How to arrange an affordable cremation in Palo Alto, CA

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Do you need to know how to arrange a funeral at an affordable cost? We have put together this short guide to help you understand how you can save thousands when arranging a funeral.  In fact, you can arrange an affordable direct cremation for just $1,195 in Palo Alto.

The average cost of a traditional funeral in Palo Alto is $5,775*, and this does not include cemetery costs, so understandably, many families today are looking for 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 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, a whole array of ash-scattering ceremony possibilities, and various cremation artifact products.

average cremation cost palo alto ca

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 are given back to the family.

There are some variances around these 3 main options, such as a private viewing before the cremation, an observed cremation, or a graveside interment of a cremation urn.

How much does a cremation cost in Palo Alto?

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 $2,580*, depending upon the length of service held and what kind of casket you purchase or rent.

The average cost of a direct cremation is $1,275*, although a direct cremation package can be conducted for just $1,195 with DFS Memorials.

Call DFS Memorials now at (650) 209-7212 to arrange an affordable direct cremation in Palo Alto.

Affordable direct cremation services in Palo Alton, CA

If you are working on 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 to collect (or can be 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 Palo Alto at (650) 209-7212, who offers a complete direct cremation package for just $1,195.

How do I choose a cremation services provider?

This can sometimes be daunting 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 service provider you select can be influenced by what facilities and services they offer or your budget.

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.

cremation plan palo alto caComparing cremation costs in Palo Alto, CA

All funeral homes have a general price list (GPL), which should itemize all services and charges.

Legally a funeral home must provide you with a copy of their General Price List if you request cremation price information, either in person or by phone.  If they fail to do this, they are breaching the federal ‘funeral rule’ according to FTC rules.

According to funeral price research surveys in Palo Alto, the average cost of a direct cremation is $1,275*. However, some cremation providers can arrange a direct cremation for less than this.

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 in a given time frame?

Death certificates cost $21 for the first certificate and $21 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 Palo Alto?

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 California, 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 are not generally included in a quoted cremation price.  The funeral director will generally obtain the death certificates on your behalf.

cremation plan palo altoCan 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 the 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 does not have the burden of worrying about funeral costs.

What can we do with the cremated remains?

As I mentioned earlier, there is versatility in 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.

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 need to inquire with Santa Clara County Social Services Agency at 333 West Julian Street, 5th Floor, San Jose,  CA  95110. Phone: 877-962-3633   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.

What is “no-cost cremation”?

Some funeral homes now offer this option in Palo Alto.  This refers 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.

How do I obtain a copy of a death certificate?

You can obtain copies of a death certificate from the Vital Records Office at Santa Clara County, 70 W Hedding St, 1st Fl, County Gov’t Ctr, East Wing, San Jose, CA 95110, (408)-299-2481

What happens if the deceased is taken to the Coroner’s Office?

Suppose there were circumstances surrounding the death that led to the deceased being taken to the County Coroner’s office. In that case, 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.

Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner Office 850 Thornton Way, San Jose, CA 95128  Phone: (408) 793-1900

Hopefully, this guide to arranging an affordable cremation service in Palo Alto 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 Funeral Resources section on US Funerals Online.

*Prices obtained from online funeral price comparison survey 2023

Sara Marsden

I have been researching and writing about the death care industry for the last ten 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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