Frequently Asked Questions About Cremation


It is common to have questions about the cremation process.

This section answers some commonly asked questions to help make this process easier for you.

If additional questions arise, please feel free to contact us directly or call (518) 435-8030




What is cremation?

  • Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to its basic elements by subjecting the body to intense heat and flame.  

Is a casket needed for cremation?

  • No, a casket is not required.  Most crematories require an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard. If no container is provided by the family, we can provide a cardboard container with a reinforced plywood bottom. We also place the deceased in a vinyl pouch for sanitary purposes. 

Is embalming required prior to cremation?

  • No. In New York State, embalming is not required by law under any circumstances and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise. You have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for embalming (such as a direct cremation or direct burial). Embalming is usually a necessity for open casket viewings or funerals. 

Can the body be viewed without embalming?

  • Yes, we can accommodate the immediate family members to view the deceased prior to cremation, at our facility. 

Can the family witness the cremation?

  • Yes they can; some cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber.  Some religious groups ask for this as part of their funeral custom. In eastern religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, cremation is mandated and generally a member of the family starts the process. 

Can an urn be brought into church?

  • Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service.  Most Catholic Churches also allow the remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. Including cremated remains as a part of the funeral provides a focal point for the service. 

What can be done with the cremated remains?

  • While laws vary state by state, for the most part, remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or in a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered.

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?

  • All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error.  Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains. Click here to learn about our 10-step, cremation with confidence guarantee. 

How long does the actual cremation take?

  • It all depends on the weight the individual's weight.  For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,700 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

What do the cremated remains look like?

  • Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color.                                        The remains of an average sized adult usually weigh between 7 and 8 pounds.

Do I need an urn?

  • An urn is not required by law.  An urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery or kept in the home.  If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary container.

Do we need to have an obituary notice and what is included in one?

  • It is highly recommended to have an obituary notice that is either placed in a local newspaper or posted online. However it is not a legal requirement.


  • An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred, and provides them with information about the service {if applicable}.  Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city, and date of birth, as well as the city they were living in when they died.  It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse, along with the names of anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children, or grandchildren.  Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you might also wish to include a short sentiment on the life and legacy of the deceased.  An online obituary or memorial website offers you the chance to add a lot more about the deceased. 


  • Simple Choices provides an obituary with a photo on our website at no charge to the family, where relatives and friends may express condolences and tell stories of the deceased. 

Who are funeral directors and what do they do?

  • Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death.  They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place of the body.  Beyond all of this, funeral directors are there to provide emotional support and personal guidance in the wake of a loss.

What happens if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

  • We are here to help. Please call us immediately at (518) 435-8030
  • A Funeral Directors is on call and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

What if a death occurs away from my home town?

  • Call Simple Choices first at (518) 435-8030
  • We can arrange to have the remains transported from just about anywhere. 
  • We will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have the remains return to the community.