Questions and Answers for Death Planning


Q. What if I have a pacemaker when I die and my wishes are to be cremated?

A. Pacemakers are removed before cremation because they are considered explosive during the cremation process due to the fact they are sealed devices and contain batteries.

Q. What happens to my metal implants after I die and I am cremated?

A. The implants are removed after the cremation process and then handled in two different ways:

  1. They are placed in a burial vault as they may have small amounts of the bone structure or cremated remains fused to them, and those particles/remains are treated as part of the deceased’s body. When the vault is full, it is then buried in a marked grave in a cemetery.
  2. Many crematories are starting to collect these metal implants because of the value, and then are transferred to a metal recycler who may pay the crematory. In many situations then, the payment is contributed to a charitable cause.

Q. What happens to the gold crowns on my teeth after I die and I am cremated?

A. Gold teeth are not removed unless requested by the family member. Most family members do not request their removal, however, in some circumstances, people have unique gold designs. Generally, the processing to refine the gold teeth costs more than the value.

Q. What is green burial?

A. Also referred to as a “natural” burial. It is a way to bury the deceased with a very small environmental impact. It requires using non-toxic and biodegradable burial containers, caskets and clothing.

Q. May my ashes be scattered anywhere I wish?

A. No. There may be local or federal regulations. Some places including national parks allow people to scatter ashes, but you must first meet their regulations and requirements. Ask permission before scattering ashes on private property – and don’t assume certain property is public (sport stadiums are private). Also, don’t assume you can scatter ashes at a cemetery. You should first check with the cemetery.

Special thank you to Joe Ernest Pray of Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, Michigan, for his consultation on this topic.