How Long Does It Take To Get Ashes After Cremation?

A cremation cannot proceed until you complete a few tasks first. Start by putting the paperwork in for the death certificate and filling out a cremation form. 

The same individual that filed the document is the only one allowed to pick up the ashes. You can expect it to take anywhere from 1 to 3 days for them to be ready. 

On the Western side of the world, cremations aren’t as common because Christian beliefs dictate your body should be buried after you pass away. But maybe you don’t agree with those beliefs or have a family member that wants to be cremated. 

We’re sure you have many questions about how to plan it and what steps you need to take to get started. 

In this guide, we put together the most frequently asked questions about how to plan a successful cremation, how long you have to do it after you or a loved one dies, what someone needs to do before picking the ashes up, and where to collect them once they are ready. 

Should You Register The Death Before The Cremation Occurs? 

After the death of a loved one, the closest living family member or offspring get the death certificate from the Health Department. You can pick it up at the hospital where they passed away or request it online. 

Contact their general practitioner to assist you if the death occurred at home. When you call, all you need to do is state that your family member has died, and you need an MCOD certificate. 

On the certificate, you should see the deceased’s full name, age at the time of death, and where and how they died. Now, you will have all you need to go to the local registry and officially register their death. 

Should You Go To The Registry Office In Person?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the answer was no because you used e-mail to send over MCOD certificates since offices were not open. You can still register a death by calling the registry office on the phone, but now you have the option to visit them in person. 

Use your phone to take a photo or download a scanner application for the medical certificate. This step is crucial if you register by calling the office and need to upload the image in an email. Most Covid laws are now dropped but may be active in some cities.

Your options on whether to call or physically visit them depend on the rules in place in your area. 

We recommend you read a separate guide on properly registering a death so you can know what to expect and what paperwork you need. If you do your research, you can ensure you will not have to drive back to the registry office to bring a document you forgot. 

Locating the nearest local registry is easy, and there are a few methods you can use to do it. Read below to see which one is best for you. 

  • Using your favorite search engine, type in ‘registry office.’ Include your county or city, and you should have a few options. 
  • Search the yellow pages since they will be in the phone book. 
  • Contact your funeral director for advice since they work with everyone in your area. 

What Is The Individual Who Registers The Death Called? 

That person is called the ‘informant.’ On most occasions, the informant is either the spouse or the closest relative if the deceased is single. 

The informant doesn’t need to be directly related. If the informant is not a relative, it is because they were the ones to find the dead body or saw them die firsthand. 

Sometimes the cause of death might be uncertain. If faced with this scenario, a coroner must file an inquest form. 

Since the governor selects them, it’s the coroner’s duty to probe and scrutinize the body to figure out how the person met their demise. At this point, the coroner becomes the informant and can register the death. 

The coroner’s investigation might take longer than expected. In this case, the cremation date will be pushed back until the inquest is complete. The reason for postponing most of the time is that the coroner must be 100% sure about how the person died. 

Is It Legally Necessary To Register A Person’s Death? 

Yes, it is, and if you’re the one that needs to register it, you can’t wait longer than 5 days after the death. A crematorium cannot move forward with the cremation without a death certificate in hand. 

Where Do You Pick Up The Death Certificate and Cremation Permit?

You can pick up both official documents at the registry office on the same day. Then, take both the certificate and permit to the crematorium so they can get the ball rolling. 

Anyone who decides to play it safe and do everything via e-mail must give the registrar at least 3 to 5 days before the certificates are uploaded.

Cremation Arrangements 

After they have the documents, the crematorium will give you a date when the ashes will be ready. After that, the closest living relative will get a form to fill out. The form lets you do the following: 

  • Authorize the cremation by giving a signature.
  • State if you want to pick up the ashes to scatter or allow them to do it for you. 
  • Request that the pickup date be delayed if you are unsure what to do with the ashes. 
  • Notify them another person will come to get the ashes and give their full name. 

Whoever is scheduled to pick up the ashes must arrive with a state-issued ID, like a driver’s license or a passport. 

What Process Do The Ashes Go Through After Cremation? 

The initial step is to wait until they are cooled down. Spending time in a chamber with very high temperatures makes the ashes very hot. The cooldown period will take 1 to 2 hours. 

After the ashes are cool, the crematorium staff take out any metals from the remains. These metals include metal braces, teeth crowns, and prosthetics. It’s not done by hand but with a potent magnet that attracts metal to its surface. 

Lastly, a grinder pulverizes the ashes further to break them down. If any pieces of bone were left, they would now have a powdery texture. The last step is to put these ashes in a short-term urn until collected. 

When Do You Receive The Cremation Certificate? 

This certificate includes the name of the deceased and the day the body was cremated. Save this certificate and never get rid of it just in case you want to travel to another country with your urn or move abroad. You will need to present it at the airport. 

When Do You Pay For a Cremation? 

You must pay before the cremation can take place. It’s the best way to deal with it because you don’t need to worry about paying when the ashes are ready to be collected. 

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