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Cremation Central

      
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Welcome to the ICCFA Cremation Central "Support" page. Do you have a question about cremation policies, procedures, operations, service or sales? You've come to the right place! Leave your question in the comments section below, and our coaches will provide the answers in a future post.

 

ASK A QUESTION. ANSWER A QUESTION. DISCUSS. Join your colleagues and the ICCFA Cremation Advisors online now in the Cremation Central Forum.


NEW!
Cremation Hotline The ICCFA has partnered with Answering Service for Directors (ASD) to create a cremation hotline to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding cremation, completely FREE of charge. This means that the greatest pool of cremation experts ever assembled is now at your service, 24/7! ICCFA members can call 1-855-388-CRM8 to speak directly to a cremation expert.

 

How Long Does Cremation Take? - Actual times may vary.... (Ron Salvatore)

Making Sure Your Crematory Is 'Green' - Understanding and updating your equipment and your procedures helps in maintaining an eco-friendly crematory. (Coach Larry Stuart Jr.)

The Importance of Cooling Down Your Cremator - Overheating your equipment can lead to big problems. (Coach Larry Stuart Jr.)

'Ashes to Ashes' - A succinct explanation of the cremated remains that are returned to families. (Ron Salvatore)

Transporting Cremated Remains to the U.S. from Abroad - Bringing cremated remains into the United States for burial or inurnment requires some paperwork and processing, but it can be done. (Coach Poul Lemasters)

Conveying the Value of Cremation Urns - Having a wide selection of urn products, attractively displayed and expertly presented by staff, is essential to effectively communicating the value of a cremation urn. (Coach Julie A. Burn)

Don't Charge a Fee for Preparing the Remains for Identification - You might be tempted to recoup your staff time with a fee, but you'll risk violating the Funeral Rule, and worse, potential liability should the family decline your "offer." (Coach Poul Lemasters)

There's Still Time To Educate Our Customers About Cremation - Yes, there is a perception among some of the public that cremation is primarily a low cost alternative to traditional ceremony and burial, but all is not lost .... (Coach Julie A. Burn)

Educating The Press: Cremation Does Not Mean "No Frills" - Lately, newspapers have been reporting on the rise in cremation as a reflection of today's troubled economy. How can you educate your local press and your community that choosing cremation does not mean forgoing tributes and memorialization? (Coach Julie A. Burn)

 

 

What paper work is required for keepsakes?

When a sample portion of cremains are separated out and put into a keepsake for the family are there any forms the funeral director is required to complete?

Poul Lemasters's picture

This is a great question!

This is a great question! It's an issue that is common and commonly overlooked. You use the word "required" for the need of documentation. Required is a strong word, especially when talking to a lawyer! I am aware of no laws that require separate documentation for a keepsake urn; HOWEVER, I do recommend a form to acknowledge the separation of the cremated remains and to whom or where the cremated remains have been delivered. A cremation provider can handle this in different matters but I suggest these two as a start.

First, if you are aware that the family is going to separate the cremated remains and make use of individual or keepsake urns, then take advantage of your Cremation Authorization and Disposition Form. Under the section for Final Disposition, identify precisely how you will separate the cremated remains and who will be receiving (and allowed to pick-up) each individual keepsake. The second method funeral home could use is for when the funeral home is told after the authorization form or cremation has taken place. In this scenario, you should have a form that serves as a type of addendum to your Cremation Authorization Form. In this form you could identify that the Funeral Home has received the cremated remains pursuant to the original Cremation Authorization Form and will be separating the Cremated Remains. In this separate form you can identify how you will separate the cremated remains and who receives the cremated remains.

One note to keep in mind, specifically in the second scenario. The Cremation Authorization and Disposition Form is a legally binding agreement between the cremation provider and the family that signs it. If the original Cremation Auth Form states that the son Bob gets all the cremated remains and Bob is the only one who can pick up the cremated remains, then the funeral director cannot simply get a phone call and now decide to split the cremated remains. The funeral provider needs to either fulfill the original Cremation Auth Form first, then let Bob decide what to do and sign the addendum showing his intent, OR have everyone who signed the original Cremation Auth Form sign off as to the new changes. I point this out because it is important to remember that any changes, on any contract, need all the signing party’s approval or you have to fulfill the contract first.

