What is Cremation?

Using intense heat to reduce the size of the body down to ashes.

The process can take up two to four hours. Depending on the size of the body, the cremated remains will weigh three to nine pounds. After the process the bone fragments are pulverized to about aquarium gravel texture. Depending on the fuel and temperature used, they are some-where between a light grey and white color.

The percentage of cremations in the US

Is rising each year maybe because of the current economy. In 12 states the cre-mation rate is over 50%. In England and Japan the cremation rate is close to 90%. In 2005, 46% of Americans said they will choose cre-mation for themselves. Primary reasons for choosing cremation are to save money a straight cremation can greatly reduce funeral costs.

What about the casket?

No, a casket is not required for cremation.
Most crematories do require that the body be enclosed in a rigid, combustible con-tainer. Under federal regulations, all mortuar-ies must make available an inexpensive cre-mation container often referred to as an alter-native container. Customers may make or fur-nish their own suitable container. These can be made from cardboard and may only cost $20 to purchase.


If an undertaker is used to transport the body, (this is required in Michigan) obtain permits, and file the death certificate, the average fee is $1,200 (in 2011). However, prices can vary from about $500 to well over $3,000, often in the same market. If a visitation or a funeral service is held before cremation, the charges will be higher. Shop for the best prices on urns.


Most states permit private citizens to obtain the necessary death certificate and permits for transit and disposition. (These laws change form state to state in the US) You should check first to make sure the crematory will accept the body directly from the family, as some crematories will only work through funeral homes.

Visitation and a funeral service

..with a body present may be held before cremation or you may choose to have a memorial service with-out the body present. Cremation makes it pos-sible to take more time to plan a service at a convenient time.

Most funeral homes will rent a casket

to a family that wants to have the body present for visitation or for a funeral service preceding cremation. After the service, the body is trans-ferred to an inexpensive cremation container. Rental caskets often cost around $700, how-ever, so you might consider using the simple alternative container and draping it with an attractive cloth, a quilt, or a flag.

What to do with the ashes

They can be placed in a niche, buried, scattered, or kept by the family. Cremated remains are sterile and pose no health hazard. Their disposition is, for the most part, not controlled, provided the landowner grants permission.

A columbarium is an assembly of niches de-signed to hold containers of cremated remains. It is most often located in a mausoleum with a cemetery and at some churches.

Scattering cremains over an area that had significance to the deceased is legal in most jurisdictions. Although there are commercial firms which will handle the cremated remains for a fee, most families prefer to do this themselves. Remains that are being scattered should be processed by the crematory to reduce all frag-ments to fine particles.

Scattering at sea is available to all veterans and dependents and is provided by the Navy or Coast Guard. Because sea burials are done at the convenience of the military, the family may not witness sea burial. The Classic Silver & Gold Urn, 10
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While federal regulations technically require cremated remains to be scattered three miles out from shore, the Environmental Protection Agency says they are not concerned about families scattering ashes at the beach and never enforce this regulation with private families.