Your Role In The Cremation Process
If you're considering cremation services for yourself or a loved one, you'll find the process simple and generally without trouble. However, you will still need to be involved somewhat with decision making. People often think of cremation as the body is cremated, the ashes put in an urn, and then the family does what they want with the ashes. There's more to cremation than that, so start thinking now about what your choices would be regarding these three questions.
Choosing a Resting Spot, or Not
Cremation urns are generally portable. You do need an urn that is TSA-friendly if you plan to fly with the cremains (many urns appear opaque on the scanners, and since the TSA will not open urns, you'll be forced to leave the cremains behind; the solution is to have a travel urn that lets TSA agents see what's inside when the urn is x-rayed). But other than that, you can take the cremains wherever you go -- if you wish. It is also possible to give the cremains a final resting place in a columbarium, which is a kind of memorial vault for urns in a cemetery. Each urn gets its own vault, and you can see banks of vaults along most walls in the columbarium.
Obtaining Permits if Necessary
If you plan to scatter ashes instead, or bury them in your yard, you may need permits from your city, county, or state. It's your job to get these; the crematory likely won't do it for you, although they should know which offices you need to contact. It can take a few weeks to get a permit if a government office is busy, so get your plans into shape now so that you spend as little time waiting as possible.
Having a Memorial or Full Funeral
You'll also still have to decide whether to hold a full funeral, a memorial at some other point, or no service at all. You can go the full-funeral route complete with placement in a columbarium just as you'd have one where the casket was lowered into the grave in front of everyone, or you can place the urn there privately and hold a memorial later. You can avoid the cemetery entirely and bring your closest relatives and friends out on a boat to scatter the ashes, or you yourself can bury the ashes in your yard with no one around. The point is, figure out what you want to do now because you have a lot of choices.
Cremation is an eco-friendly, less expensive option for finding a final resting place. It can be a very smooth process, especially if you know what you want to do ahead of time.