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The 5 things you need for a Cremation


They get you coming and going. You’d think with all the paperwork that you’ve filled out over the course of a lifetime you might get a little break at the end. Not so my friends, the government will still require its’ vital statistic information, and someone will need to dot your I’s and cross your T’s for you, even after you’re gone.

The rules vary by state; North Carolina, for example, requires a 48 hour hold after death before a cremation can be done. Typically it will take the doctor and medical examiner longer than that to get all the necessary documentation completed anyway, so in normal situations it is not an issue. So you ask—what will I need to do to make sure I get cremated?

  1. The Cremation Authorization is really the biggie. This has to be signed by your legal next of kin before a cremation can occur. Sometimes this can be problem, particularly if all of the siblings are not onboard with cremation, or there are generally contentious relationships. There is a really easy way around this and I highly recommend you take this route if cremation is your final choice. In the state of NORTH CAROLINA, you can sign the cremation authorization for yourself. Obviously you have to do this in advance, but once you’ve signed it, you’ve taken the most definitive step possible to ensure that your wishes will be respected, and that you will be cremated. Most family members won’t challenge this if they can see that you chose it yourself.
  2. You’ll also need to provide your driver’s license and social security number. In fact, we’ll need all of that and more to complete the Death Certificate. Frequently families don’t readily have access to this information and struggle to compile it at this difficult time. Many families are also unsure about the number of Death Certificates that they will need. Here is a little worksheet.
  3. We use a system called Cremation Safeguard  in our cremation process, which requires we have a recent photo that we can use to identify your loved one throughout the cremation process. A photo taken within the last two years is generally sufficient.
  4. Are you Veteran? We’ll also need a copy of your DD-214.
  5.  If you preplan your cremation, payment can be made in advance. If the cremation wasn’t preplanned, most providers will expect to be paid at the time the services are rendered. This can be problematic for family members, especially if no one has legal access to your money and they aren’t in a position to cover it themselves, even temporarily.

So, overall this is not an extremely difficult list, especially if you plan ahead. Please remember that going through your things while scrambling to find all this stuff so soon after a death has occurred, can be extremely hard on a family. An easy solution, if you choose not to preplan your cremation, is to keep all of this information with your will, in a place that will be easy for someone to find, or in the place you’ve identified and discussed with family.

Lastly you’ll be needing an urn. Depending on your plans for the final disposition of the cremains, you may want a scattering urn or something more substantial if it is going to be interred. Feel free to bring in your own, especially if it has a special meaning to you or your loved ones. The only real requirement is that it be at least 200 square cubic inches.