One of the biggest benefits of direct cremation is how quickly the process can get underway and be completed. Many direct cremations can be completed from start to finish within a week of the death. However, that isn’t always the case. There are some circumstances that could cause delays and hold up a direct cremation.
Keep reading to get a better idea of potential delays in the direct cremation process and find out how you can avoid them.
Delays Getting the Death Certificate Signed
Usually, the medical examiner or a physician isn’t a hold up, but they could be. No cremation can be performed without a signed death certificate. The crematorium should reach out to appropriate entities to ensure there are no delays with this part of the process. Even so, delays can happen if the medical examiner or doctor’s office is busier than normal, or if the paperwork simply slipped through the cracks.
Electronic Death Registration Systems (EDRS) make the process quicker and easier by routing the death certificate to the necessary physician for signing. But not every county medical examiner’s office and hospital uses the EDRS for this purpose, and may it only be used as a way for the state Vital Statistics department to verify information on death certificates and submit information to the Social Security Administration.
Non-Payment for Cremation Services
The cause of this delay is pretty obvious. You’ll need to pay for the cremation services before they’ll be performed – period.
Make sure to discuss the cost of services, payment methods and when payment is due with the crematorium beforehand. Federal law requires that crematoriums provide potential clients with a General Price List that itemizes the costs. If you are unsure if you’ll be able to cover the entire cost up front, ask the crematorium what options are available, such as making a down payment followed by installment payments. The funeral director may also be able to direct you towards benefits that will help pay for cremation services.
Difficulty Determining Next-of-Kin
Before a type of disposition is even selected, the next-of-kin may need to be determined. If the deceased individual didn’t have a will specifying their wishes and who should act as the executor, then the next-of-kin is charged with approving the funeral services.
Usually, who is considered next-of-kin is clear cut and not contested. But if there’s a next-of-kin dispute among family members, there will most certainly be delays. In many cases, if there’s no will and the deceased was married everything goes to the surviving spouse and they are responsible for handling all of the estate affairs, including funeral arrangements.
If there’s a next-of-kin dispute it will come down to the state intestacy laws. Intestacy laws should specify who’s considered next-of-kin and prioritize the individuals in terms of inheritance.
An Autopsy or Medical Examiner’s Investigation
Autopsies are much less common today, but they are still required if the cause of death is questionable or unknown. The process doesn’t take too long generally, but there’s a good chance it could cause the cremation to be delayed. The timeline for an autopsy or medical examiner’s investigation isn’t standardized, but everything is usually completed within 48 hours.
At Direct Cremate we do everything in our power to prevent delays. We’ll work with local officials and medical professionals to get all of the necessary paperwork that’s needed to perform a cremation, and work with you directly to keep everything on moving forward as expected. Contact our team for more details on what’s needed from the family to arrange a direct cremation.