Overall, it is very important to document who and where the cremated remains go, and document how you got there as well. Please feel free to call me if you need more info or help with the issue.

Cremation Center

What is required to have a cremation center in Michigan? I would like to have a cremation center without the tort.

Pacemakers

What is the best way to dispose of pacemakers after removing them from a deceased individual? --Don

rob treadway's picture

Pacemakers, response from Poul Lemasters

I agree that removal of a pacemaker (or any device from the deceased) should be done by the funeral home prior to delivery to the crematory. If the crematory is going to remove any devices than it must have express written permission from the authorizing agent and must also have the legal ability to do such a removal (some states do not allow the crematory to handle the deceased for such procedures). Assuming the funeral home has removed a pacemaker, then disposal is a common problem / issue.

The suggested method is returning the pacemaker to the manufacturer so they can properly dispose of the pacemaker. In fact, many manufacturers want the pacemaker returned so they can test the product and record data from the pacemaker. The manufacturers info is typically printed on the pacemaker. I suggest contacting the manufacturer and finding out how to ship the product. The USPS does not consider a pacemaker to be biohazard material but it must be cleaned before shipping. The other option, which some funeral homes do, is simply discard the pacemaker with their biohazard material. While a pacemaker is not a biohazard material, it is more secure to discard any foreign material through the biohazard process. Operators need to be very careful when throwing anything in the garbage as it will be seen by someone. I discourage throwing away a pacemaker but realize it is done.

Unfortunately what is not allowed is recycling of a pacemaker. At least in the USA. I have heard of groups in other countries that recycle pacemakers. If you decide to recycle a pacemaker through any group, get all the details and make sure your families are well informed and acknowledge their acceptance of recycling.

Hope this helps!
Poul Lemasters, Cremation Coach
Lemasters Consulting LLC

Literature

Hello,

My business partner and I are in the process of creating a business in cremation and are curious as to what kind of literature is available out there for entrepreneurs like us who would like to learn more about the industry. Books, magazines, internet sites would be great. I know this site alone has helped a lot.

Thank you,

Oscar P.

Terminology

What is the proper terminology for the placement of cremations in an urn-“Inurnment”?

What is the proper terminology for the placement of an urn in a columbarium niche-“Inichement”?

I am trying to revise a cemetery deed to reflect the purchase of niches in a columbarium

In our mausoleum they are purchasing entombment rights, what are the rights they are purchasing in our columbarium?

Mike Owens

Terminology

I am thinking this is a serious question. I have only observed the following terms:
inurnment = placement of cremated remains in a niche of any kind
transfer of cremated remains = exactly that, urn to urn, processor to urn
burial of cremated remains = placing cremated remains in any grave.

It will be interesting to see what others have to say.

Nevin Mann

re: Literature

Oscar,

Thank you for your inquiry. The ICCFA has a full catalog of books, CDs, videos, etc., to assist professionals in the industry as well as a magazine that comes out 10 times a year. If you would like a copy of the catalog, please give us a call at 1.800.645.7700 with your address.

If you would like to join the association and begin receiving all of the benefits of membership, including the magazine, you can learn more and register online at: http://www.iccfa.com/membership

Best wishes,

Linda Budzinski
ICCFA Director of Communications and Membership Services

Pet cremation ashes combined with human remains?

Can Pet cremation ashes be interred with Human remains whether traditional or cremation.

Thank you,
Carolyn

Combining pet and human remains

Cremation is technically considered final disposition. So, I would say, whatever one wants to do regarding combining cremated remains would be ok. Cemeteries may have their own rules and likely would not memorialize a pet, but it's worth asking your cemetery of choice.

You raised also a question of combining pet cremated remains and a human body. I'll bet every funeral director in America has slipped a pet into a casket at some point in their career. However, the same issues already mentioned apply.

Most cemeteries will not permit, record or memorialize pet remains, because of the image it would create. Other cemeteries embrace the notion of pets and people. Look for one of those.

Hope this helps.

