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How Long Does the Entire Cremation Process Take?

Video Transcript

The cremation process itself can take anywhere from 4 to 15 business days, and that really varies greatly depending on the type of death and how the death occurred. If a medical examiner is involved, typically that process can take longer. As soon as we get the certified copy of the death certificate signed by the doctor, we can begin the cremation process.

Answers from Other Funeral Directors Around the United States:

The actual cremation usually takes approximately 3-4 hours. You should be aware each state has laws on the documentation and timeline in which the cremation can take place. For example, in Minnesota cremation must take place within 72 hours or within 6 days if refrigeration is allowed.

- Abby Schilling
Funeral Director in Richfield, MN


The cremation process will take 10-15 business days. This time frame excludes weekends and holidays and can NOT be expedited. The doctor by state law has 72 hours (three days) to sign and return the death certificate. Then the medical examiner is notified and can take up to 48 hours (two days) to approve the cremation. Once the medical examiner’s approval has been obtained the cremation will be complete within 72 hours (three days).

- Jessica Watts
Funeral Director in Jacksonville, FL


The physical cremation takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours to complete.

- C. A. Bankston
Funeral Director in Fort Worth, TX


There are several steps to have someone cremated. First we bring your loved one into our care, and they are taken to a temperature controlled facility. Then we will contact the doctor to begin the process of completing the death certificate. In California the death certificate must be filed electronically with the health department. The process usually takes at least a few days. While we are working on the death certificate, we are also working with the family to get proper authorization to cremate. We need the legal next of kin to sign documents before we can cremate. In California the right to make arrangements is given to the agent listed first in the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, and we will need a copy of that document. If there is no agent who is named in a healthcare directive, then the spouse is the next of kin. If there is no spouse, then it is a majority of surviving adult children. Once the death certificate is filed and the necessary authorizations have been signed by the legal next of kin, we send the paperwork to the crematory. The actual cremation takes a few hours, but the turnaround for a cremation once we send the paperwork is approximately one week. The entire process takes about 10-15 business days.

- Noel Hanna
Funeral Director in San Francisco, CA


Depending on location, the cremation process can take anywhere from 3-15 business days. Some states have laws requiring a waiting period before a cremation can even take place. The actual cremation can take about 3 hours, and processing the cremated remains takes another 1-2 hours.

- Michael Sollitto
Funeral Director in Charlotte, NC