Cremation is the process in which the body of the deceased is reduced to bone fragments using intense heat and flame. The body is placed in a cremation container and then placed in a special furnace called a retort for approximately 2 to 3 hours at an average temperature of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
People choose cremation for a variety of reasons. Some people find the “green” aspect of cremation appealing. The simplicity and dignity of cremation, environmental concerns and flexibility cremation affords all add to its increasing popularity.
Today most religions allow cremation except for Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, 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.
Cremation is a realistic option for families facing economic challenges. If economic concerns are part of your situation, cremation is certainly a flexible and affordable option that you may want to explore.
Cremated remains look like coarse sand-like particles and range from light to dark gray in color. The residual fragments are processed into a finer substance similar in appearance to ash. Cremated remains are placed into an urn or temporary container. The cremated remains of an average adult generally weigh between four and six pounds.
There are many options concerning the final disposition of the cremated remains. Remains can be buried in a cemetery, inurned in a religious columbarium, kept at home or scattered at sea. Our funeral directors will fully explain the details concerning options that interest you.
No. Embalming is not required for a direct cremation with no service or viewing. Embalming is necessary if the family wants a public visitation or if the decedent is going to be transported domestically or internationally. Embalming may also be required if the cremation will be delayed for an extended length of time.
The county coroner investigates unnatural deaths such as homicides, suicides, accidents and poisonings. The coroner also investigates suspicious or questionable circumstances surrounding a death. If the decedent has not been under the recent care of a physician, the coroner may investigate to the extent that they feel is necessary to determine the cause of death.
No. Anyone can contract for services, but only specific parties have the legal authority to "direct the disposition of remains". The State of California Health and Safety Code Section 7100 lists the parties that have this authority. The parties are as follows in this specific order:
Agent named in Advance Health Care Directive, or Power of Attorney for Health Care. This is not to be confused with General Power of Attorney, which gives authority over only financial matters. Also, no authority to direct disposition is given to a Conservator, Executor of a Will, or Administrator of a Trust. If you are an agent named in the Advance Health Care Directive, please bring the document to your appointment so that one of our funeral directors can make a copy of it.
Competent Surviving Spouse or State Registered Domestic Partner (SRDP). There must be a legal marriage, or a legal SRDP. A common law spouse is not recognized in California. If you are a State Registered Domestic Partner, please bring documentation to your appointment so that one of our funeral directors can make a copy of it.
Majority of adult competent surviving children (18 years of age or older).
Both competent surviving parents.
Majority of adult competent surviving siblings.
The adult competent surviving persons in the next degrees of kinship. Our funeral directors will explain how the law applies to your specific situation.
We recommend examining the following five considerations:
1) Location. The location of the facility should be considered when planning arrangements for the sake of your convenience.
2) Facility. Does the facility feel right? Is it a clean and pleasant environment? The staff should do their best to ensure that you feel comfortable during your appointment.
3) Professionalism. Evaluate how you are treated by the staff. Is it easy to reach them in person when you call? Are they available to you after hours? Can they answer your questions accurately and efficiently? Do they explain all of the options available to you?
4) Price. You will find that prices vary widely from one facility to another for the exact same services. Determine the services and merchandise you want and obtain a complete and accurate price quote. Facilities are required by law to give you a General Price List and Casket Price List. A General Price List is also required by law to be available on a website.
5) Referrals. Check with family and friends concerning facilities that you are considering. Find out why they liked or disliked a facility and incorporate their experiences into your decision making process.
Funeral directors make arrangements for the transportation of the decedent into their care, complete the necessary paperwork, death certificate, permits and implement the family’s choices regarding the final disposition of the body.