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Your Questions Answered About Cremation

Cremation in MNAre you considering a cremation - either to designate for yourself, or for a loved one? You are not alone in considering cremation - Minnesota has one of the highest rates of cremation. Minnesotans appreciate the fact that a cremation in Minnesota can cost less (anywhere from less than 1/2 the price of a traditional funeral - to free if you donate your body to the University of Minnesota for research. Plus,many are looking at cremation as a "greener" choice.

However, cremation is not something that Minnesotans talk about. There are a lot of questions to answer before you can feel comfortable making the decision to sign up for a  cremation - or, as the next of kin, to decide to cremate a loved one in Minnesota.

Some cremation question areas:

  • what are the laws for cremation - Minnesota and in general
  • what are some typical cremation costs in Minnesota
  • what types of urns for ashes are available
  • where can you get decorative urns for ashes
  • how do you specify in advance that you would like to be cremated in Minnesota
  • how do you dispose of the cremation ashes in Minnesota
  • what is the cremation process in Minnesota
  • what is the history of cremation - Minnesota, America and the world
  • what's in the news for Minnesota cremation
  • what are people's experiences and opinions about cremation

It is for you - or your loved ones - to decide if you want to be cremated. Do you want to be buried, 6 foot under, and let nature slowly take over your body. Or - do you want to be cremated and go up in a brilliant flame - transcended immediately.

Hopefully, this will be a place not only to understand cremation, but to understand the best steps to arrange a cremation in Minnesota.

Peruse our growing assortment of questions about cremations in Minnesota. If you don't find the answer - just ask your questions about cremation in Minnesota - or in general.

What does a "Simply Cremation" or "affordable cremation" cost?

Simply Cremation Pricing

The "Simply Cremation Plan" or "affordable cremation" is an affordable cremation option offered by Minnesota Cremation.org through various established  time-honored and time tested funeral homes in the Twin Cities Minnesota Metro area. Some would even refer to this service as "cheap". We have several locations you can choose from that will honor our inexpensive, simple cremation plan.

Our Simply Cremation Plan is $1500

With this cremation plan, if you decide to have a service or burial, you may want to arrange the details on your own. This minimizes the involvement of our staff and allows us to offer this low price. Full payment for this service is required at the time of arrangements. Simply Cremation prices are subject to change.

Click to see more information about our affordable cremation package.

What are some overall costs and considerations for a full burial vs. cremation?

When we pass away there will be choices that our family or friends have to make. Having knowledge in advance can save them time, energy, and trouble in their time of sadness. Here’s some information you need to know about the costs of full burial vs. cremation that can help you make informed decisions.

Some of the information provided:

  • the number of cremations and burials during the last 50 years which shows how the rate of cremation is going up as the number of burials is going down
  • what relgions allow cremations and what religions allow burial
  • a cost analysis of cremaiton vs. burial

Read the full article here:
Full Burial vs. Cremation: An Infographic on Cost Analysis

Is resurrection possible if cremated remains are scattered?

In most popular religions today, there is the belief of some kind of resurrection of the body. While some believe that cremation will prevent the body from resurrection due to the scattering of ashes across a larger areas, some view cremation as a way of speeding up the process of decay and returning the body back to the earth where it has cycled years before people came into existence.

This is an interesting article that discusses the challenges and moral considerations of cremation.

Read the full article here:
Is resurrection possible if cremated remains are scattered? Ethics and Religion Talk

I want my family to know that I want to be cremated when I pass away. How do I go about this so it is in writing and that they will follow my wishes? Should I do this in a legal document and if so, how?

I want my family to know that I want to be cremated when I pass away.  How do I go about this so it is in writing and that they will follow my wishes?  Should I do this in a legal document and if so, how?

According to Sandra Stone, a Minnesota licensed attorney practicing in the areas of wills, trusts and probate at the law firm of StoneLAW, PLLC, “ It is always best to talk about your health care and final needs with your family so that they know firsthand your wishes. In addition, I always draft a Health Care Directive at no extra charge as part of an estate plan and include a section on burial or cremation instructions and any further information such as location of a final resting place. This allows family members to have a legal document stating your desires so that they can carry out your final wishes at the appropriate time.”

It also is a good idea to pre-plan/pre-arrange your wishes with a funeral home or a cremation society as well according to Daniel McGraw from Gill Brothers Funeral and Cremation Services.

