Until you have to arrange a funeral it’s easy to think that the family is in full control every step of the way. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. At a number of points formal entities have to verify things and give approval in order for the family to cremate a loved one’s remains. And of course, where you are in the country also matters.
The Dark Truth Behind the Need for Cremation Approvals
There are several key differences between burial and cremation. One of those distinctions is that with cremation no DNA is left in the cremated remains. For that reason, the authorities take steps to ensure there was no foul play involved before a body is cremated.
Some people think getting cremation approval is unreasonable, but the fact remains that in the past people have tried to use cremation to eliminate evidence or the possibility of DNA testing. In order to prevent that from happening there are steps that have to be taken to get cremation approval from the state.
Getting a Death Certificate to Get Approval for a Cremation
In order to get approval for a cremation a medical professional will first need to sign off on the death certificate. A cause of death has to be determined and noted on the death certificate before cremation approval will be given.
In some cases, a medical examiner or mortician will need to complete an investigation before a death certificate is issued even if foul play isn’t expected. These circumstances can include anytime someone dies and no one is present, the deceased is under a certain age and suicide.
What is Cremation Authorization?
Once you receive the death certificate you’ll need to submit a cremation authorization form. Cremation authorization is a legal process for giving the go-ahead to cremate a body. The person who can sign the form is known as the authorization agent.
There are two kinds of cremation authorization:
Self-Authorization for Cremation – This form is completed by an individual who prearranges their funeral or creates a last will and testament that specifies they want to be cremated. The person is essentially giving authorization for their own cremation after death.
Authorization for Cremation – An authorization for cremation is completed by the next of kin (or in some states the majority of the next of kin) to allow a family member to be cremated.
Cremation authorization is another form of approval, but this time it’s the deceased or the family giving the approval, not the state and local government. However, it’s important to keep in mind the process for cremation authorization differs from state to state.
Getting a Permit to Cremate
After the death certificate is finalized and a cremation authorization form has been completed, you can request a permit to cremate. This is done in the county where the cremation will take place.
The permit gives the crematorium or funeral home the okay to perform the cremation. Without the permit in-hand, the crematorium or funeral home won’t move forward with services because they would be breaking the law. For this reason, the crematorium or funeral home usually facilitates the process and will even include the cost of the permit in their cremation fees.
Need help getting approval for cremation? Have questions about cremation authorization? Give Direct Cremate a call or send us an email to learn more about the requirements for cremation.