Tag Archives: crematory

How Do we Know for Sure that the Cremains in the Urn are Actually Our Loved One?

So long as you use a licensed and reputable crematory or Cremation Service, you can assume that the ashes or cremains placed in your urn are indeed your loved one. However, many of us have asked ourselves the question “Is he or she REALLY in there? How would I really know? Did the crematory make a mistake?”

At Cremation Society of America, you receive our Cremation Integrity Promise that our specially-trained team strictly follows our established protocols for ensuring that your loved one is positively identified throughout the cremation process.

Our industry-leading chain-of-custody procedures include the following:

Step 1: Before your loved one is removed from the place of death, a sealed identification band is placed on your loved one’s ankle. The placement of the band is certified and witnessed. Your loved one is then transported to our location in a solemn and dignified fashion.

Step 2: Upon arrival at our location, the information on the identification band is confirmed a second time to be true and correct. A second identification band is then created with a barcode and placed on the wrist of your loved one. The barcode is then scanned and your loved one’s identification is entered into our system for validation and tracking. This ensures that we know the name of your loved one and your loved one’s precise location anywhere within our facility.

Step 3: Once the designated family members make positive identification of your loved one by viewing or providing a photo ID, your loved one is then moved to the crematory.

Step 4: Upon arriving at the crematory, identification and verification is confirmed once again and witnessed. Your loved one is then placed in the cremation chamber. An indestructible identification disk is placed in the chamber with your loved one. The disk is approximately the size of a quarter and is made of stainless steel. It will not melt despite the intense heat of the chamber. Unique identification numbers are stamped onto the disk for future verification. The disk will remain with the ashes (cremains) and we will keep a record of the unique identification numbers indefinitely. You are welcome to review the identification numbers upon request.

Step 5: Once the cremation process is complete, the cremains – including the disk – are then placed into the container or urn selected by the family. The disk remains in the run with the cremains to provide an ironclad method of ensuring that your loved one’s ashes are indeed inside the urn.

Please Contact CSA for more information regarding our Direct Cremation services and our industry-leading identification protocols to provide you with peace of mind. 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.

Death Certificates Explained

What is a Death Certificate?

Here at Cremation Society of America, one of the questions most often asked of us is how to order a Death Certificate and why is it required for Direct Cremation.

A Death Certificate is an official document that serves as certified proof that someone has passed away. This document will be necessary for families or loved ones to close accounts, access insurance benefits and take similar legal steps. Death Certificates are also used by governmental agencies to track demographic trends locally and nationwide.

How many Death Certificates do I need?

A family or loved one will need a certified copy of a Death Certificate to close any financial services account or claim any benefit such as insurance proceeds after a loved one passes away. Some companies will require an original to access benefits such as pensions, insurance proceeds or property transfer. Other companies or entities may only require a photocopy/image of the Death Certificate to serve as proof. A good rule of thumb is to expect an original Death Certificate will be require to settle legal issues and a copy may be sufficient to resolve other matters.

The number of death certificates a family needs will depend on the number of assets, benefits and accounts that have been left to them. We recommend that you contact each of the companies/entities involved to confirm whether the company/entity will accept only an original death certificate or a copy of the death certificate.

Death Certificate

How do I order a Death Certificate?

Once the death has been registered, Death Certificates can be ordered from several entities, including:

  • The funeral home or Cremation provider that you choose
  • The state or county in which the person passed away
  • An online service such as VitalChek, a Lexis Nexis Company

There are two types of Death Certificates: Informational or Certified:

  • Informational copies can be ordered by anyone
  • To get a Certified copy, you must be closely related to the deceased

How long can I expect to wait to receive a Death Certificate?

There can be as many as four parties/entities/agencies involved in processing the first Death Certificate, which means that the time it takes to receive the Certificate may vary. You can expect a state agency to take 3 -6 weeks while a county agency may only take 2-4 weeks.

