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  • During the next several weeks, family and friends will gather together on Christmas and New Years to celebrate the joy and blessings of the past year as well as the hope and promise of 2019.

    The entire Cremation Society of America Family would like to take this moment to wish you and your family a most Blessed and Merry Christmas as well as Health and Happiness in 2019! We thank YOU and all of our clients for the privilege to serve YOU throughout 2018. Without YOU, we would not be able to do what we love: Providing dignified services to your family at a time of stress and concern. Remember this as we enter 2019: When you need us, we’ll be there for YOU.

    As everyone around you makes their New Years’ resolutions, we at Cremation Society of America resolve to continue to provide you with the BEST cremation-related services delivered by the BEST people at the BEST possible price with dignity and respect.

    Keep in mind that as you look for meaningful and practical gifts for those around you, especially family, the gift of a Pre-Planned Direct Cremation is a deeply heart-felt gesture to ease the unforeseen burden for a loved one. A custom urn may also be a welcome gift. 

    You have our promise to continue in 2019 our mission to lift the cloud of confusion that often surrounds cremation services and to be ready to assist you and your loved ones through this process with a gentle, guiding presence. 

    From our Cremation Society of America Family to yours, please enjoy a merry, safe and blessed Christmas! And may your New Year be filled with health, happiness and joy!

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  • Now that the Fall is upon us, our attention soon turns to the upcoming Holidays and planning our travel to visit family and friends.

    What if a Loved One passes away while traveling to visit family? As we described in our Blog, “Direct Cremation”, sometimes called “Simple Cremation” or “Immediate Cremation” is when the cremation is performed soon after death, without a viewing, visitation or funeral service of any kind.

    What if you’ve arranged for your Direct Cremation and you’re planning a trip across the United States to visit family for Thanksgiving or another holiday? What happens if you or a loved one passes away unexpectedly in another state that is thousands of miles away from home? How do you ensure that your loved one is returned home in a dignified manner? How much will such arrangements cost?

    You’ll have to deal with the rules and regulations of the airlines when it comes to the transportation of your loved one’s remains – and the cost as well. You’ll also have to arrange for the remains to be transported to your pre-planned facility for cremation. And you’ll need to manage these issues during a time of sudden and likely overwhelming grief.

    A Travel Protection Plan can save time, stress, and cost for you or your next-of-kin should your death occur while traveling away from your legal residence. Most Travel Protection Plans will include many of the following services:

    • Prepare remains for transport, regardless of where the remains are located worldwide
    • Locate funeral home or direct disposition (cremation) facility
    • Arrange for transportation of remains from place of death to funeral home or direct disposition (cremation) facility
    • Purchase casket/air tray to meet transportation requirements, including international transportation
    • Arrange and pay for transport to city of legal residence
    • Secure and process all documentation required for remains transportation, including death certificate

    Most Travel Protection Plans are triggered when the death occurs a certain number of miles away from the person’s legal residence. Be sure to review your Travel Protection Plan carefully for specific terms and conditions.

    At a time of shock and grief, you or your loved ones would make just one phone call to activate the Plan. Once activated, the Plan agents immediately commence arrangements to provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind amidst the chaos of returning home from your journey.

    Please contact CSA for more information regarding Travel Protection Plans and how such a plan can factor into your Pre-Panning strategy. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

     

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  • After a loved one has been cremated, there are many ways to treat the cremains: For example, you can place the cremains in an urn and display in your home or office. You can also choose to scatter your loved one’s ashes in the sea or in a location that was meaningful to your loved one. Another way to treat the cremains is gaining in popularity: Cremation Jewelry.

    Cremation Jewelry (which is also known as Funeral Jewelry, Remembrance Jewelry or Memorial Jewelry) is simply a way for people to be close to a loved one in lieu of other cremation options. Cremation Jewelry can be created in a nearly infinite choice of designs, styles and shapes with a nearly infinite price range as well. Cremation Jewelry can be very simple and understated, ornate and extravagant and everything in between.

    Most Cremation Jewelry is designed as a vessel to contain a portion of a loved one’s cremains and can appear as a locket or keepsake. For those who don’t wish to place cremains in the jewelry, they can use jewelry (pendants, etc.) as vessels to preserve memorial materials such as sand from a favorite beach, soil from a garden, a lock of hair, or even a special photograph.

