Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions about working with Honor

Where does Honor Cremations offer services?

Honor Cremations is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. We focus on offering cremation services in seven counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Stanislaus. We are able to perform transportation from any county within California for an additional cost.

How does Honor Cremations communicate with client-families?

We believe that every client-family inherently deserves instant, meaningful communication with their cremation provider. We have developed our Honor Hub as the primary source of communication in order to provide to-the-minute status updates. The Honor Hub also makes 24/7 messaging available and contains an extensive list of answers to frequently-asked-questions. Rather than relying on Honor Cremations to dictate each step, we believe that client-families should have complete control of the process. We believe relying on phone calls and in-person meetings undermines transparency, timeliness, and the independence of client-families to take steps as soon as they are ready. Our goal is to provide answers to questions before our client-families think to ask them. If you have a question beyond what is provided in the Honor Hub, we look forward to answering your questions through our direct message option.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

We are here to answer your questions through our direct messaging feature around the clock, every day of the year.

Why should I trust Honor Cremations?

Honor Co-Founders have spent their entire professional careers working to provide client-families with the highest level of care. Honor Cremations was built on a set of values that are a part of everything we do. Choosing Honor Cremations will be an entirely different experience from other cremation and funeral providers. The client-family who values exceptional care, transparency, choice and communication will be pleased with Honor‘s approach to cremation arrangements.

Can I work with Honor Cremations if I have made advanced arrangements elsewhere?

In many instances, yes. Every circumstance is unique and we encourage you to message the Honor Team for personal assistance.

Can I arrange for cremation in advance?

Honor Cremations will begin offering options for pre-arrangement in near future. Until these options are available, we are ready to answer your questions and assist in any way we can.

Questions about Cremation

What do I do when a loved one dies?

Should your loved-one pass away, your first step is to contact the appropriate authorities. If your loved-one passes at home while under the care of an in-home healthcare provider or hospice organization, they should be contacted right away. If your loved-one passes at home unexpectedly or not while under the care of in-home healthcare or a hospice organization, 9-1-1 should be contacted. If your loved-one passes away anywhere unexpectedly, 9-1-1 should be contacted. Once the hospital, paramedics, first responders, or other local authority confirms your loved-one‘s passing, they will direct you to contact a local funeral home or cremation provider.

What is cremation?

Cremation is a meaningful and honorable option practiced by nearly every culture in some manner. Simply put, cremation is the process in which heat is used to reduce the body of a person who died to ashes that are then placed in an urn for final placement, or disposition. Cremation provides many options for client-families, including keeping their loved-one’s urn at home, placing their urn in a cemetery, and scattering their ashes at sea or someplace special.

Help me understand the words and terms of the cremation process

Decedent:   The legal term for the person who died.
NOK:   The abbreviation for Next of Kin. This is the person legally designated to handle the affairs of the person who died.
Disposition:   What happens to the remains after cremation.
Urn:   Container in which the ashes are placed following the cremation.
Death Certificate:   State document in which the manner of passing is recorded. The death certificate also contains personal information for the person who passed for the purposes of permanent record.
Permit:   California State approval for the end point of the cremation urn.
Release Form:   The document that allows Honor Cremations to collect the body of the person who died for transportation to the funeral home or cremation provider.

What is direct cremation?

A direct, or simple, cremation takes place when a client-family determines to hold a cremation without a prior ceremony, viewing or visitation. This means there is no extensive or invasive preparation such as embalming required. Direct cremation creates the opportunity for a family to plan a meaningful memorial service or celebration of life, with or without the loved-one‘s urn present. A direct cremation with Honor Cremations includes the transportation from the place of passing, filing all required documents with the city, county and state, holding the body in a climate controlled environment until the cremation is scheduled, transportation to and from the crematory, the cremation itself and a simple urn. Client-families have the option of selecting from multiple urns and their preferred form of final disposition.

