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Handbook for Mortals : Questions About Funerals

What will be done with the body?

Family or patient must make decisions about how the body will be handled. Who will provide funeral services or the equivalent? Will this be a cremation or a burial?

More people are choosing cremation, perhaps because it is much less expensive than traditional burials. Planning ahead will help make this transition a smoother one. For burial, the dying person and family may have made plans and may even have pre-paid for services. If cremation, families may seek out a service that provides transportation for the body and delivery of the ashes without many other services. If the body is cremated, you may want to scatter his or her ashes in a special place, bury them in a graveyard, or keep them for some period in a special vessel or urn.

Consider whether the body is going to have to be moved across state lines. If so, the family will need to have a funeral director in the city where death occurred and a funeral director in the city where the burial will occur. International or long distance transportation of a body is complicated and requires help of the U.S. Embassy abroad and skilled funeral directors at each end of the trip.

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