Do you want to know how to arrange a dignified funeral at an affordable cost? We have put together this guide to help you understand how you can save thousands arranging a funeral. In fact, you can arrange a simple, basic cremation for just $1,195!
The average cost of a traditional funeral in Altoona is $6,005*, and this does not include cemetery costs, so it is understandable that many families today are looking to more affordable alternatives. Cremation is now becoming the preferred, more affordable option to conduct a dignified, yet simple funeral service at a fraction of the full cost of a traditional funeral.
Why choose cremation services?
Cremation offers an inexpensive and flexible alternative to a burial service. Choosing cremation services can save you 40% to 60% (or sometimes more) on the cost of traditional burial services. This is because a casket is not required, or embalming (unless required) and there is no immediate need for a cemetery plot or burial vault. Eliminating these just these few products and services saves thousands of dollars alone.
A cremation can offer a more flexible alternative that can accommodate families who have moved from their home state, or when a funeral cannot be held straight away. Cremation also offers a greater range of personalization options with a whole array of ash-scattering ceremony possibilities, and various cremation artifact products.
What kind of cremation service should I choose?
There are generally 3 types of cremation service options. A cremation funeral – where the funeral service is held with the deceased present and a cremation is conducted after the service. A cremation memorial – where the cremation is conducted before a memorial service is held. This can be with, or without, the cremated remains present and can often take the form of an ash-scattering ceremony. Or there is a direct cremation – this is where the deceased is cremated with no services, and the remains given back to the family. There are some variances around these 3 main options, such as a private viewing before cremation, an observed cremation, or a graveside interment of a cremation urn.
How much does a cremation cost in Altoona?
The cost of a cremation can vary considerably. This will depend upon the type of cremation service you opt for and the cremation services provider you select. The average cost of a cremation memorial service is $2,961*, depending upon the length of service held and what kind of casket you purchase or rent. The average cost of a direct cremation is $1,780*, although a direct cremation package can be conducted for just $1,195 with DFS Memorials.
Direct cremation services in Altoona, PA
If you are working to a budget for your funeral expenses, you may wish to consider a direct cremation. A direct cremation is the cheapest cremation option. The funeral services provider does everything to take care of the immediate disposition of the deceased but no viewing or services are held. The deceased is cremated in a simple cremation container and then the cremated remains are made available for the family or collect (or if requested delivered/mailed). A direct cremation can be arranged online or by phone without any need for you to visit a funeral home. For your best price on a direct cremation contact your DFS Memorials provider in Altoona on (814) 204-2527 who offers a complete direct cremation package for just $1,195.
How do I choose a cremation services provider?
This can sometimes be a daunting task when there are several funeral homes to choose between. It may help to set yourself some clear criteria to help you select the provider that best suits your needs. Which funeral services provider you select can be influenced by what facilities and services they offer, or what budget you have.
As we have highlighted, costs can vary quite significantly between funeral homes for the exact same service. For this reason we would recommend you compare some costs before making a decision.
Comparing cremation costs in Altoona, PA
All funeral homes have a general price list (GPL) and this should itemize all services and charges. Legally a funeral home must provide you with a copy of their GPL if you request cremation price information, either in person or by phone.
According to funeral price research surveys in Altoona, the average cost of a direct cremation is $1,780*, although a direct cremation can be arranged for less than this with some cremation providers. DFS Memorials offer a direct cremation service for $1,195.
When comparing costs and services check what IS included, especially with a budget direct cremation package. Is a copy of the death certificate included? Is the cremation permit an additional cash advance item or included? What about if an out-of-hours collection is required? Is there an additional daily refrigeration charge if the cremation does not proceed after 48-hours? Death certificates cost $20.00 for the first certificate and $5 for each additional death certificate required. You should also note that the county coroner may charge a fee if they are required to sign the death certificate.
What legally do I need to know about arranging a cremation in Altoona?
There are a few legal requirements that you need to be aware of if you are considering cremation. Firstly, the legal next-of-kin must all sign the ‘Cremation Authorization Form’ before a cremation can proceed.
In Pennsylvania there is a mandatory 24-hour wait period after death before the cremation can proceed. Before a cremation can go ahead the doctor must sign and fill out the cause of death, and the county health department must issue a permit to cremate. The deceased will be refrigerated during this period, and longer if required, however you should be aware that many cremation packages will only include refrigeration for up to 5 days and will charge you a daily rate thereon.
Death certificates and permits are considered ‘cash advance’ items and not generally included in a quoted cremation price. The funeral director will generally obtain the death certificates on your behalf.
Can I preplan a cremation?
Yes you can prearrange a cremation. Advance planning can help to ensure you get the most appropriate services provider for your needs, and can save surviving family the financial and emotional burden at the time of death. There are various options open to you to plan ahead so consult with your preferred services provider. A pre-arranged direct cremation plan can be preplanned at a low cost to ensure your family do not have the burden about worrying about funeral costs.
What can we do with the cremated remains?
As I mentioned earlier there is a versatility on what you can do with cremated remains. You can inter a cremation urn in a cemetery plot or niche, keep an urn at home, scatter the remains or create a cremation artifact such as a cremation diamond, glass paperweight, bird bath or memorial reef ball to name but a few!
The deceased had no life insurance – is there any help with cremation costs?
Sadly there is little financial aid that supports those families that find themselves struggling with funeral costs. Most counties do have a budget for indigent funerals but this is generally for those individuals who truly are indigent. Some counties do have limited funds to help low-income families with cremation costs but this can vary county by county. You would need to make inquiries with Blair County Human Services Department at 1430 DeKalb Street PO Box 311, Norristown, PA 19404-0311 Phone: (610) 278-5117 to find out if any assistance is available to you. In these cases often the most basic of funeral services will be supported, with limited control over what happens. A low cost direct cremation from DFS Memorials can be arranged for $1,195.
What is “no-cost cremation”?
Some funeral homes now offer this option in Altoona. This is referring to whole body donation whereby after the donation is complete the remains are cremated (free of charge) and then returned to the family or scattered. Generally funeral homes can get a referral fee from the whole body donation organization, plus they sometimes charge a transportation fee. So all-in-all they do still recoup their costs. As we all know, there really is nothing that is truly free!
How do I obtain a copy of a death certificate?
You can obtain copies of a death certificate from the Vital Records office at: 301 Main Street Towanda, PA 18848 Phone: (570) 265-1702
What happens if the deceased is taken to the Coroner’s Office?
If there were circumstances surrounding the death that led to the deceased being taken to the County Coroner’s office, you will need to employ the services of a funeral director as soon as possible to liaise with the Coroner to have the body released into their care. Only a licensed funeral director can collect a body from the Coroner’s morgue.
Blair County Coroner, 1414 4th Street Altoona PA 16601 Phone: (814) 940-5938
Hopefully this short guide to arranging an affordable cremation service in Altoona has answered some of your questions, and helped you understand how to save costs on a cremation. If you would like to read more extensively about cremation planning, please visit the library section on US Funerals Online.
*Prices obtained from online funeral price comparison survey 2018