Twelve Questions to Ask About Cremation

Cremation is not clearly understood, and many people haven’t had the need to learn the differences between cremation providers. We believe Heath and Vaughn surpasses all other cremation service providers.

Whether you have a loved one who has just died or you’re making funeral plans in advance, cremation offers a number of options, with or without a visitation, a funeral, or a memorial service.

Listed here are 12 questions to ask to ensure you understand what is offered and what you receive for the price. Use these questions and note the answers you receive from two other providers.

1. When you transport a deceased’s body, where is it taken?
Some retain respectful possession of your loved one’s body while others may assign a case number and leave the body at a regional or off-site facility.
Heath and Vaughn provides dignified on-site possession of your loved one at our Champaign location, used exclusively for the families we serve.

2. Do you verify the deceased’s identity before cremation?
Some will just accept the identification on the paperwork and assign a numbered indestructible metal tag which stays with the body through the cremation process.
Our quality assurance plan insures that every identity is confirmed by photo ID, a 5-step signature confirmation process, and maintained by a unique numbered metal tag which survives the cremation process. This far exceeds State requirements.

3. Do you cremate each body alone?
All licensed crematories are required by law to cremate each body individually.
Because Heath and Vaughn is family-owned and operated, we can control the sanctity of the process. We only perform cremations for the families we serve, and each cremation is performed individually.

4. When is the deceased’s body cremated?
The State of Illinois requires 24 hours must pass prior to cremation since cremation is an irreversible act. This time requirement helps make sure all decision makers agree.
Under our direct supervision, we can accommodate virtually any turn-around requirements to support the scheduling of funeral services, shipment, spreading of cremated remains, or scattering at sea.

5. May I attend the actual cremation?
Some offer a witnessing service, but most do not have control over the process or access to the facility to offer such a service.
Since we are very open with our cremation procedures, we offer each family the opportunity to witness the cremation of their loved one.

6. Why do families ask to witness cremation?
For many different reasons. For some, it is a part of their diverse religious culture. For others, it’s a spiritual moment of the final “goodbye” or an opportunity to pray and reflect. And finally, for some families, it’s the more practical reason of assurance and peace-of-mind that their loved one’s body was handled properly and respectfully.
We will be here for you throughout the process. Whatever your reason, your family is welcome to witness cremation by appointment.

7. Is a casket required before cremation?
By law, the deceased’s body must be cremated in a state-approved container. There are a number of options available from a wooden casket to a heavy fiberboard container to insure the dignified handling of your loved one. You may purchase a wooden casket, rent a wooden casket, or use the container itself.
We will accommodate your casket or container choice with no delay in the cremation process.

8. Is embalming required before cremation?
In most situations, embalming is not required by law. If the family desires a viewing of the deceased’s body or wishes the body to be dressed and prepared, embalming is appropriate. Some cremation societies do not have the facilities to accommodate this request without transferring the remains to an outside facility.
If you desire your loved one to be dressed and prepared for viewing or funeral service prior to cremation, Heath and Vaughn requires embalming. We have a state-of-the-art preparation facility to accommodate your requests.

9. When do I receive my loved one’s cremated remains?
Cremated remains are generally available twelve hours after cremation. Some allow you to take the cremated remains with you in an urn or shipping container. Others may not be able to commit to a specific date when the cremated remains will be ready.
We offer many styles of urns, including biodegradable urns, and shipping containers, and we will seal your loved one’s cremated remains into the container of your choice while you wait or deliver the urn by appointment. Cremated remains are generally available for pick up 12 hours after cremation.

10. What are cremation societies?
Cremation societies differ from funeral homes with crematories in that they do not offer the range of services that a full funeral home provider does. They are primarily set up to process bodies in quantity, often through subcontracted facilities.
We are not a society and have no membership requirements or fees. Our crematory is reserved only for the families we serve, and we offer the flexibility to accommodate your wishes.

11. Why are there significant price differences in cremation services?
There are vast differences in the levels of professional services and care provided by mortuaries, crematories, and cremation societies.
Heath and Vaughn offers the highest level of professional services and care provided with the maximum of flexibility and personalization in the cremation of your loved one.

12. How do we know we’ve received our loved one’s cremains as opposed to other’s cremains?
We ensure protection by using a non-combustible titanium bracelet that is permanently affixed to your loved one and is retrieved upon removal of the cremains from the crematory receptacle.