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Is that Really my Loved One’s Cremated Remains?

prepaid funerals Mississauga Oakville

A concern that people have shared with me is “How do I know that it is really my loved one’s cremated remains that I am getting back?” The answer to this is that our full circle of care of loved one’s cremated remains starts from the initial transfer and there is a very detailed and organized method of identifying your loved one.

When someone dies and they are to be cremated, the deceased is transferred from the place of death to the funeral home. At the place of death the identification of the deceased is checked before the body is transferred to the funeral home. Once the deceased is at the funeral home, a cremation application is filled out and signed by the Estate Trustee. Each cremation application has a unique number. This number identifies the deceased and the coroner that signed the cremation application. The Estate Trustee is given copies of these forms.

If immediate family members wish to view the deceased prior to cremation, they are welcome to do so. Some funeral homes charge an identification fee to do this, while others do not. Having a few moments privately helps to confirm the reality of the death and gives the family an opportunity to say a final goodbye before cremation takes place.

The deceased is placed into a cremation casket or container and the name of the deceased and the application number is written in permanent marker on the top of the container. The deceased is then driven to the crematorium and once there, the technician will metal punch the same application number onto a metal disc about the size of a quarter – much like the disc that is removed from a junction box. This disc with the identical number is placed on top of the cremation casket, and stays there during the cremation process.

At the Crematorium, full details of the deceased are recorded into a Crematorium Log Book, including the name of the deceased, the date and time of cremation, the cremation identification number and the crematorium operator’s identification number.

Family members are welcome to accompany the funeral staff to the crematorium and witness the beginning of the cremation process. Some of the families I have worked with, have taken this opportunity and shared with me they had a powerful and peaceful sense of closure with this ritual. Others have shared that they found it very difficult to watch their loved one go into the crematorium retort. The retort is the chamber used at the crematorium to cremate one person at a time.

After the cremation process is complete the disc will remain with the cremated remains, and be returned within the cremated remains to the funeral home. Cremated remains are returned in a plastic temporary container or within a plastic bag inside a cardboard box. The plastic temporary container or cardboard box is approximately 4″ high 6″ wide and 12″ long. The usual weight of cremated remains is approximately 6 to 8 pounds. Occasionally if the deceased had dense bones the cremated remains are returned in 2 containers.

At the funeral home a Cremated Remains Log sheet is filled out to:

  • identify the details of the deceased
  • Their next of kin or personal representative
  • When the cremated remains came into the funeral homes care
  • Full details of what is to be done with the cremated remains
  • The urn selected to put the cremated remains into and when this is to occur
  • Whom the cremated remains are to be released to

When the cremated remains are picked up by the appropriate next of kin or personal representative their contact information is recorded, the date and time when the cremated remains were released into their care, along with their signature and that of a witness. The Cremated Remains Log sheet is then removed from the binder and placed into the file of the deceased.

If a family member or personal representative is not picking up the cremated remains until a later date, then they are locked into the cremation cupboard until the family is ready to pick them up.

Our full circle of care of your loved one will give you the peace of mind knowing that it is indeed your loved one’s cremated remains that you are picking up at the funeral home.

Do you have additional questions about the cremation or burial process? I welcome your questions and your feedback. You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Until next time,


Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, radio host, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.


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