A: The actual cremation takes a few hours at most, but the process is really broken down into three parts. In preparation for cremation, we need to receive the human remains into our care, and enter the decedent’s information into the Illinois Vital Records database. A doctor needs to sign off on the death certificate, the coroner needs to issue the cremation permit, and the county clerk files with the state. We will then schedule the cremation within a day or two. The actual cremation lasts a few hours, then there is a cool down period after the cremation before we can process and package the cremated remains. The earliest cremated remains can be received back into a family’s care is approximately 24 hours after the cremation, although most families wait until we have the death certificates in hand before they come in for an appointment. The length of time to receive the death certificates depends on the county where the death occurred.