Other Cremation FAQs

Cremation Society of Illinois - Memberships & Benefits

Q. What is Cremation Society of Illinois?
A. This is currently the only exclusive cremation society in Illinois. Society members come from all social, religious, and economic backgrounds, finding unity in their mutual attraction to the simplicity of the cremation rite. They choose to dispense with costly and unnecessary pomp associated with traditional funerals to the dignified disposition at the time of death.

Our membership plan allows families to make all arrangements in advance, thereby relieving survivors of the need to make urgent decisions while experiencing grief. Preplanning provides families with complete peace of mind, both emotionally and financially.

At the time of death, our counselors are available to assist the needs of your survivors by arranging memorial services, filing newspaper obituaries, notifying social security and applying for VA benefits.

Most Society members are not only attracted to the purity and dignity of this rite but are also concerned citizens who look toward the future and the eventual scarcity of land. They also believe that the thousands of dollars saved in funeral costs can be put to a much more meaningful use through bequests to children or grandchildren - or perhaps left in a memoriam to the decedent's favorite charity as a continuation of his or her efforts to build a better tomorrow.

Q. Is Cremation Society licensed by the State of Illinois?
A. Yes. All directors at Cremation Society of Illinois are licensed by the State of Illinois.  We are also licensed by the Illinois Comptroller for accepting pre-arrangement funds.

Q. How does Cremation Society of Illinois work?
A. Cremation Society is notified immediately at the time of death. Our licensed and trained professionals transport your loved one's remains into our care where they are held at our facility in a state required cremation container until the time of cremation.  Cremation can only be performed once the doctor or medical examiner (coroner) has signed a death certificate, a county medical examiner or coroners permit has been issued and the paperwork is on file with the State of Illinois. Once we have the proper permits in hand, we can proceed with the cremation. The paperwork takes approximately 3-5 working days to complete.

Q. If this is not the type of service I want, can Cremation Society of Illinois be of any assistance?
A. Yes. Our counselors have information regarding traditional funeral services with a rental casket followed by cremation, traditional funeral services followed by earth burial and information on caskets and burial vaults. If you are concerned about funeral cost, in some cases we could save you thousands of dollars. We also work with the Anatomical Gift Association (AGA), if your wishes are to donate your body to science.

Q. May I change my instructions in the future?
A. Yes, you may change any instructions you wish. Simply notify us in writing of your change and we will update your record. Also, please know if you do not wish for your survivors to have the option of changing your cremation arrangements, on your membership application, simply mark the box that does not allow them the option to cancel or select alternative arrangements, regardless of whether they deem a change to be appropriate. 

Q. How do I join Cremation Society of Illinois?
A. Fill out the membership application and mail it to our office with a one-time registration fee of $20* for a single membership or $30* for married/civil union couples. You can also join online to become a member. This fee defrays the cost of setting up and maintaining your records. It is not refundable, nor an offset to final service costs. We will register you, and send you wallet-sized membership cards.  Members may call or write us regarding any related question. If you want to pre-fund the $1,495*, your survivors will never be charged more for your direct cremation service, no matter how far into the future our services are needed. The cost for the direct cremation service does not include items such as an urn, cremation container, death certificates or other services or merchandise.

Cost and Refunds

Q. At the time of death, what is the cost for the cremation service?
A. The cost of the cremation service is presently $1,495* for members. This can be pre-funded or paid at the time services are rendered. The charge to non-members, whom we also serve, is more.

Q. Is your price of $1,495* for cremation service good for the entire state of Illinois?
A. Yes. Cremation Society of Illinois offers services to the entire state at one price. However, there is an additional transportation charge of $3.00 per mile one way driven in excess of 30 miles from any of our locations.

Q. May I pre-pay the Cremation cost of $1,495*?
A. Yes, and this is all you will ever pay for your direct cremation services. Your funds (50% by law) are placed in a trust account in a federally insured institution or insurance. The account is between the Society and you. At the time of death, the Society retains the principal plus interest, in consideration for your lifetime guarantee. The cost for the direct cremation service does not include items such as an urn, cremation container, death certificates or other services or merchandise.

