Cremation Services


 

                                                   

 

As more people are choosing cremation, funeral service professionals are striving to give consumers a true sense of what their many options are for a funeral service. Often funeral directors find that people have the preconception that they have fewer choices for a ceremony when selecting cremation for themselves or a loved one. Therefore, they request direct cremation and deny the surviving friends and family an opportunity to honor them with a memorial service.  In actuality, cremation is only part of the commemorative experience. In fact, cremation can actually increase your options when planning a funeral. The following information is meant to help you build an understanding of what cremation is, allowing you to make an informed decision when arranging a funeral for yourself or a loved one.  Our goal is to provide you with as much accurate information as possible. Not all questions can be answered here, on a website, this is merely a tool to assist in the gathering of information.  When you are ready, please contact us so we may be of further assistance to you. 

The following is a list of topics covered on this page.  To view any of these topics, you may either scroll down or click on the subject.  The topics on this page are:  The Legal Order of Rights; An Overview of Cremation; Service Types; Where Do I Begin; The Cost of Cremation; Downside of Scattering; What To Do With the Cremated Remains; Urns


 
It is important to remember cremation is simply another means to dispose of the human body.  Just as a cemetery is a place of final disposition, a crematory is also a place of final disposition.  Just as burial in a cemetery does not negate the need for a funeral, being cremated does not eliminate the need for a funeral nor does it limit the options you have. 

 

The Legal Order of Rights

KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537 states:  

"(1) 'Authorizing agent' means the person legally entitled to order the cremation of the human remains.  The right to control the disposition of the remains of a deceased person, unless other directions have been given by the decedent, vests in, and the duty of disposition devolves upon the following in the order named:

  (a) The decedent through a preneed cremation authorization;

  (b) The surviving spouse of the decedent;

  (c) The surviving adult children of the decedent; 

  (d) The surviving parents of the decedent;

  (e) The surviving adult grandchildren of the decedent; 

  (f) The surviving adult siblings of the decedent; or

  (h) In the absence of any of the above, by order of District Court."

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An Overview of Cremation

 

Under Kentucky law, all cremations must be preformed individually.  In some states, a crematory is allowed to cremated members of the same family at the same time, but only with permission from the next-of-kin.  After death, we must wait to cremate the individual, until all authorizations have been signed by both the coroner and the required family member(s).  Before cremation, certain things must be done to prepare the individual.  First, if there is any jewelry, a watch or any personal item on or with the individual, these must be removed if the family wishes to keep them.  If they are not removed, most likely they will be totally destroyed during the cremation process.  Items such as pacemakers must also be removed.  The extreme heat used in cremation will cause these medical devices to explode and damage the equipment or even harm staff members.  Once all authorizations are signed and the individual prepared, the cremation may begin.  During a cremation, the casket or alternative container is placed in the cremation chamber, where the temperature is raised to approximately 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.  After about 2 to 3 1/2 hours, all organic matter is consumed by heat or evaporation.  The remaining bone fragments are known as cremated remains.  The cremated remains are then carefully removed from the cremation chamber.  If there is any metal left over from jewelry or other sources, it is removed with a magnet and disposed of.  The cremated remains are then processed into fine particles and are placed in a temporary container provided by the crematory or in an urn provided by the funeral home.  The entire process will take approximately 5 to 6 hours from the time the individual is placed in the cremation chamber until the cremated remains are processed and ready for delivery to the funeral home.

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Service Types

 

