Note: The following is a detailed, technical, and legal description of cremation.

 The Cremation Process

All cremations are performed individually.

Cremation is performed by placing the deceased in a casket or other container and placing the casket or container into a cremation chamber or retort, where they are subjected to intense heat and flame.  During the cremation process, it may be necessary to open the cremation chamber and reposition the deceased in order to facilitate a complete and thorough cremation.  Through the use of a suitable fuel, incineration of the container and contents is accomplished and all substances are consumed or driven off, except bone fragments (calcium compounds) and metal (including dental gold and silver and other nonhuman material) as the temperature is not sufficient to consume them.

Due to the nature of the cremation process, any personal possessions or valuable materials, such as jewelry, body prosthesis or dental work, that are left with the decedent and not removed from the casket or container prior to the cremation will be destroyed or if not destroyed, will be disposed of  by the crematory.  As the casket or container will not normally be opened by the crematory (to remove valuables,  to allow for a final viewing or for any other reason), arrangements must be made with the funeral home to remove any such possessions or valuables prior to the time that the decedent is transported to the crematory.

Following a cooling period, the cremated remains, which will normally weigh several pounds in the case of an average size adult, are then swept or  raked from the cremation chamber.  The crematory makes a  reasonable effort to remove all of the cremated remains from the cremation chamber, but it is impossible to remove all of them, as some dust and other residue from the process are always left behind.  In addition, while every effort will be made to avoid commingling, inadvertent incidental commingling of minute particles of cremated remains from the residue of  previous cremations is a possibility.

After the cremated remains are removed from the cremation chamber, all non-combustible materials (insofar as possible), such as bridgework, and materials from the casket or container, such as hinges, latches, nails, etc., will be separated and removed from the human bone fragments by visible or magnetic selection and will be disposed of by the crematory with similar materials from other cremations in a non-recoverable manner.

When the cremated remains are removed from the cremation chamber, the skeletal remains often contain recognizable bone fragments.  Unless otherwise specified, after the bone fragments have been separated  from the other material, they will then be mechanically processed (pulverized).  This process of crushing or grinding may cause incidental comminglingof the cremains with the residue from the processing of  previously cremated remains.  These granulated particles of unidentifiable dimensions will be virtually unrecognizable as human remains.

After the cremated remains have been processed, they will be placed in the designated urn or container.  The crematory will make a reasonable effort to put all of the cremated remains in the urn or container, with the exception of dust or other reside that may remain on the processing equipment.  In the event the urn or container provided is insufficient to accommodate all of the cremated remains, the excess will be placed in a separate receptacle.  The separate receptacle will be kept with the primary receptacle and handled according to the disposition instructions on the cremation authorization form.

The crematory requires that all urns or containers provided be appropriate for shipping or permanent storage, and that in the case of an adult, it is recommended that the urn or container be a minimum size of 200 cubic inches.

Cremation is not final disposition, nor is placing the cremated remains in storage at a Funeral Home final disposition.  The cremation process simply reduces the decedent's body to cremated remains.  These cremated remains usually weigh several pounds and measure in excess of 150 cubic inches.  Some provision must be made for the final disposition  of these cremated remains.  Therefore we mandate that arrangements for the final disposition be made at the time that cremation arrangements are being made and the cremation authorization is completed. 

If the final disposition of the cremated remains has not been completed within 30 days of the cremation, then the Funeral Home and Crematory shall be authorized to arrange for the final disposition of the cremated remains in any manner permitted by law.  Such final disposition may include the commingling of the cremated remains with other cremated remains, and thereafter the cremated remains of the decedent will not be recoverable.

FAQS, FORMS & DOCUMENTS

Cremation Authorization Form
Basic Information Form

Funeral FAQs
Arranging for Burial
Arranging for Cremation
FAQs About Cremains
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Memorial Alternatives - A Grand Rapids, Michigan Funeral Home Providing Low Cost Cremation and Burial Services.