The funeral industry is experiencing significant change at present as the shift towards cremation destabilizes a business that has been ‘traditional’ for some decades. Families are leading this change as they demand lower cost funeral services. Price and cost are now driving purchasing decisions, largely because families are struggling financially, and paying out thousands of dollars for a funeral is just NOT an option anymore!
In September 2012 we published a post about how local county social security departments had a rising issue with families failing to collect cremated remains. The financial hardship that many families are suffering has resulted in an increase in state, or public, funerals. County Social Services are dealing with more unclaimed bodies of indigents or low income families.
This story from Illinois highlights how the issue of paying for cremation services continues to plague funeral directors. In this case the funeral director decided to withhold returning the cremated remains to the family until all payments were made in full. He is effectively ‘ransoming’ the ashes! Was he wrong to do this? If you purchase any other consumer item and fail to make the required payments, the item would be re-possessed. Today if you purchase funeral products you must pay in full when you purchase these items. Walmart will not dispatch your $995 casket unless you have paid in full.
As we turn to cremation as a nation, the issue of what to do with cremated remains will continue to present challenges. I often hear individuals claim that they just wish for family to scatter their mortal remains. But often families either end up with remains sat in the back of a closet undecided about what to do with their loved ones ashes.
Funeral homes are also reporting a growing issue with unclaimed cremated remains, and the problem this presents for them in storing a growing number of cremation urns. Some funeral homes have combated this by adding a clause to their cremation contract to allow for them to dispose of the cremated remains if they are not claimed within 60 days.
Low cost cremation services adds to this dilemma. When a family has managed to arrange an inexpensive disposition for just a few hundred dollars, they are less likely to want to incur further funeral costs on elaborate cremation urns.
Inexpensive cremation options generally need to be paid for IN FULL before the direct cremation is conducted. A budget direct cremation will usually include a temporary cremation urn/container. This can be a small plastic urn or a cardboard container.
If you are concerned about funeral costs, then a simple direct cremation is the most affordable option. A direct cremation can be performed in most areas of the United States for between $495 and $1,395 (depending on where you live).