What happens during the cremation process? From the Funeral Home receiving the deceased for cremation, to giving the family the cremated remains

Visit the DFS Memorials map of states and low-cost cremation providers.

Cremation Explained

Are you thinking about cremation as a disposition option but curious about what the whole process entails? It can be difficult making a decision about something that you may not clearly understand or have questions about.  As more families consider cremation as a death-care alternative, we have put together this guide to explain everything you need to know about the cremation process.

The Funeral Home and/or crematory receiving the deceased

When the funeral home or crematory receives the deceased into their care they will require the family to complete a Personal Details Form.  This provides the funeral director with all the vital statistics he or she requires to begin the process of applying for the death certificate and enables the funeral home to provide shelter for the deceased with all the correct ID information.

How the deceased identity is verified throughout the cremation process

Cremation & ID verification

All funeral homes and crematories adhere to strict guidelines and rules.  This especially pertains to ensuring the verification of ID throughout the process.

When a body is received into a funeral home or crematory, it is an imperative step that the body is identified by a family member and ID tag.  A form of metal tag is generated, and this remains with the body throughout the process.  After the cremation, the metal ID tag is put with the cremated remains.

Most funeral facilities use some kind of project management system to keep track of their cases and what stage in the process they are at.  In some facilities, this may be as simple as a whiteboard and a case file system.  More modern facilities may use bespoke software systems to track and coordinate cases.

Preparing the body for cremation

The funeral home will remove any items that the family does not wish to be cremated with the deceased, such as jewelry.  The deceased can be prepared in whatever clothes the family decide are befitting, similar to the preparation for a funeral.

If the family wishes to hold a viewing prior to the cremation, the deceased will be prepared for the family to visit and say their last goodbyes.  As a basic cremation container is used for the purposes of cremation, if a viewing is held, some funeral homes offer rental caskets or a viewing bed.

If the deceased had a pacemaker or other type of medical device, this would need to be removed to prevent it from exploding during the cremation process.

What is a ‘cremation container’?

A casket is not required for cremation, although some funeral homes will offer a wooden cremation casket.  More often a standard reinforced cardboard box with a plywood base is used to hold the body. This is called a ‘cremation container’ and burns easily during the cremation process.

Cremation Container

Preparation of permits, authorization, and paperwork – the legal aspects of cremation

As I mentioned, there is strict legislation that governs the operation of human cremation, and this includes the submission of legal documents for processing.  A Cremation Authorization Form must be signed by the immediate legal next-of-kin.  A cremation cannot proceed without this form.  If there is more than one next-of-kin (for example 2 or more siblings), then all siblings must sign the authorization form.

The funeral director will submit to the county office for the death certificate, using the data provided by the family from the Personal Details Form.  If required, he or she will also request the Permit to cremate the deceased.  Some counties require a permit before cremation, and charge for it, whereas in some counties this is not required.

The charge for the cremation permit varies significantly by county.  Most charge between $10.00 to $60.00 for a permit, but Wisconsin has some of the highest cremation permit fees in the country, with Milwaukee county charging $357 for the coroner’s cremation release fee.

As cremation is such a final disposition, there is also a legal mandatory wait period after the death occurs before a cremation can go ahead.  This varies by state but ranges from 24-72 hours.

This means that even if the family has signed all the legal paperwork, and a permit is issued, the cremation cannot be conducted until the mandatory period has expired.  Generally, it will take 2-3 days for all the formal details to be completed anyway prior to the cremation being scheduled.  During this time, the deceased is stored in a refrigerated storage unit, similar to how morgue’s store bodies as embalming is not required for cremation.

How does the cremation chamber or cremation retort operate?

A cremation chamber is otherwise referred to as a cremation retort.  It is an industrial type furnace that can hold one body and incinerate at high temperatures.  There are many different types of retorts, and today there are modern and very efficient cremation machines that can be operated by computer and automated.  Most are fueled by gas or propane.

Cremation Retort

The chamber has a door at one end and the cremation container is loaded into the retort via the door.  This is then sealed and the cremation process begins.  This can be manually or automatically.

The chamber is constructed of fire-resistant bricks and special masonry that can withstand very high temperatures and is generally housed in a stainless-steel casing.  The temperature within the retort reaches between 1800? F – 2000? F.  The process takes around 2 hours to completely reduce the body to bones and ash.  Some older cremation machines may take up to 3-1/2 hours to cremate.  When a cremation retort has reached full heat, subsequent cremation can take less time.

