Who has the authority to arrange cremation services for a loved one?

California Health and Safety Code, Section 7100 identifies who has the right to make decisions about funeral arrangements after the death of a family member if no pre-arrangement decisions are available. The responsibility for making decisions after death has occurred is in the following order: agent under a power of attorney for health care, spouse or registered domestic partner, adult children, parents, adult siblings, and other competent adult kin. Please consult your family attorney if you have any questions. Also refer to the Advanced Health Care Directive, California Probate Code section 4700-4701 for those who wish to pre-plan their funeral arrangements.

Is embalming required by law in California?

Except in certain cases, embalming is not required by law.  Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing.  If you do not want to embalm, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial.

Are you required to purchase a casket if you select a simple direct cremation?

No, the remains are placed in an alternative container that is provided by the funeral establishment or crematory.  If you prefer to purchase a casket you can, however, the crematory may have additional charges.  Check with your funeral director for more information.

Will my loved one be cremated at the same time with another person?

The law does not allow for more than one deceased person to be placed in the cremation chamber during the cremation process. Refer to Section 7054.7 of the California Health and Safety Code for more information. The crematory will exercise reasonable efforts in keeping remains separate but can’t guarantee or warrant that any type of residue or bone particles from one cremation will not be mixed with those of another cremation.  The crematory will provide a cremation authorization which outlines their responsibility and care of the remains.

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