Identification – 3 Key Questions
When choosing a funeral or cremation service provider, don’t be afraid to ask questions. I promise professionals in this industry understand your concern and you will not offend them. Don’t be embarrassed to ask question about the arrangement process – and especially about any fears you have.
A majority of funeral professionals, like aCremation, have made arrangements for their own loved ones and understand it is a difficult and sometimes intimidating process. They also read and hear the same news articles you do about mistakes that occur. Here are the three questions I recommend asking the person helping you make arrangements to ensure proper identification of your loved one.
- What happens if I’m not present when you arrive to pick up my loved one (typically from a hospital, medical facility or Medical Examiner’s office)?
- If I authorize cremation without a viewing, how do I know they are cremating my loved one and not someone else?
- How do I know I’ve received my loved ones ashes and not another person?
When talking with funeral homes or cremation services, if they can’t easily and professionally provide answers…buyer beware.
In Texas, the state requires crematories to perform two things to ensure the identity of the deceased is correct based on the name provided by the next of kin (or authorized agent). The first thing is the name of the person (as provided by the next of kin, not the hospital or Medical Examiner) must be written on the cremation container. Secondly, when the remains are returned, there must be a metal disc, bracelet, or other item used by the crematory with the deceased’s name on it.
Be sure to select a funeral home or cremation company that exceeds the state requirements. Don’t be afraid to ask for information that will reassure you that your loved one is in good care. A reputable company will gladly help you understand their process for identification. You might also consider:
- Requesting a detailed explanation of the identification process (verbally or in writing)
- Providing a recent photo and request that it is sent to the crematory for a visual verification prior to cremation.
- Asking the crematory to do a final identification check using information you provide (such as a location and description of a tattoo).
If you have questions about identification processes, feel free to email me or submit a comment. It’s natural to have concerns but, keep in mind, licensed funeral directors and certified crematory operators are trained and committed to providing the best possible service to families.