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Latest Cremation Laws in California

California has always been a forward thinking state. We attract visitors from across the country and around the world with our great weather, world-class attractions, and thriving industry. Another area where Californians have led the way is the acceptance of cremation as a viable end-of-life plan. The affordability and ecologically responsible option cremation provides has driven that acceptance, making California one of the states with the highest percentage of cremations over traditional burial.

Cremation also provides a wealth of options that a traditional burial just can’t match. Memorializing a loved one at home in a decorative urn is very popular. Others opt for a beautiful and meaningful scattering service. As scattering ashes, either on land or at sea, becomes a more chosen option, it is important to understand the laws that govern this form of final disposition. […]

One in Five People Keep Ashes in their Homes

It’s no secret that the number of people who choose cremation has only been growing over the last many years, and it’s easy to see why. Cremation offers family members a wide array of options, including how the deceased will be remembered by future generations. Scattering continues to be a popular and poetic option, symbolizing becoming one with the earth. A group of crematories and funeral homes in California and Washington set out to determine just how many people are opting to be scattered over being kept in an urn. The results were somewhat surprising: One in five survey respondents said they keep the ashes of their loved ones in their home. Significantly, 85% of the survey respondents said they’ve personally arranged a cremation at some point in their life, a fact which points to the continuing rise in popularity of cremations.

Of those storing ashes in their homes, 50 percent say they’re holding on to the ashes of a parent, but a smaller 15 percent say they’ve got the ashes of their spouse stored in their home. The majority of those surveyed said they only had one person’s ashes in their house, about 76 percent, with 24 percent saying they had multiple urns in their home. According to the group which conducted the survey, these numbers simply prove how popular cremation is becoming amongst Americans. And as more people choose cremation, crematoriums and funeral homes are beginning to offer even more options for memorials. After all, those who choose cremation are afforded many options in terms of storage and memorials. What the survey conductors likely weren’t expecting to find out is how few people are aware of all these choices, however. […]

On Walt Disney’s Frozen Rumors

Walt Disney lived a life that many could only dream about. Aside from building a powerful empire that still stands today, Disney also built the most popular theme park in the world and changed the way people would view cartoons forever. Given his accolades, it makes sense, then, that many see him as part tall-tale, part living legend. On the anniversary of his death, a popular myth about Disney has been revived, but those who know Disney best, including his own daughter, say the rumors are indeed false. No matter what you may read on the Internet, Disney was not frozen and is not buried underneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. As a matter of fact, Disney chose to be cremated, a notable choice given that cremation wasn’t as popular in 1966 as it is today.

Walt Disney passed away on December 15, 1966 at 65 following a brief bout with lung cancer. Just as he did with his 3-pack-a-day habit, Disney largely hid his cancer from the public, a fact that would later add to the overall secrecy and conspiracy of his death. Just 34 days after he found out about his cancer, Disney passed away and was later cremated, his ashes interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California. Some conspiracy theorists point to the way Disney died and the way the news was released to the public as proof that the famous Mickey Mouse creator had, in fact, been frozen to ensure his immortality. […]

Ashes of 1,400 Individuals To Be Buried in L.A. County Cemetery

When an individual is cremated, typically the family collects the ashes and plans a meaningful memorial, perhaps returning the ashes to a decorative urn or planning a scattering service. However, for 1,400 individuals cremated in Los Angeles in 2011, such a memorial never marked their passing. According to the L.A. Times, these remains will be interred in a mass grave at Boyle Heights Cemetery by the end of the year if still unclaimed.

By October of this year, only 440 of the 1,868 remains had been claimed by family members, leaving over 1,400 remains to be buried by the county cemetery. In 2011, the L.A. Times digitized the handwritten register that had kept track of every single individual cremated by L.A. County, hoping it would help connect family members with their loved ones. However, since the digital database’s inception, not many have come forward in search of their lost family.

How could the ashes of such a large number of individuals go unclaimed? For some, it was a case of a family member having died out of state. A son of one of the individuals cremated by L.A. County in 2011, Aaron Wheelock, wasn’t able to come pick up his father’s ashes when he died in the middle of his last trip out West. The county would not ship the remains to Idaho, where Wheelock lives. […]

California Honors 31 Vietnam Veterans

The names of more than 30 Vietnam veterans will soon be added to the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sacramento. The California Vietnam Memorial Name Committee recently agreed to add the names of 31 U.S. service members who sacrificed their lives during the Vietnam War. These names will be unveiled in a special ceremony held at the memorial in Capital Park on March 29, 2015. Ten of the service members are already recognized at the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. There consideration by the name committee now means they will finally be honored, too, by their home state of California.