Once the incineration process is complete, a tray containing the bone fragments and ashes is extracted for the next part of the process.  A cool-down period of approximately 30 – 60 minutes is required before the bones and ashes can be processed.

How are cremation ashes processedHow are the cremation ashes processed?

The bone fragments and cremation ash is first ‘filtered’ to check for any metal debris.  This is items such as surgical pins, screws, titanium joints/limbs, and metal dental fillings.  Depending on the sophistication of the crematory, this will be done by hand, with a magnet, or with an automated filtering system.  Many crematories are now recycling the metal debris they extract from cremation cases.

The remaining bone fragments are then put into a processing unit that is basically like a grinder.  This unit pulverizes the bone fragments to a fine powder, known as the cremated remains or ashes, that are placed in the cremation urn.  The ID tag will have stayed with the body throughout the cremation process, and this is then placed with the urn in readiness for returning the ashes to the family.

Who can conduct a cremation?

Most funeral homes and crematories employ crematory operatives to run their cremation machines and process their cremation cases.  Sometimes the funeral director may personally handle cases, but a trained crematory operative is versant in the specialized knowledge of safely operating a crematory and handling the deceased for cremation.

How long does it take from the funeral home receiving the deceased to the family receiving the cremated remains back?

The time frame can vary depending on several criteria.  Firstly, the cremation cannot proceed until all the legal requirements have been met.  Secondly, depending on the crematory, there may be a schedule for cremation.  It is fair to say that it will generally take at least 7 days but quite possibly up to 10 days from the deceased being delivered into the care of the funeral home until the cremated remains are ready.

However, there are cases where an expedited cremation may be required, which can be facilitated if all the permits and authorizations are in order, but may incur an additional charge.  Likewise, I have known of cases that have taken 21-28 days (or longer) to process a cremation.  This is typically where there is some discrepancy over the issuing of a permit and family consent in the authorization of cremation.

Questions about cremation

Other Frequently Asked Questions about cremation

How long does it take for a body to be cremated?

It takes anywhere between 1-1/2 to 3/1/2 hours to cremate an adult body.  It can depend on the time of day the cremation is conducted (i.e. the retort needs to reach full heat to cremate faster) and the type of cremation machine.

Do you have clothes on when you are cremated?

Yes, the deceased is clothed when placed in the cremation container, and the clothes burn with the body.

Can other personal items be cremated with the deceased?

It is generally acceptable to place a small personal item in the cremation container with the deceased prior to cremation, so long as it is a combustible item, such as flowers or soft toys.

What happens to teeth during cremation?

Any teeth that do not burn during the process are ground down with bone fragments during the processing of the ashes.  If the deceased had any gold teeth, the family can decide if they wish to have these removed prior to cremation.

Can an obese or overweight body be cremated?

Yes, many crematories offer barometric cremations.  Larger cremation retorts are required to hold and cremate a body over 600 pounds.  Due to the increase in obesity, some crematories have replaced their standard retort doors with wider doors to be better able to fit a larger body through.

An obese body is likely to burn faster as it contains more fat, but it can be more dangerous to manage the retort and observe the incineration process.  The handling of a body over 350 pounds requires additional equipment and a reinforced cremation container.  For these reasons, many crematories will charge a barometric cremation fee.  This will be anywhere between an additional $100 – $400.

How much do cremated remains weigh?

A standard adult cremation will produce an average of 3 to 9 pounds (1.4 to 4.1 kilograms) of cremated remains. The volume of cremation ashes usually depends on the bone structure and density of the person, and not so much their actual weight.

Do I need a casket for cremation?

No, a casket is not required for cremation.  A simple combustible cardboard container is often used, especially when a direct cremation is conducted.  If you decide to hold a service before the cremation, many funeral homes will now often have a rental casket.  This saves you the cost of a casket.  Read more about rental caskets for a cremation service.

What happens to unclaimed cremated remains?

Not all families choose to collect cremated remains.  Some families do not know what to do with the cremated remains.  They may not want to inter the remains and do not want to keep them at home.  Some have opted for cremation as a final disposition, and just do not want the remains.

Unclaimed Cremated Remains

So, unclaimed remains are becoming a growing concern for funeral homes, especially as the direct cremation rate grows.