Are organizations like Minnesota Cremation Society or the Cremation Society of Minnesota non-profit organizations?

You hear about organizations like a Cremation Society of Minnesota all the time. Are these organizations non-profit organizations?

The Cremation Society of Minnesota as well as any other "cremation society" organizations, such as the Neptune Society, are licensed for profit funeral homes or funeral chaples that provide cremation services and even traditional funeral services. As an example, the Cremation Society of Minnesota as well as the Minnesota Cremation & Memorial Society are Minnesota licensed funeral homes.

If they are for-profit businesses, why, then, are they called a  "society"? 

This is due to the fact that in the 1800's, the original cremation societies in the United States were reformed-based organizations. However, as future cremation societies were formed, these societies went through a series of transitions to finally morph into the business-based organizations we know today:

  • the original cremation societies started as reform-oriented societies, whose mission was to promote cremation and disseminate information
  •  then, service-oriented cremation societies were created to not only promote cremation, but to build crematories
  •  some assurance-based cremation societies were also created, providing insurance-based cremation to its members
  •  and then, these cremation societies morphed into the current for-profit-based cremation society that we know

So, current business cremation societies start with a group of cremation business associates founding a corporation. This "society" is created for the express purpose of promoting for-profit cremation services through marketing and public relations.

When these business-based societies were originally being formed in the late 1800's and early 1900's, they were challenged to be more reform-based. For example, there were some very diligent efforts by Dr. Erichsen, who spent almost 50 years of his life trying to create cremation societies based on addressing the needs of the public and social reform.

Growth of the cremation society in Minnesota and the United States

The cremation rate for the United States is expected to reach 39%, with Minnesota cremation rates nearing 45%. With this rise in cremations, there has been a corresponding rise in funeral home and cremation society Minnesota and United States businesses. In fact, a quick internet search of cremation society shows over 800,000 results. And, a timeline search for Cremation Society Minnesota and Cremation Society MN shows significant growth since 1990, when Google started tracking the timeline.

Cremation costs in Minnesota - what is typical?

Cremation cost is one of the reasons why Minnesotans choose cremation. Cremation costs can be half the cost of regular services in Minnesota. The Cremation Society of Minnesota or any other licensed funeral home such as Gill Brothers Funeral and Cremation Services can help arrange a simple memorial service, a life celebration, a traditional funeral followed by a cremation or any military or veteran's service. See the affordable cremation costs plan for an example.

Is a Minnesota license required for the cremation process?

Yes. Nobody can cremate a human without a license from the Minnesota commissioner of health.  See the Minnesota statute on cremation - Minnesota.

What are the Minnesota laws regarding who can decide on cremation?

According to  Minnesota cremation laws, the person who has the right to determine whether to cremate or not  is the person designated in the decedent's will or other written instrument, such as a health care directive. But, what if there is nothing written?

If there is nothing written, then the decision can be made, in priority order, by the decedent's:

  • spouse
  • adult son(s) or daughter(s)
  • decedent's parent(s)
  • decedent's sister(s) or brother(s)
  • decedent's grandmother(s)/grandfather(s)
  • decedent's nephews/nieces
  • decedent's guardian
  • adult who was concerned and showed special care towards the decedent
  • kinship  named by law to inherit the decedent's estate

If none of the above apply, then the appropriate court authority or public will decide.

For more, detailed information, please refer to the Minnesota Statute for Deathand the right to control and duty of disposition.

What should I know about scattering the cremation ashes in Minnesota?

There appears to be no Minnesota laws regarding scattering the cremation ashes on private property.  If you want to scatter cremation ashes on public land, you will want to investigate the applicable laws in that jurisdiction. As an example, see the  city of Chanhassen, Minnesota cremation ash scattering regulations for the Chanhassen, MN  parks.  This application also comes with the ability to specify a memorial tree or bench - a wonderful way to remember your loved ones!

Can more than one body be cremated during the cremation process in Minnesota?

No. During cremation, Minnesota laws stipulate that only one body at a time can be cremated.

Are cremated human remains considered personal property of an estate?

MN cremation lawsAn interesting question was asked about cremation laws and personal property:

"I was wondering if you could tell us if cremated human remains would be considered personal property of an estate?"

