Because of the irreversible nature of cremation, a positive identification of the deceased is necessary prior to cremation. Any other desired viewings, whether public or private, also must be coordinated prior to cremation. In addition, depending on state or local laws, there may be a mandatory waiting period before cremation can take place. In Massachusetts, for example, cremation cannot take place within the first forty-eight hours following death and then only after authorization by the coroner or medical examiner of the county in which the death occurred. Additional permits and cremation authorization forms also need to be completed by the appropriate parties involved.
Certain medical devices such as pacemakers and radioactive implants must be removed prior to cremation. Pacemakers may explode during the cremation process, which can pose potential hazards to both crematory personnel and equipment. Additionally, certain radioactive medications used prior to death may also pose potential health hazards to crematory personnel.
Any personal items you wish to retain, such as jewelry, should be removed prior to cremation. Any items not removed will be destroyed during the cremation process, or otherwise disposed of in a non-recoverable manner.
Finally, if desired, a small number of personal items may be placed with the deceased prior to cremation. These items will remain with the deceased and will be consumed during the cremation process. Specific requests are generally not a problem, but must be identified prior to cremation for proper coordination.