Some cremation providers are offering incremental scattering services as a simple add-on to a cremation package, so that they can scatter remains in a scattering garden, with the families’ consent.  This alleviates the funeral home of the issue of storing remains indefinitely.

Some cremation providers are now adding clauses to a cremation contract that stipulates if the cremated remains are not collected within 90 days, they have the right to dispose of the remains.  Historically, with a lower cremation rate, a funeral home would store any cremation urns not collected by the family.  There was concern that a family member could turn up years down the line, wanting to retrieve the remains.  But with the rise in cremation, this now has the potential to become a storage nightmare!

Cremated remains that remain unclaimed from indigent funerals are generally held for a period and then a mass interment or scattering is conducted by the county authorities.

Cultural differences in the cremation process

Our cultural attitudes to cremation differ.  In countries across Europe and in Japan, the cremation rate is over 80%.  It is an accepted practice that cremation is a better solution for disposition.  In some countries, this has been driven by a less faith-driven approach to death-care, and by available space for a body burial.

Cremation, in some cultures and religions, has been sacred for thousands of years.  There is documented evidence of cremation practice among the early Phoenician and Persian cultures.  But over time this was replaced with mummifying and burial.

In Hinduism, it is a tradition to cremate the deceased.  Their concept of death being a transition to the next existence gives them a different perspective on the notion of the body.  Other Indian religions such as Sikhism and Jainism also mandate cremation.

Some crematories that cater to faiths, like Hinduism, which has specific cremation rituals, will facilitate the rites of cremation that are practiced.  For example, Hindus are required to begin the cremation and see the deceased enter the cremation chamber.  So, a crematory may have a special viewing area with a control button, and a family member can observe the cremation container entering and starting the machine.  Where possible, they will help the family observe the rituals that are a sacred part of the funeral rites.

What does a cremation cost?

The cost of cremation varies.  This depends on the type of cremation service selected, and also the cremation service provider you use.  The most affordable cremation service is direct cremation.  This is a cremation without any ceremony provided by the funeral service provider.  A direct cremation is growing in popularity as it is an efficient and cost-effective disposition alternative.  Families who choose direct cremation can still conduct a memorial service when they have the cremated remains returned to them.  But this does not have to be done immediately, so can allow for a family to plan their own memorial or ash-scattering service at a time that suits them.

Average cremation costs 2018

It is usually a good idea to compare cremation costs from several cremation service providers to determine the average cost you can expect to pay in your area.  

If you wish to make cremation arrangements online without having to visit a funeral home, read our guide to Online Cremation Arrangements and Preplanning a Cremation Online.

Check out our Guide to Cremation Costs in Pennsylvania.

Online Cremation Arrangements or Pre-planning online

If someone had told me 10 years ago that a family would make online cremation arrangements for a funeral without ever visiting my funeral home, I would have said they were crazy!”  stated Vincent, the DFS Memorials funeral director for New York during a recent conversation we had.

A fourth-generation funeral director he has witnessed a significant change in the industry over the last decade, and now embraces how the Internet is revolutionizing what he, and his family,  has known as a traditional business for generations.

He is one of a number of more progressive funeral professionals who recognize how embracing and utilizing technology can help them be on the cusp of great change within death care in the U.S.

The COVID pandemic further pushed the funeral industry to adapt to change.  A change in technology, and being able to offer online cremation arrangements, and remote document signatures. The pandemic also gave the cremation rate a driver. Many families had no choice but to arrange a cremation to take care of a family member’s immediate disposition.

cremations-onlineThe Rise of Online Funeral Arrangement

There is no doubt, nor room for debate, that we have become a culture of online consumers.  According to a study by BIA/Kelsey 97% of consumers now use some form of online media to research products and services, and it is widely accepted that with smartphones and tablets, we are all much more intuitive to that ‘instant gratification’ of information….wherever we are!  Whilst 93% of the U.S. population is now online, a study by Pew in 2021 reported that 85% of U.S. adults now own a smartphone, whilst 53% own a tablet.  This clearly demonstrates that our access to online technology significantly positions the majority of us to make purchase decisions online.

A few years ago the notion of Online Funerals was often synonymous with the notion of webcast funerals – the live streaming of a funeral service over the web.  Today online funerals take on a whole new meaning as families can conduct all arrangements for a funeral without ever needing to visit a funeral home.

Why Arrange a Cremation Online?

