All cremation services offered in Beltsville, MD must follow industry and government regulations. Some of the laws and rules about cremation services differ slightly at the state level, but there are several that are the same or similar throughout the United States.
One regulation is that all cremations must be authorized by a designated family member. Usually, this is the person who is the executor of the deceased’s will or their trustee. If the deceased dies intestate (without a will or trust), then the next of kin rules apply as to who can authorize the cremation.
In Maryland, the next of kin is defined as:
If no spouse survives and children are under the age of 18, then the deceased’s parents are the default next of kin if they are living; otherwise, the deceased’s siblings are the default next of kin.
Cremations cannot be done without a cremation permit. The funeral home will obtain the cremation permit from the designated local government agency once they have filed the death certificate and cremation authorization for the deceased.
All funeral homes and crematories that offer cremation services must have cremation provider licenses. This means that funeral homes and crematories are licensed and certified by governing agencies and ensures that they adhere to all rules and regulations, which are designed to preserve the dignity and respect of the deceased and to protect consumers from fraudulent practices.
Caskets are not required for cremations. However, most American states require that people who are cremated be placed in rigid, fully combustible (with no metal) containers before they are cremated. If you want your loved one cremated in a casket, the funeral home can help you select a fully combustible casket prior to your loved one’s cremation.
There are very strict laws in place about how cremation remains can be handled and what can and can’t be done with them. For example, one person’s cremation remains can’t be mixed with another person’s cremation remains without explicit permission given by the deceased before they died (for instance, in the case of spouses).
In most cases, however, where spouses die at the same time and are cremated, even if they’re placed together in an urn or columbarium niche, their remains are placed in separate plastic bags and put inside the urn or container side by side.
Additionally, there are specific laws about where cremation remains can be scattered. For instance, if you want to scatter your loved one’s cremation remains on private property that you and your family don’t own, then you are required to get the property owner’s permission before you scatter the remains. As well, if you want to scatter cremation remains at a public beach or in a national park, you need to check with the governing agency for either rules or permission before doing so.
When a loved one is being cremated and the body must be transported from one state to another, the body may need to be embalmed. Usually, if more than 24 hours elapse after your loved one dies, then the body will need to be embalmed for transportation. In general, most interstate transportation of deceased loved ones will take more than 24 hours to complete, so it is very likely that they will need to be embalmed at the funeral home where they are being transported from.
The funeral home will arrange for interstate transportation by hearse (if the distance is drivable) or airline (if the distance isn’t drivable) and they will provide appropriate containers for the transportation of the deceased for either mode.