Authorization to Cremate

Jun 28th 2018

When a family chooses cremation for the disposition of a loved one's body, there are certain forms and documentation that need to be completed. The documents are meant to protect the crematory from any liability and help the family understand the different aspects of cremation. There are more legal documents that require your attention and signature than one might think so in this post, we hope to help familiarize you with those forms.

Within the United States, crematories require a Death Certificate, Burial Transit Permit, and a signed form of authority to cremate before the cremation process can begin. The Burial Transit Permit is the document that is completed in order to move the body from the place of death and is issued by Vital Statistics. The medical Examiner or Coroner's office can also issue on weekend, holidays, off business hours or emergency situations.

The form authorizing the cremation is signed by a family member or next of kin. This form is extremely important and is a legal document which funeral directors take extra care in assisting the family to understand all the items contained in it. If the death falls under the authority of the Medical Examiner or Coroner's office, they are responsible to authorize cremation.

If the cremation will be performed by another funeral home outside the family's area, the local funeral director they are working with must complete a Funeral Director's Certificate Form. This form will certify that the family member who has authorize cremation has been advised of the cremation details in the Authorization to Cremate document.

The Authorization to Cremate form can consist of one or more pages. This will vary depending on each crematory and how much information they feel the family needs in order to comprehend the procedure. There may be additional supplement forms as well as a verbal explanation on the various aspects. In general, the Authorization to Cremate form covers the following items:

  • How the death resulted, natural or by infectious or contagious disease?
  • Whether embalming is required
  • A full description of the cremation process from beginning to final processing
  • An explanation of what occurs to personal items or materials on the deceased
  • An explanation on the container used for cremation.
  • Confirmation on devices implanted within the deceased, if applicable
  • Confirmation on the final wishes of the deceased in regards to body donation
  • Standard indemnification clause holding he crematory from any liability
  • It is important for the family member or persons authorizing the cremation to study the forms and materials and understand the process. It is in your best interest to do so since this will be the final disposition of your loved one and the remains. It is understandable that you may be going through a difficult emotion time when faced with having to make these decisions. If you are unable to make the decisions and gain a clear understanding of the process, it is advisable to bring along an additional family member or friend to assist you.