Frequently Asked Questions


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 “direct cremation” (no embalming, expensive coffin, or traditional memorial service), because we operate primarily online with phone and chat support, we can charge in the hundreds, not in the thousands of dollars. Don’t be fooled by “bait-and-switch” providers who advertise a low cost online but don’t include all that you need. 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 (on Step 1, Options and Payment). You may also select some optional features, such as 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 experts are certified and regulated by the state, and must maintain the highest professional standards. Cremstar’s family of funeral directors has been servicing customers throughout the New York Metro area, New Jersey and Pennsylvania for more than half a century.


Where will the cremation occur?
Cremstar works with a large number of crematories in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. These include: Bucks County Crematory; Delaware County Crematory; Legacy Crematory; Ivy Hill Cemetery and Crematory; and Liberty Grove Memorial Mausoleum & Crematory, among many others. All Cremstar crematories are fully licensed and accredited by the local state funeral board, certified by various federal and state agencies, and are inspected on a regular basis.


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 regarding 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 document; i.e. a decedent’s Last Will and Testament or Designation of Agent for Body Disposition (DABD). If you are next-of-kin to the deceased, note 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. (See How do I determine who is next-of-kin,, below.) Be aware that for those with “power of attorney” over an individual, legal authority expires when that individual passes, and they are no longer entitled to make decisions as authorizing agent.


Why would I have to pay an extra storage fee?
In the vast majority of cases, it takes 2-3 days or less to secure the legal documentation required by the state to perform a direct cremation. Sometimes, things don't go smoothly and key information may be unavailable at first, such as the signatures of all the NOKs, or the signature of the doctor or nurse on the death certificate. In the event the decedent must be placed in a refrigerated unit while Cremstar's funeral director secures all the legal documentation required to perform the direct cremation, customers may be asked to pay an additional storage fee of $50/night, beginning on the evening of the third business day following the initial removal, exclusive of weekends and holidays.


What is pre-plan, pre-need and at-need? Does Cremstar offer these?
If you are planning ahead (i.e. pre-plan) and want to lock in a price for the future, visit our Planning Ahead for Cremation section. If you are in immediate need because a death has already occurred (i.e. at-need), order a direct cremation now. If a death is imminent (i.e. in a matter of days or weeks and you're pre-need), visit the Cremstar Cremation Cost Calculator for a price quote and to email yourself a customized "Order Now" link so that you're ready when the death occurs. Cremstar is the only company in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions that offers all of these options completely online.


When will the cremation be performed?
By law, cremations cannot be done until a minimum of 24 hours after death. In most cases, the cremation will take place approximately one week after the removal. Occasionally, it may take a day or two longer—for example, if the cause of death needs to be confirmed, if the crematory is particularly busy (e.g. during a pandemic), or when a death occurs over a holiday. Once the cremation is completed, the time until you receive the cremains (ashes) depends on your selection of how you wish to receive them. Sometimes, when local crematories are busy or closed and no longer accepting decedents, we may be forced to perform the cremation at a licensed crematory different from the one first posted on the website. In such cases, if you’ve chosen to pick up the cremains, you’ll be notified in advance of the alternate location.


How do I get the ashes back?
Customers choose how they would like to have the ashes returned to them when they first order the cremation. You may pick up your loved one’s cremains (ashes) from the crematory or Cremstar funeral home at no cost. You can have them shipped via USPS, anywhere in the world, by special rate. Or, if you’d prefer, we can scatter them anonymously for a nominal fee in one of our scattering gardens or at sea.


What do the ashes come in?
They are sealed within a durable plastic bag, which is in turn placed inside a hard case plastic box, approximately 12” x 13”, more than suitable if you are planning a scattering. Or, you can purchase a custom urn when you first order your cremation (on Step 1, Options and Payment), including biodegradable urns more appropriate for burial.


Can I watch the cremation?
This service is not available at all crematories. Please call Cremstar at (888) 802-0999 for more information.