Nevin Mann

My aunt died last week and

My aunt died last week and one of her lasts wishes was to get cremated and have her ashes placed next to her husband's. We already had her cremated, but the problem is that her husband's ashes are in Houston, TX, while my aunt's ashes are here in Venezuela, a whole different country. My father went to American Airlines and they didn't know anything about the process; He also went to DHL and they told him that they didn't deal with corpses and stuff, but they told him that he needed a cremation certificate to get the ashes out of our country.

So what requisites would we need to get her ashes from Venezuela to Houston, TX? Thanks a lot for your help.

Poul Lemasters's picture

The requisites are typically

The requisites are typically quite simple, however the process can be more difficult. Typically the only required items to ship cremated remains are a cremation permit/order showing that the cremated remains are that of the deceased person and a copy of a death certificate. I always suggest making copies in case they want one for their records. You can always contact your local funeral board for additional requirements. While the documentation is simple, it is the process that can pose issues.

If you are transporting the cremated remains yourself, then bring documents as set forth above, and simply carry the cremated remains when you travel. Some airlines do not allow cremated remains to be placed in checked luggage, but you can avoid this problem by carrying the cremated remains in a carry-on. Also, keep in mind that the airlines will not under any circumstance open an urn or container with cremated remains in it. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the urn you use for transporting is able to be x-rayed (this is usually covered by a plastic or wood urn).

If you decide to transport through a common carrier (which you noted that you were having trouble doing) I always suggest going to a professional in the field. You could call a local funeral home who could then make arrangements through an airline and a receiving funeral home to properly ship the cremated remains. This is a bit of time, and money, however it can be much easier to just let someone who deal with this on a daily basis to handle it for you and your family. Plus, as a benefit of going through a professional, they can make all the arrangements, including the interment at the cemetery.

Hope this gives you some guidance.
Poul

section 5A of the model creamtion authorization form

I have contacted the Tennessee State Board but have not received any information as to the language that should appear under the section 5A of the model creamtion authorization form. Please help me with this paragraph. Thanks......Michael Tilghman (New ICCFA Member)

5. A. IDENTIFICATION OF AUTHORIZING AGENT (NOTE: Please insert your state specific requirements listing each class separately and identify each class separately with a letter.) (NOTE: No matter what the State specific requirements list, it is the suggested practice to have ALL members of a class sign, even if only one or a majority is required.)

Poul Lemasters's picture

Section5A of the model

Section5A of the model creamtion authorization form suggests that a provider insert their state's Right to Disposition. For Tennessee this law is located in the Tennessee Code at:

62-5-502. Priority in right to cremate decedent's body.

and reads as follows:

(a) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, when there is a dispute as to whether to cremate the decedent's body, the priority of the right to dispose of the decedent's body by way of cremation shall be as follows:

(1) Subject to subsection (b), an attorney in fact designated in a durable power of attorney who is acting pursuant to 34-6-204;

(2) The decedent, in a signed writing that evidences the decedent's preference to be cremated;

(3) The spouse of the decedent;

(4) The adult children of the decedent;

(5) The parents of the decedent;

(6) The adult siblings of the decedent;

(7) The adult grandchildren of the decedent;

(8) The grandparents of the decedent; and

(9) An adult who exhibited special care and concern for the decedent.

The reason for having this language in your form is so you, your staff, and the families you serve are aware of the state requirements when it comes to authorizing cremation. There is one important caveat, and that is you as a provider have the option to have procedures that require more than the state minimum requirements. In todays business world, many providers have stricter requirements, such as requiring an entire class to sign, so as to help reduce possible issues and lower the provider's liability.

I hope this helps you understand the suggested use of Section 5A, and as always I suggest that if you have specific state law questions, you may want to contact an attorney.

Thanks,
Poul

Cremating a 800 lb person.

My crematory max weight is 600 lb. We had this case of where the person was 800 lb. We tried taking him to an out of stat crematory, but they would not take him to due an arm sticking over the side. He ended up being buried in an oversize vault. Is there a way that it could have been done it legally in my machine?

Larry Stuart's picture

Large Cases

Hi!