The cremation trend can be seen as attributable to this rise in making funeral arrangements online.  Cremation has brought about a more simplistic and flexible approach to a funeral.  We often hear people (especially the Baby Boomer generation) say “I just want a simple cremation”.  Opting for cremation as a simple, no-fuss disposition means that it can be easily facilitated by making arrangements with the funeral home or crematory either online or by phone.

One of the fastest-growing sectors of cremation is direct cremation.  This is a basic cremation with no services. As no services are held, and an immediate cremation is performed after any mandatory period has elapsed, those families opting for a direct cremation often feel there is little value in visiting the funeral home.

Keep funeral costs down: Stay in Charge of the funeral decision-making process!

In many cases, the family has opted for the lowest cost cremation because they could not afford anything else, and the last thing they want is to enter a funeral home and feel uncomfortable asking for low-cost services!  Being able to make all the arrangements online can alleviate them from the human emotional aspect of dealing with a funeral salesperson.

Many funeral homes that offer online cremation arrangements offer very simplistic interfaces that enable the family to make their choices from clearly marked selections – be it choosing a cremation package, selecting an urn, or posting an obituary.  The simple online arrangement option means that you can calmly and more objectively work through the arrangement details and make decisions from the comfort of your own home.

Read our post on What happens during the cremation process? From the Funeral Home receiving the deceased for a cremation to giving the family the cremated remains to understand more about the whole cremation process.

3 Simple Steps to Arranging a Cremation Online

It can be as easy as 1-2-3!  Those funeral homes that offer online cremation arrangements generally have a completely automated system that requires you to follow the steps required to complete the arrangement process.

step-one#1  You need to submit the necessary personal information about the deceased in order that the funeral home can obtain the death certificate, notify social security and obtain the necessary authorization and permits to conduct the cremation.

 

step-two#2  Secondly, you will be asked to complete a ‘Cremation Authorization Form’.  This must be completed by the legal next of kin, and the person thereby authorized to make funeral arrangements.

 

step-three#3  Finally, you will need to make a selection of what kind of cremation package you require and any cremation merchandise you require, such as cremation urns or any additional copies of death certificates.

Generally, once you have completed the online forms and submitted the information, a funeral director will contact you to finalize the arrangements and complete the payment process.  The whole online process should take no longer than about 20 minutes to complete.  Payment can be made by credit card, or by sending in a check or money order.  In some cases, you can pay with PayPal or Bitcoin!  How easy is that?

What about Human Interaction?

Some of my co-workers are skeptical about the future growth of online arrangement tools.  “What about the human interaction?” they claim, “People still want to talk to someone”.

Almost all funeral homes that offer online funeral arrangements tools also offer a funeral director at the end of the phone should you have any questions or queries.  For many funeral homes where revenue is declining as families turn to cremation [average funeral home revenues are down 37%], being able to offer online arrangements enables them to keep cremation prices down and minimize their overhead.

If for any reason you feel uncomfortable about completing arrangements online, you should first consult with the funeral home.  In many cases talking to a funeral professional can help to salve any concerns you may have.  I have known of funeral directors who will actually complete the process online with the family on the end of the phone.

I know of several funeral homes offering online arrangements that DO require the family to phone first for a secure password to access the online arrangement tool.  This is to help prevent unnecessary spam use or competitors soliciting information.

Save on Cremation Costs: Discounts for Online Cremation Arrangements

Don’t we all love a deal these days? How about $100 off if you arrange online?  Several of the cremation providers we work with offer specially discounted cremation prices for those families that will complete the arrangement process online.  The savings that they can make on overhead can be passed on to the families they serve.  It may well be that their web advertised direct cremation price is an “Internet-Only” offer, or you will be offered some kind of cash discount off the cost of cremation if you DO complete all the arrangement process online.

A Word of Warning:  Watch out for Add-On Pricing!

As a final note – do be aware that in some cases that enticing low-cost cremation price may be a very basic price, and you may find add-on items bump this price up as you complete the online process.  It is wise to ensure you have read the full breakdown of what is included with the package you are selecting before starting the online process.

Check that the package includes the cremation container, any crematory fee, and at least 1 copy of a death certificate.   A temporary cremation urn (a plastic/cardboard container) is generally provided with a direct cremation but you can select an upgraded urn.

For those that are comfortable with making purchases online, organizing the elements of a simple cremation disposition online may come relatively easily, for others this may still seem too giant a leap of custom and culture.

