Cremation Planning

Planning for cremation may seem difficult to those who have only planned traditional funerals. We are here to help with our cremation planning guides.

If you are looking for information on cremation or considering cremation for yourself, you will find everything you need to know in these helpful articles.
Recent Cremation Articles

Can I Bury My Grandmother’s Ashes With Her Parents in Fajardo, Puerto Rico?

March 30th, 2013

Ask The Funeral Expert:

My grandmother was born and raised in fajardo and her parents have been buried together in a plot together I would like to bury her with them. She will be cremated but I don’t know which cemetery and the rules to do her final wishes. Maria

FSN Funeral Expert Reply:


The first step would be to find the cemetery. I recommend contacting the mayor’s office in Fajardo. Ask them if they can give you the name and contact information for the cemeteries located in Fajardo.

Here is the contact information for the Fajardo Mayor’s office:

Mayor: Hon. Aníbal Meléndez-Rivera
City Hall, 6 Luis Muñóz Rivera St.,
Corner of Dr. López St.,
Fajardo, Puerto Rico 00738-0865
Phone number: (787) 863-4013
Contact: Mrs. Olga I. Galindo

Once you have located the cemetery, the sexton should be able to tell you if they allow ashes (cremains) to be buried on top of existing graves.

If the cemetery allows for double burial, the funeral home providing the cremation services should be able to help you arrange transportation of the ashes to Puerto Rico. If you are taking the ashes to Puerto Rico yourself, you will need to contact the airlines you will use and find out their requirements. Normally, the airlines will treat the cremains the same way they would a carry-on bag. You will also need to contact the TSA to determine what type of cremation container is acceptable to them. Most funerals homes will be able to guide you through the complete process.

Taking Ashes to Canada

February 27th, 2013

Ask The Funeral Planning Expert:
My mother wants to be cremated here in CO but have her ashes interned with her husband in Canada – how do we arrange that? Kim

Funeral Planning Expert Reply:


 The Colorado funeral home, in charge of the cremation, should be able to help you arrange the transportation. They most likely will charge for the service.
If you plan on taking the cremains to Canada, you will need to follow the Canadian laws concerning the importation of body parts into Canada. These laws are governed by the Canada Border Services Agency.
In their 2009 MEMORANDUM D19-9-3, it states:

Importation of Cremated Human Remains Into Canada
9. Cremated human remains, because they do not pose a
quarantine risk, do not require a death certificate. However,
it is recommended that when transporting the cremated
remains that the importer should carry a copy of the death
and cremation certificate and ensure that the remains are in
a container that can easily be scanned (e.g., cardboard,
wood or plastic).

Depending on how you plan to transport the cremains, you will need to follow the transportation laws of both countires. The Cremation Association of North America has an article detailing the transportation of cremains. You can find the information at  One of their suggestions for transportation across international borders is to contact the Embassy for the country where you are taking the cremains to. The Embassy will be able to give you all the rules and regulations.
There is a Canadian embassy in Denver Co.. Here is their contact information:

Telephone: (303) 626-0640
Fax: (303) 572-1158


Mailing Address:
Canadian Consulate General
1625 Broadway, Suite 2600
Denver, CO 80202

Hours of Operation:
The Consulate General of Canada in Denver is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.

Thank you for using FSN Funeral Homes. I hope this information is helpful.

What is a Columbarium?

January 15th, 2013

A columbarium is a specially designed room or building with niches for cinerary urns (cremation urns) to be stored, much like a mausoleum. There is a trend in the monument industry toward using the word mausoleum for both bodies and ashes (cremains), instead of the older term ‘columbarium’.

Types of columberia

Columbaria Example from WikipediaModern columbarium designs are simple and tasteful. Some columbaria disappear into their surroundings, such as a garden wall, while in others have highly customizable niches. They are typically constructed similar to mausoleums and out of the same materials. You will find both indoor and outdoor columbaria at both churches and cemeteries. Indoor columbaria may offer climate controlled niches.

