Submitted by

Chuck and Ken Kincer

Funeral Alternatives LLC

In an ever-changing society, cremation is swiftly becoming the tradition. What our society has realized is that cremation offers an excellent alternative to traditional funerals and burials. What ever your final decision may be, cremation or burial, it is an intensely personal one.

What most consumers are unaware of are the options available for cremation. These options include direct cremation, cremation with a memorial service and cremation with a visitation.

Cremation is not anything new, most funeral establishments have always offered it. In fact cremation practices are much older than our society, having begun in 3,000 B.C. Cremation was introduced to North America in the 18th century. Since the 1960’s there has been a noticeable upsurge in cremation throughout the country. Many contribute this to the increasing costs of earth burial, the rapid sociological/spiritual changes, and a more diverse and mobile population. The cremation rate in Maine is over 40%. With this rapid upsurge many funeral homes and cremation companies have discovered that consumers would like more than just direct cremation. In response, they now offer several cremation options.

Direct cremation offers consumers a practical alternative to traditional funerals. Selection of a direct cremation package often includes transportation from place of death, filing certificate of death and necessary permits, Social Security notification of death, applicable Veterans forms, and placement of obituary in newspapers. Whichever cremation package you choose it minimally includes these items.

Cremation with a memorial service simply means the cremation is performed and followed by a service. The service can be in the form of memorial service at the funeral home, church, graveside or personal residence. This option offers great flexibility for those that would like to have a funeral service but do not want to incur the traditional funeral expense. The goal of the memorial service is to create a meaningful event allowing closure conducive to healing. Funeral homes are also noticing an increase in consumers who would like to view their loved one before the cremation.

The final option, cremation with a visitation, offers great flexibility and compromise for those families that would like to have a formal viewing and funeral service but also would like cremation. It entails preparation of the deceased such as embalming, dressing, cosmetizing, placing in rental/traditional casket, viewing/visiting hours, and a funeral service, followed by cremation, and placement of cremated remains in an urn.

Customers deserve a full range of options, not limited choices. Funeral homes and cremation companies are very accommodating and attentive to the family’s needs.

The following are common questions the funeral service profession receives regarding cremation.

Is embalming required?

Embalming is not required by law but is highly suggested when selecting Cremation with a Visitation.

Must the cremated remains be buried?

No, scattering continues to be of strong interest as a means of final disposition. Scattering options include complete scattering and partial scattering. The latter offering the opportunity for permanent memorialization for the rest of the cremated remains.

Is a viewing/visitation required?

No, state law requires nei-ther a viewing nor a visitation. (However, this may be needed for identification purposes) Those that do not want a viewing may chose a Direct Cremation or Cremation with a Memorial Service.

After death, how long must a person be held before cremation?

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The state requires that the deceased by held for 48 hours before the cremation can be performed.

What does cremation cost?

Costs vary but a general range may be $700 – $4,000 depending on the cremation option(s) chosen and the operating costs of the funeral home of choice.

Do I have to buy an urn?

No, you can supply an urn and in many cases the urn is not a requirement. However, funeral homes generally offer a wide selection of urns for those families that would like to purchase one. Cemeteries may have restrictions on the types of urns that they will accept.

As with any purchase it is important for consumers to educate themselves on the services and merchandise offered. Funeral Homes and crematories would he happy to answer your questions regarding cremation.

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