Clark Associates Funeral Home Cremation Services

Cremation and Memorial Planning: Specific Options & Considerations

Many people have either considered cremation, or are curious about this very personal choice of disposition. Clearly, you are not alone. You may be surprised to learn that cremation, is fast becoming a choice of a growing number of families throughout North America.

To answer some of the questions you may have on the subject, we have gathered some background information and explanations of the types of services, memorials, rituals and other concerns asked most often about this method of disposition.

Cremation is a very personal choice to make, and only you can determine if it is right for you and your family. Whether you select earth burial, entombment or cremation, it is wise to consider the emotional needs of the survivors. By including your family and loved ones in your decisions, you may be able to avoid some of the stresses that so often accompany this emotional and difficult time.

Legal Authorization

Authorization/Legal right to control the disposition of deceased human remains is defined by state law where the death occurred. Generally accepted legal heirachy for burial or cremation in descending relationship are:

  • Person designated in written instrument (final disposition “agent”);
  • Spouse;
  • Domestic Partner;
  • Any Child 18 or Older;
  • Either Parent;
  • Any Brother or Sister 18 or Older;
  • Authorized Guardian;
  • Person 18 or Older now Eligible to Receive an Estate Distribution, in the following descending order:
  • Grandchildren;
  • Great-Grandchildren;
  • Nieces and Nephews;
  • Grand-nieces and Grand-nephews;
  • Grandparents;
  • Aunts and Uncles;
  • First Cousins;
  • Great-Grandchildren of Grandparents;
  • Second Cousins;
  • Fiduciary (Executor);
  • Close friend or other relative who is reasonably familiar with the decedent’s wishes, including his or her religious or moral beliefs, when no one higher on the list is available, willing, or competent to act, and who completes the “At-Need Written Statement” form;
  • Public administrator (or the same official in a county not having a public administrator); or, anyone willing to act on behalf of the decedent who completes the “At-Need Written Statement” form. NOTE: A person – whether next-of-kin or appointed “agent” – who: (1) at the time of the decedent’s death, was the subject of an order of protection issued to protect the decedent; or (2) has been arrested or charged with any crime allegedly causally related to the death of the decedent is automatically prohibited from having or exercising control of the disposition of the deceased’s remains.

The Cremation Process

Cremation by definition is used to prepare the human body for final disposition. Ultimately disposition can be earth burial, entombment, placement in a niche or in a garden within a cemetery, scattering at sea, or holding in safekeeping by a family member or their designated representative.

Before the cremation can take place, certain medical devices or implants must be removed from the body, such as pacemakers, prosthesis, or mechanical and radioactive devices. Not removing these items could cause damage to the cremation chamber or crematory personnel. We would also need to know if the deceased was treated with any radioactive medication.

Next, the deceased is placed in a wood casket or cremation container. The casket or container and the body are then put in the cremation chamber and are consumed by the intense heat and flames (1800 degrees F ). All soft tissue are vaporized, and the skeletal body framework is reduced to bone fragments and particles. These bone fragments are further broken down with a process called polnerization.

The cremated remains are then placed in a temporary urn or a container that is provided. Cremated remains normally weigh between four and eight pounds, depending on the size of the individual.

Services and Gatherings

Many think choosing cremation means you are limited to holding only a simple service – or holding no service at all. This is not the case. The fact is, choosing cremation in no way prevents family and friends from participating in the life affirming traditions, ceremonies or rituals of a funeral service. Cremation is simply an alternative to earth burial or entombment of the body of the deceased. Those who opt for cremation still can participate in the elements of the personalized funeral or memorial service by holding:

  • a service or ceremony at church, funeral home chapel, lodge , country club, or other location
  • a visitation, viewing or wake
  • or a graveside service.

Again, like earth burial or entombment, there are many ways to honor a life lived for those who choose cremation. Choices include:

  • cremation with public or private viewing
  • cremation with viewing and/or ceremonies
  • cremation with memorial service and no viewing
  • cremation with full ceremonies only
  • cremation with no ceremonies

These are the most common choices, but you can personalize services to suit your family traditions or customs.

When people realize these choices are available, the majority select some type of ceremony, viewing, etc. such observances are intended to help survivors by providing an opportunity to acknowledge the loss and begin the healing process, allowing loved ones to release their feelings and share their grief. Clark Associates Funeral Home can provide information to help you make the decision that best fits your needs, no matter what type of services you choose.

Survivors often regret not having some form of service, ceremony, or viewing that would allow them the opportunity to say good-bye to the deceased. It has been proven that taking part in the process of arranging and attending funeral ceremonies can be therapeutic. So consider your options carefully before making this important, irreversible decision.

Final Disposition Options

The question of what to do with the cremated remains is another important decision you’ll need to consider. Here you have several options. Some prefer to keep the cremated remains in their personal possession, while others feel it is appropriate to place them in a formal or permanent location.

It is common to bury the urn as you would a casket. This allows families to remain together in a burial plot, regardless of each family member’s choice of final disposition. The burial site offers loved ones a permanent place to visit and reflect on the life of the deceased. Burial also can be in an urn garden or private crypt.

