Cremation Frequently Asked Questions

Cremation is an often-chosen alternative to traditional burial. Reasons vary from religious to personal to cultural beliefs. The method exposes the deceased’s remains to intense heat, leaving only minute bone fragments, often called “ashes” or cremains.

Though the process and final outcome are very different from traditional burial, the importance of memorializing and celebrating the life of the deceased is equally significant. Gatherings and services can be held before the cremation, including having the body present if desired. The staff at Goodwin Funeral Home can help you arrange a cremation funeral service which is as personal as that of a traditional burial service.

Why choose a firm that owns & operates a crematory?

Integrity, experience, and the knowledge that your loved one will never leave our care, are just some of the considerations that may add to your peace of mind. You can be assured all aspects of the cremation arrangements and process are being handled in the most professional and dignified manner possible. Our crematory is clean, modern and available for your inspection. Because we operate our own crematory, we are able to maintain the highest level of quality control and thus assure the integrity of the cremated remains. For most families, these are very important considerations when choosing a crematory.

As the only crematory in Clinton County, we are dedicated to serving the needs of families choosing cremation. We feel this gives your family peace-of-mind and assurance that the cremation process is taking place in a dignified setting and your loved one will never leave our care.

Does cremation affect our environment?

“No.” Our crematory was custom built by B & L Cremation Systems, Inc., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of crematory equipment, to comply strictly with the highest air quality standards as set forth by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. The unit weighs approximately 18,000 pounds, is fueled by natural gas, and is computer-regulated and monitored to ensure smoke-free and odorless operation.

Are cremations done individually?

“Yes.” At our crematory only one deceased person in a cremation casket or container is cremated at a time.

Why do people select cremation?

The reasons for choosing cremation are as varied and unique as the individuals selecting it. Some choose cremation because of their feelings on environmental issues and land usage; others select it for cost savings or because of their personal beliefs. Cremation for some provides the option of scattering the remains or keeping the remains at home. The reasons for considering cremation are a highly personal reflection of an individual’s beliefs and preferences.

If cremation is chosen, what happens at the time of death?

As with any final arrangement, the first step is calling the funeral director to let them know a death has occurred. The funeral director will gather information and arrange for transportation of the deceased to the funeral home. The director will also schedule an appointment for you to discuss arrangements and preferences. He or she will also help guide you through gathering necessary information and authorizations.

One of the most important authorizations for cremation is the death certificate, signed by the medical examiner or attending physician. Permits are also required from all civil and medical authorities. Authorization for cremation must be obtained from the next-of-kin or other authorized person. The state of Indiana requires a 48 hour waiting period to pass before cremation is allowed. Once all legal regulations are met, the funeral director will help you determine what type of funeral service the family wants and whether to hold the service before or after the cremation. They will also guide you through the process of choosing the cremation container and final resting place. Once the decisions have been made, the cremation occurs and the arrangements are completed.

Is a casket necessary for cremation?

“No.” A casket is not required for cremation. Most crematories will, however, require a rigid, combustible, leak-proof, covered container. This minimum requirement, also referred to as an alternative container, is required for sanitary reasons and allows for a dignified manner in which to place the deceased into the cremation chamber. The type of cremation casket or container used is really a personal choice. Once selected, the deceased is placed into the cremation casket or container for an identification viewing and any mandatory waiting period prior to cremation.

Are there special caskets for cremation?

“Yes.” There are caskets specifically designed for cremation. These caskets may be used for ceremonies with public or private viewing, identification viewing or simply to meet the crematory’s minimum container requirement. They are constructed using very little metal and are designed to be compatible with cremation. We offer a wide selection of cremation caskets ranging from solid oak to corrugated materials. These caskets will be completely cremated during the process.

When choosing cremation, is embalming the body necessary?

Embalming is not necessary unless the body will be displayed for a formal gathering before cremation, or if cold-air preservation is not available.

Are services for the deceased held before or after cremation?

Formal ceremonies and gatherings give tribute to the life of your loved one and allow final good-byes as well as comfort for those left behind. Depending on circumstances and preferences, families may gather for a traditional funeral service prior to cremation or for a contemporary memorial service either before or after cremation.

How do memorial services and funeral services differ?

Both services provide the opportunity to gather together in honor of the deceased and in support of loved ones. The body, in casket, is present at a traditional funeral service, thus the service is held prior to cremation. A memorial service includes only the survivors and guests, and can be held at any time. The memorial service may or may not include the urn present; however families may choose to create a “memory” table in honor of their loved one where photos, mementos and cherished items could be displayed. This provides family and friends a comforting way to look back and honor life.

What happens to the remains after cremation?

Cremation is only the preparation of the deceased for memorialization. What most people do with cremated remains is a matter of personal choice. The following are some examples of your final memorial tribute options:


Many families opt to have the cremated remains buried in a cemetery. Cemeteries often allow the burial of more than one container of cremated remains in an individual burial space. The possibility also exists for the combination of a casketed burial and cremated remains in the same space. A graveside ceremony is often held in conjunction with the burial, and there are a wide variety of memorials available to service as a lasting tribute.

Placement in a Columbarium Niche

A columbarium is a wall designated for cremated remains. A niche is the individual space within the columbarium for the placement of an urn.


When scattering is selected, many families also arrange for some type of permanent memorialization, such as a permanent marker on a family cemetery lot or placing the deceased’s name on a plaque at a location of significance. Some families even choose to plant a tree of remembrance. Cremated remains can also be scattered over land or water providing it is done in accordance with all state and local laws. When scattering is done on private property, it should be done only with the permission of the property owner.

Keeping the Urn at Home

Keeping the cremated remains of a loved one at home is a personal choice. It is usually a temporary decision until all family members are available to gather for a ceremony of final placement or it may be a permanent decision. A variety of uniquely crafted urns are available for just this purpose. Some incorporate the use of clocks, memento boxes, or specially designed flag case urns for veterans.

What choices are available for cremation urns?

A variety of styles are available for individual preference. Materials include bronze, ceramic, glass, porcelain, wood, and others. Designs vary from traditional vase-shaped to square or rectangular cubes. Many designs exist to reflect hobbies, lifestyle, and beliefs of the deceased.

What should I do with the urn after cremation?

Choosing a final resting place is a very personal choice. Archer-Weston’s staff can help you to consider which of the many choices serves your family best, including burial, columbarium niches, cremation walls or benches, and even displaying the container in a special location.

Why do I need to choose a final resting place for the cremation ashes?

Choosing a final resting place for your loved one’s remains is important. You may choose to scatter the ashes in a significant setting, or select a permanent location for a special cremation container. The location will offer a sense of connectedness with your departed loved one for you to visit and remember.

Do you have questions about cremation?

We can answer your questions about cremation services. Please use the form below.

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