A Guide to Cremation Costs in South Carolina 2024

Cremation Authorizations & Requirements

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What is the average cost of a funeral in South Carolina today?

The internet has provided us with an easily accessible way to compare services and products online, making it easier than ever to price shop. There’s no reason we shouldn’t do the same regarding funerals or cremations. This post aims to make this even easier by giving you a guide to cremation costs in the major cities in South Carolina.

Cremation has become popular in recent years as a more affordable alternative to a traditional funeral. Considering full-service traditional funeral costs an average of $7,551* in South Carolina, it is no surprise that more people are turning to cremation.

When you add cemetery fees on top of this, a ‘standard’ funeral service is likely to cost around $9,000.

Not many families can afford this expense, especially if unprepared for it. This is a key reason for direct cremation’s growing popularity in the US in recent years, as more people turn to a more affordable end-of-life alternative to a traditional funeral service.

So, read on to learn how to arrange a simple cremation today for as little as $850.

What is the average cost of cremation in South Carolina today?

As mentioned above, a direct cremation can be arranged for between $850 and $1,100, but what is the average cost of a cremation in South Carolina? This depends on the type of cremation service you opt for, as a cremation with a memorial service will still cost upwards of $2,500. However, you could pay more for a more elaborate service or less for direct cremation.

If you opt for cremation, you can also eliminate some of the more costly items such as a casket, embalming, a grave liner, and a cemetery plot – this can save you a lot on the full cost of a funeral with burial.

What is the least expensive cremation service?

Direct cremation is your least expensive cremation option. This is when cremation is carried out without a service or ceremony. It is a simple, dignified cremation of the deceased with minimal ‘fuss’ and cost.

The cremated remains are returned to the next of kin after everything has been taken care of.  A family can hold a memorial service when ready, which can even be conducted at home for much less.

Direct cremation cost comparison in the top 8 cities in South Carolina

To help provide you with a better understanding of how cremation costs can vary considerably, we have put together the following table of cremation costs for the major cities in South Carolina. It shows the average direct cremation cost and a low-cost direct cremation. As you can see, a direct cremation can be arranged for under $1,000 in most areas.

CityAverage direct cremation cost*Low-cost direct cremation (DFS Memorials)Immediate help
Charleston$2,540$1,330(843) 994-5899
Columbia$1,622$895(803) 380-8807
North Charleston$2,540$1,330(843) 994-5899
Mount Pleasant$1,940$1,330(843) 994-5899
Rock Hill$1,768$895(803) 380-8807
Greenville$1,835$895(864) 249-4737
Summerville$1,940$1,330(843) 994-5899
Goose Creek$1,940$1,330(843) 994-5899

DFS Memorials is a network of local cremation providers offering affordable direct cremation services.

Are there any extra fees added to a low-cost cremation service package?

The service charge for a direct cremation is listed on the funeral provider’s General Price List. This should include the basic services of the funeral director, collection and transfer of the deceased, completing the legal paperwork, and conducting the cremation.  It usually includes a simple cardboard cremation container and a temporary urn.

Cremation planning

The funeral director will pay third-party fees to the local county to obtain the death certificate and pay for any permit charges.  These are third-party fees that are added to the direct cremation service fee.

The fee for a death certificate in South Carolina is currently $12.00, and each additional copy ordered at the same time is $3.00.

You may require more than one death certificate, as you must send them off to multiple institutions, organizations, or government offices simultaneously. Most authority bodies that need evidence of the death, i.e., a life insurance company, will require an original copy of a death certificate. Certified copies of a death certificate are usually available within ten days after the death.

Other possible additional charges would be:

  • Residential collection
  • Removal of a pace-maker
  • Overweight surcharge (above 250 pounds)
  • Family arrangement consultation
  • Mailing of cremated remains

 What South Carolina funeral legislation governs cremation arrangements?

No casket is required by law for cremation, but a suitable rigid cremation container is required. This can be a simple cardboard container. Some funeral homes offer rental caskets if a service is to be held before the cremation. The next of kin must sign the Declaration for Disposition of Cremated Remains, and a funeral home will usually arrange this as part of their services.

Most states have a mandatory wait time (24-48 hours) after death before a cremation can proceed. However, the County Medical Examiner or a Justice of the Peace can waive this requirement.

What about a “no-cost” cremation in South Carolina?

You can opt to donate your body to science in South Carolina. Two Universities do offer anatomical donation programs. The Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston does not cover transportation costs, and the family must pay for this:

Medical University of South Carolina
Department of Anatomy
171 Ashley Avenue
Charleston, SC 29425

The ‘Gift of Body Program’ at the University of South Carolina in Columbia does offer a program and will usually cover the transportation costs.

Remember that registering to donate is no guarantee that the donation will be accepted at the time of death. You should have a reserve plan.

Visit our Body Donation page to read further about this option.

The deceased had no life insurance, and I can’t afford a funeral. What help is there with cremation costs in South Carolina?

Sadly, more families are finding themselves in such a position. The reality is that there is very limited public or state assistance for funeral costs. The state takes care of indigent deaths (as is their responsibility), but a pauper burial or cremation does this. Social Security offers a $255 death benefit payment (if qualifying), and the funeral director will assist you with claiming this.

For further guidance, read our article ‘What do I do if I Can’t Afford a Funeral.’

What happens if I cannot pay for a funeral?

 The responsibility to pay the funeral bill falls to the immediate next of kin if the deceased had no pre-paid funeral plan or life insurance.  This can be very stressful if you lose a family member and become responsible for the funeral arrangements without any resources.

This resource on What to do if you cannot afford a funeral might help.

How much does a cremation cost if the deceased is at the Medical Examiner’s morgue?

If the deceased is at the coroner’s office, you must arrange to collect the body with a funeral service provider when the coroner signs the release form.  You must authorize the funeral director to collect your loved one and transfer him or her into their care.

As most funeral directors deal with the coroner’s office on a regular basis, and the ME issues the authorization and permit to cremate, it can make the arrangements easier.  For this reason, some funeral homes can offer a budget direct cremation when handling remains from the Medical Examiner.

Hopefully, this brief guide on cremation costs in South Carolina gave you a better understanding of what to expect when arranging a cremation and answered some of the questions you may have had about other funeral or cremation considerations.

* Average direct cremation prices data gathered from Funeralocity 2024.  Low-cost direct cremation prices were obtained from DFS Memorials providers in South Carolina.

Sara Marsden

I have been researching and writing about the death care industry for the last fifteen years. End of life services and experiences are something most of us choose not to reflect upon until we are suddenly faced with dealing with it. I have been contributing comprehensive and independent resources for families that explain how the funeral industry operates, and the laws that govern funeral practices. Sara writes for US Funerals Online and DFS Memorials LLC, as well as contributing to other forums and publications for the death care industry. I have a BA in Cultural Studies. This helps my analysis of cultural death care rituals, alongside a career background in Business Management. The death care industry is undergoing an epoch of change and this fascinates me.

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