However, the fact that a significant number of progressive and entrepreneurial funeral businesses are now offering this as an alternative option to traditional methods of funeral arrangement certainly does signify that there is a demand in the funeral marketplace.

The separation between the disposition (cremation) element of the funeral ritual and the memorialization (service) highlights how the funeral industry is to some degree fragmenting.  Today many families seek the disposition only element from the funeral home and then organize the memorialization themselves.  Whether this is by enlisting a funeral celebrant, a local minister or simply arranging their own secular memorial service.  Being able to organize the disposition online via a simple e-arrangement system, can help make this a simple process to manage.

8 Things You Need to Know About Direct Cremation

direct-cremationCremation is the ‘hot’ trend in the U.S. death care market today and is revolutionizing the funeral industry. In this post, we talk all about Direct Cremation, the most economical cremation option, that the industry does not always clearly offer as an option.

If you have the immediate need for a low-cost direct cremation, click here to locate your nearest DFS Memorials provider now.  Direct cremation services as low as $695.

Cremation now accounts for around 56% of all funerals in the nation, with some states cremating 65% or higher, and a forecast for the national rate to reach 78% by 2035.

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 8 key things you need to know about direct cremation.

#1   A direct cremation involves no pre-funeral services. There is no viewing, visitation, or ceremony conducted.

#2   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.

#3   No embalming is required before a direct cremation. [If the deceased had a pace-maker this will need to be removed]

#4   A direct cremation can be arranged online or over the phone, with no need to visit the funeral home or crematory.  The cremated remains can even be mailed to you after the service has been completed. (Usually, there is an additional surcharge for this mailing service.)

#5   No casket is required for 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.

#6   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.

#7   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.

#8   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.

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 city. All direct cremation prices are disclosed, and all prices are complete prices with no hidden extras!

Visit our Guide to How to Set up an Affordable Cremation Plan: Pre-Plan vs. Pre-Pay.

State Assistance for Funerals: What help is available from state budgets for funeral costs for those who cannot afford a funeral?

The reality for many families in the United States today is that a funeral can mean a financial crisis.  With 76% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, 25% living below the poverty line, and 35% in debt recovery, these really are hard times for many average hard-working Americans!  The story is a familiar one, working two jobs, juggling mortgage, utility, and car payments, seeking out deals wherever money can be saved, and hoping that nothing comes along unexpectedly to disrupt this fine balance!

In this guide, we have outlined what help is available, who qualifies for financial assistance, how to find out about indigent burial, how whole-body donation can be an option, how you may be able to claim for a COVID death, and other fund-raising options.

Visit How Much does Cremation Cost in 2021? for a breakdown of direct cremation costs.

cremation-costsWho is responsible for paying the funeral bill?

If the deceased died without a funeral plan, money in his/her estate, or a life insurance policy, then the immediate next of kin (and generally the person making the funeral arrangements) becomes responsible for paying the funeral home bill.  In many cases, several family members may agree to share the costs.

If the funeral home has collected the deceased and arranged a funeral planning conference with the family, a ‘funeral contract’ will be drafted that outlines exactly what the costs are.  Once signed this is a legally binding contract for services, and if you fail to honor this contract and pay for services as agreed, the funeral home can take you to court.

What responsibility does the state have to help families with funeral costs?

The state has responsibility for conducting the dispositions of those individuals who die within the care of the state.  Primarily this means those who have been residents in state-owned institutions, such as those individuals who have been incarcerated in prisons, sectioned into mental institutions, in care in residential nursing homes, homeless individuals, and sometimes those who are a victim of a crime.  These are referred to as “indigents”.  The state only has a responsibility to perform the most basic of disposition services.  Traditionally this was a very basic burial in a ‘pauper’ section of a local municipal cemetery.  What could also be referred to as a “pauper burial”.   Today, more counties are opting to use direct cremation as a cheaper and simpler alternative to burial.  A direct cremation can be performed in most states (at a cost to the county) for around $300 – $500.

Unfortunately, more counties are finding their own budgets stretched as more families struggle financially.  Where a county would maybe have to deal with 10 – 20 cases a year, numbers in 2018 began to inflate significantly.  Several local news outlets have reported indigent cases rising by as much as 50%, as this recent story from Salt Lake County in Utah exposes.

indigent-burialWhat is an indigent burial?

