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Understanding Cremation & How it Works

Cremation continues to be the most prominent choice when it comes to arranging end-of-life plans. Although it’s been growing for years now, you may have some questions about how it works, and its advantages, as well as any concerns to consider. We’ve laid out some facts and considerations when it comes to cremation arrangements.

What is Cremation and How Does it Work?

Scientifically, cremation refers to the dissolution of human remains and bone fragments. While there can be different types of cremation (flame-based and Alkaline Hydrolysis) the core definition is the same.

Flame-based cremation is the most common form and would most likely be the route if you were to choose that disposition. It consists of placing the remains in a cremation container within the chamber, which is heated to 1400-1600 degrees. The process is heavily documented, so you can rest assured even with the scientific nature around, the remains are handled with care and dignity by the funeral home.

What are the Advantages of Cremation?

Cremains are portable and can be shared

Once your family has the cremains placed in an urn or multiple urns, they are portable. Whereas a burial requires the remains to live in one spot, cremation allows you to hold the memory of your loved one, wherever you live. Plus, if multiple people would like to hold onto that memory, smaller, keepsake urns, can help divide the memory amongst loved ones.

Cremations can often be less expensive

Because there aren’t often the expenses like a permanent casket or outer container like with burials, cremations can often be more cost-effective. The average direct cremation in the U.S. goes for around $1,100, making it an affordable option, while still giving you the space to organize intimate services to celebrate your loved one.

Are There Disadvantages of Cremation?

As with any arrangement, there may be disadvantages to what you and your loved ones are looking for.

There may be additional authorizations or paperwork

Some states are very strict on their paperwork procedures when it comes to cremation. Your family may have to sign additional forms and have extra discussions to finalize details with the cremation. These forms differ state by state, and your funeral director will be able to guide you through the process with knowledge, support and confidence.

Cremation might not be available in your area

Depending on where you’re arranging, cremation might not be an option. Even though it is growing as the most common disposition, if you would like to go the cremation direction, you may have to go outside your preferred area to find it.


Whether you decide to arrange a cremation or a burial, your chosen funeral provider will guide you in the right direction, identifying your needs and price points to match you with the right option. Learn more about arranging with a provider on


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