Cremation is the ‘hot’ trend in the U.S. death care market today, and is revolutionizing the funeral industry. Cremation now accounts for 43% of all funerals in the nation, with some states cremating 65% or higher, and a forecast for the national rate to reach 65% by 2020. Some industry watchdogs even suggest it will reach 65% before 2020.
However, the biggest revolution about this shift to cremation is in fact the shift to direct cremation. Something the industry as a whole is choosing not to disclose. Many of those cremation providers who offer affordable cremation services report that 80% of their cremations are direct cremation. Up until recently most families did not know what a direct cremation was – today it is starting to permeate our understanding of funeral terminology.
So what exactly IS direct cremation you may be asking?
A direct cremation is the funeral industry term for a basic cremation with minimal cost outlay and no services or ceremony performed before the cremation. You may also hear a direct cremation referred to as an immediate cremation, a basic cremation or a simple cremation. They all generally mean the same thing.
To help you fully understand what a direct cremation is, I have outlined below the 7 key things you need to know about direct cremation.
- A direct cremation involves no pre-funeral services. There is no viewing, visitation or ceremony conducted.
- Because direct cremation is a simple process of disposition (by cremation), in many states you can arrange a direct cremation without needing the services of a funeral director. You can deal directly with a crematory, a direct disposer or a cremation provider who offers only cremation services.
- No embalming is required before a direct cremation. [If the deceased had a pace-maker this will need to be removed]
- No casket is required for a direct cremation. Because there are no pre-funeral services, there is no need for a casket. The body is cremated in a simple cardboard container called the ‘Cremation Container’. This obviously eliminates a large cost factor to a traditional funeral.
- Although it is often called an ‘immediate cremation’, a direct cremation cannot proceed until certain paperwork is in order, and in many states there is a mandatory waiting period after the death of 24-48 hours. A Cremation Authorization Form must be signed by the immediate next of kin, and a cremation permit issued by the County.
- The cremation process takes approximately 3 hours, after which the remains are filtered and ground to form the powdered ‘ash’ we commonly consider to be cremated remains. Generally the cremated remains are ready for the family to collect (or have delivered) within about 5-10 days.
- Once a direct cremation has been conducted and you have the cremated remains returned, you can of course arrange your own memorial service. This can be done with, or without, the cremation urn present, or can take the form of an ash scattering ceremony. Being able to have the cremation handled in an efficient and economical manner (direct cremation) by a licensed cremation professional at a low cost means the family can save money on funeral costs, and arrange a memorial ceremony that is befitting for the deceased.
If you have decided a direct cremation is your preferred disposition choice, it can be helpful to use this term when consulting with funeral homes. All funeral service providers (by law) must have this service option outlined on their General Price List (GPL), although you will usually find it to the bottom. Not all funeral providers will include the same range of services in their direct cremation price though, so do check this carefully. Is the cremation container included in the price quoted? Are death certificates and cremation permits included? Is the crematory fee included?
The market for direct cremation is becoming more competitive as funeral service providers are realizing that many Americans are choosing this option. It offers the ability to arrange a dignified cremation for a fraction of the cost of a funeral, and also empowers the family to be in control of the memorialization process.
How much does a direct cremation cost?
This is not a simple question to answer as the costs do vary so much between cremation service providers. For this reason it is accurate to say a direct cremation can cost anywhere between $500 and $3,000. However, if you shop around and seek out a low cost direct cremation provider you should expect to pay between $700 and $1,000 in most metros areas. [Prices do vary depending on area]
There are cremation service providers in most cities now that are offering budget direct cremation, and this does not necessarily mean an inferior service. In many cases it is a local funeral home operating a separate direct cremation business to help supplement their declining traditional trade. Just be sure to check the credentials of exactly who you are dealing with.
DFS Memorials ONLY works with licensed local funeral service providers who offer a comprehensive and best price direct cremation service for their area. To find out the cost of a direct cremation in your town – visit your state and select your town. All direct cremation prices are disclosed, and all prices are complete prices with no hidden extras!