Q. Is this trust fund refundable?
A. Yes. In accordance with Illinois State Law, funds are placed in trust accounts. Your trust is refundable at any time, with written, signed notice.

Q. Do Social Security and Veterans' benefits apply to the Cremation Society services?
A. Yes, there are certain decedents whose heirs may be eligible for Social Security benefits or for Veteran's benefits. Our counselors are available to explain the regulations pertaining to eligibility for these death benefits.

General Frequent Questions

Q. What other services do you offer my survivors after death?
A. A Cremation Society counselor will assist your survivors in arranging a Memorial Service, filing obituaries, obtaining certified copies of death certificates, applying for all death benefits and selecting a cremation container (required by state of Illinois) and an urn. Charges for permits, certified death certificates, newspaper notices, etc., which are cash advances, as well as other services and merchandise such as the cremation container, are payable at the time of arrangements.

Q. What happens if the death occurs while on vacation out of state?
A. Cremation Society of Illinois wants our members to be protected no matter when or where you need it. For an additional pre-funded fee (non-refundable and in addition to the membership and direct cremation fee) Cremation Society of Illinois offers travel protection plans which facilitate the same quality service at no additional cost anywhere in the nation or the world.

Q. Is the modern trend toward Cremation?
A. Most definitely. In some parts of the country, cremation occurs after more than half of all deaths. Of course, cremation is as old as man himself, having been practiced for centuries in other cultures. Our modern approach is simply a reflection on our growing concern for the environment, combined with appreciation of the simplicity and dignity of the cremation rite.

Questions about Cremation

Q. Does the body have to be embalmed?
A. No. Cremation Society of Illinois' modern facilities and proper refrigeration eliminate the need to embalm. However, embalming may be necessary if you have certain cremation/funeral services, such as a viewing.

Q. What happens to the ashes after Cremation?
A. Your cremated remains (ashes) will be handled according to your written instructions.

Q. In what kind of container are the cremated remains returned?
A. The cremated remains are placed in whichever urn your family selects (additional fees apply). We have a large selection of permanent urns available for you to choose from or your family may supply their own. 

*Prices subject to change without notice.

For more information, please see the Cremation Process page.  

Other Frequent Questions

Do people choose cremation only to save money?
While some people select cremation for economy, many choose this option for other reasons. The simplicity and dignity of cremation, environmental concerns, and the flexibility cremation affords in ceremony planning and final disposition all add to its increasing popularity.

Don't most funeral homes have a crematory?
Most funeral homes subcontract this delicate procedure out to a third party provider in another location where the funeral home has little or no control over the crematory's operating procedures. Often, the family incurs additional transportation expenses and needless delay. By contrast, we operate our own crematories by our fully certified and highly trained staff. Our crematory equipment is state-of-the-art and meets or exceeds every state and local operating requirement. Our crematories are open for inspection any time during normal business hours. 

Are there any special benefits for veterans?
Benefits may be available for veterans' families who pass away in a VA hospital, or a VA contracted health care facility. Once our financial requirements are satisfied, we file for the VA reimbursement to be sent directly to the entitled family member. We obtain the government provided flag for the next of kin and make arrangements for the cremated remains to be interred in a National Cemetery. The cemetery provides the grave, cost to open and close the grave, and the head stone. Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL is the closest National Cemetery to the Chicago-Metropolitan area. If the Veteran is not interred in a National Cemetery, they are still entitled to Military Honors, which may take place at another cemetery or place of service, such as a church. If they bury the cremated remains in a non-military cemetery the government head stone is still available; we make the arrangements for the family as well.

Is there any assistance for families on welfare?
If the deceased is on Public Aid, we will be happy to submit the claim to Public Aid for reimbursement to family for payment of our basic cremation services once our financial obligation is met. The Public Aid Office makes the final decision as to if the deceased is eligible. The family will be reimbursed for the monies they paid for the cremation if they meet the eligibility requirements direct from Public Aid.