Columbarium niches vary in size, and some allow for two urns to be placed together. Sections of columbaria may be designated for entire families. Depending on the cremains vessel selected, there may be limited space for small memorabilia.

Where are columbaria located?

Columbaria are usually located in a cemetery, but can also be built into churches or are located on church grounds.  A columbarium can take various forms, but in a church building they are usually located in an interior wall. They can also be constructed in the churchyard, garden or a cemetery in various shapes and sizes. In some cases, one area or wing inside of a mausoleum is designated for cremains. Some are permanently sealed niches, where as others the face front panel is unlocked. The name of the deceased is usually inscribed into this panel.

Continue reading “What is a Columbarium?” »

What Is The Basic Cost For A Cremation?

December 17th, 2012

Ask The Funeral Expert:  how much is the cost for basic cremation?

my mother died today. Gabriela

The Funeral Expert Reply:


I am truly sorry for your loss. I know what it is like to lose your mother. Although the sorrow will never fully go away, this too shall pass.

The basic cost will depend on where you live and what services you need. It can run anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000.

For example — my mother’s cremation was $1,800.00. As per my mother’s request, we had no visitation, funeral service or decorative casket. So it really depends on the funeral home and added services you choose.
If you do not have a relationship with a particular funeral home, you can contact the funeral homes in your area and explain your needs. They should be able to give you a soft estimate of what cremation services cost from their establishment.
The least expensive option would be direct cremation with a basic cremation casket and no visitation or memorial service. Visitation, funeral or memorial services, a special casket, cremation urn, embalming, as well as a few other services will increase the price.
Keep in mind that with cremation (depending on where you live), you maybe able to deal directly with the crematorium. In some cases, this will also decrease the cost of the cremation.
Hope this information was helpful. Please let me know if I can help with anything else. May peace be with you.



EPA and Federal Rules On Scattering Ashes From Cremation

January 23rd, 2012

Disposing of Cremation Ashes and the Government

If you or a loved one has decided on cremation, there are few things you’ll need to consider when planning what to do with the cremains (ashes). You have two choices: keep the cremains or dispose of the ashes through burial or by scattering them. Either choice comes with its own set of rules, regulations and laws governed by federal and state agencies.

EPA and Cremains

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the federal agency that oversees the federal rules on cremation remains disposal, including the laws concerning federal lands and federal jurisdictions. Individual states each have their own rules and regulations, but can, and often do use the rules the EPA has set as guidelines.

The only federal rules that are generally enforced are ones regarding scattering of cremains at sea and by air. Scattering at sea falls under the Clean Water Act. Scattering by air falls under individual state rules and regulations. However, federal aviation laws (FAR91.15) state that a pilot can’t drop objects that can cause hazard to persons or property. The U.S. Government does not list cremains as hazardous material.

Cremains (Ashes) Disposal at Sea

Scattering Ashes At SeaIf the dispersal plan includes a scattering ashes at any of the following: sea, lake, pond or stream, you need to follow the requirements of both federal and state agencies.

Don’t be alarmed, federal and state governments don’t have stringent policies concerning cremation burials. Nevertheless, they do have a few rules and permits.

According to the EPA under the Clean Water Act, cremated remains must be scattered at least 3 nautical miles from land, by boat or by air. Containers such as urns, vases or cremation boxes must be disposed of separately if they are not made of readily decomposing material. The EPA does not allow for cremains to be scattered at beaches or in wading pools by the sea.

Although these rules are very straight forward and the permits are easy to obtain, it is a good idea to consult with the local funeral home or cremation services company handling the cremation. Equipped with the knowledge of the specific, cremation disposal requirements in your area, these professionals can provide the permits or complete the necessary paperwork needed to scatter the ashes at sea or other bodies of water. Continue reading “EPA and Federal Rules On Scattering Ashes From Cremation” »

Cremation Diamonds and Memorial Jewelry

August 8th, 2011

Memorial jewelry has become an increasingly popular way to memorialize and remember loved ones who have passed away. For those who are in mourning, it is a wonderful way to begin the healing process. It helps to know that a small piece of your loved one will always be close, both in spirit and physical form.

