4740 Dacoma Street, Ste A
Houston, TX 77092
Phone: 713-637-4933
Fax: 713-583-4453

FAQs - Cremation Services

Everyone thinks they know the answer to the question "what is cremation", but when it comes down to it, the facts are often just out of reach. If you're ready to make the cremation decision, but just need a few more answers to nagging questions you have about cremation, then this is the right place for you. We've listed some of the most common questions we hear on the subject of cremation for you here; if you don't see your specific question then we invite you to call us at 713-637-4933.

1. How long must we wait after their death before we can cremate a family member?
 
2. How much will I have to pay for the cremation?
 
3. Can I participate in the cremation?
 
4. Can I purchase an urn from another source, or must I buy one from you?
 
5. What should I do with my loved one's ashes?
 
6. If we choose cremation, does my loved one have to be embalmed?
 
7. How long will it take to cremate my family member?
 
8. Can we put special items in their cremation casket?
 
9. Does this mean we don't need to plan a commemoration service?
 
10. I'm thinking of placing my loved one's ashes in the care of a local cemetery. What is the difference between a columbarium and a mausoleum?
 
11. What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?
 
12. What are "cash advance items"?
 
13. Why must I pay for these items at the time of arrangement?
 
14. Can we arrange to bury their ashes on cemetery grounds?
 
15. What must I bring to the arrangement conference?
 
16. I'd like to write my loved one's obituary. Can I?
 
17. Should I tell people not to send flowers?
 

Question #1How long must we wait after their death before we can cremate a family member?
Answer:Unlike burial, cremation is irreversible. This requires us to be "extra diligent" in obtaining cremation authorization from the legally identified next-of-kin, as well as those from any necessary agencies (such as the medical examiner). In the state of Texas, there is a mandatory 48 hour waiting period after death before a cremation can happen.  

Question #2How much will I have to pay for the cremation?
Answer:When you enter into a discussion with us about the cost of your loved one's cremation, whether on the phone or in-person, we are legally obligated to share our General Price List, or GPL, with you. We begin with a very inexpensive basic fee, and with no profit taken for any merchandise and/or third party vendors unless required by the vendor, to do so.  

Question #3Can I participate in the cremation?
Answer:Yes.  The crematory does allow you to have a short private time to say goodbye to your loved one just prior to the start of the cremation process.  

Question #4Can I purchase an urn from another source, or must I buy one from you?
Answer:The FTC's Funeral Rule guides funeral directors in the ethical and fair presentation of funeral service options. The purchase of a cremation urn (or a casket, for that matter) from a second or third party sources is one of the rights it guarantees. Your funeral director cannot prevent you from, nor can they charge you an extra fee for, the purchase of a third-party cremation urn. And they cannot demand you are present for its delivery to the funeral home. And again, we are not looking to profit from the merchandise which will be shown to you.  

Question #5What should I do with my loved one's ashes?
Answer:There are many things you can do with your loved one's cremated remains. You do have a lot of options and and it is a decision that doesn't have to be made immediately.  There may come a time when you know exactly what you'd like to do with them. Be patient; the right way to care for them will surface in time. After all, there are a lot of options: the niche or columbarium at your church; scattering them on land or sea is one of the most common; but you can also use the cremated remains in keepsake jewelry or to create meaningful pieces of art. As we said, there is no have-to-do; there's only a want-to-do (and you are in complete control of it).

Question #6If we choose cremation, does my loved one have to be embalmed?
Answer:The short answer is "no", but there are exceptions. Let's say you want to have a public viewing or visitation. If that's the case, it may be funeral home policy for your loved one to be embalmed, so they may require that you purchase the service. However, with that said, under the FTC's Funeral Rule, we cannot: provide embalming services without your permission, and may not lead you to believe embalming is required by law. In addition, we must provide you with written disclosures related to the embalming of your loved one.