A columbarium provides another permanent place for the family to visit. The columbarium niche is marked with a name plate listing dates of birth and death. This choice is ideal for those who prefer above-ground entombment.

Dividing and scattering is yet another option for final disposition of cremated remains dividing allows families to bury as well as scatter. Cremated remains are often spread over a lake, ocean, field or scattering garden. If you are interested in scattering or dividing remains, Clark Associates Funeral Home can explain the environmental regulations in your area and can help you make the arrangements. This decision should be made carefully, because once it is done, it cannot be reversed.

Memorial Options

Selecting the appropriate memorial to honor a loved one is another important decision. The type of memorial itself should be given considerable thought, as it will represent a permanent dedication to the deceased and will serve as a formal place of reflection for future generations.

Cremation offers several options in terms of memorials. Our funeral directors can offer ideas based on your circumstances and wishes. Popular examples include bronze memorials, monuments and plaques, or living memorials such as a garden, tree grove or community park. Some prefer a plaque to be placed on a fraternal or veteran’s memorial, grave or niche, or on a tree or bench at the cemetery or memorial park.

Choosing cremation in no way prevents family and friends from participating in the life-affirming traditions, ceremonies or ritual of a funeral service.

When Embalming or Refrigeration is needed

Requirements for embalming vary, depending on the services selected by the family and local, state or provincial law. If the family chooses viewing and visitation, embalming is generally necessary according to funeral home policy, in the case of direct cremation, embalming is normally not required but refrigeration may be necessary.


Like earth burial or entombment, the expenses of a cremation can vary greatly depending on your choice of services, final disposition, cremation container and urn selection. Clark Associates Funeral Home will discuss all of your options and costs with you to help you reach the right decision for you and your family.

It’s your choice

We hope to have provided some insight in to the many options you have and decisions you need to make when choosing cremation. Just remember: Cremation is a very personal choice, which in the end is yours to make. If you have further questions or if you need additional information to help you make a decision, please speak with one of our funeral directors at Clark Associates Funeral Home. We will take time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions openly and honestly.

Cremation, Cautions and Respectful Standards

Although its history dates back thousands of years, in modern times cremation has only recently become a popular practice – and its popularity is now increasing. Cremations have triples in North America since 1973, and it is predicted that they will top 40% in the United States by 2010. Cremation, however, should not be considered memorialization but as only a part of the preparation for memorialization. With 80% of all cremations, a memorial service is held before, or directly after, the cremation take place. Memorialization has evolved since cremation’s early history. Today there are a wide selection of memorialization options available to help you express your faith, grief, reconciliation, and love.

Our Cremation Services are unique and very thorough. We go above and beyond most funeral homes.

We are very concerned that no mistakes should be made with the irreversible decision of cremation.

We wish to always reassure our client families that their wishes and decisions will be carried out to the letter of the law and beyond.

Our philosophy, ethics, practice and procedure are far beyond Federal or State mandate.
The policies and procedures we offer greater consumer protection and reduce the possibility of error.

The trust client families place with us is sacred. We treat all deceased as if they wear one of our own family members.

We feel that cremation is a dignified funeral rite and should be treated with all the reverence that has been given to ground burial.

(Next is an example of our oversight to further reduce the risk of error.)

Clark Associates Funeral Home Minimum Cremation Service – without scheduled visitation or service

  1. Cremation is final and irreversible; therefore our mission is never to make a mistake with identity and offer our services with dignity and respect.
  2. The cremation may be attended by the family at NO additional charge.
  3. The deceased is topically disinfected cleansed, and dressed for identification at NO additional charge.
  4. The deceased is dressed in clothing supplied by the family or wrapped in clean sheeting if clothing is not   available at NO additional charge.
  5. Identification of the deceased is always scheduled to accommodate the family at NO additional charge.
  6. Identification of the deceased is always made in our chapel – NEVER in our preparation room, refrigeration room or garage.
  7. The cremation container or casket is ALWAYS NEW.
  8. The family is always welcome to have a private committal/farewell at the Ferncliff Crematory Chapel at the time of the cremation
  9. The deceased is transported to the crematory in a hearse Not a van or truck.
  10. It has been our policy to ALWAYS request “immediately serviced” at the crematory so that the deceased is placed into the first available retort upon arrival at Ferncliff.
  11. The deceased is NEVER left over night lingering in a holding area at the crematory waiting to be cremated the next day.
  12. The cremated remains are ALWAYS picked up personally by our staff at the crematory and returned to our funeral home at NO additional charge – NEVER shipped by mail to our funeral home or to the family mailbox.
  13. The temporary cremated remains container is ALWAYS inspected upon arrival at the funeral home to verify that the crematory identification number inside the container matches the number stamped on the cremation receipt received at the time of the initial delivery to the crematory.
  14. The cremated remains are personally handed to the designated family member at our funeral home.
  15. Our cremation services are performed, arranged and supervised by our staff of New York State Licensed Funeral Directors.
  16. We offer a money back guarantee if these services are not fulfilled.