This has always been a problem at every funeral home I have worked at. For what ever the reason, someone always gets left behind.
The idea of unclaimed cremains is a problem for funeral homes now and will continue to be a problem in the future. As the cremation rate climbs so will funeral homes frustration that cremains are being forgotten at an alarming rate. The other problem is that funeral homes are really not sure what they should do and how they should legally handle the situation.
Legally, the cremains are the property of who ever signed the contract. The deceased are no longer a “person. ” Cremains have to be treated differently. As far as the government goes, the cremation is the end of the line. Final disposition is the address of the crematory. If the cremains are interred later, according to your death certificate, your place of final disposition was 101 Crematory Lane not Happy-view Cemetery where the cremains were interred. For some people this is a problem.
I digress. As a funeral director I saw this problem at every funeral home I worked for. Here is an article which sheds some light on what funeral homes are trying to do to solve the problem. The funeral homes listed in the article provided the local paper with a list of names of unclaimed cremains with the hopes that someone will recognize a name on the list and contact the funeral home.
There are a million reasons why cremains are not picked up. With the cremation rate rising this is going to continue to be a problem. Funeral homes are going to have to contact families immediately after the cremation is completed. It would be in everyone advantage if the two party’s stay actively connected until the cremains are claimed.
As always, if you have a question don’t hesitate to call (802) 353-0021 or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, I will be speaking at the Putney Library on November 17, 2014 at 7 pm. The talk is being sponsored by The Death Group of Putney.