Ask a Funeral Director

Do you have questions about cremation planning, the cremation process, or memorial services? Let our panel of funeral directors answer your questions.

Video Transcript

Hello, my name is James Baron. Welcome to Ask a Funeral Director. I’ve been a licensed funeral director since 1987. We understand asking questions about death and dying is not easy, so we put together this series to help answer a lot of general questions that are asked very commonly in our industry.

And please, if you have any additional questions, feel free to submit those questions to us.

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Cremation and Funeral Jargon

What are "Cremains" or "Cremated Remains?"

Ever hear a funeral director say “cremains” and wonder what he or she meant? Here is a simple explanation provided by funeral directors serving families today.

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What is a Retort?

Do you know what a retort is in the context of cremation? Learn more about cremation from a licensed funeral director in your area.

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What is "At-Need" or "Immediate Need?"

Know what an “at-need” or “immediate need” cremation plan is and who to contact for such a plan. Save time and get answers from licensed funeral directors.

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What is "Pre-Need" or "Prearrangement?"

Do you know what it means to prearrange or preplan a cremation? Discover what it takes to plan a cremation in advance and take control of your future.

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Cremation Paperwork

When Do I Get the Death Certificates?

The time it takes for a death certificate to be completed depends on a variety of factors depending on the situation and local and state laws.

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What is the Cremation Authorization Form and Who Needs to Sign It?

The cremation authorization form plays an important role in the cremation process. Learn why you need it and how a funeral director can help you fill one out.

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What is the Purpose of Providing All of the Information for the Death Certificate?

Some of the information on a death certificate such as years in the country or occupation may seem random, but it actually serves an interesting purpose.

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What is a Death Certificate?

A death certificate is an important document that is completed at the time of a passing. Learn how a death certificate is handled by funeral directors.

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Who Needs Death Certificates and Why?

Many state officials will require death certificates as proof of a loved one’s passing, and a funeral director can help you figure out who those people are.

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How Many Death Certificates Should I Purchase?

The number of death certificates needed depends on the state you live in and how many people need one. A funeral director can help you decide how many you need.

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Cremation Costs

Is Financing Available for Cremation?

If you pre-arrange a cremation, you may have the opportunity to use financing to make paying for your cremation plan easier. Learn more from a funeral director.

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What are the Possible Costs that Will Need to be Paid at the Time of Need?

Even if one chooses to preplan their cremation, there are some costs that can only be paid at the time of death. Learn what they are and why they are necessary.

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How Much Does a Death Certificate Cost?

While the cost of a death certificate varies from state to state, your funeral director can tell you about how a death certificate will affect cremation costs.

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The Cremation Process

What Steps are Involved in the Cremation Process?

A funeral director can help you organize the various forms and contact the various people needed for each step in the cremation process.

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How Do I Know I'm Getting Back the Right Cremated Remains?

Families often worry that the ashes they receive after cremation aren’t the remains of their loved one, but there are many processes in place to identify ashes.

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Is Embalming Necessary for Cremation?

Embalming is a complicated process that preserves the body, but is is necessary for a cremation? Funeral directors explain the answer here.

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How Long Does the Entire Cremation Process Take?

From start to finish, the cremation process involves many steps once a loved one is in our care. Funeral directors explain what happens during cremation.

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Who Needs to be Notified of a Death?

Other than family and friends, many people and organizations will need to be notified of a passing. Talk with your funeral director to decide who needs to know.

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Are there Additional Items You Would Need to Initiate or Complete the Cremation Process?

At the time of need funeral directors, doctors, state officials, and others will need certain pieces of information about you or your loved one.

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What Can Cause Delays in the Cremation Process?

Many people are frustrated when the cremation of their loved one is delayed. Learn the causes of cremation delays to ensure the next cremation goes smoothly.

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Veterans

What Benefits Does the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Offer?

Ask a funeral director about the kinds of veterans that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs gives for cremation to those who have served our country.

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How is a Service at a National Cemetery with Military Honors Scheduled?

A funeral director may be able to help you plan a service at a National Cemetery with various military honors including a flag and a Presidential Certificate.

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Transportation of Cremated Remains

What Do I Need for Flying with Cremated Remains?

Is it possible to carry cremation ashes on a plane? Whether you are planning to scatter abroad or visit grieving family, learn to fly with cremation remains.

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Can I Have Cremated Remains Shipped to Me?

Learn how to ship cremation ashes across the nation with the help of a licensed funeral director. You may be surprised by how easy the cremation process is.

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Obituary Information

Who Writes the Obituary?

Family and close friends are the ones who know their lost loved one best. They are often the ones who write obituaries with the help of funeral directors.

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How Much Does an Obituary Cost?

Depending on what services you are using to write an obituary for a loved one, the price of writing and publishing an obituary may vary.

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What Should I Put in an Obituary?

When deciding what to include in an obituary for a loved one, it is important to consider a variety of ideas. A funeral director can help you with ideas.

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Cremation and Memorialization

Can I Have a Service for My Loved One After Cremation?

Choosing to have a memorial service after a cremation instead of a traditional funeral beforehand gives you greater flexibility in planning for the event.

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Where Can I Scatter Cremated Remains?

Families often wonder where and how they can scatter the ashes of their loved one to honor their wishes. Funeral directors can help you find the perfect place.

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Is an Urn Required for Cremation?

Many families choose to have an urn for cremation, but is it necessary? Learn about your options for quality cremation urns for future plans or immediate need.

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