Arranging a low cost cremation or funeral in Erie, PA

Funerals are expensive in Erie!  You may say well they are expensive PERIOD – but our research to date has uncovered that in Erie the cost of a simple cremation is above the average cost in Pennsylvania.  For this reason, we have put this guide together to help you understand funeral costs in Erie, and more importantly how to save on the cost of a cremation or burial in Erie.

How much does a funeral cost?

cost-of-cremation-erie-paIt is likely that one of the primary reasons you are reading this article is because you want to research about funeral costs.  Traditionally families did not concern themselves too much with the costs before committing to a funeral home, but today with 76% of families living paycheck to paycheck (CNN October 2013) it has become imperative to know the final cost before making a decision.

A traditional funeral is likely to cost between $6,000 and $10,000.  According to the National Funeral Directors Association the average cost of a funeral is $7,045 (2012) and this does not take into account any cemetery fees.  The DFS Memorials provider for Erie offers a complete funeral package for $4,995 (excluding cemetery fees).

What does a cremation cost in Erie?

More families are choosing cremation as a disposition option as it is so much more affordable than a burial.  A cremation will cost you at least half of the cost of a traditional burial, if not more.  This is largely because you remove the need for several of the expensive purchases required for a burial – casket, grave liner and cemetery plot, plus also the cost to embalm.

A simple cremation (without any services) can be conducted in Erie for $1,395, although the average cost of a basic cremation is nearer to $2,000.  A cremation with a service starts at around $3,200.

What is included in a direct cremation?

cremation-service-erie-paThe most affordable cremation option is a direct cremation.  This is where the deceased is collected, transferred to the crematory and cremated in a simple cremation container, and then the cremated remains returned directly to the family without any viewing or service.   A memorial service can be arranged at a later date if the family so desire, and the family can even arrange their own memorial service, which can be another way to save on the cost of a funeral.

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

This is a question that many families ask.  Strict laws govern the 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.

What do I legally need to know about arranging a cremation in Erie?

As a cremation is so final there are laws that govern how a cremation can proceed.  Firstly, a ‘Cremation Authorization Form’ must be signed by the legal next of kin and then a cremation permit can be issued by the Medical Examiner.  There is a mandatory waiting period before a cremation can be performed, which is 24 hours after the death has occurred.  A casket is NOT required for cremation, neither is embalming.

What can we do with the cremated remains?

cremation-memorialThis is another question that is frequently asked.  Cremation opens up more possibilities about how to conduct the final disposition of remains.  You can inter cremated remains in an existing grave plot or a cremation niche, or choose to scatter in a designated memorial garden.  However, this can still cost a significant amount.  You can keep the cremated remains at home in a cremation urn or you can choose to conduct your own ash scattering ceremony.  If you choose to scatter on private land you need the landowners consent.  You can scatter cremated remains on public land but you do need to observe some ‘common-sense’ ash scattering guidelines.  You may need to check whether a permit is required for municipal or state owned public spaces.

Can I scatter ashes in Lake Erie?

Yes, it is possible to scatter your loved ones remains into the Great Lakes.  Cremated remains are basically organic matter that poses no threat to the environment and there are no ‘cremains police’, so we generally suggest that families scatter as they feel befitting whilst observing some sensible practices.  i.e. use a biodegradable scattering tube to enable the ashes to disperse carefully into the water.  Pennsylvania is in Region 3 of the Environmental Protection Agency but guidelines issues are generally for sea burials.

Can I pre-arrange a simple cremation plan?

Even a basic low cost cremation can be preplanned and prepaid.  This is all carefully legislated and an insurance product can be used to fund a cremation plan.

Arranging a Veteran Funerals in Erie

Certain benefits are available to Veterans.  A Veteran is entitled to a free cemetery plot and grave marker. In some cases a funeral home will offer a discount on services to a Veteran.

What does it cost to cremate an overweight person?

The cremation cost advertised by funeral homes is generally for a body weight of up to 300 pounds.  For a body over this weight, an extra charge may be levied, but this will depend on how large the deceased was.

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

It can be devastating enough to deal with a death, but even more traumatic if there are no funds to cover the cost of a cremation.  Sadly this is happening more often for families today.  If the deceased had no life insurance, it is likely that the funeral home will need full payment for a direct cremation when you sign the funeral contract. There is a $255 lump sum death benefit payment form Social Security (if the deceased qualified) and the funeral director can help submit your claim for this.  If you have concerns about how you are going to pay for a funeral – visit this guide on ‘Options for paying for a Funeral’.

DFS Memorials services families in Edinboro, Erie, Fairview, Girard, Harborcreek, Lawrence Park, Mckean, North East, Waterford, Wattsburg & Wesleyville and throughout Butler, Crawford, Erie, Mercer, Venango & Warren Counties.

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