Selecting Affordable Funeral & Cremation Services in Miami Beach, FL

Direct Cremation in Miami BeachToday more and more families are seeking more simple and affordable funeral alternatives.

If you are worried about the expense of a funeral, or simply do not want to spend unnecessarily….then a simple, direct cremation is a great alternative.

A direct cremation can be conducted in Miami Beach for as little as $596 complete.

How funeral care is changing and economic reasons for choosing cremation

Deciding whether to bury or cremate is a personal choice.  For some families the decision is dictated by the budget they have for a funeral and a cremation service will cost less than a traditional burial funeral.  On average a cremation service is going to save you at least 40% on  the cost of a burial, sometimes you can save as much as 60% on the cost of a burial service.  More families are choosing cremation as it does offer a greater flexibility. The funeral service does not have to go ahead immediately.  Instead a cremation can be performed and the immediate disposition of the body dealt with and then a service held at a later date convenient to the family.

The economy has definitely impacted on how we are changing our approach to death care today.  Many families simply cannot, or do not, want to spend unnecessarily on funeral costs.  A cremation provides a simple, efficient and economical means to conduct a disposition.

How much does a funeral cost in Miami Beach?

This is not a simple question to answer as funeral costs can range significantly depending on the type of services and products selected, and the funeral services provider used.  The average cost of a funeral in Miami Beach is $7,227*.

How much does a cremation cost in Miami Beach?

Firstly, a cremation WILL save you on funeral costs.  There is no requirement for a casket, cemetery plot or burial vault, which alone saves thousands of dollars.  Generally embalming is not required when a cremation is performed, so all-in-all you can save on many funeral expenses, meaning that a cremation will cost at least half, if not less, than the full cost of a burial funeral.

It is important to state that cremation prices in Miami Beach DO vary quite considerably between funeral homes, and depending what type of cremation service you opt for.  Not all funeral homes have their own crematory but will use the services of a local crematory.  The average cost of a cremation memorial is $4,022*, however, it is possible to find much lower-priced cremation services in Miami Beach.

cremation plan Miami BeachHow much is a direct cremation in Miami Beach, FL?

A basic cremation can be conducted in Miami Beach for as little as $596 complete.  This is what is known as a “direct cremation”.  No services are performed, the deceased is collected, transported to the funeral facility, prepared for cremation and the cremation is conducted.  The cremated remains are returned to the family in a temporary plastic urn.  If desired the family can arrange a brief final goodbye viewing at the funeral home.

Call DFS Memorials now on (305) 901-2403 to arrange a low cost cremation for $596

What type of cremation services are available?

You can select from a range of cremation services and packages.  These will start with a basic cremation without any additional services, which is the cheapest type of cremation package.  You can have a full service funeral that is followed by the cremation, a cremation followed by a memorial service, or just a viewing followed by a cremation.  Cremation does offer versatility in what options you have, and when and where any services can be held.

How to compare cremation costs in Miami Beach, FL

As mentioned the cost of a cremation can vary enormously – for the exact same service – but from different cremation service providers.   Ensure that you compare like-for-like services.  Some cremation service providers include crematory fees and cremation container costs in a direct cremation package, and others do not always include these fees.  Death certificate fees and cremation permits are often additional ‘cash advance’ items.

How do I know that the cremated remains I get back are my loved one’s remains?

This is probably the most common cremation question we are asked.  Strict laws govern Cremation costs in Miami Beachthe cremation of human remains and identity checks have to be made along the way.  The cremation retort has to be completely cleared following a cremation and only one cremation can be performed at a time.  The remains are cleared into a machine that filters out any metal parts (tooth fillings, hip replacements etc) and then ground into the fine ‘dust’ that is returned as cremation ashes.

Understanding the legal requirements for cremation in Florida

As mentioned above, there are laws in place regarding the cremation of human remains.  A cremation cannot be performed until a cremation permit is issued by the medical examiner’s office.  The legal next of kin must sign a Cremation Authorization Form.  There is a mandatory wait period of 24 hours after death in Florida before the cremation can proceed.

It is not necessary to embalm a body for cremation and refrigerated storage is used to preserve the body until the cremation is performed.  The funeral home will generally store the body for up to 5 days in refrigerated storage at no extra charge.  If the cremation does not go ahead within 5 days, an additional fee for storage may be incurred.

What can we do with the cremated remains?

