Burial or Cremation?
This is an important decision. Whilst it should not be rushed, it does heavily influence the care of the deceased.
If you decide to bury your loved-one, a timeframe for the funeral service dictates what options are available for preparation and care of their body prior to burial.
If the timeframe for the funeral is within a few days of death, embalming is not essential. If, however there is family coming from abroad, or you need to wait a period of time before you conduct the funeral, it is highly recommended that you have your loved-one embalmed.
Cremation is fast becoming widely accepted in place of burial. It is quick and easy, and tends to be more cost effective. In New Zealand we cremate people in caskets. The process of cremation literally evaporates the timber and linings of the casket, meaning the ashes you get back are purely the remains of your loved-one. There are also rigorous cleaning and screening processes in place to ensure remains do not get mixed up with those of another person.
Should you desire to have your loved-one cremated, there are two options. The first is to cremate immediately and their ashes be returned to the family for a memorial service. Alternatively, the deceased can be embalmed and kept in state for a traditional funeral service, followed by their cremation. Again, the timing of the funeral determines how the deceased is cared for before cremation.
Due to the level of documentation and checks in place, most crematoriums will only accept jobs via a funeral director.