Arrangement Processes

The information on this page is offered to give general insight about the arrangement process. There are many variables that make each arrangement unique; therefore please understand that this is an overview only.  

There are two types of arrangements: Pre-Need and At-Need. The licensed professionals at Iowa Cremation will guide you through each step of the arrangement conference.  Click on one of the two arrangement types for more information.

Pre-Need Arrangements

Pre-Need and preplan are interchangeable terms referring to securing services for end of life care before the death takes place.  

Your pre-need arrangements are easy to complete and we offer two simple ways to do it. Iowa Cremation’s website features our Become a Member portal, where you can complete all the information and choose financial options from your computer, tablet, or smartphone device. We also offer personal assistance from one of our licensed professional cremation counselors in your home or another location of your choosing.

Whichever method you choose for preplanning, the processes are similar and require the completion of paperwork. We will first provide you with a General Price List that contains the prices for all the goods and services that we offer.

We will request from you some basic information that is required by law, which includes the following:

  • Full Legal Name and Legal Residence
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Highest Level of Education
  • Race
  • Marital Status and marriage date and place if applicable
  • Veteran Status
  • Occupation before retirement
  • Spouse full name including maiden name if applicable
  • Full names of your parents (including mother's maiden name)
  • Contact information for next-of-kin or the person designated to handle your arrangements at the time of your death.

The Iowa Cremation licensed professional will explain all available options and help guide you toward the option that best meets your needs. They will review and complete a contract and other documentation for those services or items. The Iowa Cremation counselor will also review our affordable payment options, and finalize the forms necessary for a payment schedule, if selected. You will be offered an obituary form, if you would like to keep information on file that may be used in the future.

Once the pre-need arrangements have been completed, you will be given a membership envelope containing copies of all the documents you signed, a general price list, a membership card and family identification cards. The family identification card contains all the contact information for Iowa Cremation, so the person handling the arrangements following death can easily reach one of our funeral directors or other staff members.

A few weeks after the pre-need arrangement conference, you will receive a letter stating that a trust has been opened with US Bank, N.A. This notification is required by Iowa code 523A. If you have chosen one of our affordable payment plans, your coupons will also be mailed to you.

At-Need Arrangements

Because each situation is unique, please note that this is a general outline of how our staff will assist you. The actual steps and items involved may vary.

At the time of the death of a member, Iowa Cremation should be the first and only death care provider called at 1-888-871-3361. This call should be made regardless of where the death has occurred. The phones are answered 24-hours a day, seven days a week. If the member is in a hospital, care center, or under hospice care, we appreciate a call from the facility so we can gather information that will better assist the arrangement process.

Once Iowa Cremation has been notified of the death, one of our licensed funeral directors will begin the process of compiling and reviewing the information that was completed during the preneed agreement. The funeral director will also make contact with the person listed in the records as the next-of-kin, and coordinate with any hospice, hospital, nursing home or other staff regarding taking the deceased into our care.

Since families sometimes decide to remain with their deceased loved one until the funeral director arrives, it’s not uncommon to begin the at-need arrangement conference at the location of death. In some circumstances, the next-of-kin may not be present when the funeral director arrives, and we are fully equipped to assist families who wish to complete forms through either e-mail or fax.

During the at-need arrangement conference, the licensed funeral director will go over with the next-of-kin the information from the original preneed documents. It’s important to review this information, as significant changes may have occurred between the time the cremation was originally purchased and the time of death.

The cremation authorization is an important legal document the funeral director will have the next-of-kin carefully read and sign. The cremation cannot take place until it has been signed.  In some cases, there will be multiple next-of-kin that will be required to sign the authorization. We will also discuss the financial portion of the arrangements, including the options for paying any outstanding balance. The family may want to discuss purchasing additional items such as urns, obituaries, additional death certificates, keepsake jewelry, memorial record package, etc. The licensed funeral director will review the disposition of the cremated remains and whether the family is going to pick them up from one of our facilities or have Iowa Cremation package and ship them.

If the family chooses to place an obituary in the paper, the licensed funeral director will help write a draft using the information that has been provided. The family or next-of-kin will proofread the obituary. When it’s been approved the funeral director will offer assistance with its placement in a newspaper, and make the necessary contact with them for the obituary to be published. Please note the charges to publish an obituary vary greatly between different newspapers. If requested, our professional staff will assist with gathering any price quotes prior to publication, but the deceased’s family will be responsible for those charges.

Once the cremation authorization and contract documents are completed, the licensed funeral director will begin the process of entering the data required for the death certificate and procuring the medical examiner’s cremation permit.

When the cremation authorization, contract documents, and medical examiner’s cremation permit are completed, Iowa Cremation will proceed with the cremation. Using our exclusive Cedar Tracking system and processes, the deceased is issued a cremation tag that contains a unique number. This tag and number follow the deceased through the entire process to ensure proper identification from beginning to end. All details from the tracking process are entered into a proprietary database to ensure all records are compiled in a secure location.

After the cremation process is complete, the cremated remains are placed into a plastic shipping box or an urn that was preplanned or chosen by the next of kin.  The next-of-kin will be contacted again to finalize the details of returning the cremated remains.

For more specific information about cremation, please visit Cremation Process. As always, we welcome you to call Iowa Cremation directly at 1-888-871-3361 for specific questions.


"Iowa Cremation gave me extraordinary support when my husband passed away. Everything was handled with compassion and respect, and for that I am forever grateful."

- Barbara B. from Clive, Iowa


"Iowa Cremation's service was incredible and I tell everyone they should preplan with their staff."

- Patti B. from Muscatine, Iowa


"The compassion and professional care extended to us by Iowa Cremation was very consoling and deeply appreciated by our family."

- Mary Ellen M. from Lansing, Iowa