Cremation offers some greater flexibility in what you can do with the cremated remains once you have them returned.  You can, of course, inter them in a grave plot or niche.  However, you can choose to store them in an urn at home or scatter the cremated remains.  There are also options such as having cremation artifacts made from cremated remains such as cremation diamonds, glass jewelry, bird baths and paintings.

Saving on funeral costsPreplanning an affordable cremation service

If you wish to preplan a simple cremation you can lock in a low cost cremation price.  This may depend upon your age at the time of setting up a prepaid cremation plan.

A cremation plan can be set up using an insurance policy where the funds are put into a trust.  You can also opt to preplan your cremation service without prepaying.  This ensures that your surviving family can proceed with arrangements at the time of need, without having to worry about completing the paperwork or making difficult decisions.  The money to pay for the cremation can be put aside in a POD account (Payable on Death) which your beneficiary can draw out upon death immediately without probate.

The deceased had no life insurance – is there any help with cremation costs?

It is sadly a reality that more folks are passing without leaving the means to pay for their funeral.  If you are faced with this situation, you need to explore what help may be available to you.  Social Security pay out a $255 lump sum death benefit (if you qualify) and your funeral director can assist you with this.

The support for indigent burials differs so much by state and county. Some counties do offer some financial assistance to low-income families, whereas in other counties only county indigent dispositions are conducted.  To find out what may be available you should contact Miami-Dade County Human Services Department at:

5400 NW 22nd Ave #300, Miami, FL 33142  Phone: (305) 636-2389

The deceased is at the Medical Examiner’s Office.  What do I do?

If the deceased was the victim of a crime, or there were unusual circumstances surrounding the death, the deceased’s body may be taken into the care of the coroner for an examination to determine the cause of death.  You will need to employ the services of a funeral director as soon as possible to coordinate the release of your loved one from the ME’s office.

A deceased person can only be released into the care of a licensed funeral director.  Many funeral homes are familiar with the process to liaise with the ME to have the body released as quickly as possible.  You may also find that a simple, direct cremation can be arranged at a very low cost when the deceased is in the Coroner’s morgue as all the paperwork can be expedited quickly and the process to transfer the deceased to the funeral facility is simplified.

Address of county coroner’s office: Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner 1851 NW 9th Ave, Miami, FL 33136, USA

We hope this short guide has helped answer some of your immediate questions, and provided some help to understanding how you can arrange an affordable funeral or cremation service in Miami Beach, FL.  If you need to research more information on funeral-planning, please visit the Library section on US Funerals Online.

*Funeral prices obtained from Parting funeral price comparison survey 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arranging an affordable cremation service in Clearwater, FL – Just $795

Direct Cremation in ClearwaterWant 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 $795!

The average cost of a traditional funeral in Clearwater is $6,731*, 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 different cremation alternatives do I have?

There are 3 main 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 Clearwater?

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 $3,656, depending upon the length of service held and what kind of casket you purchase or rent.  The average cost of a direct cremation is $1,979*, although a direct cremation package can be conducted for just $795 with DFS Memorials.

Direct cremation services in Clearwater, FL

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 Clearwater on (727) 201-1616 who offers a complete direct cremation package for just $795.

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 Clearwater, FL

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 Clearwater, the average cost of a direct cremation is $3,656, although a direct cremation can be arranged for less than this with some cremation providers.  DFS Memorials offer a direct cremation service for $795.

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 $5.00 for the first certificate and $4 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 Clearwater?

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 Florida 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 Pinellas County Human Services Department at 647 1st Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 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 $795.

Cremation services in Clearwater FLWhat is “no-cost cremation”?

Some funeral homes now offer this option in Clearwater.  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: 8751 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33771 Phone: (727) 507-4330

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.

Pinellas County Coroner, 10900 Ulmerton Rd, Largo, FL 33778, USA

Hopefully this short guide to arranging an affordable cremation service in Clearwater 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 2017

Cremation may be the only option if you wish to be laid to rest in NYC

A number of recent news stories have exposed the issue now facing many New Yorkers when making funeral arrangements – the lack of burial space!  With such a built-up area around New York City, and with over 60, 000+ deaths a year, the allotted space in cemeteries is just running out.  It’s turning out that a cemetery real estate plot can now work out just as desired-after, and just as expensive, as Manhattan real estate!  According to the NY Times ‘City Cemeteries Face Gridlock’ article, a mausoleum space can cost as much as $3 million, with burial space in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx costing more than $1,000 per square foot!