Also announced by the California Vietnam Memorial Name Committee were the names of 21 sailors who perished aboard the USS Frank E. Evans as it sank in the South China Sea during a training exercise on June 3, 1969.

In a statement, Peter Gravett, secretary of California Department of Veterans Affairs said, “We are honored to formally recognize the service and sacrifice of our brave men in uniform. Although our recognition is decades late, California’s salute is equally heartfelt and deserved for all of our fallen service members and their families.”

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What Happens When We Die?

What happens when we die? The answer depends on one’s philosophical belief system. Often, the daunting part about considering this great unknown is that we may never truly know the answer to this question.

However, when the question ‘What happens when we die?’ is refers to actual events on the physical plane — such as, what it is like to be placed in a coffin or having our physical bodies reduced to ash — humans are able to conceive and understand more fully.

This past August, we learned how this trend of understanding more intimately what happens to us when we die spurred the Shukatsu Festa funeral expo in Japan, where attendees had the opportunity to experience the entire funeral process, including coffin and clothing selections, lying in state, and having friends and family offer eulogies. As noted in many news stories at the time, Japan’s aging population paired with a severely declining birth rate has aided in driving this trend of ‘try before you die’ in the nation’s death industry. […]

California Cremation Laws

California leads the nation with the highest number of cremations (currently 56 percent), and cremation is expected to grow in popularity among Californians needing end-of-life services. As the practice becomes more common, more people are learning about the cremation process and guidelines for a safe, simple, and natural final disposition.

California cremation providers must comply with federal rules regulating cremation. Additionally, California’s Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau provides guidelines for arranging a local cremation. They are as follows:

Who can make disposition arrangements?

California law lists a number of persons who may legally make disposition arrangements for the deceased, including a spouse, child, parent, or other family member. An appointed conservator, an agent under a California power of attorney for health care, and a domestic partner who is registered with the Secretary of State are also allowed to make arrangements. The law gives priority to the final wishes of the deceased, if they were laid out ahead of time. […]

Latest Trends in California Cremations

Cremations are big on the West Coast. California has the highest number of cremations in the country with just over 130,000 annually, or 56 percent of deaths in the state (CANA 2010). It was also ranked third in CANA’s list of top states for cremation growth: Cremations grew by 5 percent over a four-year period.

It’s not difficult to see why the majority of Californians choose cremation over traditional burial. Factors including religious acceptance of cremation, more relocations, lower costs, and the desire for flexibility and green alternatives have driven the majority of the state’s residents to select cremation for their end-of-life service. […]

5 Reasons Why Cremations Are On The Rise

Cremation in North America has been on the rise over the past couple of decades, and the numbers continue to grow across the country to match or exceed the number of burials. In fact, cremation is expected to overtake traditional burial in a number of states over the next few years. What accounts for this seemingly sudden revival of an ancient practice? Here are five major reasons for choosing cremation, outlined by the Cremation Association of North America (CANA).

1. Wider Acceptance – Though it has remained popular in Eastern countries, cremation was once taboo in the West. Nowadays, more people from various religious backgrounds accept the practice. While some faiths still prefer burial, others have become more tolerant. Some churches even offer columbaria where cremation urns are interred.

2. Increased Relocations – In our increasingly globalized world, more people are moving away from their hometowns and/or relocating frequently. This means that there are fewer ties to a specific place and less of an incentive to choose the finality of burial in one location. In contrast, cremation makes it easy for family members who are spread out to memorialize their loved one in their own ways and at their convenience. […]

Why Choose a Direct Cremation Provider

The death of a loved one is regarded as one of the most stressful life events we must endure. In fact, research has shown that 40 percent of individuals experience some form of anxiety disorder in the year following the death of someone close to them. Because loss is difficult, it is important to be familiar with the rights you have as the bereaved.

First established in 1984, the Funeral Industry Practices law, also known as the Funeral Rule, is governed by the Federal Trade Commission. In it are several important protections for the survivors of the recently deceased. Knowing your rights ahead of time helps ameliorate the process of planning for your loved ones final disposition. […]