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A guide to cremation

A guide to cremation

Death is a certainty everyone will face at some time, which is one reason why it’s encouraged to know what you would like to happen at your funeral and with your estate.

According to the Circle of Life Survey, when it comes to resting in peace, Australian Seniors are three times more likely to choose cremation over a burial when they die. So, if you’ve already looked into creating a will and are now wanting to plan your send off, this guide shares the need-to-know details about cremation.

Funeral costs to consider

First of all, familiarise yourself with funeral expenses and how much funerals cost – you’ll need to consider:

  • funeral director fees
  • transport – for the coffin and for your family members if desired
  • coffin
  • death certificate
  • permits
  • cost of the actual burial or cremation
  • cemetery plot (if relevant)
  • any other expenses required such as flowers, notices in local newspapers, clergy and wake.

Common reasons for cremation

The decision to bury or cremate is a personal one. The choice is often based on family traditions, individual or family beliefs, and in some cases, religious beliefs.

Instead of being buried in the ground in a casket, cremation involves the body being cremated into ashes and either kept by family members or scattered at a specific location special to the deceased or the family.

Among those who prefer to be cremated, 7 in 10 would prefer their ashes to be scattered in a special place.

Circle of Life Survey

These are some of the reasons people choose cremation over burial.

Cost

The cost is considered to be much cheaper with cremation rather than burial. For example, cremation does not involve a burial plot or a headstone. Ashes are stored in an urn, so a casket is not needed.

Keep loved ones close

When a person is cremated, there are two common options loved ones follow through with – scatter the ashes or keep them in an urn. This provides flexibility in terms of final resting place.

Land concerns

Many people have turned to cremation due to land concerns. Cremation is often seen as a “greener” option, because although the initial environmental impact in terms of CO2 release is larger, the materials required for a burial and the required maintenance in the future makes burials a less environmentally friendly option.1

Customisation

Cremation services can also be customised to suit the individual. While cremation was traditionally only about the urn or the scattering, it’s now much more than that. Not only can people choose where to scatter, but many things can be done with the ashes if kept. In fact, in some countries and cultures, there has even been such trends as to turn a loved one’s ashes into jewellery.2

The cremation process

This comes down to your wishes. There can be a funeral service, in the same way as there is with a burial, and your family can choose how the service is conducted.3 The only difference is that at the end of the service, the remains are cremated rather than buried. Your family can also still choose to have a wake if they wish.

For a cremation, the process is as follows:

The funeral

A funeral service of some sort will precede the cremation. During this time, family members can speak and any religious observances can be conducted. Following this, the body is transferred to a crematorium that can sometimes be at the same premises. By law, the cremation must occur within 48 hours of the service.

Identifying the deceased

Staff at the crematorium must verify the identity of the deceased, and the cremation application is reviewed. Items such as watches, rings, internal medical equipment or any other foreign objects will also be removed at this time.

The cremation

The coffin is placed on a trolley or conveyer belt, and all metal parts removed. The coffin then moves into the cremator. The deceased is always placed into the cremator feet first. Following the cremation, the remains are removed from the coffin, and are ground into a fine, sand-like consistency before being placed in a sealed container or an urn purchased by the family.5 The cremation process usually takes around four hours.

Scattering the ashes

Following the cremation, a portion of the ashes can be “memorialised”. This means that a small amount of the ashes are permanently held somewhere so that future generations have somewhere to visit, regardless of whether the ashes are decided to be scattered or not.

Next steps for Australian seniors

Australian Seniors Insurance Agency is committed to reducing financial stress on your loved ones in the event of your passing by providing funeral insurance to Australian seniors. If you are interested in providing a helping hand for your family during what can be a difficult time, contact our friendly customer service team on 13 13 43.


* Based on a single plan, providing a $3,000 benefit for a person aged 60. Cover for Accidental Death only in the first 12 months.

References

  1. How to make your death environmentally friendlyAustralian Geographic
  2. 6 reasons why families are choosing cremationFrazer Consultants
  3. Burial & CremationTurnbull Funerals
  4. The cremation process Australia: what’s involved?At Peace
  5. Complete guide to the cremation process in AustraliaGathered Here