Cremation FAQ

We created an FAQ library to answer any questions you may have about the cremation process. If you can’t find your answer here, check out our Resource Library or call us anytime at 1-888-963-2299

General Questions

Cremation is a method of decomposition in which human remains are diminished to the form of bone fragments, in a process that is conducted through flame or heat at a crematory. In simpler terms, cremation is the process that converts a body to ashes. This process takes place at a crematory,  a special location for cremation that houses a furnace called a cremation chamber. The resulting ashes are commonly referred to as cremated remains or “cremains”.  Cremated remains are typically transferred to an urn, though there are several options available for distribution or preservation of cremains, including memorial jewelry, keepsake stones, or scattering of ashes in meaningful places.). Most often cremated remains weigh between 4 to 8 pounds, depending on the size of the deceased and their skeletal foundation.

There are many reasons why someone might choose cremation as an option, including for religious, economic, and environmental motives. While it’s a personal choice, whether it’s for you or for someone else, it’s important to learn what you can about it before making the decision.

There are three main types of cremation: direct cremation, cremation with a traditional service, and cremation with a memorial service.

Discover more about our cremation services

Opal Cremation specializes in direct cremation. Direct cremation is a simple cremation solution that you can arrange online or over the phone. Once arranged, your loved one’s remains will be sent directly to you. Funeral and memorial services are not included, therefore, families are able to hold personalized remembrance services at a time and place of their choosing.

Click for more information about direct cremation

We partner with professionals with over 100+ years of experience in the industry and we have a secure identification process to ensure nothing gets lost or misplaced. Additionally, Most modern cremation chambers are not of proper size to house more than one adult. We value how sacred the-end-of life process is and would never cut corners.

Rather than overwhelm families with excessive services and products, we offer all-inclusive services that include everything they will need to respectfully honor their loved one. With Opal, all communication is done either online or over the phone, eliminating the need to handle any processes in person.

Learn More

Opal Cremation is proud to serve all of Southern California and cities in the following counties: Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Santa Barbara County.

Learn more about the areas we serve in SoCal

Yes! Arrangements can be made in advance in order to ease the stress and burden of planning during an emotionally challenging time. Start the process with us today and complete the necessary information so when the time comes, everything will all taken care of so you can focus on what matters most. Our customer care team is ready to walk you through the preplanning process today. Call us at 888-963-2299 to get started.

Many cremation providers will give you the option of dressing your loved one prior to cremation, if you wish. Otherwise, people are most often cremated in a sheet or the clothes they were wearing upon arrival at the crematory.

Most commonly, a full service cremation includes a funeral service and placement of the urn in a burial plot, mausoleum, or columbarium. With direct or basic cremation, the deceased is taken directly to the crematorium from the morgue or hospital. The cremation occurs shortly after death, without the basic elements of a funeral service, such as a viewing or visitation.

According to California law, your options for what to do with cremated remains, or cremains, include:

  • Placing them in a columbarium or mausoleum
  • Burying them on cemetery grounds
  • Sprinkling them in a cemetery garden
  • Spreading them at sea, with clear and specific limitations.
  • Scattering them at locations in the state that do not prohibit scattering
    • If you own your property and it does not exist in a location that prohibits ash scattering, you can bury the cremains in your yard, but you must disclose the cremains if/when you sell your home.

In California, the person who has the legal right to control the disposition of the body must sign the authorization for cremation. This individual is typically the spouse or registered domestic partner of the deceased. If there is no spouse, or if their spouse is physically or legally unable to sign, the next of kin would be the subsequent person who can authorize a cremation—typically, the child(ren) of the deceased. If there are no living children, a surviving competent parent of sibling has the ability to authorize a cremation.

Our professional team is available to help answer your questions or concerns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you need us most, we are here to offer our assistance and support.

Call us 24/7 at 1-888-963-2299

At-Need Cremation (Immediate or Imminent Need)

In accordance with California law, a death certificate must be filed with the county and state in order to proceed with direct cremation.

Learn more about death certificates
How to Get a Copy of a Death Certificate in California
What Is a Death Certificate?

Certified copies of the death certificate will be available at the registrar’s office in the county the deceased expired in or through the State of California, at $24 each. The appointed family member or friend will receive notification about the filing via email, which will also come with an order form for the county where the loved one passed.

Learn more here:
How to Get a Copy of a Death Certificate in California

Typically, yes, family members are permitted to be in attendance when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. This is an opportunity Opal Cremation is happy to offer to families of the deceased. Please contact us ahead of time to discuss this option.

The cremation process can take up to two weeks, depending on how quickly we are able to obtain permits and register the death of your loved one.

No. According to law, if the deceased is kept beyond 24 hours, and they are not being buried or cremated, they must be embalmed or kept under refrigeration.

Prior to cremation, the body is typically bathed and dressed prior to identification. Embalming will only occur if a family has arranged a public viewing or specifically requested it. Prosthetics and/or medical devices will be removed. Jewelry may also be removed according to instructions.

Whether your loved one is in a hospital, residence, assisted living facility, or some other location, they will be taken care of by Opal Cremation’s transportation staff. Due to our multiple locations in Southern California and our extensive footprint,  they can reach them within two hours and take the deceased to one of our licensed holding facilities. Your loved one will remain at one of these facilities until the proper paperwork is secured, including a death certificate, which sometimes can take several days depending on the doctor and/or regional requirements. After the proper paperwork is facilitated, Opal Cremation will transport your loved one into one of their cremation facilities, and appointed families/friends will receive the processed remains within 7 to 10 days.

We prioritize safety and convenience when returning the ashes of your loved one. You have the option of picking them up in-person at one of our partner’s secure locations, priority shipping with USPS Express Priority Mail, or in-person delivery.

Yes, we provide you with a temporary container or you can upgrade to an urn option upon request.

You don’t need to have a casket in order for Opal Cremation to perform cremation services. In fact, in order to keep things affordable for our patrons, Opal Cremation uses a cardboard casket that gets cremated with the body.

Learn more about caskets and cremation

According to state law, the physician has 72 hours to sign and return the death certificate. Next, the medical examiner is notified and has up to 48 hours, or two days, to approve the cremation. The cremation will be completed within 72 hours after the medical examiner’s approval has been secured.

Cremation remains must be held in some sort of canister or container, which doesn’t necessarily  have to be an urn. Traditional urns are obviously an option, but if a friend or family member has a container or containers in which they’d like to place the remains, they can use that as well.

In California, there are several available options for what can be done with cremated remains. Typically, cremated remains are given to an appointed family member or friend of the deceased, and they can be kept at a home, scattered at sea, spread at a private property after securing written permission, or delivered to a local cemetery to be interred or placed in above-ground entombment. Opal Cremation is also happy to offer families and friends the ability to scatter remains without a witness, three miles off the Southern California coast. If you don’t wish to scatter the remains, you can also explore jewelry, stone, and other keepsake options.

Additional Resource:
5 Things to Know About What to Do With Cremains

Before we collect and bring your loved one into our care, we require payment to be paid in full. Unfortunately, we are not accepting services to be paid in installments at this time.

One thing you can be sure of is transparency when it comes to the cost of our services. We currently offer all-inclusive packages to help honor and remember your loved one. Please refer to our full pricing breakdown here.

Opal General Price List
What is a General Price List?

Personalized Cremation Plan

Opal Cremation makes it convenient and easy for you to receive a free cremation plan specific to you with no commitment necessary. Get started today by answering a few simple questions.

opal cremation services logo

We’re ready to help you