mind. Often the urn is shipped to you in that type of package, so try to keep the original shipping package and packing or use one like it.
What size Urn should I get?
This is the question that is most often asked. Just as people are different sizes and shapes, so do urns vary in sizes and shapes. It is important to remember to always be concerned not with the external size of the urn but the internal volume it can accommodate. The volume is listed in cubic inch capacity - cubic inch is the volume of one pound of bone fragments/ashes takes up. The industry published by the Federal Rules, Regulations and Laws in the U.S. states Standard Urn sizing established by the Cremation Association of North America is defined by internal capacity to hold ashes, which is measured in cubic inches. The industry standard is 200 cubic inches for an adult. This size will accommodate most adult urns. However not all Urns are made to hold this volume. As you will imagine urns meant for children or to be used as keepsakes are smaller in capacity. A rule of thumb is 1 cubic inch of volume for each pound of healthy live weight. So if a person weighed 180 lbs they would require roughly 180 cubic inch capacity urn. Remember when sizing an urn it is better to purchase one big enough rather than it being too small. There are extra large urns made to hold a larger than normal capacity. There are companion urns meant to hold the cremains of two people. Since most of the body is vaporized, we are now dealing with bone fragments that remain in the cremation process. Of course these have been processed into smaller pieces and collected into a plastic bag. That bag can usually be put into the urn intact in most cases. So the size of your urn and type of urn is determined by how you intend to use it. Often cemeteries usually set their own standards for the type of urn they will accept for a columbarium or urn vault. So it is wise to check with the cemetery of interment to look into their rules BEFORE purchasing an urn or vault.
If land burial is chosen, will I be required to purchase a vault to put the urn into?
Again, the answer is up to the cemetery involved. By dealing with a local funeral director, they will be familiar with the rules of most common cemeteries they use or know how to find the information for you. You may also contact the cemeteries directly if need be. Vaults for urns are made to encase the urn and protect it from moisture and the weight of the earth above and around the urn. It helps in ground settlement in the future for years to come as well. Some cemeteries will not require a vault and often stone, marble or granite urns will work very well without the vault. So, again this answer often varies. LovedOnesUrns has included Burial Vaults for Urns in our Burial Vaults section to make this step easier for you. You may have them shipped to you directly, or to another location. They could be shipped directly to the cemetery of interment. Be very careful when choosing a vault with the correct internal dimensions for the urn you are using. LovedOnesUrns is here for you.
If I have a memorial service before I have had time to purchase the permanent urn? How can this be handled?
One solution would be to rent a suitable urn for the service from the funeral home and later when time allows, find a more suitable urn. Most urns can be purchased in an expedited manner and shipped very fast at additional costs.
An Added Note:
You are going through a sensitive time in your life and deserve all the comfort and caring we can offer you. We want everything to go as smoothly as possible for you to ease your burden at this time. Because we care about people, we are here for you as well as to create lasting memories for your lost loved one.