The following steps are typically required in order to produce a Death Certificate:

  • The family or Next of Kin provides certain information about the deceased to confirm identity
  • The primary care physician or attending physician confirms the cause of death to the funeral home or Cremation provider
  • The funeral home/Cremation provider registers the death in the applicable county or jurisdiction
  • The Death Certificates are printed and sent by the county or jurisdiction

The family and funeral home/Cremation provider typically provide their respective information within a day and don’t delay the process. If any delays are encountered, it’s usually with the physicians or the applicable county/jurisdiction.

We at Cremation Society of America do everything in our power to make the Death Certificate process as efficient as possible so that you and your family can address the matters at hand.

Call us today to request more information about our Direct Cremations or click here to order your Direct Cremation now using our industry-leading online ordering process.

Arranging a Direct Cremation is Easy – and Affordable

Even though Direct Cremation is steadily overtaking funeral homes as the arrangement of choice for most Americans and their loved ones, some cremation providers can be saddled with a tedious or inconvenient process to purchase a cremation.

At Cremation Society of America, we continually seek to make our Direct Cremation Services the easiest and most affordable Direct Cremation ordering process in the industry.

If you’ve been following our Blog, you know that the median cost of a funeral can be $8,000 with many exceeding $10,000. Of course, a Direct Cremation is a far more affordable option for a loved one. At Cremation Society of America, our Direct Cremation packages start at only $795.00 with the option to upgrade to more comprehensive packages that include an Urn Allowance, for example. You can also order features such as Cremation Jewelry and Celebration of Life Kits.

Our industry-leading secure Online Ordering System can be completed in mere minutes and is easy to understand. Here are highlights of the Online Ordering System:

  • Choose either Direct Cremation for a loved one who has passed or Pre-Plan for a Cremation in the future
  • Enter your contact information
  • Choose from one of Three Packages
  • Select Medical Examiner Cremation Approval Fee, if applicable
  • Select Delivery Method
  • Order Death Certificate(s)
  • Choose from a selection of Cremation Jewelry and Celebration of Life Kit options, if desired
  • Enter Billing and Shipping Addresses
  • Enter payment information
  • Complete the Necessary Forms

You simply SUBMIT and you’re all set! The entire process takes just a few minutes and we’ll take care of the rest.

We understand that there is rarely a convenient time to arrange for a Direct Cremation. However, we are confident that you will find our streamlined Online Ordering System easy to use and it will take little time to complete. Don’t forget that all Online Direct Cremation orders come with a 30-Day 100% Money Back Guarantee!

So, you see, there is no better time nor better reason to order your Direct Cremation ONLINE NOW.

Peace of Mind has never been so affordable or so easy to arrange. Give us a call for more information or to ask us questions. That’s why we’re here. We look forward to serving as your trusted Direct Cremation resource.

Are Direct Cremations Tax Deductible?

We at Cremation Society of America are often asked by our clients whether Direct Cremations are tax deductible. The short answer for Individual Taxpayers is No. But this merits further explanation. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your tax specialist.

These days, the median cost of a funeral can be $8,000 with many exceeding $10,000. Of course, a Direct Cremation is far more affordable option for a loved one. Even so, some families, upon advice from a trusted resource or due to reading an article, etc. are tempted to deduct funeral expenses on their personal income tax return. We suggest that you resist this temptation as you run the risk of an IRS audit and the heavy fines and penalties that come with it. The last thing you need after the loss of a loved one is to endure an IRS audit!

Estates: Claiming a Deduction

Funeral expenses are only deductible if they paid by a previously-established Estate. An Estate can be defined as everything comprising the net worth of an individual, including all land, possessions and other assets r that the individual owns or has a controlling interest in. As such, individuals cannot claim funeral expenses on their income tax returns (IRS Form 1040) and funeral expenses cannot be itemized or deducted on the decedent’s final tax return.

Per the IRS ‘Miscellaneous Deductions” guide (Publication 529), “Burial or funeral expenses, including the cost of a cemetery lot” are nondeductible. Please also keep in mind that if you pay funeral expenses for a loved one or other individual, you cannot treat those expenses as a medical deduction on your tax return.

