You should sign a Cremation Authorization if you want to be cremated.

Cremation or burial authorization

A lot of people know for sure if they want to be cremated or buried.  Here are the reasons I hear most often:

  1. I want to be cremated/buried for religious reasons.
  2. I want to be cremated because I am claustrophobic.
  3. I want to be buried because I want my loved ones to visit me.
  4. I want to do whatever is cheapest and easiest.
  5. I will do whatever my spouse or partner is doing.


If you know for sure that you want to be cremated or buried, it is very helpful to put that in writing. This is especially true regarding cremation. Arizona law says that you should put your desire to be cremated in a notarized statement. I can’t stress enough how important this document can be. I had a client who passed away. He had an ex-wife, a current wife, and 4 kids from his first marriage. This group of 6 was split evenly on whether the client wanted to be cremated or buried. They were finally able to resolve their conflict, but incurred a major bill for storing the client’s body for 3 weeks while they debated the issue. (Facts altered).


If you want to be buried, it is not quite as important to put that wish in writing, but it does alleviate possible confusion.


Whether you want to be buried or cremated, you certainly do not want your loved ones to get ripped off by funeral homes or cremation facilities.  Let your loved ones know the following information so that they are protected when the time comes.


There is a federal law called the Funeral Rule, which regulates the funeral and cremation industry. Consumers are entitled to price quotes, over the phone, for all of a funeral home’s services. A consumer wants what is called the “General Price List”. Several consumer groups re: funerals and cremations encourage consumers to shop around. Although a death is a very difficult time emotionally for everyone, no one wants their loved ones to get gouged.


Consumers can purchase caskets and urns at a funeral home or believe it or not, at a store like Costco.  Costco caskets and urns can be to a funeral home.  This is an acceptable arrangement.


There are certain things a consumer should focus on specifically dealing with cremation.  A consumer wants to be sure to know 1) how long is the average time between receiving someone’s body and completing the cremation and 2) how does the cremation provider track the body and verify the identity of the remains.


Many of my clients have shared with me that it is a real gift when funeral and cremation plans have been prepaid and all of the difficult decisions have been made in advance.  If you wish to prepay your funeral or cremation services, just quadruple check the stability, longevity, honesty and reliability of the company you have contacted.


Some of my clients who have chosen instead to leave cash in a home safe to assist family members with the initial costs of a funeral or cremation.  Most of the funeral homes are very willing to work with families regarding payment since they understand that a death certificate is needed to release funds for the payment of the funeral or cremation.  The lag time for death certificates is usually 2-3 weeks.  This can mean a lag of 2-3 weeks before the funeral home can be paid in full.


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