Phaneuf Funeral Homes operates two crematoria and conducts more cremation services than anyone else in New Hampshire. Over the years we have learned practically all there is to know about cremation. Following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about cremation.
What Is Cremation?
To begin with, it is probably easier to describe what cremation isn't. Cremation is not final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service. Rather, it is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.
What Services Are Available With Cremation?
Any traditional funeral service with the body present can precede the cremation. Alternatively, a memorial service can take place after the cremation has been completed.
Is A Casket Needed For Cremation?
No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is required by state law is an alternative container constructed of wood which is cremated with the body. The only time a casket is required is when the family chooses a public service with the body present prior to cremation. For these occasions we offer a selection of inexpensive cremation caskets as well as economical rental caskets.
Is Embalming Required Prior To Cremation?
Absolutely not and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise. The only time embalming is legally required is if the family chooses a public service with an open casket prior to cremation.
Can The Body Be Viewed Without Embalming?
Yes, immediate family members may briefly view the deceased prior to cremation in our private viewing room. The deceased is first washed, dressed and prepared for viewing. Alternatively, the deceased may be viewed in our crematory without any preparation. As long as the viewing is concluded prior to the 48 hour state-mandated waiting period, no additional refrigeration charges would be incurred.
Can The Family Witness The Cremation?
Yes. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.
Is Cremation Accepted By All Religions?
Today most religions allow cremation except for Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, Eastern Orthodox and a few Fundamentalist Christian faiths. The Catholic Church accepts cremation as long as it is not chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teachings. Some people believe that cremation is against the teachings of the Bible, but according to one famous Biblical scholar, "what occurs to the body after death has no bearing on the soul's resurrection. The body that rises is not made of the same substances as the one that was buried, or cremated, but is immortal and incorruptible."
Can An Urn Be Brought Into Church?
Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. The Diocese of Manchester, which has jurisdiction over all Catholic Churches in the state, also allows the cremated remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. In fact, if the family is planning on a memorial service, we encourage the cremated remains be present as it provides a focal point for the service.
What Can Be Done With The Cremated Remains?
There are many options. Remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered on private property. We also offer a coastal Maine scattering service. Our staff will be happy to discuss these options with you and make any arrangements.
Are There Any Laws Governing Cremation?
Cremation regulations vary from state-to-state. In New Hampshire, there are several laws which the consumer should be aware. First, there is a 48 hour waiting period from the time of death until the cremation can take place. Second, the deceased must be cremated in a suitable solid wooden cremation container. Third, a cremation authorization form must be signed by the individual legally authorized to make the cremation arrangements. Finally, cremation cannot take place until the deceased has been viewed by a state-appointed Medical Examiner or designee. For a complete list of applicable State laws, refer to New Hampshire RSA 325-A and He-P 600 or ask for a copy of our Cremation Authorization Form.
Do People Choose Cremation Only To Save Money?
While some people select cremation for economy, many choose this option for other reasons. The simplicity and dignity of cremation, environmental concerns, and the flexibility cremation affords in ceremony planning and final disposition all add to its increasing popularity.
Don't Most Funeral Homes Have A Crematory?
Most funeral homes subcontract this delicate procedure out to a third party provider in another town where the funeral home has little or no control over the crematory's operating procedures. Often, the family incurs additional transportation expenses and needless delay. By contrast, we own our cremation equipment which is operated by our fully licensed and highly trained staff. Our cremation equipment is state-of-the-art and equals or exceeds every state and local operating standard and requirement. Our crematory is open for inspection any time during normal business hours.
How Can I Be Sure I Receive The Correct Remains?
We have developed the most rigorous set of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize our level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Positive identification of the deceased is assured throughout each stage of the cremation process using our ten-step identification, control and security system. All activities outside the cremation chamber are monitored 24-hours a day using closed-circuit security system. We only allow licensed professionals to operate our cremation equipment. None of these safeguards are required by law and no other cremation facility in the state can match our rigid operating procedures.
How Long Does The Actual Cremation Take?
It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F.
What Happens After The Cremation is Complete?
All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items are "swept" into the back of the the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridge work, are separated from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a temporary or permanent urn, selected by the family.
Can Two Cremations Be Performed At Once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.
What Do The Cremated Remains Look Like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to six pounds.
Are All The Cremated Remains Returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
Do I Need An Urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased through us, or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary container.
Are There Any Special Benefits For Veterans?
We have a special program for veteran's who pass away in a VA hospital, or a VA contracted health care facility. We will process the VA benefit and reimburse the family for the cost of our direct cremation fee once the benefit is paid by the VA. Additional fees will apply if the veteran in interred in a veterans cemetery.
Is There Any Assistance For Families On Welfare?
State, city and town welfare departments all provide benefits for deceased residents who are indigent, or whose families cannot pay for their funerals. Currently the State's assistance for cremation is $750. Cities and towns pay either $750 or $500 for cremation. Whichever of these options applies, we will consider the State, city or town benefit as payment in full for our basic cremation services. Families will not be asked to pay anything additional.
Finally, How Much Does Cremation Cost?
Simple cremation without a formal service costs $1,850. A traditional funeral with viewing and a service followed by cremation can cost $3,000 or more. Memorialization fees including an urn, cemetery charges and a monument would be in addition to these figures. See our General Price List in this booklet for details.