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3 Legal Requirements for Cremation in Ohio

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Each state has its own rules and regulations governing cremation. For example, embalming is not required in the state of Ohio for direct cremation, but a body must be embalmed, refrigerated or placed in an odor-proof container within 48 hours after a death.

While there are several factors to consider when it comes to cremation, like the service and provider, there are three basic legal requirements that must be met before a cremation can occur in Ohio. You’ll want to ask about these requirements when researching crematories and funeral homes because only law-abiding providers will follow the proper rules and regulations.


1. Record Death

For a cremation to occur, a minimum of 24 hours must elapse after the death. During this time, the family is required to record the death before final disposition of the body. 

The selected funeral home or crematory staff will help you secure a death certificate and collect the necessary information. From there, they’ll coordinate with a certified physician to complete the “cause of death” section. This includes:

  • The immediate cause of death.
  • Significant conditions that contributed to the death.
  • Autopsy information (if performed).
  • The manner of death (accident, natural, homicide, suicide, pending investigation, or could not be determined).
  • Date and time of death.

Once the certificate is complete, the chosen provider will sign it and file it with the local registrar in the proper jurisdictions where the death occurred.

2. Grant Permission 

Next, an authorized individual must give permission for the cremation in writing through a legally binding authorization form. To prevent disputes, Ohio law only permits certain individuals to authorize cremation arrangements.

>>>Related Resource: Learn how to file out a cremation authorization form.

To determine if you’re authorized to arrange a cremation, review the following list of priority:

  • A legal representative appointed by the deceased to have the right of disposition.
  • The deceased person’s surviving spouse.
  • The sole surviving child of the deceased person, or if there’s more than one surviving child, all of the surviving children collectively.
  • The deceased person’s surviving parent or parents.
  • The deceased person’s surviving sibling(s), whether half or whole blood.
  • The deceased person’s surviving grandparent(s).
  • The lineal descendants of the deceased’s grandparents.
  • The person who was the deceased person’s guardian at the time of death if a guardian has been appointed.
  • Any person willing to assume the right of disposition, including the personal representative of the estate or the licensed funeral director with custody of the body, after attesting in writing and good faith that they could not locate any of the persons above in the priority list.

If there’s more than one authorized decision-maker, then all of the individuals can be required.

3. Secure Permit 

Finally, you must secure a burial transit permit for cremation from the registrar of the county in which the death occurred. This allows you to move the body for purposes of burial or cremation. 

No such permit is issued until a death certificate is filed with the local registrar or sub-registrar of vital statistics.

Learn Everything You Need to Know About Cremation

When it comes to cremation, it’s important to understand the associated prices and terms. To learn everything you need to know before arranging a cremation, download Cremation Costs Explained: How to Get the Best Value Without Sacrificing Service. This guide will help you understand your options with cremation, and assist you as you choose a plan that fits your needs.

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Jim Busch
Jim Busch
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.

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