Making Big Choices Regarding Funerals

The Cremation Process

by Andrea Rhodes

All states have regulations by which funeral homes and cremation service providers must abide. Instances of mistaken or misplaced remains are extremely rare and usually the fault of someone outside of the funeral home or cremation service. The process itself is secure and streamlined, providing as much dignity to the deceased as a traditional burial.

Identification and Preparation

When you arrange to be cremated through the funeral home of your choice, the first step is to sign the authorization forms in order to be cremated. At the time of your passing, a family member or someone who knew you identifies the body. The funeral home then arranges shipment of the body to the cremation service, where a non-combustible identification tag is assigned that will stay with the remains throughout the process.

With the identification complete and all the paperwork in order, the body is dressed and cleaned but not embalmed. Any personal items still on the body such as jewelry are removed and returned to the family. The deceased is then placed inside a special wooden or cardboard box in which it will be incinerated.

The Cremation Process

The body is placed inside the cremation furnace, which reaches temperatures of up to almost 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Over the next few hours, most of the remains burn and then evaporate into the atmosphere. What's left is then removed and allowed to cool.

Next, the furnace operator inspects the remains, which are mostly bone fragments and iron. The operator then takes care to remove any remaining bits of metal with a magnet. After the entire process is complete, the remains are promptly reunited with the identification tag.


The remains are ground into a powder known as the "cremains" or ashes and placed inside a plastic bag, which is put into an urn that was decided on previously. A representative of the funeral home picks up the urn and ensures that it is returned to the family. 

Make Arrangements

Whether your choose cremation or burial, one thing is for certain, preparing for the eventuality of your own death makes things easier for your survivors. Put your wishes in writing and make sure your family knows where to find the instructions at the proper time. For more specific information about cremation and to arrange your memorial service, consult a funeral home that offers cremation. They can help you determine additional details regarding the cremation process