The cremation rate is rising across the United States. Currently, 41% of the nationwide population chooses cremation over traditional burial. What you may not realize is that you still have options when it comes to the cremation choice.

Direct cremation is when your loved one is taken directly from the place of death to the funeral home or crematory. There is no embalming required. You are not required to buy a casket, but an alternative container must be purchased. The alternative container, which is cremated with the body, can be an inexpensive box made of wood, cardboard or canvas. The remains are then returned to the family.

With direct cremation, you can then choose to have a visitation, ceremony or life celebration at a later time.

If you choose to have a visitation before cremation, you can choose to purchase a casket for viewing, which would later be used for the cremation, or rent a casket from the funeral home. An alternative container is placed within a rental casket, usually through the foot end of the casket, for viewing and services. When the viewing and services are over and the family is ready for cremation the alternative container is then removed from the foot end of the casket and taken to the crematorium.

The Funeral Rules , enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, states that funeral directors who offer direct cremations:

• may not tell you that state or local law requires a casket for direct cremations, because none do;

• must disclose in writing your right to buy an unfinished wood box or an alternative container for a direct cremation; and

• must make an unfinished wood box or other alternative container available for direct cremations.

Abbey Caskets offers simple wooden cremation urns, in single and companion sizes.


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