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Understanding Cremation

About 70% of families in New Hampshire are choosing cremation. Although it is gaining in popularity, many of our customers still have questions about the procedure and the events surrounding it. As the premiere provider of cremation services in the New Hampshire area, we have gathered our collective knowledge and experience to answer some of the most common questions below.

What is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame. Please understand that cremation is not final disposition of remains, nor is it a type of funeral. If you are seeking these types of services, however, we are fully equipped to accommodate your wishes.

What Services Are Available with Cremation?

Any traditional funeral service with the body present can precede the cremation. If you would like to hold a memorial service after cremation has taken place, this can also be arranged.

Is a Casket Needed for Cremation?

A casket is not required for cremation. The state simply requires that the body is cremated in an alternative container, constructed of fiberboard. However, if your family chooses to hold a public service with the body present, you will need a casket; in these cases, we offer a selection of inexpensive cremation caskets or economical rental caskets.

Is Embalming Required Prior to Cremation?

Absolutely not and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise. The only time embalming is legally required is if the family chooses a public service with an open casket prior to cremation.

Can the Body Be Viewed Without Embalming?

Yes, families may view the body either in our private viewing room or in the crematory. If the family opts for a viewing, the body will first be dressed, washed and prepared. Any viewing conducted prior to the 48 hour state-mandated waiting period will not incur any additional refrigeration fees.

Can the Family Witness the Cremation?

Yes. We have designed our state-of-the-art cremation facility with families in mind; we provide spacious and comfortable accommodations so that you can have the opportunity to spend time with and say goodbye to your loved one.

Is Cremation Accepted By All Religions?

While it is best to confirm with your own religious authority, we have found that most religions are accepting of cremation with the exception of Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, Eastern Orthodox and a few Fundamentalist Christian faiths. According to Billy Graham, a famous Biblical scholar what occurs to the body after death has no bearing on the souls resurrection. The body that rises is not made of the same substance as the one that was buried, or cremated, but is immortal and incorruptible.

Can An Urn Be Brought Into Church?

Again, it is best to confirm with your church officials, however the Diocese of Manchester, which has jurisdiction over all Catholic churches in the state, allows cremated remains to be present during the Memorial Mass as do nearly all Protestant churches in the area. If the family is planning for a memorial service, the presence of an urn usually provides an important focal point for attendees.

What Can Be Done With Cremated Remains?

There are numerous options available to you; this is a process that can be extremely personal and reflective of your loved ones wishes. Some families choose to bury the remains in a cremation lot or garden, they can also be inurned in a columbarium, scattered on private property in a particularly meaningful place, or even kept at home. Our staff will be happy to discuss these options with you and make any arrangements.

Are There Any Laws Governing Cremation?

Cremation regulations vary from state-to-state. In New Hampshire, there are several laws which the consumer should be aware. First, there is a 48 hour waiting period from the time of death until the cremation can take place. Second, the deceased must be cremated in a suitable solid container. Third, a cremation authorization form must be signed by the individual legally authorized to make the cremation arrangements. Finally, cremation cannot take place until the deceased has been viewed by a state-appointed Medical Examiner or designee. For a complete list of applicable State laws, refer to New Hampshire RSA 325-A and He-P 600 or ask for a copy of our Cremation Authorization Form.

Do People Choose Cremation Only to Save Money?

People choose cremation for a variety of reasons, only one of which is its economy. The simplicity and dignity accorded by cremation, the flexibility in planning and disposition and, in many cases, the wishes of the deceased are just some of the reasons families choose this service.

Do Most Funeral Homes Have a Crematory?

Unfortunately, in many cases funeral homes subcontract cremation to a third party, which can incur additional expenses, needless delay and a lack of control over operating procedures. In contrast, we own and operate our own facility, employing skilled and licensed professionals. This means that we can provide the highest quality of service and convenience at no additional cost.

How Can I Be Sure I Receive the Correct Remains?

We have developed the most rigorous set of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize our level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Positive identification of the deceased is assured throughout each stage of the cremation process using our 10-step cremation process. All activities outside the cremation chamber are monitored 24-hours a day using closed-circuit security system. We only allow licensed professionals to operate our cremation equipment. None of these safeguards are required by law and no other cremation facility in the state can match our rigid operating procedures.

How Long Does The Actual Cremation Take?

It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average-sized adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 to 2,000 degrees F.

What Happens After the Cremation is Complete?

All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items are swept into the front of the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridge work, are separated from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a temporary or permanent urn, selected by the family.

Can Two Cremations Be Performed At Once?

It is actually illegal for two cremations to occur at once, however most cremation chambers are not large enough to accommodate more than one adult.

What Do The Cremated Remains Look Like?

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to six pounds.

Are All The Cremated Remains Returned?

With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.

Do I Need An Urn?

While not required by law, an urn is a simple, beautiful way to hold the remains for a memorial service or for interment in a cemetery. If you decide not to purchase one of our urns, the cremated remains will be returned to you in a temporary container.

Are There Any Special Benefits For Veterans?

We have a special program for veterans who pass away in a VA hospital, or a VA-contracted health care facility. We will process the VA benefit and reimburse the family for the cost of our direct cremation fee once the benefit is paid by the VA. Additional fees will apply if the veteran in interred in a veterans cemetery.

Is There Any Assistance For Families On Welfare?

It is our policy that no one be denied a proper and dignified cremation due to financial limitations. We offer welfare assistance through our sister company Cremation Society of New Hampshire. If you believe that you may qualify, please review the CSNH policy on assistance. City and town welfare departments provide some financial assistance for deceased residents who are indigent, or whose immediate family members do not have the ability to pay for a cremation.

Finally, How Much Does Cremation Cost?

Depending on your wishes, the cremation process is different for everyone. We created a funeral cost estimator, which allows you to choose your preferences, and generate an itemized breakdown of the cost.

If you have other questions that aren’t answered here, please contact us to start a conversation.

Understanding Cremation - Phaneuf
Understanding Cremation - Phaneuf
Understanding Cremation - Phaneuf

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