When it comes to cremation, there are three (3) basic service types: direct cremation; memorial service; and traditional service.  
1.  Direct Cremation 
    When you view the General Price List at the funeral home, you will see "Direct Cremation" as a service option.  According to our General Price List, Direct Cremation is the cremating of an individual without any services.  When an individual dies, the funeral home would remove the person from the place of death, place them in an alternative container or a casket and then proceed directly to the crematory.  As soon as all the authorizations are signed, the individual is cremated and the cremated remains are returned to the funeral home and then the family.  Also on the General Price List, you would notice the option of "Direct Burial."  Just as with a direct cremation, a direct burial involves removal from the location of death, any authorizations that are needed and then the immediate burial of the individual, with no funeral. 
2.  Cremation with a Memorial Service
        In this case, when an individual dies, the funeral home will make the removal from the place of death and take them to the funeral home.  Once all the authorizations are in order, the individual is placed in either an alternative container or a casket and then transported to the crematory.  At some point after the cremation, a funeral is held.  This may take place at the funeral home, in an outdoor place, a religious facility or another location.  The cremated remains might be present at the memorial service or the service can be held without the cremated remains.  With this option, families will often have photographs of the person present.  Whether or not the photographs are in a photo album, on a poster board of sorts, placed around the room on tables or in frames is entirely the family's choice.  The use of photos gives visitors the opportunity to reminisce and share stories with friends and the family before the memorial service begins.  If the cremated remains are going to be placed in a columbarium or are to be buried in a cemetery, this can take place immediately following the memorial service or at a later date.  If the family chooses to do this right after the memorial service, we may follow in procession to the graveside.  
3.  Cremation with a Traditional Service
    A traditional service seems to be what most people think of when they hear the word funeral.  After death, the funeral home will make a removal from the place of death.  Then the person will be dressed and placed in a casket.  At this point, the family has the option of having a visitation with an open casket, a closed casket or a private, family-only viewing.  Whether the casket is open or closed for public viewing, you may consider having photographs in some type of arrangement for visitors to see.  After the visitation period, there will be some type of funeral service and then, after the service, the individual will be cremated.  Just as when a family goes in procession to the cemetery, the family may choose to follow in procession to the crematory.  

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Where Do I Begin? 

 
The first thing you should consider is the type of service your family will be most comfortable with.  Remember, whatever happens after death will have a direct affect on the survivors.  Funerals fill an important role for those mourning the loss of a loved one. By providing surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to share thoughts and feelings about the death, funerals are the first step in the healing process.  The ritual of attending a funeral service provides many benefits including:
·        Providing a social support system for the bereaved.
·        Helping the bereaved understand death is final and that death is part of life.
·        Integrating the bereaved back into the community.
·        Easing the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one.
·        Providing a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain.
·        Reaffirming one’s relationship with the person who died.
·        Providing a time to say good-bye.
It is possible to have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process. 
Once you have considered the type of service, the second thing to do is discuss your thoughts with your family.  Make certain they understand what you want and why this is important to you.  Often times they will have the same questions or concerns you may have once had. 
As you are discussing cremation with your family, be sure to mention topics such as:  1) Where you want the funeral  2) When you feel the service should be held 3) What should be done with the cremated remains.

    1. Where do you want the funeral to be held?  Discuss with your family if you think the funeral should be held in the funeral home, a religious facility or another location.
    2. When do you feel the service should be held?   Do you think the service should immediately follow death?  Are there family members scattered throughout the country?  Do you want those relatives to be able to attend your funeral?  Is there a particular day of the week you do or do not want a service on?  These are questions you need to discuss with your family.
    3. What do you think should be done with the cremated remains?   This may be something you yourself haven't even thought about, but it is an important question and must be addressed.  Some options that are available for cremated remains are:  burial, scattering on private property, buried in a family member's grave, stored in someone's home for burial with a family member at a later time, placing the remains in an urn and being placed in a columbarium or in someone's home.
Some individuals have been scattered at sea or from an airplane.  Local laws may regulate how you scatter cremated remains and it is always best to check on this ahead of time.  When it comes time to scatter the remains, some family members will have difficulty performing this task as emotions may become overwhelming.  It is always best to have another individual as a "standby" just in case.

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The Cost of Cremation

 
The following is a general list of what makes up the cost of each service type.  Some are required charges and others are optional.  We have tried to make these lists as thorough as possible, but there are too many options to list every possible charge.  For specific information, please contact us so we may further assist you.