Memorial jewelry, also known as mourning jewelry has been around since Victorian times. Mourners would wear jewelry containing ashes, strands of hair or soil from the graveside, over their heart bringing them peace of mind and comfort. It is a way to memorialize and honor your loved one while keeping them close to you always.

Create everlasting memories with Cremation Diamonds

Cremation diamonds take this unique memorial to the next level — a diamond is actually created with your loved one’s carbon signature.

  • Cremation diamonds are made with the cremains (ashes) of your loved one.
  • In the case of burial rather than cremation, diamonds can still be made from a lock of hair instead.
  • Cremation diamonds come in an array of different sizes, cuts, settings and brilliant colors.
  • They can be set just like regular gems: in rings, pendants, necklaces, earrings, and keepsakes.
  • If cremains are used: It takes 250g of cremated remains to create a brilliant cremation diamond.
  • Several dozen cremation diamonds can be made from the remains of a single person. Loving family members are able to share the special memorial, a treasure that will always be cherished.
  • Cremation diamonds are also popular for those who have lost a beloved pet, and want a way to remember and cherish the memories they shared.
  • The cost of a cremation diamond varies depending on the size, its average range is anywhere from $1,900 to $20,000.

Creating a Cremation Diamond

Cremation diamonds are laboratory-grown, synthetic diamonds. Although created by man, they are chemically identical to a natural diamond, and can take anywhere from 6-9 months to create.

The process of creating a Cremation diamond is long and tedious, but well worth it for the everlasting effect it holds.

  1. The first step is to separate the carbon molecules from the ashes.
  2. Then the carbon is turned into graphite. (This stage takes a few weeks of time)
  3. Next, a starter crystal is inserted into the center of the graphite.
  4. Then it is placed into a diamond press where heat is gradually increased to 2,500°.  800,00 pounds of pressure per square inch is slowly applied over a few weeks of time.
  5. A rough crystal (diamond) has been created.
  6. The last step is to create the shape and facets with special tools.

Each cremation diamond is unique and special. Holding deep sentiment and love inside of each sparkling facet. You will be reminded of your loved one and the inspiration they gave you every time you see the sparkle of your one-of-a-kind cremation diamond. A deeply cherished memorial that will live on in honor of your loved one.


Catholic Views on Cremation

July 22nd, 2011

Burying the dead goes back to the early Christian times. The early Catholic Church openly forbid cremation for centuries because of the belief that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Cremation was seen as a pagan practice that denied the doctrine and faith in resurrection. Early Catholicism viewed burial as a symbol of  hope for resurrection, as well as a continuance of early Christian traditions.

Only in the last 50 years has Catholicism accepted cremation as a means of final disposition. In 1963 the Vatican lifted the ban on cremation for Catholics. Cremation then became a practice allowed under certain  circumstances, providing that the reasons did not counter Christian beliefs.

The Church once used very strict rules for funeral services and sacraments in the event of cremation. The Church did not allow cremated remains (also known as cremains) to be present in the church during the celebration of mass or any prayer vigil. The body had to be present for all services before cremation.

The Order of Catholic Funerals was three separate, and ideally, sequential rites to celebrate the end of one’s life in the flesh, and the beginning of a new one in spirit:

  • Prayer Vigil – a short prayer service that takes place during the time immediately following death.
  • Mass – a celebration in the funeral liturgy.
  • Rite of Committal – another short prayer service held at the cemetery or place of internment.

The ideal sequence of the three is: the vigil, funeral mass and then the rite of committal.

In 1997, the Vatican granted permission for cremated remains to be present for mass and  rite of committal, making Catholic cremation more openly available to families in need. The Church still recommends traditional burial. However, Catholic cremation has quickly gained popularity, and is seemingly necessary for many Catholic families. The reasons for cremation differ, but cost is by far the most common.

Keeping with The Church’s traditions of the sacredness of human life, there are still strict rules on the sanctity of human ashes:

  • The cremated human remains (cremains) shouldn’t be scattered, divided among family or kept at a home.
  • Cremains should be treated with respect, and laid to rest in a cemetery, either in a grave or mausoleum.

