What You Need to Know About the Cremation Process

funeral director completing paperwork with senior man

Cremation is becoming an increasingly popular option for people who are starting their end-of-life planning. The cremation process is typically more affordable and environmentally friendly compared to a traditional burial. And, because the process itself isn’t as time-consuming as a burial, more time can be spent on planning the actual ceremony. 

If you’re considering cremation for your end-of-life journey, keep reading this article. In it, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about it.

How Long Is the Entire Cremation Process?

The process itself is relatively time-efficient, taking just three to four hours to complete. However, there are a couple of post-cremation processes that must occur before the ashes are placed inside an urn. There are also many steps that must be completed before the process begins. On average, the cremation process can take around 10 business days, although that amount of time can vary based on several factors.

Factors That Affect the Cremation Process

Why up to 10 days? Often, the process starts when the body is transported to a funeral home. The funeral home works with the crematorium, but transportation and logistics between these two can take some time. Meanwhile, a death certificate must be signed by the doctor and the medical examiner must be notified that the body will be cremated. 

The examiner must also authorize approval for cremation, as must the living relatives or any designated person who has been granted Medical Power of Attorney. Additionally, under Michigan law, a licensed funeral director must certify the death certificate.

Lastly, the type of cremation process that is chosen can also affect the length of the process. There are two types of cremation: flame or traditional and flameless/alkaline hydrolysis. 

Death Certificates

As previously mentioned, one of the factors that affect the length of the cremation process is the death certificate. This certificate is legal proof that the death has occurred. The death certificate is used to claim life insurance, pension, and union benefits, and make the funeral arrangements. Until the death certificate is issued, very little can move forward.

Many states require that the request for a death certificate be filed within a specific period of time following the death. 

 In Michigan, you must contact the Vital Records Office via mail, online form, phone, or in person within 72 hours after a loved one’s death. Unless an expedited order is requested, you should receive a death certificate within one to three business days after requesting an order. It’s also important to note that in Michigan, after you receive a certified death certificate, you only have 48 hours to request cremation services from a licensed funeral director.

When Will You Receive the Ashes?

When you receive the ashes varies from one state to the next. Planning ahead can help expedite the process. Excluding the time it takes to request and receive a death certificate and schedule the cremation itself, it can take up to seven days to receive the ashes after the cremation process, but sometimes it can be as fast as the following business day. The biggest factor affecting this timeline is the crematorium, its hours of operation, and how it coincides with your schedule. 

Learn More About Cremation Today

Every experience is different. If you have questions about the cremation process, talk to our team at Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons. We’re a licensed funeral home serving families in Michigan 24/7. We provide a wide range of cremation services, including traditional funeral and cremation, memorial services, and direct cremation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our funeral director.

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