Cremation is an alternative method of disposition than ground burial. Cremated remains may be buried, ceremonially scattered or placed in permanent urn or container.

Opting for cremation does not preclude you from participating in a “traditional” funeral ceremony. As a matter of fact, families who choose cremation oftentimes have a viewing and services prior to the cremation process.

Funeral homes can arrange for cremations on behalf of consumers and sell cremation merchandise such as urns and other containers. However, in New Jersey, only cemeteries can operate crematories (except for a few combined funeral home/crematory operations that were in existence prior to the passage of the N.J. Cemetery Act of 1971.

Funeral homes will most likely require that the family attest to the identity of the deceased and sign appropriate authorization forms prior to transporting the body to the crematory.

The Process

Cremation involves the incineration of the body tissue. The body is placed in a rigid casket or alternative container that protects the dignity of the body and provides ease of handling for funeral home and crematory personnel.

The casket or container is placed in a cremation retort. The entire cremation process generally takes from 1.5 to 3 hours.

After a cooling period, the cremated remains are removed from the crematory chamber. Cremated remains are not ashes. They are bone fragments (calcium compounds) and normally weigh between three and nine pounds. The cremated remains are placed in a container and a cremation certificate is issued. New Jersey law does not regulate how and where cremated human remains are scattered.