Direct Cremation

Local removal from the place of death.
Refrigeration 
Transportation to the crematory
Cremation 
Secretarial services
Death certificates
Newspaper obituary (optional)
Urn (optional)

Cemetery plot (optional)
Niche (optional) 
Vault (optional)
Headstone / grave marker (optional)









 

Memorial Service

Local removal from the place of death.
Refrigeration
Transportation to the crematory
Cremation
Secretarial services
Death certificates
Funeral service
Honorarium
Register book / cards
Newspaper obituary (optional)
Urn (optional)
Cemetery plot (optional)
Niche (optional)
Vault (optional)
Headstone / grave marker (optional)

Visitation (optional)
Limousine (optional)
Acknowledgement cards (optional)
Flowers (optional)

 
Traditional Service
Local removal from the place of death.
Refrigeration
Transportation to the crematory
Cremation
Secretarial services
Death certificates
Funeral service
Honorarium 
Register book / cards
Casket
Newspaper obituary (optional)
Urn (optional)
Cemetery plot (optional)
Niche (optional)
Vault (optional)
Headstone / grave marker (optional)
Visitation (optional)
Limousine (optional)

Acknowledgement cards (optional)
Flowers (optional)
Hearse (optional)

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What Do I Do With The Cremated Remains?              

There are numerous options when it comes to handling cremated remains.  If burial is chosen, there are still many options to consider.  

    1.  Cremated remains can be buried in an empty cemetery lot if you choose.  To be buried in a grave, you can buy an urn from the funeral home, place the     cremated remains inside of a meaningful container you already have or they may be placed directly into the earth.  

    2.  Another option for burial would be to be buried in a grave that is already occupied be a family member.  Cemetery rules may restrict this option, but it is a possibility. 

    3.  A third option for burial is to placed inside of the casket of a loved one in the future.  In this case, you must let your family know what your plans are, make certain the person in possession of your remains is aware of your wishes and finally, let the funeral home know who you are to be buried with and who will have possession of your cremated remains.  
A second option open to you and your family is being placed in a niche of a columbarium.  This is a good option for those who have reservation with being buried.  It also will give your family future options if they decide to relocate in the future.  You may contact us for more information on inurnments in a columbarium.  
Your family may want to have your cremated remains with them at their home.  Many families feel this is the best option for them.  We have Keepsake urns available for dividing cremated remains up between different members of the family.  There are smaller versions of an urn and contain small quantities of cremated remains.  There are also Keepsake jewelry pieces which will hold a very small amount of cremated remains.  As with all of the available choices, this is a very personal decision and it is important to fully discuss the details with your family in advance.
Scattering at sea is a choice families will occasionally make.  We will arrange to have your cremated remains scattered over the ocean if you would like.  If your family would like to scattered the cremated remains themselves, they would need to check for legal restrictions before doing so.  Laws vary widely and it is always best to check ahead of time. 

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The Downside of Scattering

 
When cremated remains are scattered, there is no longer a focal point for memorializing the deceased.  A basic human need is to remember and to be remembered.  If we look back throughout history, there are numerous examples of our need to remember those who have died.  It is a major component of most cultures.  The Washington Monument, Tomb of the Unknowns and Vietnam “Wall” in Washington, D.C. are examples of memorialization which demonstrate that, throughout our history, we have always honored our dead. Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization, serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping to bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin. Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one's mortal remains, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization by giving the descendants a place to go and remember their past. 
If, for instance, you scatter the cremated remains in your back yard and then decide to relocate to another home or even another city, it is nearly impossible to gather up the cremated remains once they are scattered.  If you were to scatter the cremated remains in a park or just an empty section of land, what would happen if the area was later developed into a shopping mall or housing development?  Any of these situations could make it extremely difficult if not totally impossible for loved ones to visit the site in the future.  It is vital when you discuss the scattering of cremated remains, you consider all possible difficulties that may potentially arise for your loved ones in the future.  

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Urns 

 
Over the years, urns have changed a great deal in their appearance.  You may have seen an urn in the movies that looked more like a coffee can instead of a respectful container for you or your family member.  The truth is, urns come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be almost any color or design.  They are made out of wood, metal, ceramic, glass, marble, granite or just about any other material.  If you are considering the placement of an urn in a columbarium, there are most likely size requirements you will have to meet.  Some urns are just to large for the niches of a columbarium.   We have include a cross section of the urns available.  If you would like to view them, simply click on this line.

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Herman Meyer & Son, PO Box 4052, Louisville, Kentucky 40204 | 502.458.9569 | info@meyerfuneral.com

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