Where a state has an ‘indigent burial assistance’ program, there may be some ascribed funding to support those on welfare with a basic disposition.  The level of support varies tremendously by state and county, and in many areas has been axed as municipal budgets have been tightened.  25% of Americans may be below the poverty line, but in most cases, only 50% of those under the poverty line are considered indigent.1

What financial help is there for low-income families with the cost of a funeral?

The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is used to assess how an individual/family may qualify for many low-income assistance programs, and the same applies to fund funeral costs.  Many families often misinterpret the phrase ‘indigent death’, believing it to mean an entitlement for a low-income stipend and assuming that the city will automatically take over the costs.   If you are a low-income family or individual and wish to find out IF there is any financial support available to you to assist with funeral costs, you should consult your local county Human Services Department to ascertain what (if any) assistance there may be.  Check out these state funeral planning guides for state-relevant information (if available).

indigent-cemeteryYou must be prepared for the fact that you WILL have to conform to rigid assessments for qualification, and if the state provides funding they will only offer basic services over which you will have very little control!  The state is likely to offer a direct cremation or a basic funeral.  Do bear in mind that in many areas now you can arrange a simple, basic and dignified cremation for between $500 – $995.  This enables you to remain in control of the disposition process and provides the opportunity to conduct a family-led funeral by having the deceased immediately cremated and then conducting your own memorial or ash scattering services.

The DFS Memorials network of low-cost cremation providers can help you find your nearest and most affordable cremation provider.

If the deceased qualified – you may also be able to claim the $255 lump-sum death benefit payment that Social Security pays out. (The funeral director will assist you with submitting this claim)  Another possibility that has more recently become available as an alternative for those families who cannot afford a funeral is whole body donation.  This is where is the deceased’s body is donated to an institution for research, and the costs of cremation are covered by the institution or body donation organization.  In some areas, funeral homes have affiliated with body donation organizations and can directly offer this to families. Some funeral homes refuse to on the grounds that it is not part of the level of funeral ‘service’ they wish to offer.  You can, however, deal directly with a body donation organization to make a donation.  You can read more about ‘Body Donation’ on US Funerals Online.

unclaimed-deadHow does a family claim financial assistance from the county for a funeral?

Budgets are generally managed at a county or city level, and the Human Services (or sometimes Social Services) department handles these budgets and claims for assistance.   The application process can be onerous and stringent and any assets, life insurance, and savings will be taken into account.  In some areas, a county judge has the ultimate authority to decide whether to accept or decline applications for a burial assistance program.  If funding is awarded for a low-income case, this will usually seal the cost that can be spent on a funeral.  For example, in Massachusetts, a program offers burial support of costs up to $1,100 for a funeral that cannot exceed a total cost of $1,500, and in New York, a low-income family (if qualifying) can claim up to $900 towards the cost of a funeral, but it must not exceed a total cost of $1,700.

If you want to find out if funding is available in your county, check with your Human Services or Social Services department.

What if I don’t qualify for financial support and I still cannot afford a funeral?

Your best option is to arrange the least expensive disposition available to you.  This is a direct cremation.  You can generally arrange this for between $500 and $1,000 in most metro areas, and for under $1,500 in most other areas.  This can still be a simple and yet dignified send-off.  Once the direct cremation is conducted and you have the cremation ashes back, you can arrange a family gathering and a private memorial ceremony.   Contact your nearest DFS Memorials provider to find a low-cost cremation.

Fund-raising to meet funeral expenses

More families are forced down this route today.  If you opt for a simple, basic cremation this can be achieved for between $500 – $1000, and this is a more realistic amount to raise with some fund-raising activity.  Be it car washes, BBQs, yard sales, or a community event – this can prove a means to help meet the full cost of a cremation.

‘No Cost’ cremation

If you absolutely have no funds to cover funeral expenses, and cannot raise funds to pay for a basic cremation or burial, then you may wish to consider a whole-body donation.  This is not always the easy solution, as not every donation is accepted.   However, it may be a solution if you cannot afford a funeral and you are willing to consider an anatomical donation.  You can donate via a local medical school or through a national donation company.  Many funeral homes now even liaise on your behalf.

FEMA Funeral Assistance Program

From April 2021, a new fund was made available via FEMA to help families who incurred funeral expenses as a result of losing a loved one to COVID.  Up to $9,000 can be claimed for funeral costs, for deaths occurring after January 2020.  Read our Guide to FEMA Funeral Assistance for full details on how to claim,

There are some other options you can consider to help you raise funds for a funeral.  Reading  ‘What are your options on how to pay for a funeral or cremation?’ and ‘Crowdfunding a Funeral’ may give you some further ideas.

