Frequently Asked Questions

What do I get with a Cremstar direct cremation?
All Cremstar cremations include: Pickup of the deceased Filing of all local, state, and federal forms Overnight storage (if required) Social Security notification One complimentary death certificate Cremation tray The cremation process itself Basic container for the cremains (ashes) Online MemoryBox memorial

What other charges may impact the Cremstar base price?
Cremstar is committed to providing the most affordable cremations possible. While typical funeral homes charge a minimum of a few thousand dollars even for a simple cremation, we charge only for what you want and need, and not for any extra services you may not be interested in. That means that we can charge in the hundreds, not in the thousands of dollars for a cremation. Some factors do result in our incurring additional expenses; e.g. traveling long distances, or more complex removals from private homes. These surcharges are clearly explained during the checkout process. You may also select some optional features, such as the hand-delivery of cremains or a special urn. Our transparent pricing model makes sure you always know exactly what you're paying for.

How do I know I can trust Cremstar?
When you arrange a direct cremation through Cremstar, you are engaging the services of professional, licensed funeral directors and crematoria. These trusted, local professionals are certified and regulated by the state, and must maintain the highest professional standards. With Cremstar, you never have to wonder who is performing this important service, as we make these details clear and freely available to you. Cremations in Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia are managed by Cremstar of Pennsylvania (Kelly L. Corridoni, Funeral Director), and performed by the Ivy Hill Cemetery and Crematory, the Delaware County Crematory, Keystone Cremation, or another state-certified crematory.

Where will the cremation occur?
Cremstar uses top regional Pennsylvania crematories such as Ivy Hill Cemetery and Crematory in Philadelphia, Delaware County Crematory in Landsdowne, and Keystone Cremation in Clarion. Cremstar only uses state-certified crematories.

What is an informant?
An informant is the person who provides notification to a funeral home or other entity that someone has passed and is in need of services. If you are the person filling out the forms on Cremstar, you are the informant. The informant may or may not be next of kin or another authorizing agent (though it often is). Sometimes, the informant might just be someone assisting the family at a difficult time.

What is an authorizing agent?
An authorizing agent is someone with the authority to make decisions about what happens with the deceased. In this case, that means someone who has the legal right to request a cremation. This person is usually next of kin (relative), but sometimes is another person who has been given this authority by an official, signed document. The Cremstar authorization form lists out all the possibilities. Note, if you are next of kin to the deceased, be aware that there might be other next of kin with equal authority (such as your siblings). In such cases, it is important that you attempt to contact them prior to ordering a cremation.

What is pre-plan, pre-need and at-need? Does Cremstar offer these?
Pre-plan allows you to reserve care for yourself or loved one months or years before death. It provides the peace-of-mind of knowing that arrangements have already been determined, and at a known cost. Pre-need is when you order arrangements for a loved one whose death is imminent, but has not yet occurred. If you are pre-need, you can review our forms in order to prepare. At-need is when a death has occurred. If you are at-need, you can order a cremation here.

When will the cremation be performed? When will I get the ashes back?
By law, cremations cannot be done until a minimum of 48 hours after death. In most cases, the cremation will take place soon after this. Occasionally, it may take a day or two longer—for example, if there is a missing next of kin signature, or if the crematory is particularly busy. Once the cremation is completed, the time until you receive the cremains (ashes) depends on your selection of how you with to receive them.

Can I watch the cremation?
At this time, we do not offer the option to view the actual cremation.

How can I pay?
Currently, Cremstar accepts most major credit or debit cards, as well as MasterCard/VISA gift cards (available for cash purchase at most grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations). You can pay online or by telephone. There is no sales tax on cremations. We also provide each customer with a personalized Statement of Goods and Services which you can submit to your insurance carrier for reimbursement.

If I donate a body to science, is it true the cremation is free?
Yes. For those customers who wish to donate a body to science, we offer cremations at NO COST through our partnership with Science Care, the nation’s leading body donation program and non-transplant tissue bank. When you choose to donate a body to science, you are helping to advance medicine for everyone, and your gift will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come. Please be aware that not all submissions qualify.

Can I use Cremstar if I want to have a memorial service or some kind of life celebration?
Absolutely. For your convenience, we offer several recommendations on local venues and event planners to help you organize the perfect life celebration event in our Resources and End-Of-Life Guides.

I've filled out all the forms. Now what? Is there anything else I have to do?
You're just about done! Prior to the removal, the funeral director will call you to confirm some details and to make final arrangements. After that, your loved one will be picked up, cremated, and returned to you. Additionally, if you selected "I will pick up" for the cremains, you will be contacted when they are ready for pickup.

