(BPT) - As consumer preferences in the United States begin to change, funeral professionals are seeing an increase in families considering cremation for their loved ones' final disposition as well as people choosing to prearrange their own final dispositions. While many consider cremation a less traditional choice with minimal personalization, there are actually limitless options for those who choose it. A family can scatter a loved one’s ashes in a significant place; give them a prominent location at home; or memorialize them in a cemetery, where choices may include a cremation niche, columbarium or scattering garden.
When considering cremation, it’s wise to take time to educate yourself about the process before choosing a provider. Following are three questions all cremation shoppers should ask:
1. Do you operate your own crematory?
An internet search will reveal plenty of low-cost cremation providers, but buyer beware. Many companies that offer cremation are little more than salespeople who have minimal experience with the service. They may contract out every aspect, from pickup of your loved one to the cremation itself to the return of ashes. The more often a loved one changes hands, the more likely something can go wrong. Of course, not all reputable funeral homes have their own crematories, so certain aspects of their services may require contractors, but it’s important to make sure the provider you choose either operates its crematory or has an established relationship with a vetted, trusted partner.
2. What’s included in your cremation price?
Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which a cremation provider may advertise an appealing price, but when it comes right down to it, that price might not include everything that's needed. The fine print is important, and there have been instances of cremation companies falsely telling families that they must pay for embalming or charging significantly more than their advertised price for so-called state fees and taxes. Ultimately, you want to be sure of the actual price you will pay for a cremation, as well as any products you choose, such as an urn or keepsake jewelry.
3. How can you assure me that the ashes returned to me are my loved one’s?
A reputable cremation provider should walk you through every step of the process and explain, in detail, their procedures for ensuring the identity of loved ones in their care. While practices may differ, your cremation provider should explain their procedures to you in clear, understandable terms that give you complete confidence that your loved one will be cared for with compassion and that the ashes returned to you are indeed your loved one’s.
For more questions to ask a cremation provider, as well as for more information about cremation, visit www.DignityMemorial.com.