Help me understand why there are so many forms

We recognize the last thing people want to do when someone has passed is complete paperwork. All paperwork completed with Honor Cremations serves to satisfy the requirements of the following people and sites:

  • 1. The site where the person passed
  • 2. The crematory
  • 3. The Department of Consumer Affairs‘ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau
  • 4. The State of California
At Honor Cremations, we try to automate as much form completion as possible. We believe doing the documentation digitally helps this go as quickly as it can.

What if I plan to hold a funeral or memorial service?

We encourage client-families to hold a gathering that is appropriate in honoring their loved-one‘s life. Should you need assistance in finding a local venue, reach out through our client portal, the Honor Hub. We’re happy to help. Holding a more traditional funeral service will require a local funeral home, in addition to the services of Honor Cremations. We are proud to refer you to a reputable local provider should this be the case.

Why arrange for cremation separately from a traditional funeral home?

While most traditional funeral homes offer direct cremation, they often focus on client-families’ arrangements full funeral services. Since traditional funeral homes aren’t designed specifically for arranging for simple cremation, it is common to find higher costs, less transparency and longer timeframes when working with funeral homes. Honor Cremations was designed to meet the needs of those seeking simpler arrangements.

How should I choose a cremation provider?

Selecting the right cremation provider looks different for every family. We recommend finding a cremation provider whose values, arrangement offerings, and approach to customer care align with your own.

Where will my loved one be before the cremation?

As soon as Honor Cremations has permission of local authorities and the next-of-kin (NOK), the body of the person who died is transported immediately into our care at 2021 Monterey Highway, San Jose, CA 95112. They are held in a secure, controlled environment until the cremation is scheduled. Then, they are transported with care to our cremation partner in the East Bay city of Fremont.

Can I come to the crematory on the day of the cremation?

While this is a service that Honor Cremations plans to offer in the future, we do not currently offer witnessed cremations.

Can I see my loved-one before the cremation takes place?

As a direct cremation provider, Honor Cremations does not allow for viewings prior to cremation. Should you decide this is important to your family, the Honor Team can assist you in finding a local Funeral Home to host your viewing.

Why does Honor Cremations ask about pacemakers?

Because pacemakers (and other battery-operated devices) can cause damage to the equipment used for cremation, they must be removed prior to cremation. While many cremation providers charge an additional fee for this service, Honor Cremations provides the careful removal of pacemakers at no additional cost. Pacemakers are returned to the corresponding manufacturer.

Is there a cost to remove a pacemaker?

Honor Cremations does not charge for removing pacemakers prior to cremation.

What happens to the urn once the cremation is finished?

Once the cremation is completed, the client-family will be notified that the urn has been returned to Honor Cremations. Client-families who have selected scattering will then be notified through the Honor Hub as to the scattering date. Client-families who have selected Honor Cremations‘ courier service will select the delivery date and time that best accommodates their schedule in the Honor Hub. Client-families who have selected Honor Cremations‘ mailing service will be notified of the mailing date and tracking information in the Honor Hub.

How do I know that the urn I receive contains my loved one's ashes?

Honor Cremations follows a careful identification process starting the moment the body of the person who died is brought into our care. Each cremation takes place privately with identification verification being completed both before and after the cremation.

How long does the end-to-end process take with Honor Cremations?

Honor Cremations conservatively expects to complete the cremation process and be ready to fulfill the requested disposition (mailing, courier or scattering) within 14 days of first being contacted by a client-family.

How do you assure quality-control?

In addition to setting high expectations with written policies and procedures, Co-Founders Mayra and David regularly inspect the work of each colleague working with Honor Cremations. Additionally, Honor Cremations upholds expectations set by the Federal Trade Commission and California Department of Consumer Affairs (Cemetery and Funeral Bureau). Ultimately, our expectation is that each process is carried out as if the next-of-kin were present for each step.

How do I handle the obituary?

Public notices of a death are very personal and there are many options now. If you would like help with making your public announcement in a way that fits you, message us in the Honor Hub, and we can help.

Questions About the Legal Process

What does NOK stands for?

NOK stands for Next-of-Kin and refers to the person(s) having closest relationship by law to the person who died.

How do I know who the Next of Kin is?