When and how will I receive the death certificate(s)?
Unfortunately, this is one area of the process largely out of our hands. Under normal circumstances, the state takes anywhere from seven to ten days to produce the death certificate. Shipping adds another 2-3 days. Please be patient. All told, you should receive your one free death certificate and any additional certificates you may have ordered from the state in approximately two weeks. Note that death certificates are shipped separately from cremains.

How can I get free veteran's death certificates?
Cremstar provides a first death certificate free of charge to all customers. Under normal circumstances, this free certificate is sent within a couple of weeks. Additional, free certified copies of the death certificate are available, for either an honorably discharged veteran or their spouse, if the death occurs in Pennsylvania. Free veteran's death certificates are mailed directly to the family by the State of Pennsylvania six to eight weeks after an order is placed with the state. A copy of the veteran's honorable discharge paper from the armed forces, along with a copy of government form DD-214 (in many instances this is on the back of the discharge), are required when you apply.

Where is Cremstar available? When is Cremstar coming to my area?
Cremstar is available to customers throughout Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia, including the following counties:
  • Adams
  • Allegheny
  • Armstrong
  • Beaver
  • Bedford
  • Berks
  • Blair
  • Bucks
  • Butler
  • Carbon
  • Cambria
  • Centre
  • Chester
  • Clarion
  • Clearfield
  • Columbia
  • Crawford
  • Cumberland
  • Dauphin
  • Delaware
  • Erie
  • Fayette
  • Franklin
  • Greene
  • Huntingdon
  • Indiana
  • Jefferson
  • Lackawanna
  • Lancaster
  • Lawrence
  • Lebanon
  • Lehigh
  • Luzerne
  • Lycoming
  • Mercer
  • Monroe
  • Montgomery
  • Montour
  • Northampton
  • Northumberland
  • Philadelphia
  • Schuylkill
  • Somerset
  • Snyder
  • Union
  • Venango
  • Washington
  • Westmoreland
  • York
  • Barbour
  • Berkeley
  • Brooke
  • Doddridge
  • Gilmer
  • Grant
  • Hampshire
  • Hancock
  • Harrison
  • Lewis
  • Marion
  • Marshall
  • Mineral
  • Monongalia
  • Morgan
  • Ohio
  • Pleasants
  • Preston
  • Ritchie
  • Taylor
  • Tucker
  • Tyler
  • Upshur
  • Wetzel

How do I determine who is the next of kin (NOK), the individual with the legal authority to order a cremation?
In most instances, the NOK is determined in the following order:
  1. Any person specifically designated by the decedent through a legal document, such as a will that's been signed and notarized;
  2. If no person has been designated in writing by the decedent, the decedent's spouse, if still legally married;
  3. If the decedent was not married at the time of passing, the adult children of the decedent;
  4. If the decedent has no living children, the parent(s) of the decedent;
  5. If the decedent has no living parent, then brothers or sisters of the decedent;
  6. If the decedent has no living brothers or sisters, then any adult nieces or nephews of the decedent;
  7. If the decedent has no living nieces or nephews, then the siblings of the decedent's parents—i.e. the decedent's uncle(s) or aunt(s);
  8. If the decedent's parents have no surviving children, then the grandparent(s) of the decedent, or—if both are dead—the grandparent's children.
Any next of kin must be 18 years or age or older. If you have any additional questions about determining the NOK, please email us at [email protected], or call us 24/7 at (267) 469-0006.

What is a MemoryBox memorial?
MemoryBox is the nation's premier memorialization website and digital cemetery. With a MemoryBox memorial, you, your family and friends can post and share photos and memories of your lost loved one, simply, from any device, and from anywhere in the world. Plus, it serves as a place you can return to, again and again. Every Cremstar cremation comes with a free MemoryBox memorial. According to Dr. Clay Routledge, world-renowned expert in the psychology of nostalgia, memory and death, "Study after study has shown that nostalgia acts as a psychological resource that helps people cope with life's stressors and uncertainties, resulting in increased positive mood, self-esteem, feelings of belongingness, and perceptions of meaning in life. If you're a family member or friend of someone who's dying, or of someone who has recently passed, MemoryBox can help you cope with your loss more effectively, delivering real clinical benefits."

I have a question that's not answered here. How can I get help?
Please contact us:
  • By phone: (267) 469-0006, available 24/7. (Se Habla Español.)
  • By email: [email protected]
  • By chat: 7AM - 10PM Eastern Time, seven days a week; click on the round red chat button on the bottom right of the screen.

If you have an immediate need, you may always order a direct cremation at 24/7 by clicking on the Order Cremation button below, and a Cremstar representative will be in touch with you shortly.

Order Cremation