If your permit to operate specifically states that you cannot cremate anyone over 600 lb. you were right NOT to cremate him. Depending on your unit make and model, it may have been possible, but not unless your permit or local laws allow for it.

Large cases are becoming much more common as our population gets heavier and heavier. Modern equipment is being manufactured to handle the large cases much better than in the past. You may want to contact your manufacturer for advice on cremating large cases in your specific unit, and maybe apply for an exception with your local authorities that limit you to 600lb. if your unit is capable.

Best of luck!

Larry

Implant Recycling Discloures

Hi, I was wondering if you are familiar with Implant Recycling, LLC. We are thinking about implementing this program at our crematory however we are concerned with the legal issues involved. We believe it is imperative to include the fact that we may participate in the implant recycling program in our cremation authorization. Do you have any sample wording that could help us achieve the proper disclousre and authorization for this service under california law.

Thank you for your help,

Melissa Resich

Poul Lemasters's picture

Implant Recycling Disclosures

I am familiar with Implant Recycling, LLC and I like the trend of recycling for crematories. Handling non-organic material, such as metals, pacemakers, prosthesis, has been an issue for crematories. Recycling is a great solution, so long as you disclose the process to the consumer. For the most part, there are no state laws prohibiting recycling of foreign materials obtained through the cremation process. There are a few states that prohibit selling materials for a profit, but these states still allow recycling so long as the provider (crematory) does not collect money. California does have some language that could pose an issue to recycling - that language is found in the California Health Code under Section 7051 stating " . . . HOWEVER, ANY DENTAL GOLD AND SILVER, JEWELRY, OR MEMENTOS THAT ARE REMOVED SHALL BE RETURNED TO THE URN OR CREMATED REMAINS CONTAINER, UNLESS OTHERWISE DIRECTED BY THE PERSON OR PERSONS HAVING THE RIGHT TO CONTROL THE DISPOSITION." Again, this does not limit recycling, it only requires that the provider disclose the recycling process.

In order to disclose recycling, I suggest that disclosure/acknowledgment language be incorporated into the cremation authorization form. A provider could use a separate form, however I think this overly burdens the family, plus it leaves room for error because you may forget to use the additional form. You can incorporate language into your Cremation Authorization form anywhere, but I suggest adding it to either the section that describes the cremation process or the section that describes artificial devices / personal property. The language you use needs to describe the recycling process and could be along the lines of the following :
The Authorizing Agent authorizes the Crematory to dispose of all artificial devices or foreign material in accordance with all applicable law, said disposal may be done in a non-recoverable manner and includes recycling.
You may also want to add a line stating that the Crematory shall not sell or profit from any devices or foreign material from Cremation.

Overall, making sure that your recycling program is disclosed and very transparent will help you comply with any state requirements and help avoid miscommunications with the families you serve.

What legally constitutes

What legally constitutes "claiming" a remains?

Poul Lemasters's picture

What legally constitutes

Well I always love the word legally, it just sounds nice. Your question is very broad, so I am going to limit this response to the following: What is the proper way to claim cremated remains. The standard on claiming cremated remains comes from two things: state law setting forth the legal next of kin (or authorizing agent) and the cremation authorization and disposition form (The "Form"). We start with state law because the state law states which individual(s) have the right to control the disposition of the human remains. While some states label cremation as the final disposition, there is case law that extends the right of disposition giving the same person the right to take custody of the cremated remains. This is important because many times providers think that the authorizing agent is only authorizing the cremation BUT in fact the authorizing agent should be authorizing where or to whom the cremated remains will go. This leads to the second part, the Form.

Your Form should have a section entitled Final Disposition of Cremated Remains (or something similar). This section should be used to list any and all individuals who are permitted to claim the cremated remains. This does not necessarily need to be the authorizing agent. In fact, it can and should include as many individuals that have the ability to claim the cremated remains. It could be additional children, grandchildren, or even friends that may live close by. (The more the better, as it is becoming more and more common for families not to return and therefor never claiming cremated remains). Then, when someone comes to the provider to claim the cremated remains, the provider can make sure that they are listed on the Form and then give the cremated remains to that listed person.