    Here are some examples of Cremation Jewelry:

    • Miniature Urn Necklaces: The most popular form of Cremation Jewelry is a very small urn attached to a chain worn around the neck. The urn is light and contains a small portion of cremains. This small portion enables multiple family members to share in the cremains with their own Urn Necklace. Common urn shapes include simple cylinders and hearts to more ornate designs with religious symbols or even animals or fish. You can choose a shape or design that or a more basic design that matches most ensembles.
    • Cremains into Glass Pendants: Skilled artisan glassblowers have been working cremains directly into beautiful designs for statues, paperweights and more. Glass Cremains Pendants are similar in layout, using a mixture of colored glass and a small portion of cremains to craft unique and meaningful jewelry.
    • Cremains into Diamonds: Cremains can even be formed into a man-made diamond that can be worn in a necklace, in earrings, or on a ring. During the cremation process of the diamond, the loved one’s cremains are incorporated into the carbon, making it impossible to tell the difference between a diamond containing cremains and a diamond without cremains. It’s can be a unique keepsake that only you and your loved ones will know about. Diamonds containing cremains can range in cost from $3,000 to $10,000.

    Please contact CSA for more information regarding our selection of Cremation Jewelry. We can also refer you to craftsmen who can imbue cremains into glass pendants or even diamonds. CSA can also help you pre-plan all of your Direct Cremation services to meet your needs. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

     

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  • As more and more families choose Cremation as their funeral choice, Cremation Scams and Fraudulent Practices are also on the rise. As with IRS scams and Banking scams, Cremation Scams are aimed at people 65 and older.  Fraudsters and scammers attempt to take advantage of the sadness, grief and confusion many feel in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one. This is a time of great vulnerability for families, especially those who did not take advantage of Pre-Planning Services.

    The best way to combat Cremation Scams and Fraud is education. Here are some examples of Cremation Scams:

    • Concealing or misrepresenting prices. Dishonest providers may deliberately avoid providing prices to you in writing or they even increase prices/fees once the cremains are delivered.
    • Selling extra or unnecessary services or items. Service providers may try to sell unnecessary additional services, such as embalming or a burial casket, as part of a cremation package. These items can be quite expensive and are considered “pure profit” by unscrupulous funeral providers. Oftentimes, providers will use “high-pressure” sales tactics to coerce elderly customers into buying unnecessary products and services.
    • Forcing consumers to buy proprietary goods. Sometimes called “cramming,” a family member who wants to use a family heirloom for the cremains may be coerced into buying an “approved” urn or casket that is only sold by the provider, at a premium of course.
    • Misrepresenting legal requirements for funeral or cremation services. Unscrupulous providers may insist that embalming is required by law, even in a direct cremation with no viewing or funeral service, despite the fact that embalming is not a statutory requirement in most states.

    Now that you know what a Cremation Scam looks like, here are some steps you can take to avoid falling victim to such scams:

    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions. Cremation providers should be willing to answer any questions that you or your family may have. If a provider fails to answer questions, is evasive or tries to hurry your family into a decision that does not feel right, you could be at risk for a scam. Be sure to meet with family members and even a family attorney to organize your questions in advance. Such questions can include:

    • How can I be sure that my loved one’s cremains are actually his or hers?
    • How will the cremains be presented to the family?
    • How long will the cremation process take and how long will cremains be held prior to pick-up?
    • Do you offer support services for bereaved families, especially young children?

    Research the Cremation Provider. As more and more families opt for Cremation in lieu of burial, “fly by night” cremation-only providers have begun to appear. In the same way that you would investigate a general contractor before building a house or hiring an attorney to draft a will for your family, you should investigate the credentials and performance of your Cremation provider. Here are some ways to conduct your investigation:

    • Visit the provider’s website and locate the provider’s physical address
    • Most provider websites include an “About Us” section. In many cases, you can double-check that information with public resources, including the Better Business Bureau and certain state-specific licensing agencies
    • Be wary of offers that may be too good to be true. Contact at least two providers so that you can compare products and services. The more offers you compare, the better
    • Read online reviews on social media and other online resources such as Yelp and Google
    • Where possible, follow-up with references

    Arrange for a Witness be present at the Cremation. Request that a family member or representative (such as an attorney) witness the cremation to ensure that no mishandling or mistakes in identification happen at any point during the cremation process. The family representative must be able to visually identify the individual being cremated as a safeguard to ensure to that your loved one’s cremains are being returned to the family. Keep in mind that some states do not allow witnesses and some crematories have specific rules and regulations concerning witnesses, including additional fees to allow for a witness.

