Choosing Cremation

Here are some starter questions if you choose to visit a crematorium (or what to ask your funeral director if you don't go yourself):

  1. Check for general cleanliness.
  2. May a family member witness the cremation?
  3. How does the process work?
  4. How long does the process take?
  5. How much will the process cost?
  6. If a family member wants to know if the maple casket was actually cremated, can the crematory answer that question a month later?
  7. Ask to see the container in which they return the ashes. Is it marked "temporary container"?
    • Why? This is may be a tactic to get consumers to purchase more expensive urns.
  8. Is the crematory licensed by any state agency? If so, how often does the agency do inspections?

Cremation Costs

  1. If you plan to bury your loved one's cremated remains in a mausoleum or columbarium, you can expect to purchase a crypt and pay opening and closing fees, as well as charges for endowment care and other services.
  2. Many cemeteries now provide for scattering of the remains in a garden set aside for that purpose, which can include a plaque memorializing the deceased.
Scattering Remains

  1. If remains are scattered somewhere outside the cemetery, many cemeteries allow you to place a memorial of some type on the cemetery grounds, so survivors have a place to visit that will always be maintained and preserved.
  2. Remains can be scattered on private property if the owner of the property permits it.
  3. Remains may be scattered in other places as long as it is permitted by local regulations, check with local cities/counties in the area of interest.
  4. You may also place the remains in an urn for your own keeping.

Sources: Federal Trade Commission (FTC), International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA).

Additional Information

  • For more information, The Cremation Association of North America can help with guidelines.
  • You can also visit the Funeral Consumers Alliance Web site. The Funeral Consumer's Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting a consumer's right to choose a meaningful, dignified, affordable funeral. Visit their site for more information on an overseas death, caskets and urns and additional information.

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. These tips are from experts and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with appropriate professionals you trust in making your purchasing or life-related decisions.

Updated: 5/2009