This very question came up about the cremation ashes of Minnesota's baseball Hall-of-Famer, Kirby Puckett. Kirby Puckett was cremated after his death in 2006, and his will did not specify who should receive his ashes. Therefore, there was a major dispute about whether the ashes should go to Kirby's two children, or if they should be divided between his children and his fiancée. After many months of litigation, the issue was resolved through a court ruling, and his children received the ashes.

Another, more recent, case was a case where a divorcing couple was disputing whether their son's cremation ashes were "property" and, therefore, whether the ashes could be divided. The Florida state appeals court determined that the ashes were not "property" and, therefore, could not be divided.

So - bottom line - there are no state cremations laws regarding cremation ashes. Minnesota cremation laws specify that once the cremation ashes are handed over, that is the "final disposition", and there are no more state cremation laws regarding who controls the cremated ashes.

The moral of this story: specify in a will exactly what you would like done with you cremation ashes. If you don't, you could cause your inheritors major personal tribulations.

Burial options for boomers who have always wanted to go to the moon

There is always debate over what is ethical to be done with bodies after people have died. Some people have always had the desire to visit the moon. While it may have not been possible in this life, an organization is offering people the option to have their remains transported to the moon as their final destination.

Read the full article here.

How to remain together beyond the grave?

This interesting article in the Daily Mail website tells the story of a elderly couple who died within hours of each other. According to the article Kevin and Christine Shearson died and were laid to rest in a double coffin at their funeral, which was attended by over 100 of the couples loved ones. Then, a horse-drawn carriage carried the casket to the local crematorium. 

As their daughter said, it was the perfect sendoff.

Read the full article here.


Who do you call to have the body transported for cremation?

Who do you call to have a body transported for cremation ? If the death occurs at home or in hospital - how long does it take for the body to be picked up and transported ?

Thanks for the question! This type of question comes up quite often. According to Mr. Daniel McGraw from Gill Brothers Funeral and Cremation Services:

"Most often the funeral director does the  initial transportation from the place of death to the funeral home. After the proper authorizations and permits, the body is transferred to the crematory, again by the funeral director. Having said that there has been some changes in the law but most, if not all institutions require a mortician to make the initial pick up. "

Find out more information about cremation and when a death occurs or, contact Daniel McGraw from Gill Brothers Funeral and Cremation Services for more details.

Can you go to a cemetery where you own a plot, dig a hole and put in the cremated ashes?

According to Wikipedia Cremation section that talks about burying and scattering ashes:

"Most cemeteries will grant permission for burial of cremated remains in occupied cemetery plots that have already been purchased or are in use by the families disposing of the cremated remains without any additional charge or oversight."

So - as usual when it comes to either burying or scattering ashes, the answer is: it depends. You will probably need to contact your cemetery to determine their specific requirements when it comes to burying the cremated ashes.

What are the cremation laws for digging up cremation ashes?

The following question was asked about the cremation laws for cremation ashes:

"My brother was cremated and buried last year. About 4 months after the burial his widow came and dug up his urn. We protested but were told that it was okay for her to do so.  Is this truly the case? Our family has been in shock ever since the incident but we were told by the funeral home, cemetery and a lawyer that there are no laws on the books stopping the next of kin from doing this. There is a state law that says that you cannot - without a permit - dig up human remains but cremated remains are not covered. Please advise."

Unfortunately, once the cremation ashes are released, there are no other laws that cover the cremains. The Minnesota Statute 1491.95 Disinterment and Reinterment of Cremation Ashes says:

"Subd. 9. Cremated remains. Subject to section 149A.95, subdivision 16, inurnment of the cremated remains and release to an appropriate party is considered final disposition and no further permits or authorizations are required for disinterment, transportation, or placement of the cremated remains."

For human bodies and their remains, though, this statute states that a written authorization by the person(s) legally entitled to control the remains and a disinterment-reinterment permit is required.

So, given the above, it seems that once the remains are released to the legal party, that anything goes after that. On one hand, if you are scattering ashes, then this makes sense. On the other hand, though, this sounds like it could lead to quite a few issues, as this question demonstrates. Since cremations are on the rise, there is a high probability that there will be more cremation laws to protect relatives as time goes by.

Minnesota Cremation Cremation Process Urns for Ashes Cremation Costs Scattering Ashes