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How Long Does a Cremation Take? A Look Into the Process

Are you planning a cremation for a loved one? One factor you’ll have to take into account is time.

How long does a cremation take?

The timeline can vary based on several factors. While the actual process only takes a few hours, it could be weeks before the family receives the ashes.

Once you do receive the ashes, you may want to plan a scattering ceremony or have your loved one’s remains turned into jewelry. This will add on even more time. Check out this guide to learn more about the overall length of the process.

How Long Does the Actual Cremation Take?

The actual cremation process takes about four to six hours. This accounts for the size of the body and the container used in the cremation chamber.

Even though the entire process happens within the span of a few hours, it can take weeks for the deceased’s family to receive the ashes.

Factors That Affect Wait Times

Many factors can affect wait times. The main thing to consider is your location. Different states have different regulations.

There’s a large amount of paperwork involved in the process. You also have to account for scheduling and weekends and holidays.

Death Certificate

Before you can begin funeral planning, the death certificate must be filed. In most states, this can take several days after the crematorium puts in the request.

If there’s an ongoing investigation into the cause of your loved one’s death, you may have to wait a week or longer for the certificate to process.

Cremation Authorization

The cremation can’t start until an authorized person signs off on it. Most of the time this is the deceased’s Power of Attorney.

If there is no Power of Attorney, the responsibility will fall to the spouse. In the event there is no Power of Attorney or living spouse, it will be up to the deceased’s children.

Waiting Periods

A lot of states have waiting periods before the funeral cremation can take place. This waiting period can be anywhere between 24-72 hours.

Most of the time, it will take this long for the death certificate to come back anyway.

Scheduling the Cremation

Once you get all the paperwork out of the way, you can schedule the cremation. The timeframe, in this case, depends on you, the family.

For example, you may wish to hold a religious ceremony before the cremation. This will add to the timeframe.

Weekends and Holidays

Most funeral homes close down over the weekend. A select few do offer weekend services for an extra charge, but they are far and in between.

If your loved one passes away during a holiday, the cremation process will take even more time. Most funeral homes won’t be open until after the holiday.

When Will the Family Receive the Ashes?

Most crematoriums send the deceased ashes to their loved ones about a week after the cremation takes place. Depending on the facility, you may be able to pick up your loved one’s ashes the day after.

In either case, the funeral home will call you to inform you that your loved one’s ashes are ready. If you haven’t chosen an urn to put the ashes in, they’ll be poured into a plastic bag and placed in a box. Families that plan to scatter the ashes sometimes prefer this method.

How to Avoid Delays

When it comes to grieving, delays can add much unneeded stress. There are ways to avoid them. It begins with choosing the right funeral home.

Choose the Right Funeral Home

Not all funeral homes offer cremation. If you plan to hold a memorial service for your loved one, you’ll need to choose a funeral home that has the facilities necessary to do so.

Make a list of all the requirements you have for your loved one’s service. This will allow you to narrow down your funeral home choices and save time on planning.

You should also choose a funeral home with extensive experience in cremation. They’ll walk you through the process and carry things through without as many delays.

Decide on Your Cremation Services Right Away

There are many different types of cremation services to choose from. You can hold a traditional funeral for your loved one and schedule the cremation after.

It’s important to decide on your loved one’s arrangements sooner rather than later. Doing so will allow you to get started right away instead of waiting for someone to walk you through all the available services.

Provide the Funeral Home With Your Loved One’s Cremation Clothes

It will be hard, but you shouldn’t delay in choosing your loved one’s cremation clothes.

The funeral home won’t be able to prepare the body for cremation until you drop the clothes off. That means you’ll have to wait longer to receive your loved one’s ashes if you wait until the last minute.

Shop for an Urn Ahead of Time

You can begin shopping around for an urn at any time during the cremation process. However, it’s recommended to pick one out at the beginning.

That will prevent you from waiting around for an urn to arrive after your loved one’s cremation. You’ll be able to get the ashes back sooner and start planning the memorial service.

Planning the Scattering Ashes Ceremony

Once you receive the ashes, you may want to hold a scattering ceremony. This is just as much part of the process as the actual cremation.

While you don’t have to rush yourself into planning, you may not want to run into delays either. If you don’t research the area where you wish to scatter your loved one’s ashes, it could cause unexpected issues. You also have to consider the weather and the size of the ceremony.

Choose a Place and Research the Laws

The last thing you want is for your ceremony to be disrupted by the local authorities. This will cause you to have to choose a new location to scatter your loved one’s ashes.

That’s why it’s always important to look up local laws. Different areas have different regulations. For example, in the case of most beaches, you can’t scatter your loved one’s remains unless you’re three nautical miles away from the shore.

That means you’ll have to schedule a boat rental before the ceremony. You’ll also have to tell the EPA about the ceremony after the fact.

If you’re going to be getting on a plane with your loved one’s ashes, there are rules and regulations involved with that as well. While you can transport the remains in a checked bag, it’s recommended to keep them in a carry-on. This will keep them safe from any sort of risk.

Decide on the size of the Ceremony

Once you have a location in mind, you’ll need to decide on who to invite. Having a headcount will allow you to nail down the other specifics of the ceremony.

For example, the timing. You’ll need to pick a date that fits within everyone’s schedule. You can also address questions that anyone has, which will prevent delays on the day of.

Consider the Weather

You can’t scatter your loved one’s remains in the middle of a rainstorm. That means you’ll have to do a little planning ahead.

If you schedule the event on a rainy day by accident, you’ll have to reschedule the ceremony. That will only add time to the process. If you check the forecast before deciding on a date, you reduce the chances of having to start over.

Cremation Jewelry

You can have your loved one’s ashes turned into a jewelry keepsake. In the case of most companies, it can take over a month for you to receive your keepsake. That’s because making it is such a delicate process.

In most cases, it involves using molten glass to encase the ashes. When exposed to heat, the ashes shape into a unique pattern.

Once the jewelry is shaped, it’s placed in a temperature-controlled environment where the glass can cool. From there, the jewelry is shaped and polished according to your specifications.

If you have a copy of your loved one’s fingerprint, you can have it turned into a cremation pendant.

After you send the fingerprint image to the jewelry maker, they’ll create a necklace that’s designed to hold a small portion of your loved one’s ashes. It’s made using a series of molds and hot metal.

How Long Does a Cremation Take? Understanding the Process

The passing of a loved one is never easy. You’re tasked with planning and doing paperwork while you’re grieving. However, delays in paperwork can cause the process to take even longer.

How long does a cremation take? The crematorium can’t proceed until they receive your loved one’s death certificate and authorization from the Power of Attorney. If everything goes smoothly, you can expect to receive the ashes within a few weeks.

You can speed up the process by choosing a reliable service. Lonestar Cremation offers a variety of packages to suit your needs. Go here to begin your arrangements.

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