DFS Memorials offer an affordable direct cremation price of $475

Call NOW on for immediate assistance

Brooklyn : (718) 395-3211      Bronx : (718) 285-6565    Queens : (718) 395-3142

Staten Island : (718) 395-3142     Manhattan : (212) 381-6243

New Yorkers can still be interred in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, but burial space is so limited, that officials are predicting that cremation will become the preferred option for those who want a final resting place in the city.  Most of the cemeteries in New York City are now focusing on how they can add above-ground mausoleums to offer extended space for burials and even increase the space for cremation niches.

Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn still has some space left, but it is expected this will run out within the next 10 years.  Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx both report a similar problem, although they believe some creative utilization of space, may enable them to continue offering burial plots for at least another 20 years.  Canarsie Cemetery now plans to build an extensive ‘city’ of mausoleums in an attempt to add 10,000 new burial spaces to the cemetery.

New York City cemeteries have had to become as inventive as possible in creating additional interment space, narrowing pathways and creating smaller family or joint plots.  The Division of Cemeteries that governs cemeteries allows them to reclaim plots that have remained unused for 75 years if they have had no contact from the family who purchased the plot.  Cemeteries can even buy back sold plots that families no longer want.  Maybe not surprising then that the Division has been approached by families wanting to disinter their parents to sell the plots.  When a plot at Woodlawn can be valued at anything between $6,995 and $1.6 million, this is becoming the lucrative real estate of the 21st century for many cash-poor New Yorkers.

When a cremation can be performed within New York City for as little $475, including the crematory fee, it simply makes cremation the most affordable option.  For those New Yorkers that still want NYC to be their final resting place, then a small cremation niche may be a solution, or maybe an ash scattering.  Those New Yorkers who absolutely want to be buried, may have to turn to the suburbs, upstate New York or even New Jersey, where more burial space is available and at an affordable cost.

As the little burial space there is continues to run out, the prices for cemetery plots in New York is likely to increase.  If you are a New Yorker that holds an unused cemetery deed, this could turn out to have been a lucrative investment.  However, if you want to be buried in your city, but do not yet own a gravesite, you may find your options limited.

How to Give a Eulogy

eulogy_checklistMore families are opting to deliver their own memorial services, especially as the trend for direct cremation increases.  It can be a much more personal memorialization when the family and friends of the deceased prepare and deliver a eulogy at a funeral or memorial service.

The idea of a somber traditional funeral is slowly being replaced by something more celebratory, personalized and upbeat.  Today a Life Celebration is becoming a popular way of holding a funeral event.  This type of funeral ritual focuses more on celebrating the life of the deceased.

A eulogy should generally reflect on the life and personality of the person being memorialized.  Being given the task of writing and delivering a eulogy can be a daunting responsibility.  Choosing the right words, delivering it with the right amount of emotion, and being able to effectively reflect the personality of the person being eulogized are key to delivering a eulogy tribute.

What to do…

  • Position the eulogy by introducing yourself and your relationship with the deceased.
  • Try to keep the eulogy to a manageable time allowance (no more than 5 mins)
  • Include personal stories and anecdotes to re-live the memory of the person being eulogized.
  • Feel free to include a poem, song or artifact that memorializes the person.
  • When preparing a eulogy – you should consider how it fits into the whole service.  Is this to be a single eulogy? Are you combining stories from other family members or friends? Or will there be several eulogies from different people.

And what NOT to do!

  • Do not dwell on any negative aspects of the deceased or re-live ‘bad’ memories
  • Be honest without disclosing family secrets – do not use it as an opportunity to ‘get even’!
  • Whilst being honest, it would be diplomatic to avoid religious or political opinions.

How long should a eulogy be?

This can depend on the type of service and whether there is to be one or multiple eulogies delivered.  The general guideline seems to be between 3 and 5 minutes.  But this is all about personalization!

Can a person prepare their own eulogy?

Yes! There is no reason why a person cannot prepare their own eulogy.  In fact many people would prefer to be in control of how they are memorialized on their passing.   It has even been suggested that preparing your own eulogy can be a powerful tool for self-reflection.  It can be a great way to evaluate if you are ‘on track’ in terms of where your life is going and whether you are accomplishing the goals you aspire to.

MyOwnEulogy.com is a website that offers this unique service.  It enables you to create your own unique digital eulogy and then upload it to the site. You are in complete control as you can select the executors who will be notified of your passing and whether your digital content should be made public and remain private.