Estate: Claiming a Deduction

The appropriate way to deduct funeral expenses is for the Estate to pay the burial costs and then claim the deduction for estate tax purposes on IRS Form 706 (United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return). The funeral expense deduction is one of several deductions that are used to determine the taxable estate, resulting in the taxable amount of the Estate. The executor or administrator of the estate is responsible for filing IRS Form 706, and such executor/administrator must attach a death certificate per the Form 706. The executor/administrator should notify the family involved in the Estate as well as those making funeral arrangements that reimbursement for funeral expenses may be affected by IRS regulation and other laws. Again, we cannot stress enough that you consult with your Tax Specialist and possibly an Estate Attorney for guidance and advice.

Can any costs be Deducted?

Itemized funeral expenses that may be eligible for deduction may include but not be limited to:

  • Cost to purchase a burial plot or mausoleum space and any reservations
  • Headstone or grave marker and related expenses
  • Funeral director fees, embalming and body preparation charges
  • Ceremony or viewing/visitation expenses, including – flower arrangements, food, audio visual presentations, clergy honorarium
  • Casket costs and interment fees
  • Transportation expenses such as transporting your loved one to and from the funeral home, hearse/limousine and driver costs

If the decedent’s Estate is reimbursed for any funeral costs, the reimbursement must be deducted from total expenses before claiming the deduction on Form 706 – this includes any federal payments such as Social Security or Veterans death benefits.

The person or family representative responsible for making the funeral arrangements and paying the resulting expenses should retain and preserve all invoices, receipts, contracts, agreements, etc. Note that the Estate may not receive full reimbursement if the funeral costs are deemed unreasonable, or the Estate becomes insolvent. This is why Pre-Planning for funeral or Cremation services can be so very helpful to your family during such a challenging time.

Do you have questions about arranging a Direct Cremation and whether any aspect can be tax deductible? Please feel free to give us a call. One of our Direct Cremation Specialists is here for you.

Why are Direct Cremations more Popular than Funeral Services?

Cremations have overtaken traditional burials with more than 50 percent of all Americans choosing cremation and the percentage is expected to continue to increase. In addition, more and more families are choosing Direct Cremation instead of traditional funeral services. Funeral service providers across the nation reported that 70 to 80 percent of their services feature Direct Cremation.

A Direct Cremation, sometimes called a “Simple Cremation” or “Immediate Cremation” is when the cremation is performed soon after death, without a viewing, visitation or funeral service of any kind.

Oftentimes, people assume that the term “Direct Cremation” means the deceased is taken from the place of death directly to the crematory. This is not the case. Death Certificates, contracts and state required permits must all be completed before the cremation can actually take place or be scheduled, often several days later.

Why is direct cremation gaining popularity?

Many funeral service providers state that approximately 80 percent of their clients request Direct Cremations. Why are families overwhelmingly choosing Direct Cremations?

There are two main reasons behind such great popularity of direct cremation.

  • Affordability
  • Flexibility

So, let’s have an in-depth look at how Direct Cremation changed the funeral services landscape.

Direct Cremation is more cost-effective than traditional funeral services!

Funeral expenses have grown out of reach of the average family. Most families simply cannot absorb the cost of the average funeral, which can be upwards of $6,000 and oftentimes $10,000 when additional costs such as mortuary fees are included. Keep in mind that this is for an average, run-of-the-mill funeral service. Many funeral services can cost much more.

The Simple Fact is that most families are striving to make ends meet and have not set aside funds for a funeral service for their loved ones. Unless their loved one had an estate or Pre-Paid for preplanned services, the family is put in a difficult fiscal situation.

Direct Cremation has emerged as an affordable alternative.  In most cases, a Direct Cremation will cost no more than 40 percent of the cost of a basic funeral service. When arranged through a funeral home, a direct cremation package could cost up to $2,000.

With the advent of Direct Cremation providers, a Direct Cremation package can be purchased for less than half the price, from $600 to $995.

