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Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL QUESTIONS

THE CREMATION PROCESS

CASKETS & URNS

What is cremation?

Cremation is the process of applying intense heat to a deceased body, reducing it to bone fragments.

What is the expense of cremation compared to a standard funeral?

Direct cremation tends to be about twenty percent the cost of a traditional funeral. Cremation is typically more affordable because permanent memorial and burial fees are not required, but are optional. Each family can choose the level of services they feel are right for them and can be as simple or elaborate as they choose.

What costs are involved in cremation?

Costs will vary by region and according to the services that are selected. aCremation’s basic cremation service exceeds all state and local requirements. The primary costs are the transport costs to take a loved one into our care, the actual cremation (crematory charges), and service fees for the team who works with the family and files required documents and permits. Government-related fees such as Medical examiner, coroner, permits, and death certificates can also contribute to the overall price. Any additional costs are typically related to any services you choose to have; memorial urn purchases; and permanent memorializations such as columbarium or grave sites.

Are there any religious concerns with cremation?

Most religions leave it up to the individual. However some faiths such as Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, and Eastern Orthodox do not accept cremation. If you have any questions or concerns, you should speak with a member of your clergy.

What if the death occurs out of state or out of the country?

If the death occurs outside of aCremation’s current service area, you will call aCremation and we will work to coordinate the best situation for your family. In many areas, we have relationships with other licensed funeral establishments we can contact.

aCremation currently serves:

  • Texas: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Waco
  • Northern California: San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Concord (Contra Costa), Fremont (Alameda), Marin County, and San Mateo County
  • Southern California: Los Angeles, Riverside, Long Beach,Orange County, San Bernardino, Ventura, and San Diego County

How do I know the ashes won’t get switched?

When aCremation takes someone into our care, a tag is placed on the person and it remains on the body and is verified before the cremation occurs.

What do the ashes look like?

They are typically a gray/white color although the shade will vary due to different factors.

Can I see the body before the cremation?

You will need to discuss this directly with your aCremation Arrangement Counselor but normally it should be viewed prior to being released to aCremation. Often times, it is not recommended that an unembalmed body not have a formal viewing because of the natural decomposition that begins immediately after death or the cosmetic appearance of the body after an autopsy is conducted.

In these circumstances, if a viewing is desired, the family is typically counseled to consider embalming and/or restorative art.

Is embalming required?

No. Embalming is typically used when there is going to be a presentation during a memorial service or there is a need to transport the body by rail or airline prior to cremation. Otherwise, refrigeration is used to retard tissue decomposition. Refrigeration protects the general public from potential health hazards.

How long is the actual cremation process?

Typically the entire process takes about 5 hours although the actual time for the body to be consumed is approximately 3 hours. Read more

What happens at the end of the cremation process?

Any remains that are not bone fragments are separated and permanently disposed. The bone fragments go through a process where they are grinded and reduced to small before being placed in a temporary container or urn. This is the final stage of the cremation process.

How hot does the cremation chamber get?

The cremation chamber will range from 1600 to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is the body exposed to an open flame during the cremation process?

Yes, the body is exposed to direct heat and flame.

How long do you have to wait before you can do the cremation?

Typically, state law requires a minimum number of hours between the time of death and when the cremation occurs (frequently 48 hours). Only the County Medical Examiner or a Justice of the Peace may waive this requirement. Read more about Legal Requirements.

What is done to the body before the cremation?

Pacemakers are removed. The crematory must be made aware of pacemakers, prosthesis, implants, or other mechanical or radioactive devices (as well as recent radioactive treatments). These items must be removed. If such devices are not removed they can damage the crematory or personnel working nearby.

What remains after the cremation?

Once the process is complete primarily bone fragments remain. The ashes are collected and the fragments are reduced down to small particles then added to the urn or container and returned to the family.

Is there a requirement that an urn be used?

There is not a legal requirement for a container. If an urn is not purchased from aCremation, a temporary container will be provided. You may wish to purchase a decorative urn for permanent display or memorialization at a later time.