How can I pay?
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, when you choose to make a whole body donation, the pickup of the deceased, cremation, and return of cremains are free. Cremstar has partnered with the nation's leading whole body and organ donation organizations to offer donations to science, including Anatomy Gifts Registry, MedCure, CORE, Gift of Life, and many others. Please be aware that not all submissions qualify and this offer is not available in some locations.


Are there state government programs that will pay for some or all of my cremation costs?
Yes, if you are currently already receiving some sort of public assistance (e.g. SNAP or SSI benefits) you may qualify for a free cremation. Cremstar will work with all relevant agencies to ensure you're armed with all the documentation you need to get reimbursed for up to 100% of the cost of cremation.


What happens if my loved one had a pacemaker or some other implanted medical device?
We ask you when you first order a cremation if the decedent has an implanted heart pacemaker, radiation producing device, or other implanted medical device(s). It’s important to tell us. Failure to inform Cremstar of the presence of such devices could result in harmful consequences to the crematory’s retort during the cremation process.


Can I use Cremstar if I want to have a memorial service or some kind of life celebration?
Absolutely. Most Cremstar customers choose to hold some sort of life celebration event, and it's often up to 24 months after the passing. Today, services are no longer relegated to traditional venues such as churches, temples, or mosques. Rather, they're being held in a wide variety of locations, from private homes and local restaurants/clubs, to unusual outdoor venues. (Make sure that if you're scattering cremains, you do so on private property, or beyond the two-mile boundary at sea; check local regulations.) Events may be themed (e.g. for Star Trek fans), formal or casual, daytime or night. Some encourage guests to bring along the lost loved one's favorite dishes for a customized potluck repast. 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.


How do I order death certificates and how many do I need?
You can purchase up to 20 certified copies of the death certificate (“certs”) when you first order your cremation (on Step 1, Options and Payment). We generally recommend customers order at least six (6) certs. Uniquely numbered certified copies of the death certificate are required to close out bank accounts, insurance policies, or if the decedent had title to property. Whenever you have to prove to an institution like a bank or insurance company that the decedent has passed, you’ll need to provide them with a certified copy of the death certificate, which they generally retain for their files. Photocopies are not accepted. We do not mark up death certificates; we charge the same price as the state. However, we do sometimes charge a postage/handling fee and/or assess a credit card fee on the purchase of additional death certificates. After the initial order, we recommend customers use VitalChek.com to purchase more certificates in New York and Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, visit the online order form page from the Office of Vital Statistics & Registry.


How can I get free veteran's death certificates?
Free certified copies of the death certificate are available for either an honorably discharged veteran or their spouse. Free veteran's death certificates are mailed directly to the family 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. For more information, visit va.gov, or call the VA benefits hotline at 800-827-1000.


Where is Cremstar available? When is Cremstar coming to my area?
Cremstar is available to customers throughout the New York Major Metropolitan area, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. To check which specific counties we cover, visit the Order Now form or Cremstar's Cremation Cost Calculator


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 (i.e. only a decedent's Last Will and Testament or Designation of Agent for Body Disposition);
  2. If no person has been designated through legal document, the decedent's spouse, if still legally married;
  3. In certain states, like New York, if the decedent was not married at the time of passing, the decedent's officially registered domestic partner;
  4. If the decedent was not married at the time of passing, or did not have an officially recognized domestic partner, the adult children of the decedent;
  5. If the decedent has no living children, the parent(s) of the decedent—both required in PA and NJ, while only one is required in in NY;
  6. If the decedent has no living parent, then brothers or sisters of the decedent—the majority of siblings are required in PA and NJ, while only one is required in in NY;
  7. If the decedent has no living brothers or sisters, then any adult nieces or nephews of the decedent;
  8. 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);
  9. 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 (888) 802-0999.


What is a MemoryBox memorial?
MemoryBox is the nation's premier memorialization website and app. 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."


If you have any questions, please contact us:
Please contact us:
  • By phone: (888) 802-0999, 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 are in immediate need because a death has already occurred, order a direct cremation now. If a death is imminent (a matter of days or weeks), visit the Cremstar Cremation Cost Calculator for an estimate and to email yourself a customized "Order Now" link. If you are preparing for the future and want to lock in a price, visit our Planning Ahead for Cremation section.