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6 Steps for Arranging an Authorized Cremation in Ohio

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Like many parts of the final arrangements planning process, arranging a loved one’s cremation requires several steps.

Before you can arrange a cremation service in Ohio, you must verify that you have the legal authority to make the decision. Ohio law only permits certain individuals to authorize funeral, burial and cremation arrangements in a written document. Individuals are not able to authorize their own cremation, which means it’s left to the next of kin or executor of the estate as set forth in Ohio law.

>>>Related Resource: The Definitive Guide to Cremation

Below, we list the steps you’ll need to take to authorize a cremation, from finding out who can legally make decisions to final arrangement options.

1. Determine Who Can Authorize a Cremation

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

  1. A legal representative appointed by the deceased to have the right of disposition (pursuant to the required elements).
  2. The deceased person’s surviving spouse.
  3. The sole surviving child of the deceased person, or if there is more than one surviving child, all of the surviving children collectively.
  4. The deceased person’s surviving parent or parents.
  5. The deceased person’s surviving sibling, whether of whole or half blood or if there is more than one sibling, all of the surviving siblings collectively.
  6. The deceased person’s surviving grandparent or grandparents.
  7. The lineal descendants of the deceased’s grandparents.
  8. The person who was the deceased person’s guardian at the time of death if a guardian had been appointed.
  9. 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.

It's important to note that if there is more than one authorized decision-maker, then all of the individuals may be required. Many people believe that the eldest child or the executor is in charge, but those are common misconceptions.

2. Fill Out a Cremation Authorization Form

The person authorized to arrange the cremation has several responsibilities, with one of the main duties being to fill out a cremation authorization form. This form includes a section for documenting the departed’s information, such as their name, date of birth, date of death, social security number and verification that they have been physically identified.

The form also requires the authorized individual to list their personal information, such as their name, address, phone number and relationship to the departed, as well as funeral home and/or crematory information.

>>>Related Resource: How to Fill Out a Cremation Authorization Form

You’ll also document any artificial devices your loved one has in the cremation authorization form. Artificial devices can include medical implants, pacemakers and mechanical devices, among others. Cremation providers must know this information for safety reasons.

3. Identify Your Loved One

When a loved one passes, law-abiding funeral and cremation facilities require positive identification of a deceased body before a cremation can take place. Identification may take place in person or via a secure online portal.

When identifying your loved one, you will provide any special instructions for their personal property. If there are none, all clothing, glasses, jewelry and other possessions will be lost during the process.

Additionally, the authorized person must verify that they understand the cremation process and that they accept the responsibility for meeting the requirements.

We understand that identifying your loved one is an emotional step in the cremation process. To help best prepare yourself, we recommend the following:

  • Decide if you’re emotionally ready to see your loved one. You may also choose to designate a trusted family member or friend to perform the identification.
  • Use the time to say goodbye. View it as a sacred moment to honor your loved one.
  • Focus on positive memories you had with your loved one.

4. Arrange for a Combustible Container or Casket

To perform the cremation, your loved one must be placed in a combustible container or casket. The container must be completely enclosed and leak-resistant. When you’re arranging the cremation and filling out the authorization form, you’ll be required to prove you have plans in place to arrange this.

All cremated remains are returned in a rigid container unless otherwise specified on the authorization form. You can purchase an urn of your choice and your loved one will be returned inside it instead.

5. List Witnesses and Disclose Service Information

If there are family and friends who wish to witness the cremation, they must be documented on the authorization form. The authorized person must also disclose any service or memorial details that may take place before the cremation, so the funeral home or cremation provider is aware of embalming needs.

6. Plan for a Final Resting Place

During the authorization process, the authorized individual must disclose plans for a final resting place. This is where you document what will ultimately be done with the cremated remains, which may include a burial, inurnment, scattering or having a family member receive them. Following the process, the person who planned the cremation must sign off on how the services will be paid.

>>>Related Resource: Where Can I Scatter Cremated Remains in Ohio?

What You Need to Know About Cremation

In recent years, we’ve seen more individuals choose cremation over burial. We’ve also seen a rise in low-cost cremation providers that cut corners and hit families with hidden costs.

To help you get the best value and to ensure that your loved one is cared for, download our Cremation Costs Explained Guide, which details common cremation terms, costs and available options.

Download our cremation costs explained guide

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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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