Peace of Mind and Assurance during the Funeral Planning Process
Questions are a natural and inevitable part of the funeral planning process. In an effort to offer assurance, transparency and peace of mind, we have included answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive. Should you have any additional inquiries, and would like to know more about our online cremation arrangement process, please feel free to contact our New Jersey funeral planning professionals at (973) 908-6023 or through our online form. We are fully committed to giving you all the information you need in a tactful and expedient manner to help you make your decision.
What Are My Options for My Loved One’s Remains after Cremation?
The general perception toward cremation tends to be that it’s something of an “alternative” to a traditional funeral; a quick processing of remains without any contact with the body or participation from other loved ones. People think they have to either live with the ashes in their homes or scatter them somewhere, so they no longer have any earthly connection to their loved one.
The reality is, however, there are multiple ways to honor your loved one’s final wishes of cremation while giving their memory the respect and celebration it deserves. If a family desires, they may still have a traditional funeral with the body present for visitation and services at the funeral home church or any location. People can attend the crematory for a chapel service or committal, choose to witness the start of cremation, or can have the funeral home take care of everything for them.
Different Types of Cremation Memorial and Interment Options Include:
- Columbarium Niche – A columbarium is an indoor or outdoor wall containing niches. A niche is defined as a recessed compartment designed to hold urns. Columbaria may be an entire building, a room, a wall along a corridor or a series of special alcoves or halls in a mausoleum, chapel, or other building located in a cemetery or on other dedicated property.
- Urn Garden – Many cemeteries or memorial parks have areas designated specifically for the interment of cremated remains. These areas are called Urn Gardens and are set aside for those who desire in-ground or above-ground interment. Some gardens offer individual urn burial plots that will accommodate a marker. Others offer unmarked areas for interment of the urn, with adjacent walls or sculptures for memorial plaques.
- Family Plot – If you already own a burial plot or have a space in a family lot, you may choose to inter the cremation urn there. Cemeteries often permit the interment of the cremated remains of more than one person in a single adult space. The monument or marker you select will be a genealogical record for your family and a lasting symbol of the special life you want to remember and commemorate. Simple Cremation of New Jersey can take care of all your monument needs.
- Cremation Urns – Urns for the permanent containment of cremated remains come in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials. In fact, there are urns to satisfy every taste, requirement, and budget. You may select an urn from bronze, pewter, marble, granite, brass or from selected hardwoods. They are also available in porcelain, ceramic, stone, hand-blown glass and cloisonné. Urns range in size from single to multiple capacities, and in styling from the traditional book shape to uniquely themed pieces.
- Keepsake and Presentation Urns – Many urns are also available in smaller versions to hold a small portion of the remains. These are referred to as Keepsake Urns. They are especially appropriate when only a portion of the cremated remains are to be scattered or when families choose to divide the cremated remains among family members. Presentation urns, which are large enough to hold a temporary urn, are also available for use at a memorial or religious service when a family is undecided as to the final disposition of the cremated remains.
- Scattering Garden – In recent years some cemeteries have opened areas to scatter cremated remains. Called Scattering Gardens, these dedicated properties provide choices for personal memorialization. Often individuals whose remains have been scattered in the garden are identified on a special memorial plaque, wall, or unique work of art on which the names are inscribed. Some cemeteries also have benches on which a plaque may be attached or a living memorial, such as a tree, where a plaque may be placed in front of it. Some cemeteries offer to memorialize an individual with an entry in a Book of Memories or Remembrance located in a chapel or mausoleum on the cemetery grounds. These entries, beautifully executed in calligraphy and often illuminated in the manner of ancient manuscripts, provide a personal lasting tribute.
You can also choose to scatter your loved one’s ashes in a location they chose prior to their passing. There are, however, some important things to know beforehand. The process of scattering human ashes like spreading out several pounds of dry white rice mixed with several ounces of fine powder. Rather than wafting away, the cremated remains are more likely to fall to the ground in a heap. This should be kept in mind when you are selecting a scattering site. You may wish to ask someone who is not a direct relative of the deceased to handle the actual scattering process because of the intense emotions that scattering sometimes brings up.
The federal government also has regulations regarding the disposal of cremated remains and many local jurisdictions require notification and permits. Areas, where remains may be scattered or otherwise disposed of, may be restricted. We encourage you to speak with a cemetery or crematory representative for current information about those regulations.
Cremated remains are almost pure calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate and are thus alkaline. If they are to be scattered in a garden or used in planting a tree, you will need to be sure that the plants chosen are not acid-loving or alkali-intolerant. The scattering gardens in cemeteries are designed with this in mind. If you are not sure, contact a local nursery and ask about the alkali tolerance of the plants you prefer.
Simple Cremation of New Jersey wants to make this decision-making process easy for you. For more information regarding what do with your loved one’s remains, simply request more information when completing your online arrangements or speak with one of our funeral directors by calling (973) 908-6023.
When Does Cremation Take Place?
In New Jersey, cremation needs to take place between 24 to 48 hours after the time of death unless the deceased is embalmed or refrigerated.
Cremation involves incineration of remains through exposure to flames between 1600 and 2000 degrees until it has been almost totally consumed. Unless they have been embalmed, a decedent’s remains are kept refrigerated until cremation. Common sense, dignity and health concerns require that the remains be placed in an opaque, rigid container. This can range from a specially designed corrugated cardboard box to a wooden casket, depending on preference. Since the container is consumed in the cremation process, it cannot be made of non-flammable substances or materials which give off toxic fumes on burning.
