While there is a limited time frame in which it is best to complete a funeral and memorial service for a person who was embalmed and will be buried, it's easier to wait for family members to travel and for schedules to align for a funeral if a person's remains are cremated. Yet there are still waiting periods and time limits imposed on the cremation process in most states. Find out why you might have to wait, and why you can't wait too long to schedule the cremation of someone who has recently passed away.
Death Certificates and Cremation Approval
First, there must be enough time for the local authorities to issue a death certificate. In some states this has caused the creation of mandatory 24 to 48 hour waiting periods so the coroner's office has time to file the correct paperwork. In areas where cremation requires approval, you may have to wait another 24 to 48 hours for that paperwork to go through as well, even when using a private service in some counties and states.
Investigations Into Cause of Death
If there is a need for an autopsy or other investigation into the cause of a person's death, the cremation must be delayed until that is completed. There is no way to determine what happened to someone after they're cremated, so there's only one chance to determine if foul play or a genuine mistake played a role in a death. If the family requests an autopsy, they will need to be prepared for the delays it will cause in the planning of a funeral.
High Volumes of Cremations
Since cremation is becoming more and more popular with each passing year, many areas have more people desiring cremation than they have current facilities to handle. There may be a wait of days or even a week before a person's remains can be processed in the cremation facility, but refrigeration allows for safe holding of the remains without decomposition or embalming. A body can also be embalmed for a viewing and then held until cremation is possible without problem.
Options for Waiting
While some family members are concerned about how soon a cremation can be completed, others may want to know if there's a limit on how long they can wait instead. This varies state by state, with some areas like Florida requiring refrigeration or embalming of the body within 24 hours of death or a similar time period. As long as a body is properly embalmed or refrigerated, you can delay cremation by days or weeks. For example, Minnesota allows for six days to elapse between death and cremation as long as refrigeration is used.
To learn more, contact a business such as Danks-Hinski Funeral Home.