Check it out at MyOwnEulogy

My Own Eulogy

If you are tasked with preparing a eulogy you will find many resources online that can provide tips and inspirational quotes, poems and songs.  Preparation is probably key for constructing a tribute that is both dignified, reflective, emotional and yet celebratory.

Funeral Customs and Rituals from around the world

We are understand the ‘rites of passage’ as marking cultural traditions that are attached with certain points in our lives.   “Last rites” is generally considered the final passage of our life, however, the customs in how a funeral and our final passage from this world are performed vary by faith and culture.

This great infographic sums up some of the main differences in funeral customs from different cultures.

Funeral Ceremonies and Cultural Diversity

Selling cemetery plots in a declining burial marketplace

selling-cemetery-plotSome days it seems that everyone is trying to sell a cemetery plot that is no longer required.  As Communications Director for US Funerals Online I deal with inquiries on a daily basis from families, and one common question today is “how can I sell my cemetery plot?”  Unfortunately I think some individuals see the legacy of a family cemetery plot as the potential to a quick buck, but the reality is that more families are selling than those that are looking to buy!

Selling a cemetery plot is not always a straight-forward process.  Not only do we have a declining burial rate as cremation gains popularity, but finding an appropriate marketplace to sell a product that people do not really want to think about buying, can be problematic too!

So how do you sell an unwanted cemetery plot?

You have various avenues you can try.  Firstly there are online cemetery registry websites that allow you to list your cemetery property for sale.  Do be careful to check the terms for using an online registry.  Most online brokers will want a commission for helping you to sell your plot, but this can vary from a fixed fee to a percentage of the sale price.  Also check if there is a length of time you can list your property for, as cemetery property does not generally sell quickly!

You can also explore options in your locale.  Is there a cemetery real estate agent who can help you re-sell your property?  In some cases the cemetery may buy back your plot but the likelihood is that they will only offer you the original purchase price, or maybe even less.

A useful strategy may be to notify local funeral homes in your area that you have a cemetery plot for sale, the cost of the plot and the commission you would be willing to pay them if they sold the plot for you.   Do bear in mind that even cemeteries are struggling to sell plots now and offering huge discounts and enhanced commissions.  Local clergy and estate lawyers may also be worth notifying of your intent to sell a plot.

Don’t expect a quick sale!

Prepare yourself…selling that family plot that has been in the family for decades is not going to get you rich quick!  Transferring cemetery deeds can sometimes be a complicated affair.  If your family has a plot in an established cemetery, and if you happen to live in a city where burial space is becoming sparser, then you may be in luck.  But you do need to accept that your plot may take months, if not years, to sell and may not fetch thousands of dollars.

Cremation & Memorialization: Conducting your own memorial service

cremation-memorialOne of the most significant changes happening in the funeral industry today is the fragmentation of professional services.  For many years we have entrusted the funeral home to handle all aspects of the death ritual, from collecting and preparing the deceased to delivering a eulogy.  This may have all seemed very relevant in times when the funeral director most likely knew the deceased in person or through his community.  However, this is not so much the case now where funeral directors can be handling the services for a deceased person that they have never met!

This raises the issue of how effectively a funeral home can assist a family memorialize a person that they have no prior knowledge of, and is but one driver in why more families today are opting to conduct their own cremation memorial services.

Funeral directors can cremate: Families can memorialize!

Industry critics talk about how the industry is separating into the disposition and memorialization elements.  The disposition element continues to be served very well by funeral professionals, and cremation is offering a simple and low cost disposition option.  A basic cremation without any services (known in the trade as a direct cremation or immediate cremation) can be conducted in most cities for between $795 and $1,195.  This handles the complete disposition process simply, efficiently and at a manageable cost.

Once the cremated remains are returned to the family they can than arrange to conduct a cremation memorial service.  This can be arranged at a time and place that is entirely suitable for the family.  Memorial services can be held at home, in a place of worship or a community venue.  In fact, you can even hold a memorial service at a golf club!  They can be held with the cremated remains present, or without.  A memorial service can be held to scatter cremated remains, or to distribute keepsake cremation urns between family members.

