Cremation Frequently Asked Questions
Following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about cremation. Keep in mind that laws and procedures vary from state to state and from provider to provider.
What Is Cremation?
To begin with, it is probably easier to describe what cremation isn't. Cremation is not a final disposition, nor is it a type of funeral service. Rather, it is a process of reducing the human body to ashes.
Is A Casket Needed For Cremation?
No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is usually required by most states is an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard, which is cremated with the body. In some states, no container is required.
Is Embalming Required Prior To Cremation?
Absolutely not, and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise. Most embalming prior to cremation are for a visitation, service or viewing.
Can The Family Witness The Cremation?
Yes, in many cases, we will allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.
Is Cremation Accepted By All Religions?
Today most religions allow cremation except for Orthodox Judaism, Islam, Eastern Orthodox and a few Fundamentalist Christian faiths. The Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings.
Can An Urn Be Brought Into Church?
Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. Most Catholic Churches also allow the cremated remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. In fact, if the family is planning on a memorial service, we encourage the ashes be present as it provides a focal point for the service.
What Can Be Done With The Cremated Remains?
There are many options and laws that vary state to state. Remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered.
Do People Choose Cremation Only To Save Money?
While some people select cremation for economic reasons, many choose this option for other reasons. The simplicity and dignity of cremation, environmental concerns, and the flexibility cremation affords in ceremony planning and final disposition all add to its increasing popularity.
Don't Most Funeral Homes Have A Crematory?
Most funeral homes subcontract this delicate procedure out to a third party provider in another town where the funeral home has little or no control over the crematory's operating procedures. Often, the family incurs additional transportation expenses and needless delay. By contrast, we own and operate our own crematory.
How Can I Be Sure I Receive The Correct Remains?
Altmeyer Funeral Home and Cremation Services have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. If you have questions, ask us about our procedures.
Can Two Cremations Be Performed At Once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously. The ashes, however, may be intermixed post cremation or kept in a dual urn.
What Do The Cremated Remains Look Like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light gray in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four and six pounds.
Are All The Ashes Returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
Do I Need An Urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased through us or provided by the family, we will return the cremated remains in a temporary container.