Question #7How long will it take to cremate my family member?
Answer:Naturally, this question is best answered when we talk specifics: why type of cremator will be used? How large an individual was your loved one? Usually it takes 2 - 2 1/2 hours for the process. A cool-down period follows, and then the cremated remains are processed for a uniform appearance. Certainly, if the issue is important to you, we urge you to speak to your funeral director.

Question #8Can we put special items in their cremation casket?
Answer:It depends upon what you mean as "special", but we do our best to accommodate the wishes of surviving family members. Most commonly, families will ask to place notes, children's drawings, or other personal messages of love; but we've certainly had some unusual requests (such as the inclusion of a cherished pet's collar or treasured keepsake). We encourage you to speak with your funeral director to learn the regulations of the specific crematory responsible for your loved one's cremation.

Question #9Does this mean we don't need to plan a commemoration service?
Answer:Certainly not; cremation merely describes the type of physical end-of-life care you intend to provide your loved one. A commemoration service is for the living; the individuals emotionally impacted by the death deserve the same level of compassionate attention. And one of the benefits of cremation comes from the larger "window-of-opportunity" in which to plan a meaningful celebration-of-life it provides the surviving family members.

Question #10I'm thinking of placing my loved one's ashes in the care of a local cemetery. What is the difference between a columbarium and a mausoleum?
Answer:Think of the Taj Mahal in India and you'll know exactly what a mausoleum is: it's free-standing building (in this case not in India but on the grounds of a local cemetery), which is intended as both a monument as well as the burial location for casketed individuals. A columbarium is the same in purpose, but not in design; instead of crypt spaces large enough for a full-size casket; it features smaller niche spaces, large enough for one (or maybe two) cremation urns.

Question #11What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?
Answer:As you've read, we begin with a very inexpensive basic fee,  and any other charges are dependent upon the services and merchandise which you select.....No profit is taken for those items unless required by specific vendors. This alleviates any and all potential pressure placed on families to make expensive choices, while insuring that the highest level of service is provided.

Question #12What are "cash advance items"?
Answer:During the  arrangement conference , we will furnish you with a copy of our General Price List; a section of which discloses the exact price (or a good-faith estimate) of the most commonly-requested "cash advance items". Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute (www.law.cornell.edu) defines a “cash advance item” as "any item of service or merchandise...obtained from a third party and paid for by the funeral provider on the purchaser's behalf. Cash advance items may include, but are not limited to: cemetery or crematory services; pallbearers; public transportation; clergy honoraria; flowers; musicians or singers; nurses; obituary notices; gratuities and death certificates."

Question #13Why must I pay for these items at the time of arrangement?
Answer:We have to pay for these services or merchandise at the time we make the purchase on your behalf. This requires us to ask for payment for all cash advance items at the time the contract is agreed to, and signed by the responsible family member.

Question #14Can we arrange to bury their ashes on cemetery grounds?
Answer:Yes, you can. The burial can be in-ground, or your loved one's cremation urn can be placed in a columbarium niche. Speak with your funeral director to learn more about your specific cremation burial options.

Question #15What must I bring to the arrangement conference?
Answer:You'll need to provide the information required to complete your loved one's death certificate. Other items may be needed at some point, depending on the arrangements made. Your funeral director will provide you with an exact list of the things he or should would like you to bring along to the arrangement conference.

Question #16I'd like to write my loved one's obituary. Can I?
Answer:Of course you can; in fact any member of your family (or even a close friend) can "step up" to take care of this task. There are many valuable resources available in the Guidance section of this website, including tips on writing an obituary. And you can always turn to us for assistance.

Question #17Should I tell people not to send flowers?
Answer:Flowers have provided welcome solace and added beauty to services for generations. Yet, today you commonly see the phrase "in lieu of flowers" in print or online obituaries; so it's natural to ask what you should do in such cases. The phrase isn't a directive ("do not send flowers"); it's more of a suggested alternative ("if you don't think flowers are appropriate, you can make a donation to a charitable organization"). We believe everyone should follow their heart's lead when it comes to expressing sympathy, and always try not to limit their options in any way. However, if you strongly feel flowers are unwelcome, then be direct: "please do not send flowers".