Sources:

1 Abandoned Bodies on the Rise in Tom Green County

A Guide to Cremation Costs in Texas 2021

DFS Memorials Texas – Click Here to Find a local Provider & Price

What is the average cost of a funeral in Texas today?

More than ever Texans are turning to the internet to compare prices and get fair deals.  So why not ensure we apply the same mentality to checking cremation costs?  Traditional funerals are expensive.  The average cost of a funeral service in Texas is $5,192*, and this does not include any cemetery fees.  Adding cemetery expenses is likely to bring the full cost up to $7,000 – $9,000 for a ‘standard’ funeral service.  More extravagant funerals can cost double this!

In reality, there are not many families who can afford to pay out thousands for a funeral service these days.  A key reason why the cremation rate has increased so significantly in recent years. Choosing cremation reduces funeral expenses dramatically.  In fact, opting for a simple direct cremation can reduce your funeral expense to less than $1,000 in most cities in Texas.

What is the average cost of cremation in Texas?

Quoting the average cost of a cremation can depend on the type of cremation service.  It is fair to say that the average price for a cremation service is around $2,000 – $3,000 for a simple service.  You can pay more for an elaborate cremation funeral with a gathering.  Or you can pay less for just a basic cremation service.

As you can eliminate certain items from the funeral expenses, such as embalming, a casket, a grave liner, and a cemetery plot – this does save you money on the full cost of a funeral with burial.

What is the least expensive cremation service?

Direct cremation is the least expensive cremation option.  This is when just cremation is carried out, with no additional services or ceremony.  It is a simple dignified cremation of the deceased with minimal ‘fuss’, and at a minimal cost.

The cremated remains are returned to the next of kin after everything has been taken care of.  A family can choose to hold a memorial service if they wish when they are ready.

Direct cremation cost comparison in the 16 top cities in Texas

To help you understand how cremation costs can (and do) vary considerably, we have compiled some data on cremation costs in the major cities across Texas.  The table below provides a breakdown of the average direct cremation price vs. a low-cost direct cremation.  As you can see, in most areas, a direct cremation service can be arranged for less than $1,000.

City

Average direct cremation cost*

Low cost direct cremation

Immediate help

(DFS Memorials)

Abilene

$2,025

$1,125

 

Amarillo

$1,566

$975

 

Austin

$2,003

$725

(512) 253-1110

Brownsville

$1,426

$795

 

College Station

$2,025

$975

(979) 314-3889

Corpus Christi

$2,218

$1,175

(361) 208-0765

Dallas

$1,833

$755

(214) 380-4964

East Texas

$2,338

$795

 

El Paso

$1,259

$925

(915) 201-2446

Fort Worth

$1,819

$795

(817) 369-5240

Houston

$2,296

$640

(713) 309-6059

Laredo

$1,855

$995

 

Midland-Odessa

$2,285

$1,195

 

McAllen

$2,101

$995

 

San Antonio

$2,039

$725

(210) 460-1911

Waco

$1,483

$995

(254) 221-6609

Are there 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.

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.  Cremation permit fees vary by county but are generally between $10 – $40 (if a charge is made).

Death certificates cost $20.00 for the initial certificate and $3.00 for each additional copy ordered at the same time.

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 Texas funeral legislation governs cremation arrangements?

Texas has a mandatory 48-hour wait period after death before a cremation can proceed. As cremation is such a final disposition and destroys all DNA, there are strict codes and rules that govern the cremation of human remains.  A ‘Cremation Authorization Form’ must be signed by the legal next of kin before a cremation permit can be issued by the county coroner.

Can you get a free cremation in Texas?

Unfortunately, very little in life or death is ‘free’!  What is sometimes referred to as a “free” cremation or “no-cost” cremation is actually a whole-body donation.  Once the donation is performed, the remains are cremated free of charge.  However, in some cases, there are costs associated with transporting the deceased and obtaining death certificates.  Read more in this funeral planning guide.

Is there any financial assistance towards funeral expenses for families with no money?

Local Texas counties manage their own budgets to assist needy families and take care of the needs of indigents.  You should contact the social or human services department of your local county to inquire if any support is available.