Not only can the family arrange to conduct their own memorial service which can be uniquely personalized, but they can do it at a fraction of the cost a traditional funeral service at a funeral home would have cost.

memorial_board_makingLife celebrations: Tributes that are uniquely personal

No one can best memorialize a lost loved one than the family who hold those shared memories of the deceased.  Funerals are becoming less somber events and more about creating an uplifting celebration of a life lived.  The number of celebrants is increasing as families use the services of a professional to deliver secular celebration services.  However, where they feel capable the family can prepare and deliver their own tribute service.  A benefit of being able to arrange a timely cremation and postpone the funeral service is that it gives the family a chance to immediately grieve without being forced to make decisions about a funeral service.  The service can be arranged at a later date when the family feels ready to address the memorial aspect of remembering their lost loved one.

Save money by creating your own memorial tributes

If you wish to conduct your own memorial services and keep costs down, then there are various options available for how you can make your own memorial tributes.  You can download templates for memorial cards, set up free online memorial pages, and create your own memory boards, candles and wreaths.  All it takes is a little bit of time, imagination and desire to completely make your tribute personal.

What can I do with the cremated Remains?

cremated-remainsToday as more families choose cremation as a final disposition option, so more folks consider what they can do with the cremation ashes once they are returned. Typically about 3 to 7 pounds of cremated remains are generated once a person is cremated. Once fully processed by the crematory these cremated remains resemble a gray-like ash compound.

These days more funeral homes are reporting that families are not even collecting their loved ones’ remains, and in fact many funeral homes now include a clause stipulating that they have the right to respectfully scatter any uncollected remains after a period of 90 days has passed.

So what do you do with cremated remains once you have collected them from the funeral home?

Burying cremated remains

cremation nicheMany people choose to bury the cremation urn.  You can purchase a small cemetery plot (usually similar to an infant size), or purchase a cremation niche in a columbarium.  Indeed more cemeteries are adding both columbaria and scattering gardens.

Alternatively, you may choose to inter a cremation urn into an existing grave plot with a loved one already passed.  Cemeteries will charge you an opening and closing fee to do this, but it can be a great way to ensure loved ones are respectfully laid to final rest and provide a common memorial site for future family to visit.

Keeping cremated remains at home on the mantelpiece

This is not for everyone.  In fact, most folks tend to say that they don’t really know what to do with the urn when they bring it home!  An Aunt of mine used the remains of her late husband in his urn as a doorstop for many years.  Now there are so many different cremation urns, even quirky personalized urns, that the choice can be overwhelming!  Keepsake urns (a set of 1 or more small urns into which the cremated remains can be distributed) also mean that family can share out remains between siblings or family members.  However, it seems that more often than not, a cremation urn kept at home may end up in the back of a cupboard!

Scattering cremated remains

Ash scattering is fast becoming a low cost means by which to ‘dispose’ of someone’s mortal remains that can also offer the opportunity to lay someone to rest in a ‘space’ they loved. Cremated remains are basically organic matter and so pose no threat at all to the environment.  In fact, you could actually argue that scattering cremated remains is a symbolic gesture of reuniting one’s mortal matter with the Universe, and could be interpreted as such by the biblical reference of “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”.

As scattering cremation ashes is gaining popularity, we find we are asked more and more frequently as to what laws govern ash scattering.  There is very little legislation and policing of the scattering of ashes, so long as one conducts it with dignity and common-sense.  If scattering on private land you must have the permission of the landowner.  There are some public areas where you do need to gain permission or sometimes even a permit.  However, in the main, you are at liberty to dispose of a loved one’s remains by scattering them to the winds.

There is an array of ash scattering companies today, and you can choose from an aerial scattering over the natural beauty of mountain ranges, scattering at sea off the coastlines and or having a portion of remain blasted into space to be scattered.  The great thing is that there is something to suit every budget and imagination!

Creating cremated remains artifacts

Memory-GlassBeing largely organic matter cremation ashes can be mixed into a variety of compounds to be constructed into memorial artifacts.  The carbon from a person can be used to create a cremation diamond at the cost of around $3,000.  A cheaper option is to use some cremated remains to make hand-blown glass ornaments and jewelry, and prices for this start at around $30.00.  Cremains can be mixed with cement and used to construct birdbaths and garden ornaments, or even made into a memorial reef fixture.

Transporting cremated remains

Mailing cremated remains

You can legally transport cremated remains, either in person, or by United States Postal Service.  The cremated remains must be securely packed and marked as “human cremated remains”.  USPS offers Label 139, so that the package can be clearly identified and tracked, and it has to be shipped by Priority Mail Express Service.  Courier companies such as FedEx or UPS will not ship cremated remains.