    Get Everything in Writing. Do not commit to any cremation services until you have received all documentation in writing and have had a chance to review, including having legal counsel review the documents.

    Know Your Rights. As a consumer, your rights are clear under the FTC’s Funeral Rule, which describes in detail how providers of funeral services should provide burial and cremation services. Knowing your rights can help you to avoid the cremation and funeral scams listed above.

    The FTC’s Funeral Rule applies to all types of funeral and cremation service providers except third-party sellers like casket and urn dealers or cemeteries without an on-site funeral home. Your rights when purchasing or contracting services for burial or cremation include:

    • The right to buy only the services and products you want.
    • The right to refuse embalming. Many state laws do not require embalming as the only preservation process. In some cases, refrigeration may suffice. Check with your specific state laws before being forced to pay for embalming.
    • The right to get price information by phone without agreeing to buy.Funeral service providers are required by law to give you the prices you request by phone without requiring you to provide your name or other information. You also have the right to compare prices without being obligated to purchase a provider’s services.
    • The right to a written, itemized price list and written statement that lists your products and services.
    • The right to use a container other than a casket for cremation.A provider might try to coerce you into purchasing a casket for cremation even though no laws require it. The provider must offer alternatives such as wooden boxes or cardboard.
    • Know your rights and Cremation requirements in your state.

    Pre-Planning. Not only can Pre-Planning save your family money, it is always better to make such important decisions ahead of time so that all aspects can be researched and evaluated. Rarely are proper decisions made under duress or during a time of grief and confusion.

    What actions can you take if you experience cremation fraud or fall victim to a cremation scam? Your rights under the FTC’s Funeral Rule are protected by several agencies and organizations, and you can report any experiences of fraud or scams to these entities for further investigation. You can report a funeral or cremation scam to the FTC here. State Attorneys General also investigate consumer complaints pertaining to funeral services. You can contact the Attorney General’s Office in your state by searching online.

    Business organizations also track complaints about the funeral and cremation industry. The Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection Agency pursues reports of scams/fraud, and so does the Consumer Protection Agency.

    Veterans Benefits for Cremation. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides certain burial benefits for veterans of U.S. military service that covers free interment in a National Cemetery and associated military honors, and those benefits can also be used for cremation services. Ask your cremation provider how they are equipped to accommodate veterans and their families.

    As you can see above, education is the best way to avoid falling victim to any cremation or funeral scams. At Cremation Society of America, we are committed to providing you and your family with the most competitive and dignified Cremation services available. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

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  • What if a Loved One Passes Away Outside the United States? As we described in our Blog, “Direct Cremation”, sometimes called “Simple Cremation” or “Immediate Cremation” is when the cremation is performed soon after death, without a viewing, visitation or funeral service of any kind. Let’s say that you’ve arranged for your Direct Cremation and you’re planning a trip to Europe. What happens if you or a loved one passes away unexpectedly in a foreign country? How do you ensure that your loved one is returned home in a dignified manner? How much will such arrangements cost?

    As you might imagine, each country has its own laws and regulations pertaining to the preparation of a person’s remains before the remains can leave the country – not to mention the processing fees. Then, you’ll have to deal with the rules and regulations of the airlines when it comes to the transportation of your loved one’s remains – and the cost as well. Finally, you’ll have to arrange for the remains to be transported to your pre-planned facility for cremation.

    A Travel Protection Plan can save time, stress, and cost for you or your next-of-kin should your death occur while traveling away from your legal residence. Most Travel Protection Plans will include many of the following services:

    • Prepare remains for transport, regardless of where the remains are located worldwide
    • Locate funeral home or direct disposition (cremation) facility
    • Arrange for transportation of remains from place of death to funeral home or direct disposition (cremation) facility
    • Purchase casket/air tray to meet transportation requirements, including international transportation
    • Arrange and pay for transport to city of legal residence
    • Secure and process all documentation required for remains transportation, including death certificate

    Most Travel Protection Plans are triggered when the death occurs a certain number of miles away from the person’s legal residence. Be sure to review your Travel Protection Plan carefully for specific terms and conditions.

    At a time of shock and grief, you or your loved ones would make just one phone call to activate the Plan. Once activated, the Plan agents immediately commence arrangements to provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind amidst the chaos of returning home from your journey.

    Please contact CSA for more information regarding Travel Protection Plans and how such a plan can factor into your Pre-Panning strategy. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

     

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