There is one last step, which is as important as the first two - that is a Receipt of Cremated Remains Form. Before the provider just hands over the cremated remains, the provider should get identification and a signature from the individual receiving the cremated remains. The Receipt verifies the identity of the individual, the date of the transfer, and also acknowledges that the person receiving the cremated remains is responsible. By following state laws, completing your Form, and also completing a Receipt, you can make sure that the person claiming cremated remains is the correct person and that you have a documentation to support it.

crematory operator expires

Once an operator, when does the certification expires?

Non Profit Implant Recycling Program

Hi Poul,

The introduction of the nation’s first-of-its-kind 501 (c)(3) non-profit implant recycling program, Alternative Solutions USA, has made recycling at U.S. crematories a matter of great scrutiny and concern by both the general public and the death care industry, especially after substantial and unprecedented funds were generated by this unique program for charity.

After learning that recycling at America’s crematories is producing significant profits for implant recycling companies serving the cremation industry, hundreds of privately and corporately owned crematories across the nation immediately began reconsidering the release of valuable orthopedic and
dental implants recovered after cremation at their facilities to these profit-driven recycling companies fearing bad press and public condemnation.

One year after its founding in April 2011, Alternative Solutions USA has generated over $40,000 for charity, won the prestigious ICCFA KIP award, involved the second largest U.S. death care provider in its recycling activities, and caught the attention of the media which has already published several articles about the positive impact its donations has had on many struggling communities across our beloved country during these times of extreme economic hardship.

We are currently donating $1,000 a year for charity per crematory that joins our program. Our mission and future vision are to involve the more than 2000 U.S. crematories nationwide in this most honorable cause and generate around 2 million dollars for charity every year on behalf of our cremated loved ones and the death care industry. Hope you will join this cause!

Just thought I would spread the word!

For more, check out: www.alternativesolutionsusa.org

Jason Haddad
Director of Operations
Alternative Solutions USA

rob treadway's picture

Re:crematory operator expires

According to the cremation coaches: check with your state, but most laws are requiring recertification every five years.

more to come on this

Our Cremation Coaches are now working on putting together a listing with info from all the states, so we should have specific answers to this soon. Anonymous, if you can tell us what state you are in, we may be able to give you an answer now. Thank you!

Linda Budzinski
ICCFA Director of Communications and Membership Services

release clearance of shipment of cremated remains

My husband's father died in Malaysia. He was cremated there and his ashes are being sent to the JFK airport. The funeral director in Kuala Luumpar advised us we need to get "release clearance" to get the remains. We need them shipped to our location in Albany, NY and don't know what to do. Any advise?

Poul Lemasters's picture

Release Clearance of Shipment of Cremated Remains

Receiving cremated remains from a foreign country is not difficult, but there is a process. From the question posed, it sounds like the funeral director in Kuala Luumpar is handling all the paper work including necessary documentation with the consulate. The comment about "release clearance" most likely refers to the customs process. Any package shipped through the airline must be cleared through Customs. In order to do this the person to whom the cremated remains are being shipped must pick-up the cremated remains from the airport, typically from the cargo area, and then get them cleared through customs. This should be as simple as providing identification to show that the person picking up the cremated remains is the same person identified on the packaging instructions. All other required documentation should be with the cremated remains. Two things to consider - first, call the airline and see exactly what documentation they may require. Second, see if the funeral director from Kuala Luumpar can email or fax you a copy of a death certificate or any paper work they use to record the death. By having this paperwork with you, it can help the process by better identifying the cremated remains you are there to receive. Hope this helps.

As a side note there is another post in this blog that discusses carrying cremated remains on a plane from a foreign country. While your question focuses on shipping, you may want to see the notes on this related question. Thanks.

Cremation Advertising

Trying to find a delicate way to word a newpaper ad. Trying to ask people if they have any cremains hanging around from generations past that need a permanent home. Any thoughts on good wording?

Julie A. Burn's picture

Loved One's Cremated Remains

It is best to utilize the term “loved one’s cremated remains” versus cremains. Yes, there are some in the profession who use “cremains”. However, the most used and widely accepted term is “cremated remains”. By adding the “loved one” to cremated remains, it becomes more personal, and in most cases will touch the hearts of those who have not yet recognized the true value of permanent memorialization.