Flying with cremated remains

If you opt to fly with cremated remains, you must ensure that you meet the TSA guidelines for traveling with cremated remains.  The remains MUST be in an x-ray friendly container such as cardboard, plastic or wood, and you should carry the supporting documentation such as cremation permit and death certificate.

Other things you can do with cremation ashes

It does not stop at burying, scattering and creating a cremation artifact.  Today there are all sorts of weird and wonderful things you can choose to do with cremated remains including fireworks, vinyl records, gun cartridges and tattoos!  To read more about quirky ash scattering ideas, visit this Ash Scattering Guide.

What to do with the cremation ashes after your cremation service?

TIME Magazine’s ‘Cremation: The New American Way of Death‘ highlights a very real issue that is a growing concern as more Americans choose cremation as a preferred disposition choice.  What do you do with the ashes?

The cremation rate is now at 42% and it is predicted that by 2017, one in every two Americans will be cremated.  A cremation service offers a simple and much more affordable funeral alternative.  A basic direct cremation service can be conducted in some cities in America for as little as $399*.  For those Americans choosing a cremation service  instead of burial, the decision about what to do with the cremated remains is now proving a growing dilemma.

There are basically 4 main options of what to do with your loved ones’ ashes –

  • Inter the ashes in a niche, columbarium or existing grave site.
  • Store the cremated remains in a cremation urn at home
  • Scatter the ashes in a ‘special’ place
  • Have something personalized done – cremation diamonds, cremation ammunition, or send the ashes to space or to the bottom of the ocean

cremation-urnCremation may be cheaper – but interring cremated remains is not cheap

Interring the ashes is not necessarily a cost friendly option.  It is widely accepted that many Americans are choosing cremation because it is so much cheaper than a traditional burial.  A cremation can cost a quarter of the cost of a traditional funeral.  By opting for cremation you eliminate the need for the expensive cemetery elements – such as a casket, grave liner, cemetery plot and headstone.   The cost to inter cremated remains can still seem expensive though, when it can run to a few hundred dollars, for that budget cremation service  that only cost a few hundred dollars itself!

The funeral industry reports that they have a growing issue with families NOT collecting cremated remains [especially after that quick and low cost direct cremation], and some funeral homes are storing hundreds of unclaimed cremated remains.

Cemeteries are also now dealing with the issue of families scattering remains over an existing grave, rather than pay the large cost to open the grave and inter the remains.

Keeping mortal remains on the mantle can seems gruesome for some!

There have been plenty of spoof movie scenes featuring some catastrophe happening with that ceramic cremation urn over the fireplace holding grandma’s remains.  Meet the Fockers always sticks in my mind – and quite clearly highlights how, culturally, we still find the idea of having the mortal remains of a dearly departed ‘invade’ our living space somewhat macabre.

I have heard stories from families where cremation urns have ended up as door-stops, or been stored away in the back of a cupboard for generations.  Cremation can detach us from the fixed notion of a ‘final resting place’ in the way that a traditional burial ritual did.

It seems that scattering ashes is becoming more popular alongside the trend towards cremation.

 Permits, prohibitions and ‘ash scattering’ police

The legalities of scattering cremated remains are a somewhat complex and as of yet relatively ‘un-policed’ matter.  Interestingly the TIME feature mentions ‘wildcat scattering’ – an activity where relatives scatter the remains of a loved one at a site of their choosing, without gaining any consent.  Apparently Disneyland has an issue with this.

I am quite sure we will see more ‘wildcat scattering’ as more folks choose cremation and decide to opt for a special final resting place for their cremated remains.

Personalized cremation artifacts

Memory-GlassIf money is no object, and you want something quirky and unusual, there are a whole host of possibilities today of what you can do with cremated remains.   With a spare $4,000 you can be turned into a memorial reef at the bottom of the ocean, or with around $3,000 you can be made into a cremation diamond.  If you want something less expensive, you can maybe opt for being made into a birdbath, glass goblets or tattoo!   This article on ash scattering explores quite a few possibilities.

There future of final resting places is certainly changing alongside the trend towards cremation.  In some ways it heralds a complete reinvention of what the notion of a cemetery is in the future.

* Direct cremation prices vary but a basic direct cremation can cost under $500 in areas such as Nevada, Florida and Washington.

Cremation options: choosing a cremation ceremony

This infographic from Skylawn Memorial Park gives a great and simple overview of the various cremation ceremony and cremation memorial options you can choose from.