In short, yes. We hear this question often from families choosing a direct cremation for their loved ones. Perhaps there’s still some attachment to the traditional idea of what a funeral director’s job is – to do the embalming and take the casket to church and to the cemetery for burial. So since a direct cremation involves none of these things, it makes sense to ask whether or not a funeral director is necessary for a simple disposition such as a direct cremation.
The key word, though, is “disposition.” In the eyes of the law, cremation is considered as much a form of disposition as burial or entombment, perhaps even more so considering the fact that cremation is irreversible. As funeral directors, we are licensed specifically to oversee the disposition of any individual who has died, regardless of the type chosen by the family.
For the same reasons that a family cannot schedule and conduct a burial of a family member without a funeral director, a family cannot bring their loved one to the crematory without a funeral director. And as you might imagine, there is much more to the process than simply being present for the cremation. Your funeral director is responsible for completing and obtaining the death certificate in conjunction with medical professionals, obtaining the necessary permits for the cremation per state law, and obtaining specific written authorizations from family members so that everyone is legally protected. Your funeral director is also responsible for working directly with the crematory to ensure that their standards of operation meet the highest criteria possible. They act as an advocate for your family.
It’s important to remember that a major part of a funeral director’s job is to assist your family in putting together a fitting tribute for your loved one following the cremation. To many folks who are used to the traditional order of events, this probably seems a bit backwards. But we’re serving more and more families who are electing to hold a service at a later date that is more convenient for them, and this provides a greater opportunity to carefully personalize the tribute and involve everyone who wishes to participate. While a funeral director is not legally required to be present for the burial or scattering of cremated remains, he or she will be an invaluable resource to your family during the tribute planning process.
We’ve designed Simple Cremation of New Jersey with your family’s independence in mind. It is the only legal way to complete a cremation for your loved one without using a traditional funeral home in New Jersey. Your family is in control of how much or how little our funeral directors are involved with the tribute that follows. We believe an option like that is long overdue.