Celebrating a Life: Blog

    Are You Authorized? What You Need to Know When Arranging a Cremation

    Posted by Mark Busch June 9, 2016

    15344837102_8215629f00_zBefore you can arrange a cremation service, you have to verify that you have the legal authority to make the decision. To prevent disputes, 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.

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

    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.

    As you can see by the list above, if there is more than one authorized decision-maker, then all of the individuals can be required. Many people believe that the eldest child or the executor is in charge but those are common misconceptions.

    Continue reading to understand what steps are required in order for cremation authorization in Ohio.

    Identify Your Loved One

    The person authorized to arrange the cremation is responsible for a number of items. One of these items is identifying the person who passed away. The authorization form for cremation includes a section where you document the person’s information such as their name, date of birth, date of death, social security number and verification that you have physically identified them.

    Additionally, in the cremation authorization form is where you’ll document any artificial devices that your loved one has. Artificial devices include, but are not limited to medical implants, pacemakers and mechanical devices. Cremation providers must know this information for safety reasons.

    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 destroyed during the process.

    You will also be required to sign-off on the recycling policy. Any leftover metal, screws, implants or other non-organic materials are donated and recycled.

    Document the Container

    To perform the cremation, your loved one must be placed in a combustible container. 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 as well.

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

    Services and Times

    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 so the cremation provider is aware of embalming needs.

    Cremation Process

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

    Final Disposition  

    During the authorization process, you must disclose plans for final disposition. This is where you will document what will ultimately be done with the cremated remains, which may include a burial, inurnment or having a family member to receive them.

    Allocate Costs

    The person authorized to plan the cremation will have to sign off on how the services will be paid. Should you ever find yourself the person authorized to plan a cremation, understand it’s a great responsibility. To learn more about planning a cremation, read our ebook Cremation Costs Explained: How to Get the Best Value Without Sacrificing Service.


    Image Credit: Scott Schwartz via Flickr

    Topics: Cremation


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