In California, the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is the legal next-of-kin, followed by the surviving spouse. If a decedent has neither a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare nor a surviving spouse, the majority of the surviving adult children assume next-of-kinship. If there are no surviving adult children, the surviving parents assume next-of-kinship, followed by the majority of surviving siblings and then surviving grandchildren.

What happens if there is more than one next-of-kin?

The Honor Hub is designed for that reality and allows for additional next-of-kin contacts to be added. These next-of-kin will receive documents to sign electronically via email as their signature are needed.

Who has to sign paperwork?

The person(s) determined to be next-of-kin.

Do I need a death certificate?

While Honor Cremations is required to file a death certificate with the local Registrar or Health Department, client-families are not required to purchase a certified copy of the death certificate. We encourage client-families to consider purchasing at least one death certificate for their records, even if there are no known financial institutions, insurance companies or other entities that require a death certificate.

How many death certificates should I request?

Most client-families order between five and ten death certificates and then order additional copies through the county as needed. Death certificates are primarily used to handle a decedent‘s financial affairs, which means that each client-family should consider the extent of accounts and financial assets which must be addressed when placing their order.

When will I receive the death certificates?

Once the Honor Team completes the filing of the death certificate, death certificates are ordered from the appropriate county. Once they are received in the Honor Office, they will be mailed to you and a tracking number will be provided in the Honor Hub. Each county processes death certificate requests differently, and a conservative estimate for processing is four weeks from the date of passing until you receive certificates in the mail.

Who will require a certified copy of the death certificate?

Certified death certificates are often required as follows: life insurance and health insurance companies, stock certificates, bonds, Treasury bills, certificates of deposit and money market accounts, 401ks, retirement plans, IRAs and pensions, Military benefits, out-of-state bank accounts, rental storage, Title transfer of ownership of real estate and all motor vehicles, burial and funeral insurance, Federal and State tax returns.

How will I receive the death certificates?

Honor Cremations delivers death certificates through the United States Postal Service and, for security measures, requires a signature from the recipient. Tracking information will be provided through the Honor Hub as soon as it is available.

Questions about Price and Logistics

What services does Honor Cremations offer?

Honor Cremations offers a curated approach to simple cremation. This means that we view a client-family‘s experience with us as just as important as the cremation itself. Unique urn offerings have been made available through Honor Cremations and we provide three simple, dignified options for the urn once the cremation is complete. Client-families may select from 1-receiving the urn by mail, 2-receiving the urn by courier service or 3-allowing Honor Cremations to scatter the ashes at sea in the San Francisco Bay.

Do I need to set an appointment with Honor Cremations?

We operate quite differently from other funeral homes and cremation providers where no appointment is necessary to make cremation arrangements online.

How much does a direct cremation cost with Honor Cremations?

Honor Cremations offers affordable, straightforward prices that are always available through our   General Price List here . Client-families can customize their selections on Honor Cremations’ site before providing payment or any sensitive information.

Help me understand Honor Cremations pricing plans

We believe pricing should be simple and transparent with no hidden fees and no overwhelming decisions. Pricing details are always available through our   General Price List here and you will have the ability to customize your selections prior to making payment or providing any sensitive information. Our simplest direct cremation for someone who passes locally includes a basic urn that will be delivered to any residence or cemetery in the United States by mail. Beyond that, the only additional costs are a small amount for tax and for the number of death certificates requested. You will have additional options for urns as well as for scattering of the ashes at sea or delivery by courier service to any local residence or cemetery. Honor Cremations uses flat fees for transportation from any place of passing within Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Stanislaus Counties. Transportation from outside these counties are reflected in our   General Price List here .

Does the size of a person affect the cost of cremation services?

Honor Cremations‘ prices do not change based on the body weight or height of the person who died.

How are transportation costs calculated?

Honor Cremations charges a flat fee for transportation performed within the seven immediate Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Stanislaus. For California counties outside the immediate Bay Area, additional transportation costs are calculated based on the distance from Honor Cremations. These costs are outlined in detail in our   General Price List here .

Do I need to purchase an urn myself?

No. Honor Cremations includes a basic urn for every client-family.

