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; Florida, 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?
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 Florida, 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.
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 we use to help with that decision. You should also be aware that each county and medical examiner have their own fee schedule and may charge differently. For example, in Gainesville, Death Certificates are $10 each and there is no medical examiner fee. In Ocala and the Villages, certificates are $8 each and the medical examiner charges an additional $35.
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.
Are you Veteran? We’ll also need a copy of your DD-214.
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.
Andrea Robinson says
Thank you for an awesome list and especially for the information on how many and what types of Death Certificates to get. My mom passed away 5 years ago, and it was somewhat of a struggle, especially because my dad was so distraught. At least I’ve been through the process once, and I suppose we will wait and scatter their ashes together when Dad goes, which could be a while. He’s only 93!
Now I’m also thinking ahead to making my own arrangements, because sites like this make it about 10x easier. What was overwhelming at one time is not too hard to plan now, and I wouldn’t want ANYONE to go through the changes we went through when we lost mom.
Again, thanks a lot – I’m sharing this because all my same-age friends need to have this information, too.
I have a insurance policy that i planned to use for the cremation cost. How would that work?
In that case, the insurance policy would be used to cover the current day cost of the cremation. The most important aspect is that you provide your vital statistics information and sign your cremation authorization for yourself. That way you can be assured of your final wishes.
Forrest Silver says
After the passing of our parents, my wife and I felt it best to be prepared for when our turn comes. Our desirer was so our children would be saved the decision process of dealing with arrangements while in a state of greif. We prepaid for our cremation services which included a vault to hold our remains. The people at Direct Cremations were very knowledgable and easy to deal with. After we both pass our remains will be transported by family to Western Maryland (our home state) where we will be laid to rest in a Military Cemetery. The total cost for both of us, less than $4,200. Well, thats our plan; but who knows, the kids may dump our ashes and sell the vault for $50 bucks. My wife and I will never know… or will we?
Johnny R Adkins says
Can I pay on time for this? I’m on a fixed income and don’t have the entire $750 to pay all at once.
You sure can.
Alice Carroll says
Thanks for the pointing out that cremation authorization can be quite tricky if not all relative are on board with it. Only one of my aunts is against the cremation of my recently deceased grandmother, claiming that she once told her that she wanted to be buried in a casket but none of us ever remember her saying something like that before she died. Perhaps we my parents could help in convincing my aunt otherwise so that the cremation arrangements can go smoothly moving forward.