Arranging on time memorial services, place to suit family needs and budget

A Direct Cremation gives the family the flexibility to arrange for a memorial service – or multiple memorial services – at the date, time and locale of the family’s choosing, thereby avoiding the costs of a casket and funeral services. NOTE: If you choose to hold a service before the cremation, you would be engaging in a “traditional cremation” and not a Direct Cremation.

Direct Cremation also provides for nearly limitless ways for your loved one to present with you whether inside of an urn in your home or office or within cremation jewelry that can be shared with any number of loving family and friends.

Direct Cremation: Dressing Your Loved One

Children are capable of wonderful questions. During a recent client meeting, a young child asked us whether his grandmother would be cremated with her clothes on. What an amazing yet simple question! We thought that this would be a good time to explain how to dress your loved one for a Direct Cremation.

For thousands of years, deceased loved ones were buried or cremated in special or ceremonial clothing and accompanied by valuable items, keepsakes or mementos. These days, there are certain types of clothing as well as certain items that cannot be included in a Cremation.

A traditional cremation arranged with a funeral home will include the loved one being dressed and clothed by a funeral home representative prior to the viewing, services and cremation. The family provides the funeral home with the clothing of their choosing. Some funeral homes also provide the family with option to actually dress their loved one at the funeral home. In certain instances, the funeral home may also have clothes that can be purchased.

By comparison, Direct Cremation services do not include viewings or dressing services. In most cases, people are cremated in either a sheet or the clothing they are wearing upon arrival to the crematory. However, most Direct Cremation providers give you and your family the option to fully dress your loved one prior to Direct Cremation.

Not all clothing can be cremated

It’s important to keep in mind that not all clothing and materials are permitted into the cremation chamber. Certain materials cannot be cremated because they are not combustible and could damage the chamber or associated equipment. We recommend that you avoid dressing your lived one in clothes that feature metallic buttons, zippers, or snaps.

Materials that CANNOT be cremated include:

  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Clothes made from synthetic materials that may be hazardous to burn
  • Electronic devices or implants such as pacemakers or hearing aids

It may seem like common sense but here are materials that CAN be cremated:

  • Clothing made with natural materials such as cotton or wool
  • Cardboard or paper-based
  • Wood

Please be sure to check with your Direct Cremation provider to confirm which clothing or outfit is appropriate for Cremation. There are various laws and regulations governing materials that can and cannot be cremated and they vary from state to state.

Dressing your loved one for Direct Cremation

Remove the clothing your loved one was wearing when he/she passed away. Funeral home professionals prefer to cut clothing off when dressing a loved one. You should do the same as it will make the process easier.

Although it is not necessary for Direct Cremation, some families prefer to wash or clean their loved one, especially for religious reasons. Soap, water, and a washcloth are perfectly fine for this. Please be sure to dry his/her skin thoroughly after you’re done washing.

To dress your loved one in pants:

Press the pants so that the bottom cuffs are pressed against the seat of the garment. Lift the legs of your loved one and steadily slide the pants over both legs, pulling them up as high as possible -this should be above the thigh.

Then, roll your loved one over onto one side. Using the belt, pull the pants the rest of the way up to your loved one’s waist. Then repeat with the opposite side. Fasten the pants closed and you’re done.

To dress your loved one in a shirt, dress or skirt:

Slowly split the garment straight up the back with a fine pair of scissors. Then place the shirt, dress or skirt over your loved one and wrap it around him/her. For shirts or dresses, be sure to place his/her arms into the sleeves and slide up his/her arms prior to tucking the shirt or dress underneath your loved one.


Now you can add socks, shoes, scarves, kerchiefs and other accessories. 
Then you carefully and gently groom your loved one by brushing or combing his/her hair, applying makeup, and any other grooming that you prefer. Please note that any prohibited materials in your loved one’s clothing or accessories will be removed by the crematory representatives prior to cremation. 

Once you’re done dressing your loved one, your Direct Cremation provider will take it from there, including transportation, all documentation and certifications, verification and placement in the urn or vessel of your choosing.


Please contact us at Cremation Society of America for more information regarding our Direct Cremation services to provide you and your family with peace of mind. We 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.