Many of the most common questions we receive are answered below.

Select a topic to expand each section for the full listing of questions and answers. We invite you to contact one of our knowledgeable cremation professionals by calling us at 1-888-871-3361 or by using our simple Contact Us Form.

Questions about cremation:

Q:  Is embalming required?
A:  No, embalming is not required by law unless cremation cannot take place in a timely manner due to extenuating circumstances. In most cases, the State of Iowa requires a deceased body be cremated, embalmed, or buried within 72 hours of the declared time of death unless an exemption is granted by the county medical examiner or other authorized governmental agency.  For full information on state laws regarding embalming, please refer to Iowa Law 645—100.

Q:  How is the body prepared for cremation?
A:  After the licensed funeral director transports the deceased to the state-of-the-art Iowa Cremation facility, minimal preparation and sanitary care is completed and the deceased is placed in the leak-proof alternative corrugated container. The deceased is then placed in refrigeration until the funeral director has met with the next-of-kin and obtained the required cremation authorizations and permits. If the deceased has a pacemaker, the licensed funeral director will remove it before the cremation takes place because it could damage the equipment.

Q: When will the cremation take place?
A:  In most cases, cremation of an unembalmed decedent must take place within 72 hours of death, unless an exemption is made or refrigeration is utilized in accordance with Iowa law.

Q: How long before the cremation is complete?
A:  There are several factors that may influence the amount of time the cremation itself takes to be completed, but generally, the process will take approximately 2-4 hours.

Q:  Do I need to purchase a casket for cremation?
A:  No, a corrugated alternative container is provided as part of Iowa Cremation’s plan. The State of Iowa requires the body to be placed in a leak-proof vessel for the cremation process.

Q:  Do I need to purchase an urn for the cremated remains?
A:  After the cremation, the cremated remains (cremains) will be placed in a black plastic shipping urn, however, Iowa Cremation offers a wide assortment of attractive urns at reasonable prices.

Questions about plans, pricing, and membership:

Q:  Why should I pre-purchase my cremation through Iowa Cremation?
A:  First and foremost, Iowa Cremation is one of the most trusted providers of simple cremation in Iowa. Not only do we operate transparently, we encourage visitors to our locations to see the clean, beautiful state-of-the-art facilities. We have been serving Iowans for over 17 years, and many of our new members come through personal referrals of families Iowa Cremation has already served. Another advantage of pre-purchasing through Iowa Cremation is that today’s price is locked-in and there is interest-free financing available for up to 60 months.

Q:  How do I know my money will be safe?
A:  Pre-need funeral contracts are governed by Iowa Code 523A, and monitored by the Iowa Securities Bureau. We are required to report to the Securities Bureau - on a calendar year basis - both the fund balances and fund transactions of all our pre-need contracts. You can confirm the reporting of your contract by calling the Iowa Securities Bureau at 515-281-5705. The information we report to the Securities Bureau is also reported to U.S. Bank, which acts as both the trustee and custodian of all the pre-need trust assets. U.S. Bank sends a confirmation letter to each new contract holder to inform them of the establishment of a trust for each contract purchased. Iowa Laws surrounding the death care industry are consumer friendly and Iowa Cremation is meticulous in following them. We conduct ourselves in a manner that reflects the integrity we value.

Q:  Can I sign the cremation authorization when I purchase my cremation?
A:  No, the cremation authorization must be signed by your next-of-kin or designee after the death takes place. If your children are your next-of-kin, each one will need to sign the cremation authorization. It’s important to discuss your wishes with your loved ones. If you have any concerns that your wishes will not be followed, or there will be disagreement among your next-of-kin, we strongly suggest you contact your attorney about declaring a “Disposition Directive Designee” (refer to Iowa Code 144C). The “Disposition Directive” allows you to select a representative whose authority will supersede that of your next-of-kin.

Questions about what to do after a death:

Q:  When my loved one passes away, what should I do?
A:  Always call 888-871-3361 to report the death; Iowa Cremation’s phones are answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You will be contacted by one of our licensed funeral directors who will be able to answer your questions and walk you through the process.  You will be in good hands.

Q:  How long does it take for someone to arrive?
A:  There are a few different factors that determine the time it will take for the funeral director to arrive at your location. Please allow for travel time between locations and possible weather considerations. One of our licensed funeral directors will call the member's family and provide an estimated time of arrival. Many families appreciate this time with their loved one and use this as an opportunity for a private goodbye in a comforting setting.

Q:  What happens if death occurs when I’m traveling outside of Iowa?  
A:  To avoid fees from another cremation provider it’s extremely important that Iowa Cremation (1-888-871-3361) is the only death care provider called at the time of death. Our licensed funeral directors will work with a trusted affiliate to ensure a smooth experience for your loved ones. Please refer to your contract details, Death Away from Seller's Service Area (Travel Protection) or contact us for more information.

Q.  Who writes and places the obituary?
A:  The Iowa Cremation licensed funeral director will gather the biographical information and submit the obituary to all newspapers requested by the family. Any charges incurred from newspaper publications will be the responsibility of the family. In addition, a Simple Tribute Online Obituary may be placed on our website for no charge.

Q.  Who files the death certificate and how long does it take to arrive?
A:  Iowa Cremation will file for the death certificates as part of our service to you. The county recorder offices charge $20 per certified death certificate, which is paid by the family. Please allow up to 4 weeks for the certificates to arrive in the mail.

Q:  Do we need to use a funeral home if we decide to have a memorial service?
A:  Iowa Cremation specializes in simple cremation services, however, we do offer a Memorial Service Planner that can be used by your family to design a service to commemorate your loved one. Additionally, you may purchase our Memorial Record Package that includes a register book, service folders, acknowledgment cards, and memorial donation envelopes. As part of our service to you, Iowa Cremation is also happy to help locate an affiliated funeral home you can trust to help plan a service.


"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