The remains, in their container, are placed in the cremation chamber and subjected to intense gas flame. It usually takes 45-60 minutes for the remains to be consumed, and for safety reasons, the chamber is cooled for several hours before opening.
At the end of the process, the remains are swept from the chamber. While sweeping is done with great care, small quantities of the remains may be left behind in the chamber and small quantities from previous cremations may be mingled with the current remains. Any remaining metal parts of the cremation container, metal medical prostheses or other foreign objects are removed.
Following processing, the cremated remains are either placed directly into the chosen memorial urn or are temporarily stored in a non-permanent container awaiting disposition. The deceased person then may be memorialized in a columbarium, in a cemetery or in any other way the family has chosen.
Is Embalming Required during Cremation?
In most cases, it is your choice. It may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public viewing of the body, whether there is to be a funeral service, or whether there is refrigeration available. Embalming may also be necessary if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the cremation.
Can Catholics Cremate?
If cremation is chosen, the Church prefers that the body of the deceased be present during the funeral rites with cremation taking place later. However, if this not possible, a funeral may take place in a church with the cremated remains present. The remains are then to be buried with full reverence in a cemetery or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium and, whenever possible, a plaque or stone bearing the name of the deceased should mark the site.
The 1983 Code of Canon Law, in canon 1176, states: “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed; it does not, however, forbid cremation unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.”
Additionally, the Church does not approve of scattering remains, as it does not believe that scattering meets the requirements of reverent disposition.
Ecclesiastical law prohibits burying cadavers in churches, and canon 1205 S2 includes bones or ashes in its definition of cadaver. Thus parish churches are prohibited from having a columbarium. However, many cemeteries have them and are pleased to assist members of the Catholic Church to meet Church law with reverent placement and appropriate memorialization.
How Are Remains Transferred?
If you’re shipping within the country, the best and most efficient way to transfer your loved one’s cremated remains is through the United States Postal Service. You should ship by express mail, using the registered mail option with return receipt requested AND indicate the contents on the outside of the package.
USPS Bulletin 52, governing shipment of cremated remains, reads as follows:
Human ashes are permitted to be mailed provided they are packaged as required in 463b. The identity of the contents should be marked on the address side. Mail pieces must be sent registered mail with return receipt service.
Powders. Dry materials that could cause damage, discomfort, destruction, or soiling upon escape (i.e., leakage) must be packed in sift-proof containers or other containers that are sealed in durable sift-proof outer containers. UPS, FedEx, and DHL do not handle the transport of cremated remains.
Transporting by Air
Most airlines will allow you to transport cremated remains, either as air cargo or as carry-on or checked luggage (traveling with you). Whether shipping as air cargo or as a carry-on/checked luggage, consider all of the following steps:
- Check with the airline to determine their exact policies on either shipping or handling as luggage. You can find this information by searching the airline website for “cremated remains”. To see two policies, click Southwest or American. NOTE: some airlines will not accept cremated remains in checked luggage, while others may only accept it as checked luggage; some airlines require seven days’ notice before shipping if handled as air cargo, and in all cases, the contents should be identified as cremated human remains.
- Review the Transportation Security Administration requirements — click here — which require that the container must be scannable (a container returning an opaque image will not be permitted through security … either for checked luggage or for carry-on luggage).
- Arrive early to ensure adequate time for security clearance.
- Carry the Death certificate, Certificate of Cremation or other appropriate documentation with you (and consider attaching copies to the container), and
- Make sure to check with a licensed funeral director both at your origin of travel and destination to determine if there are local laws to be considered.
There are even more issues involved in bringing cremated remains from…or taking them to…another country. For example, Germany requires that a licensed cemetery receive cremated remains sent to Germany…and that a licensed funeral director be involved in sending them to Germany. In addition to the steps outlined above, you should start by:
- Contacting the Embassy or embassies for the country you are taking cremated remains to or from; identify their specific rules and legal requirements. You can often find this information on the website for the country…but it may also require a call.
- Some countries will have additional authorizations that are required. Your contact with the Embassy should be able to provide you with the forms, although you may need to involve a licensed funeral director or even legal counsel in order to complete the information required.
- Allow even more time for the process — two weeks at a minimum — as there can be a number of steps involved.
Does Cremation Pollute the Environment?
Not when it’s done correctly. The 1990 Environmental Protection Act placed certain responsibilities on crematoria to ensure that the process is carefully controlled to minimize the impact on the environment. Simple Cremation of New Jersey and Bradley & Son Funeral Home are committed to providing a safe, eco-friendly and humane cremation services that leave minimal carbon footprint while treating your loved one with respect.
How Do I Know If the Remains I Receive Are Actually My Loved One’s?
Simple Cremation of New Jersey goes the extra mile to make sure that the correct person is cremated. The identification process begins at the time the your loved one is transferred from his or her place of death. Any identifying tags are checked, and we place a non-removable identification bracelet on your loved one when they enter the building. If a family member is not present with us at the time of the transfer, we will have at least one family member see a photograph via a secure online identification process to verify we have the right person.
Making sure we have the right person is not enough. It is important to be sure the crematory does their job as well. Simple Cremation of New Jersey does not drop off bodies for the crematory to cremate at their convenience. An appointment is made, and a licensed funeral director will witness the start of the cremation and be sure everything is proper before leaving. Simple Cremation of New Jersey works exclusively with only one crematory. We have investigated it thoroughly and occasionally make unannounced visits to be sure everything within the crematory is done to our standards.
For all other questions regarding our services, or the cremation process in general, contact Simple Cremation of New Jersey today.
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