Cremation Concerns? Answering the Tough Questions About Direct Cremation Services

Some of the toughest decisions in life are final disposition decisions – what we decide to do with our loved one’s remains after they have passed away. Cremation has made this decision easier, and more than half of Americans now prefer the cremation process over other final disposition options.

Among families who opt for cremation, many will work with a direct cremation service to carry out the process. Direct cremation is growing in popularity as a final disposition option, as it’s a low-cost, high-convenience way of arranging final arrangements following a death.

It’s understandable if you haven’t heard of direct cremation, and you probably have questions about the process. Here, we’ll provide answers to the most common cremation concerns that people have about direct cremation, so you can make an informed choice about final disposition.

If I Choose Direct Cremation Can We Still Have a Memorial Service?

Direct cremation gives families maximum flexibility in arranging memorial services. Although direct cremation doesn’t include a memorial service, there’s nothing preventing a family from putting together a memorial service after cremation has taken place.

Once you receive the decedent’s ashes, what you do with them is the family’s decision. If you opt for a memorial service, that can be arranged separate from direct cremation.

Many people decide to opt for a less formal way of honoring their loved one. Direct cremation services support this approach.

Are Direct Cremation Services Regulated Like Other Businesses in the Funeral Industry?

Direct cremation providers are held to the same regulations that other members of the funeral industry are. For one, direct cremators must be licensed before they can provide cremation services. Specifically, direct cremators must have a direct disposer license so they can properly handle human remains. Some attain additional licensing, but the direct disposer license is a must.

Like with funeral homes, direct cremators are required to provide transparent pricing to their clients. Direct cremators must inform families of their casket and urn options, and provide an itemized list of everything, along with their price.

These regulations are detailed in the FTC’s Funeral Rule. The Funeral Rule requires direct cremators (and funeral homes) to make it easy for families to purchase only the items they need for disposition, and to comparison shop for alternatives, if desired.

Are There Any Hidden Costs of Direct Cremation?

There are no hidden or additional costs of direct cremation – as required by the FTC Funeral Rule. The price you see prior to confirming your decision is the total price you’ll pay for cremation. If you require additional services – such as delivery or additional death certificates – these are listed on the final bill and not added in following cremation.

How Will My Loved One’s Body Be Handled Prior to Cremation?

As a licensed direct disposer, direct cremation services are qualified to handle human remains in a dignified, sanitary manner.

If you opt for direct cremation, your loved one’s remains will be recovered as soon as possible – usually within a few hours of notification of death. Direct cremation services have multiple recovery teams on hand for this part of the process, so rest assured that the deceased will be quickly recovered and kept safe until cremation is approved by the state.

Approval is usually granted within 48 hours, and once provided, the decedent is immediately taken to the crematory for final disposition.

Can the Ashes Be Scattered After Direct Cremation?

Yes, once the cremation process is complete and the decedent’s ashes have been returned, they can be scattered in a place of your choosing. Before picking a place to scatter the ashes, verify that there are no state or local laws preventing you from doing so. For example, if you wish to scatter the ashes on private property, you’ll need to get permission from the property owner first.

There may be additional restrictions if you wish to scatter the ashes in popular spots like Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Studios. We’ve detailed these restrictions and Florida’s laws on scattering ashes here.

How do Direct Cremation Services Guarantee They Provide the Right Ashes?

One of the most persistent worries about cremation is whether the right ashes are returned to the family. Direct cremators have measures in place to ensure there are no mishaps in this area.

For example, we attach a metal disc to every decedent before they are moved into the cremation chamber. This disc has the decedent’s name and other identifying information on it, and it survives the heat of cremation. Once the process is complete, this disc is retrieved and used to verify that the right ashes are given to the right family. Some direct cremation services also maintain a computerized database to track decedents as they move through the cremation process.

What If My Loved One Passes Away in Florida While on Vacation?

Florida is a tourism hub, attracting millions of “snowbirds” looking to escape the cold every year. With millions of people taking an extended stay in Florida, it’s inevitable that some will pass away while on vacation here.

If this has happened to your loved one, we’ve detailed what to do here. The short answer is – direct cremation is the simplest, least costly way to perform disposition and return your loved one’s remains to the family.

Why? Transporting a body across state lines is burdensome. First, you may need to work with two (not one) funeral homes to prepare the body for transport and to receive the remains at the decedent’s home state. The body will also need to be refrigerated during transport or embalmed prior to transport. Both are expensive and transport itself can run thousands of dollars.

If the decedent specified cremation for their end-of-life arrangements (through a will or other binding document), then performing direct cremation and having the ashes shipped to the home state makes sense. Otherwise, you’re spending thousands of dollars just to move the body before cremation takes place in the home state.

Can I Plan Direct Cremation Services Ahead of Time?

Yes, like other final arrangements, direct cremation services can be preplanned and prefunded for maximum peace of mind. Arranging direct cremation takes minutes and saves your loved ones from having to make difficult disposition decisions when emotions are raw. Many of our clients find that preplanning cremation is a relief, to themselves and their families.

Hopefully, this information has cleared up your questions about direct cremation. While it’s never easy arranging a loved one’s final disposition, direct cremation services aim to make it as easy as possible.


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