Over the years, some have referred to keeping an urn at home as permanent possession or home placement. The premise being that a loved one’s cremated remains would be passed on from generation to generation and always in the hands of a family member. Unfortunately, this is not always true. At what point does a loved one’s cremated remains get put aside…maybe left in a closet or garage only to be discovered by a new family with no ties to the loved one.

Because of this, many of us in the profession now use the term “temporary placement” when a family decides on keeping their loved one’s cremated remains with them. It is wise for funeral professionals to ask families who state that they will be keeping the urn with the loved one at home what will happen when they are gone if no permanent memorialization is established.

Good luck on your marketing efforts and thank you for addressing the importance of permanent memorialization.

more on "What Legally Constitutes". . . .

Dear Mr. Lemasters:
If I may please expand this topic to a couple of quick related questions.....(ref: California law).....
1) When the time comes, can I have my mother cremated by a provider in one town, then take posession of the cremains and physically transport them to the cemetery provider in another town where they will be interred? Or, does the law require that the cremation provider directly ship the cremains to the cemetery provider?
2) Based on the answer to Question #1, and noting that the referenced cemetery provider is also a crematorium and funeral provider, would that cemetery provider be obligated to accept the cremains?
Thank you.
Jo Ann

Yes, you may have your

Yes, you may have your mother cremated anywhere that you so desire by any licensed crematory in the State of California. And then you may take possession of the cremated remains and do whatever you wish consistent with the law of the state. If you receive the cremated remains then the crematory must provide you with a permit which states the place of disposition. If you are taking the cremated remains home the permit is required to state that they are going to your residence and the address of the place of disposition. If you are taking them to a cemetery then the permit would state that you would be transporting them and the place of disposition (Cemetery, burial at sea or place of burial). I would contact the cemetery prior to making this decision and purchase an interment right (a place to inter the cremated remains. Nothing requires the cemetery to take the cremated remains from you unless you have made arrangements for the interment of the cremated remains and paid for the burial of the cremated remains. Most cemeteries will not accept cremated remains without an Interment and recording agreement and the purchase of a place of disposition (the right of interment).

In answer to your second question, it matters not if they are a crematory or furneral provider. If they are a cemetery then they would sell you a right of interment for the burial of the cremated remains.

john r

Cremation

Hello, can you provide the best resource on how to obtain licensure for cremation? And what are required zoning laws for the state of Texas? Thanks.

TX Licensing

Hello,

The TX Funeral Services Commission is the licensing authority in Texas. Zoning is a local matter and not under the state's jurisdiction. You would need to contact each city to determine where such a use would be allowed.

Hope this helps.

Ron Salvatore

Should you be notified when there going to be cremated?

My mother passed away on June 26 and to honor her wishes i made sure she went where she wanted to go. But since it costs almost 1,400.00 just to cremate her, i started looking for a cheaper place. I found a place that would on cost around 900 and i could afford it. The place contacted where my mother was at and told them they wanted her transferred to them. I got a voicemail from where my mother was saying they had already cremated her. Im her only child and she was never married

Recycling

What states do not permit recycling metals for profit? I am wondering if mine if one of them. Thanks!

Family requests return of the pacemaker

Is there any legal/regulatory prohibition to returning a pacemaker to the family, at their request?Properly documented of course.

thanks
TomC

What state are you in?

We work with a number of clients in most, if not all of the States within the US as well as Canada.

Please contact me via email and I can pass the matter on to our legal team.

dboro@progressive-environmental.com or visit www.progressive-environmental.com

Would separating ashes, have a fee?

My father passed away 4th July.... The funeral/mortuary performing the cremation has requested around $200 for this and documentation required by the consulate?

However, on contacting both US & UK consulates no one understands or has heard of this. The TSA and Airlines has also stated they only need to see cream action and death certificates.

I wish to have a service here in the UK for our UK family.

Until yesterday 15 July, he had still not been cremated. Death certificate was issued Monday. This is a really stressful situation as none of it was expected.