According to the Cremation Association of North America cremation rates in the United States have risen from 5% (from nearly 20 years ago) to 39-45% as of 2008. It is estimated that Catholic cremation has risen to approximately 15-20% in the last ten years.

Special Thank you to Shehan365 For the beautiful picture via Flickr.

Planning a Green Burial

June 30th, 2011

What is a Green Burial?

Planning A Green BurialA green, natural or eco-burial is a burial that allows the body and the burial grounds to stay as natural as possible. No embalming, concrete vaults, or toxins are used. Bio-degradable caskets, shrouds or blankets are used instead of traditional caskets, urns or vaults.

What is the Importance of a Green Burial?

Green Burials cause minimal environmental impact. In nature everything is recycled, there is no waste. Green burials are both an earth friendly, and less expensive option.

Is Cremation Considered Green?

A green burial is often an alternative to cremation. Cremation, however is more environmentally friendly than traditional burials. Using a bio-degradable urn is a good option if you’re considering a green cremation.

Modern crematoriums have made significant reductions in emissions through out the years, making cremation a safe choice.

What are the Costs of a Green Funeral?

The average price for a green burial ranges from $1,000 – $4,000, which usually includes the burial plot, opening and closing of the grave, grave marker and maintenance fee.

Continue reading “Planning a Green Burial” »

How To Incorporate Flowers With Funeral Urns

April 26th, 2011

The iconic, casket flower arrangement has become a staple in our funeral flower traditions. Open or closed casket, the large spray of lush flowers and foliage has a way of calming our spirits in a time of loss. Beautiful flowers have a way of enhancing the atmosphere at somber events. Additionally, it gives guests a subject to talk about that is comforting and uplifting.

But what if there is no casket? What if your loved one chose to be cremated, can you use flowers with a cremation urn? The answer is yes! Florists everywhere are creating beautiful floral memorials especially for cremation urns that are just as impressive as the traditional casket arrangement. As if they were sheltering the urn, flowers create a comforting effect when surrounding whatever vessel you choose to carry the cremains of your loved one.

Funeral Urns & Flowers Funeral Urn Flowers

While cremation urns are beautiful, they are often dark in dim funeral home lighting. Having flowers cradle your loved one’s cremains brightens the mood and gives the cremains an over-all sense of resting in a garden.

You can even personalize the memorial urn’s flowers to celebrate the life of the departed by using the their favorite flowers and colors. Incorporate favorite hobbies and pastimes into your flowers. If they were an avid gardener or loved to fish, use some of their equipment within the flowers to better represent them. Talk to your florist about these suggestions and see just what they recommend.

Memorializing A Loved One With Cremation Jewelry

August 12th, 2010

Keeping a Loved One Near With a Keepsake

keepsake cremation jewelryPeople have always had the desire to memorialize loved ones and find ways to keep their memory alive. The tradition of keepsakes originated centuries ago, when a lock of a deceased loved one’s hair was encased in gold or silver. Memorial jewelry is again becoming a very popular way to honor the memory of a loved one and truly have them by your side for eternity.

Personal Style

From rings to lockets, or even sentimental pieces in the shape of a cross or butterfly, keepsake cremation jewelry comes in many designs and styles to create a very personal memorial. It can make a statement as unique as the person it memorializes.

Lokcet KeepsakeCremation jewelry comes in a variety of forms and styles including key chains, bracelets and other small items in which a portion of the cremated ashes can be kept. Very custom designs are also available today including a baseball, fish or cowboy boot that will serve as a very fond and personal memory of someone with a great passion for a particular hobby.

Lockets and pendants make beautiful memorials that can be worn daily like a stylish personal accessory. These small keepsake cremation urns can hold a small amount of ashes, dried flowers from a funeral arrangement or even soil from a sacred ground. Cremation jewelry can create a family heirloom for generations to come. They also allow for a small memento to be cherished and saved in a jewelry box or displayed.

Continue reading “Memorializing A Loved One With Cremation Jewelry” »