Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 10.12.2022

Cremation Timeline: How Long Is There Between Death and Cremation?

Cremation Timeline: How Long Is There Between Death and Cremation?

Reviewed By: Elizabeth Siegel

Cross Checked By: Scott Ginsberg


How Long Must You Wait Before Having Cremation After A Death?

The answer isn't always apparent regarding how long you must wait in particular. The time between the moment of death and the cremation time varies amongst states. Depending on the state, these waiting times range from 24 to 48 hours. Why should families wait? These state rules are based on the normal turnaround time for authorizations, such as issuing a death certificate. This causes a delay and is included in the waiting time since the Crematory needs the death certificate before they can cremate the corpse. Additionally, some states put off cremation until after certain types of deaths. There can be an even longer waiting time, for instance, if the cause of death is in doubt. It's crucial to confirm the length of the waiting time before the cremation with your particular state's rules. Additionally, each county may have its own set of laws.

As more individuals choose cremation over burials after death, the former is gaining momentum in the United States. However, as cremation has become more popular lately, there is also a lot of misunderstanding about how it operates and the many restrictions associated with it. One of the most commonly asked questions is how long before a cremation must you wait. You must first be aware of a few things to fully comprehend cremation since it is strictly regulated in the United States by law. Distinct states in the US have different laws, much as with other things. Dealing with a funeral ceremony and the cremation procedure simultaneously is challenging enough. Here is all the information you want about the US's wait time after death.

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Various State Waiting Period Legislation Explained

Most states impose a 24-hour waiting time as the standard. The family may wait longer if necessary, but usually, this is long enough for the death certificate to be produced. Some governments mandate a 48-hour waiting period before the cremation of the dead. Again, rules vary by county, but the following states commonly demand a 48-hour wait:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Arkansas
  3. Indiana
  4. Florida
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Maine
  7. New Texas
  8. Hampshire
  9. Wisconsin

Often, these waiting periods are unnecessary if an infectious condition is present or a medical examiner orders.

Why Are Rules Against Cremation So Strict?

Why are there laws against cremation in the first place? What's wrong with having a cremation straight away if the family gives their consent? Several factors led to the creation of these regulations. First, it makes sense since it takes 24 to 48 hours to get the certified death certificate. This is just one side of the tale, however. It wasn't always simple to tell whether someone died in the past, before modern healthcare. Numerous medical disorders and worries might manifest similarly to death. Therefore, families were advised to delay cremation to avoid any unpleasant mishaps. Last but not least, cremation is a permanent procedure. Cremation cannot be reversed, unlike burial after death, when the corpse may be reclaimed from the grave. Since an autopsy cannot be performed after the corpse has been burned, there can be no doubt regarding the cause of death. As you can see, rules governing cremation exist to safeguard the recently departed and their families and guarantee that there is enough time to finish the most important documents. Bodies are preserved and kept secure in the meantime.

When Does Cremation Usually Follow the Funeral?

Most cremations happen shortly after the funeral, however, every family should feel free to make their own choices. Even in the event of a direct cremation, several formalities must be completed before the cremation takes place. Therefore, most families delay the cremation by one to three days or more. The corpse is kept at the funeral home or Crematory before the cremation. Refrigeration is used to keep it safe, which slows down natural decay. To prepare for the burial or cremation, some corpses are additionally embalmed - however, this is not always required.

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Wrapping Up

You're not the only one who wonders how long it takes for a cremation to take place after death. There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the cremation procedure, how it works, and how long you must wait. It depends on the state, county, and other circumstances. Asking your funeral crew these questions is nothing to be worried about. It seems that the last thing you want to do while going through a difficult period, like losing a loved one, is to delay finding closure. During this period, do your best to maintain patience and an open mind while remembering that these rules are in place for a purpose. Every step you take ahead is a means to pay tribute to your loved one and give them the proper send-off they deserve.