Vay – Schleich & Meeson Funeral and Cremation Chapels
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Cremation FAQs

Question Topics:

Cremation Explained

What is cremation?

Cremation is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.

How long does the actual cremation take?

It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F.

Can two cremations be performed at once?

Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.

What happens after the cremation is complete?

All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items, are "swept" into the front of the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridge work, are separated from the cremated remains. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a temporary urn, for return to the funeral home.

What do the cremated remains look like?

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The cremated remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to eight pounds.

In what kind of container are the cremated remains returned?

The cremated remains are returned from the crematory to the funeral home in a temporary container (plastic). We will arrange for the transfer of the cremains into their permanent urn.

Are all the cremated remains returned?

With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from
the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.

How can I be sure I receive the correct cremated remains?

All of our local crematory operators have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. If you have questions, please call on one of our directors to explain what procedures they use. 

Why do implanted devices need to be removed?

Pacemakers and similar devices with power supply’s need to be removed before cremation. They may become dangerous or explode when subjected to the extreme heat in the cremation chamber.

Local Crematories

Is a Funeral Director necessary? 

Yes, a New York licensed and registered funeral director affiliated with a New York registered funeral firm is required to transport the body from place of death, obtain the necessary permits and transport the deceased to the crematory.

Who owns the crematory?

In New York State, funeral homes are not permitted to own or operate a crematory; therefore, we are required to use third-party crematory operators. 

Where are the crematories located?

Currently, there are three crematories in Monroe County. 

Rochester Crematory (585-377-5100)
Mt. Hope Crematory (585-428-7779)
White Haven Memorial Park Crematory (585-586-5250)  

Can I see the crematory?

Absolutely. One of our directors will arrange for a pre-cremation inspection, when family members would like to make sure that the crematory meets their needs.

Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes, in some cases. Many of the crematories in our area are set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.

Cremation Authorizations

What legal documents are required for cremation?

There are three legal documents needed by the funeral home to authorize cremation. The first is the Crematory Authorization, authorizing the third-party crematory to perform the cremation of your loved one. Second, a Funeral Home Authorization for Cremation is required to authorize our firm and employees to arrange for your loved one’s cremation with the third-party crematory of your choice. Third, the Customers Designation of Intentions, designates what you would like to ultimately do with your loved one’s cremains. 

Can I sign my own cremation authorization?

No. While you can make pre arrangements to be cremated, the cremation authorization must be signed by an authorizing agent as defined in Section §4201 of the Public Health Law.

Who can authorize cremation?

Public Health Law §4201 designates in descending priority those individuals which shall have the right to control the disposition of the decedent's remains, as follows:

  • Person designated in written instrument pursuant to Section §4201 of Public Health Law;
  • Surviving spouse;
  • Domestic partner 
  • Any of the decedent's surviving children over the age of 18 
  • Either of the decedent's parents 
  • Any of the decedent's surviving siblings (brothers or sisters) over the age of 18 
  • A guardian appointed pursuant to Article 17 or Article 17-a of the Surrogate's Court Procedure Act (SCPA) or Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law 
  • Person 18 years or older now eligible to receive an estate distribution, in the following order:  
    • Grandchildren 
    • Great-grandchildren
    • Nieces and nephews 
    • Grand-nieces and grand-nephews 
    • Grandparents 
    • Aunts and uncles 
    • First cousins 
    • Great-grandchildren of Grandparents 
    • Second cousins 
  • The duly appointed fiduciary of the decedent's estate 
  • Close friend or other relative who is reasonably familiar with the decedent's wishes, including his or her religious or moral beliefs, when no one higher on the list is available, willing, or competent to act; (Note: This person must complete an "At-Need Written Statement of Person Having the Right to Control Disposition" form) 
  • Public Administrator (or the same official in a county not having a public administrator); or, anyone willing to act on behalf of the decedent who completes the "At-Need Written Statement" form 

Cremation Services

Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

No. Cremation is simply a method of preparing human remains for final disposition.

Can we have a viewing if cremation is chosen?

Absolutely. Many families choose to have either public or private viewings before they are cremated. 

Can I have a Funeral Service or Mass at church before I am cremated?

Yes. We have rental (ceremonial) caskets that allow for visitation and traditional services without the need to purchase a casket.

Can we have services after cremation has taken place?

Yes. Many families choose to have memorial visitation (when their body is not present for services) after their loved one has already been cremated. This is especially popular for families who would still like to give the public the opportunity to pay their final respects to their loved one. 

What can be done with the cremated remains?

There are many options. Cremated remains can be buried in a cemetery plot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered on private property; the options are truly endless. Our staff will be happy to discuss these options with you and make any arrangements on your behalf.

Is Cremation Accepted by All Religions?

Cremation is accepted by most religious faiths today, the most recent adopter being the Catholic Church. Some churches and clergy may have specific policies or procedures when considering cremation services. If you are unsure as to your religion’s position, it is advised to consult with your clergy.

Can an urn be brought into church?

Nearly all churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. We encourage the cremated remains to be present as it provides a focal point for the service.

Cremation Merchandise

Do I need an urn?

An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the cremated remains are to be interred in a cemetery. 

Can I bring my own urn?

Yes. One of our staff will assist you in transferring your loved ones cremains from the temporary container that is provided by the crematory into an urn provided by the family.

Is a casket needed for cremation?

No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is required is a rigid container (alternative container) which is cremated with the body. The only time a casket is required is when the family chooses services with the body present before cremation. For these occasions, we offer a selection of minimum viewing containers, cremation caskets and rental caskets.

Is an urn vault required?

Urn vaults are required by several cemeteries in our area when burying cremains in ground. 

Cremation & Preparation

Is embalming required prior to cremation?

No, embalming is not required by law. Under certain circumstances, such as factors of time, viewings before cremation or when a deceased is to be transported from one state to another, embalming may be required.

Can the body be viewed without embalming?

Yes. Immediate family members may briefly view the deceased prior to cremation in one of our private viewing rooms. The deceased will be bathed, dressed and placed in a minimum viewing container for private viewing. Under certain circumstances, embalming may be required.

Cost for Cremation

How much does a cremation cost?

The basic charge for cremation is somewhat less than traditional burial; however, the cost for cremation is directly related to the amount of services you choose. Please see our pricing page for more information on pricing and popular service plans.

Simple and direct cremations services start at $1675.00. This includes local transfer of remains to the funeral home, basic transportation to the crematory, return of the cremains to the funeral home and a temporary container to hold the cremated remains. Merchandise and cash advance items are additional.

Veterans Benefits 

Are there any special benefits for Veterans who want to be cremated? 

We have special programs for veteran's that pass away in a VA hospital, or a VA contracted health care facility. We accept the maximum VA cash benefit as payment-in-full for our direct cremation services. There will be no cost to the family. 

I am a Veteran; can my cremains be buried at a National Cemetery? 

All honorably discharged Veterans are entitled to have their cremains interred in any National Cemetery that has available space. Many National Cemeteries offer interment of cremated remains in a columbarium, in ground or in a scattering garden. 

Help for Those Needing Financial Assistance 

Is there any assistance for those families on welfare? 

The Monroe County Department of Social Services will provide benefits for deceased residents who are indigent, or who do not have any assets to pay for their funerals. The maximum benefit is $1250.00. We will consider the maximum benefit from DSS as payment-in-full for our direct cremation services. There will be no cost to the family.



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