For many years, families have chosen between cremation or burial services when caring for a loved one’s remains. Certainly, this is a big decision that is often based on a number of factors like: religious or spiritual beliefs, finances, or ecological awareness. Whatever the reasoning, coming to a decision on how the remains will be cared for is one of the first decisions you must make.
In recent years, the popularity of cremation has grown with more than 50% of families now choosing cremation. But what is cremation exactly? The Cremation Association of North America Describes it as “the mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments”. Essentially, it is a process that breaks the body down through the use of heat until there is nothing left but tiny bone fragments that resemble ashes.
When it comes to cremation vs burial, each offers their own benefits to consider. Take a look at some of the facts about cremation below:
One of the biggest factors influencing people’s decisions is cost. Cremation usually costs about 40-50% less than burial. Because there is no need to purchase items like a casket or headstone, your family can use these savings to offset other costs for a funeral or memorial service.
When a loved one is cremated, there is no need to rush and hold a service before the remains are cared for. Instead, it’s quite common for families to plan a memorial service or celebration of life weeks or even months after the remains have been cremated. This offers the family more time to grieve in the days following the death before they begin planning a service to celebrate their loved one. Another advantage of cremation is flexibility and what you choose to do with the cremated remains. Some families store them in an urn, others spread them in a meaningful place and some have them interred in a columbarium niche.
If your family plans to have a funeral service and bury the remains, there are concerns over the environmental impacts. Some believe cremation to be considered a more “green option” because it has less of an environmental impact. When a body is buried with embalming fluid in it, the harmful chemicals are being put into the ground and create a risk for pollution.
As more and more people die over time, cemeteries are starting to have fewer and fewer plots available. In many cases, this places a premium on the cost of a burial plot and allows the cemetery to raise their prices.
One of the first questions we often hear when families are seeking cremation information is what is required? Once the decision to cremate the remains has been made, all that’s left is to complete authorization. This is done by the next of kin signing the authorization documents and paying for the service. Once this is completed, the remains will be transported to the crematory for the cremation process.
There are some other things your family may want to consider when making arrangements. These considerations include:
Is there a special set of clothes (military uniform, favorite suit or dress) that your loved one would want to be dressed in during the cremation?
Does your family have any special keepsakes, mementos, or personal letters they want placed inside the cremation casket with your loved one?
Would you or any family members like to be present for the cremation service?
What do you plan to do with the cremated remains afterwards? Do you need to purchase an urn or do you plan to spread them?
For the cremation itself, a casket is not required. A cremation container is the minimum acceptable container that is allowed by law to surround the body for a cremation. These are available at the funeral home and are included in all of our cremation packages. While a casket is not required for purchase during any cremation, we do offer two beautiful caskets that can be used for your loved one during their visitation and service. We offer these rental caskets to all, and the rental cost is included in our Traditional Cremation Package.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
Although deceased persons are embalmed before the visitation portion of the funeral, it is not a legal requirement if there is no visitation. However, NJ Law requires that deceased persons be embalmed if the final disposition is to take place more than 48 hours after the time of death. Embalming will be required prior to a public visitation if you choose to have one.
Are urns required to collect the cremated remains?
There is no law requiring the purchase of an urn. The cremains will be returned from the crematory in a cardboard container that is suitable for transport home. A more traditional urn may be desired if the cremated remains are to be memorialized at home, at a public memorial service, or the remains are to be interred at a cemetery.We offer a nice selection of urns at the funeral home. Please inquire if you would like to view them.
What options are available with the cremated remains?
After the cremation, the cremated remains will be returned to be kept at home, scattered or buried on private property, or released to a cemetery for burial or above-ground entombment. Cremated remains can be divided to satisfy various memorialization requests. There are smaller urns and even jewelry which hold “keepsake” portions of cremated remains. **The Catholic Church insists that the cremated remains of the body should be reverently buried or entombed in a catholic cemetery or mausoleum.