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An individual making a personal choice for cremation as the final means of disposition of their body can make pre-arrangements as with any other type of funeral.
Simply stating that you wish to be cremated is not legally enough to insure that your wishes are carried out.
A person who feels strongly about your decision can best insure that this will happen through pre-need cremation arrangements. Your funeral director can assist you in prearranging this option, along with other plans.
We encourage families to ask their funeral director questions about cremation and all the options it provides.
Cremated remains may be placed in a small space in the ground in an urn garden at a cemetery or in a niche in a mausoleum, which can be inside a building or in an outdoor structure. They may also be buried in a traditional cemetery lot.
All these option permit the identification of a loved one with a permanent marker.
Choosing Cremation Containers
Cremation options include a choice of container to hold the body, which may be a traditional casket, a specially constructed cremation casket usually of simpler design, or an alternative container. There are a wide variety of styles and designs available at varied prices.
Following cremation, another choice must be made about disposition and memorialization of the cremated remains. There mare many types of urns and containers that may be selected by the family, including some that may represent an aspect in the life of the deceased person, such as a favorite hobby or past-time. Funeral homes maintain a stock of such items.
Containers with ashes may be buried in family plots or urn gardens. They may be placed in a niche mausoleum or kept at home. Or, they may be scattered at a selected site of special significance, where permitted. The choice of disposition may influence your choice of container.
Choosing cremation is one of a number of options you have about the type of overall funeral service.
With cremation, you may also choose:
a traditional public visitation and service at the funeral home or church
a private vieweing with a service
a private vieweing only, or
a memorial service, either closely following the death or later.
With the choice of traditional visitation and service, you schedule a time for your family to gather with friends at the funeral home to comfort each other at your time of loss. The visitation is open to all, and can be followed by a religious service, a “contemporary” service where family members and friends are encouraged to participate and share their feelings or a combination of these approaches.
If you select a private viewing and service, you may request close friends, relatives and acquaintances to be with you for an observance in honor of your loved one.
A private viewing only, which may be chosen by those who do not want a formal service, provides invited family members and friends with a final opportunity to see a person. It can be helpful in leaving a positive and peaceful image in memory.
“Viewings are confirming. They provide emotional reinforcement that a death has taken place,” says the Rev. Paul Irion of the Lancaster Theological Seminary.
A memorial service following cremation can be held at the funeral home, with the staff handling many of the related details and assisting with arrangements.
Some families have found it helpful to hold a second memorial service on an anniversiry or other important date, or to supplement a service in another location.
The serivce may be religious or contemporary. The option of having the cremated remains present can help provide a focus for remembering.
As with many traditional funerals, families are encourage to provide their input and share special feelings about a person that can add to the memorial serivce. This may include memorable photographs, favorite readings or music, or other reflectitions of the life, business, hobbies, and interests of the person remembered.
Individuals may choose cremation for religious, cultural, philosophical, or economic reasons.
Sometimes cremation is chosen because of a perceived lack of land for burial purposes.
Cremation can provide a dignified lower-cost option. In most cases, the choice for cremation as a final means of disposition generally costs less than a traditional funeral service. The overall cost is based on your selection of merchandise and services, plus some fixed expenses.
But, cremation does not mean giving up time-honored traditions of gatherings of family and friends for observances to commemorate a life that has been lived.
Cremation uses intense heat and evaporation to return the body to its natural components. It is an age-old practice used around the world. Cremated remains consist primarily of elemental bone fragments.
Before cremation, the body mat be placed in a variety of containers, depending primarily on the type of funeral service selected. A casket or cremation container in which the body is encased is usually designed to be consumed in the cremation process. Following cremation, the cremated remains are normally placed in a container called an urn.
Embalming is not required if there is no viewing, or if the funeral takes place within 24 hours of the death. Otherwise, it is a requirement of Penssylvania law. The purposeof embalming is to disinfect and help preserve the body.
Cremation provded and unlimited time to decide the ultimate disposal of ashes, bit it offers other options for funeral services too.
Funeral homes offer counseling on all these possibilites. They also provide facilities for families and friedns to assemble and honor their loved one.
Funerals fill an important role for those mourning the loss of a loved one. By providing surviving family and friends with an atmosphere of care and support in which to share thoughts and feelings about death, funerals are the first step in the healing process. It is the traditional way to recognize the finality of death. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show their respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grieving process.
You can have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. Planning a personalized ceremony or service will help begin the healing process. Overcoming the pain is never easy, but a meaningful funeral or tribute will help.
The funeral home will help coordinate arrangements with the cemetery.
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good-bye, that’s perfectly acceptable. Your funeral director will come when your time is right.
Burial in a casket is the most common method of disposing of remains in the United States, although entombment also occurs. Cremation is increasingly selected because it can be less expensive and allows for the memorial service to be held at a more convenient time in the future when relatives and friends can come together.
A funeral service followed by cremation need not be any different from a funeral service followed by a burial. Usually, cremated remains are placed in urn before being committed to a final resting place. The urn may be buried, placed in an indoor or outdoor mausoleum or columbarium, or interred in a special urn garden that many cemeteries provide for cremated remains. The remains may also be scattered, according to state law.
Viewing is a part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity is voluntary.
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.
The Federal Trade Commission says, "Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial."
When compared to other major life events like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral.
Additionally, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Funeral directors look upon their profession as a service, but it is also a business. Like any business, funeral homes must make a profit to exist.
It really depends entirely on how you wish to commemorate a life. One of the advantages of cremation is that it provides you with increased flexibility when you make your funeral and cemetery arrangements. You might, for example, choose to have a funeral service before the cremation; a memorial service at the time of cremation or after the cremation with the urn present; or a committal service at the final disposition of cremated remains. Funeral or memorial services can be held in a place of worship, a funeral home or in a crematory chapel.
With cremation, your options are numerous. The cremains can be interred in a cemetery plot, i.e., earth burial, retained by a family member, usually in an urn, scattered on private property, or at a place that was significant to the deceased. (It would always be advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place-your funeral director can help you with this.)
Today, there are many different types of memorial options from which to choose. Memorialization is a time-honored tradition that has been practiced for centuries. A memorial serves as a tribute to a life lived and provides a focal point for remembrance, as well as a record for future generations. The type of memorial you choose is a personal decision.
You might choose ground burial of the urn. If so, you may usually choose either a bronze memorial or monument. Cremation niches in columbariums are also available at many cemeteries. They offer the beauty of a mausoleum setting with the benefits of above ground placement of remains. Many cemeteries also offer scattering gardens. This area of a cemetery offers the peacefulness of a serene garden where family and friends can come and reflect.
If you wish to have your ashes scattered somewhere, it is important to discuss your wishes to be scattered ahead of time with the person or persons who will actually have to do the cremation ashes scattering ceremony, as they might want to let your funeral professional assist in the scattering ceremony. Funeral directors can also be very helpful in creating a meaningful and personal ash scattering ceremony that they will customize to fit your families specific desires. The services can be as formal or informal as you like. Scattering services can also be public or private. Again, it is advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place-your funeral director can help you with this.
Yes — Depending upon the cemetery's policy, you may be able to save a grave space by having the cremains buried on top of the casketed remains of your spouse, or utilize the space provided next to him/her. Many cemeteries allow for multiple cremated remains to be interred in a single grave space.
Uncertainty about income tax issues can add to the stress experienced from the death of a spouse. You should meet with your family attorney and/or tax advisor as soon as possible to review your particular tax and estate circumstances. Bring a detailed list of your questions to the meeting. If you do not have an attorney or tax advisor, call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 for answers to specific tax questions.
There are a number of options available, including:
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