Can I split the ashes into multiple urns?

Yes. The procedure for filing county permits for this can be difficult to navigate; please message us in the Honor Hub client portal so we can discuss your plans and ensure the documentation is completed.

Can I purchase keepsake urns?

While Honor Cremations will offer this service in the future, we are not currently offering keepsake urns for purchase.

How do I pay for cremation services?

Honor Cremations accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express payments through a secure integration with Stripe.

When is payment due?

Payment is due upon making selections and agreeing to use Honor Cremations’ services.

How do Honor Cremations' prices compare with other cremation providers?

We are considerably more affordable than many traditional funeral homes and simple cremation providers.

Where will the cremation take place?

We partner with only one local crematory: Irvington Memorial Crematory in the East Bay City of Fremont.

When will the cremation take place?

Once the Honor Cremations team completes the filing of the death certificate and cremation permit and verifies all signed documents from the next-of-kin(s), the cremation will be scheduled and updates will be provided in the Honor Hub client portal. Cremation most often takes place within two-three business days of these steps being completed.

Why do all Honor Cremations happen in Fremont?

Honor Cremations believes that superior quality control is, in part, the result of limiting third-party services as much as possible. Partnering with a single, reputable crematory enables the Honor Team to perform regular inspections and to monitor vital processes.

Questions about the return of the urn and scattering

How long will it take to receive the urn?

Once the cremation is completed, arrangements for delivering the urn will be made in a timely manner. Client-families selecting delivery by mail should expect notification that the urn has been mailed within three days of the completion of the cremation. Client-families selecting delivery by courier will be able to select delivery dates as early as a few days after the completion of the cremation.

Can I pick up the urn in person?

Honor Cremations is a non-traditional cremation provider without event facilities and public offices. This creates cost savings, which we pass along to every client-family. Client-families wishing to receive the urn in person should select the courier delivery service when deciding between Honor Cremations‘ mailing service, scattering service and courier service.

How does the mailing process work?

Honor Cremations allows for mailing of the urn to any United States residence or cemetery. Once the cremation is completed, Honor Cremations will carefully package the urn for mailing through the United States Postal Service. Once the urn is scheduled for mailing, the client-family will be notified in the Honor Hub and be provided tracking information. Honor Cremations requires an adult over the age of 18 be present to receive the urn and provide signature upon delivery.

Where can the urn be mailed?

Urns can be mailed from Honor Cremations to any residence or cemetery within the United States.

How does the Courier Service work?

Honor Cremations offers a courier service for delivering the urn to a selected local residence or cemetery. This means that the urn is delivered by vehicle directly from Honor Cremations without passing through the mail. The date and time of courier delivery will be selected by the client-family within the Honor Hub once the cremation is completed. Local courier service is available in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Stanislaus Counties.

Where can the urn be delivered by courier?

Urns can be delivered to any residence or cemetery within Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Stanislaus Counties.

How does the scattering service work?

Honor Cremations offers a scattering service for client-families wishing to scatter ashes in the San Francisco Bay. Once the cremation is completed, Honor Cremations will work directly with a local boat captain to perform the scattering in a dignified manner. Based on weather conditions, the boat captain will determine the most appropriate date for scattering and the client-family will be notified in advance within the Honor Hub. Once the scattering has taken place, a photograph of the scattering ceremony will be provided in the Honor Hub.

When will the scattering take place?

If scattering is selected, it will take place within 30 days of the cremation being completed. The exact date will be determined by the boat captain depending on weather conditions. When the scattering date is determined, it will be provided within the Honor Hub.

Who completes the scattering?

Honor Cremations partners with SF Bay Boat Memorials in Sausalito, California to perform all sea scatterings.

Where does the scattering take place?

Scattering with Honor Cremations takes place in the San Francisco Bay. Once the scattering is complete, a photograph taken during the scattering will be made available within the Honor Hub.

Can we participate in the scattering?

While we plan to offer this service in the future, we currently only offer unattended scattering at sea. If you would like to have a scattering event with people in attendance, message us in the Honor Hub and we will help you get connected.

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