What is cremation?
Cremation is the process of burning a human body at a very high temperature until it is reduced to particles. These particles are then crushed into what’s called “cremated remain”. Many people call these ‘ashes’. Despite the term “ashes”, the cremated remain are more like coarse, gray sand. Cremation has been an alternative to burial since prehistoric times.
What are certified copies and certified informational copies?
Two kinds of certified death certificates exist in California. A certified informational copy can be requested by anyone because it can’t be used legally to establish an identity. A full certified copy can be ordered only by certain people, such as next-of-kin, law enforcement agents or legally authorized representatives of the deceased. More details are in the Pamphlet for Certified Copies of Death Records
, from the California Department of Public Health website.
How quickly do I have to file the death certificate?
The doctor who last attended your loved one has 15 hours after death is confirmed to sign the death certificate. In California, the death certificate must be filed with the local registrar of births and deaths
within 8 calendar days of the death, and before your loved one gets cremated or buried. We include the cost of filing the death certificate in our cremation package.
How quickly will I get the ashes back?
We will have the ashes ready the next business day after the cremation. We’ll contact you to let you know when the remains are ready to be picked up or to make other delivery arrangements. We’ll make it easy and convenient for you.
What can I do with the ashes afterwards?
Your options are almost limitless, but the most common ones are keeping the ashes at home in an urn, dividing the ashes between family, inurnment above or below ground, or scattering ashes over land or at sea.
Can I put a memento in the casket with my loved one?
It is possible to leave certain personal items in the cremation container with your loved one. Some people like to leave a piece of jewelry or a memento. However, we do have to remove items such as pacemakers, prostheses, and mechanical or radioactive devices or implants before the cremation. If you would like to have a memento accompany your love one, please ask us for guidance. We will try our best to accommodate your wishes.
Is scattering legal in California?
California has the strictest laws in the nation when it comes to dealing with ashes. In general, you may scatter ashes in any area of the state where there is no local prohibition and if you obtain written permission from the property owner or governing agency. For more details about scattering ashes on land, at sea or by air, please go to the website of the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau.
Will you cremate my loved one with another body?
Never. Absolutely not. Firstly, state and federal law prohibit it. Secondly, the cremation chamber is only big enough to contain one body at a time. Since we own and operate our own crematory, you can be assured that our staff follow strict procedures at all times and that the ashes we deliver to you will be the ashes of your loved one.
Do I need official copies of the death certificate?
Yes, you will need certified copies of the death certificate to carry out certain tasks, such as notifying Social Security Administration and your bank. Since doctors, hospitals, and funeral directors in California use an electronic system for filing death certificates, this is easy and quick, although a small state fee is charged for each copy. We will order as few or many copies as you request and will have them ready with the cremated remains free of charge.
Do I need to buy an urn?
No, you don’t. Our cremation package includes a standard utility urn in which we place the ashes, but you’re welcome to choose a different urn. Styles, materials and prices vary considerably, and your final choice may depend on what you want to do with the ashes afterwards. Feel free to browse our online catalog of urns to get an idea of what is available.
Do I need to buy a casket for the cremation?
No, you don’t. All that’s required is what’s known as an alternative cremation container. These look like traditional caskets but they’re made out of heavy cardboard. The alternative container burns with the body in the cremation chamber.
How quickly can you carry out the cremation?
Because we have our own onsite crematory, we can usually carry out the cremation within three (3) business days of receiving your authorization and the county’s permit.
Can I have a memorial service later?
Yes. Many families decide to honor their loved one with a memorial service after cremation. It can be held within days of the cremation, or weeks or months later if that is more convenient for you. You may also decide whether or not you want the cremated remains at the memorial service. That’s one of the main benefits of cremation – you’ll celebrate the life of your loved one at a time and place of your choosing.
Who can authorize the cremation?
The person who has the right to control the disposition of the body is an agent listed on the advance health care directive or power of attorney for health care. If no advance health care directive was done it would be the next of kin authorizing the cremation services. The order of kinship begins with a spouse or state registered domestic partner, then children over the age of 18, then mother and father, and on to brothers and sisters from there.