There are other organizations, charities, and church groups that may offer some contribution to help families who are struggling with funeral expenses.  Arranging a basic direct cremation is the most economical option.

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.

Do any cremation service providers offer discounts for hospice patients?

Yes, some cremation service providers do offer a discount to hospice patients seeking a direct cremation.  A discount is often based on the relationship with the hospice and the ease of arranging the collection and completing paperwork. This can reduce the time and manpower the funeral director needs to allocate to a case, and therefore he can offset this in the means of a discount to a hospice cremation service.

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 will need to make arrangements with a funeral service provider to collect the body when the coroner signs the release form.  You will need to give authorization to 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.

* Average direct cremation prices data gathered from Funeralocity 2021.  Low-cost direct cremation prices obtained from DFS Memorials providers in Texas.

Arranging a low cost funeral or cremation in Atlanta

Over 56% of Americans choose cremation instead of burial for their final disposition (Statista 2020). The cremation trend has been sweeping across our nation as it offers a more affordable and flexible end of life alternative to traditional burial.  There are numerous reasons cited for why we are all opting for cremation, but the 2 key reasons are cost and flexibility.  A cremation is much cheaper than a traditional burial – usually at least 40% – 60% less.  Also, cremation offers more options for memorialization.  For those families who have migrated or are transplants – cremated remains can be transferred back to a home state, or divided amongst family to be kept close.  You can inter cremated remains, scatter them, or choose from a whole array of cremation artifacts! Read on to find out more about how to save on cremation costs in Atlanta.

What is the average cost of a cremation in Atlanta?

This is THE question that many families turn to the Internet to find out today.  Maybe they are curious about how much a cremation costs, or in some cases they have been told by a funeral home in Atlanta just how much a funeral is going to cost!

The cost of a cremation does vary considerably – depending on which funeral home you select and what kind of cremation service you opt for.  The average cost of a full-service cremation in the Atlanta Metropolitan area is $6,689 (Funeralocity 2021), although you can arrange a simple, direct cremation for much less than this.

Cremation Packages

Many funeral service providers in Atlanta will offer cremation packages.  This can be a great way to save on the ‘a la carte’ General Price List of a funeral home, and know exactly what you are getting for a set price.

Generally there are 3 main types of cremation services.  Firstly, you can select a basic cremation (otherwise referred to as an immediate cremation or a direct cremation) which is where there is no ceremony or services.  A cremation memorial service is when the cremation is performed first and then a service held with the cremation ashes present (or not present).  Finally, there is a full-service cremation, which is much the same as a traditional funeral only the deceased is cremated after the service instead of buried.

Direct cremation in Atlanta

Direct cremation is fast becoming the most popular cremation choice today.  Why? Because it offers the cheapest and most flexible disposition option for families concerned about funeral costs and wanting a ‘simple’ solution.  Many families in Atlanta are choosing a direct cremation and then arranging their own memorial services.  This helps them saves a lot of money on cremation costs in Atlanta and puts the family firmly in control of the funeral service. Oftentimes, the price quoted for a direct cremation does NOT include things such as transport and service fees. Some funeral homes advertise a lower price which isn’t the complete price with all fees included. The DFS Memorials provider offers a direct cremation price of $995 complete, with no added fees or charges.

An immediate need direct cremation can be arranged in Atlanta for $995 complete. Call (404) 739-4924 now!

cremation services

What is included in a direct cremation?

It is wise to check exactly what is included for an advertised direct cremation price.  Not all providers include the cremation container, which can cost an extra $75-150.  Also, if the funeral home does not have a crematory, they may charge the crematory fee as a ‘cash advance’ fee.

A direct cremation generally includes:

  • Collecting the deceased & transporting he/she to the funeral home/crematory
  • Storage for the mandatory 48-hour waiting period for cremation
  • Completion of all the necessary paperwork & permits*
  • The cremation fee
  • The cremation container (an alternative cardboard container is generally used)
  • Returning the cremated remains to the family in a temporary container

*Death certificates & Medical Examiners fee are the only additional costs.

What extra costs may I have to pay for a cremation?

The fees that are paid to the county are generally extra costs that you have to pay upfront when you purchase a direct cremation package.  In Atlanta the fee for a death certificate is $25.00 and additional copies will cost $5.00 each. (You need at least 1 death certificate but possibly more).  It IS important to check what is included with a direct cremation package as some funeral service providers do not include items such as the cremation container or the crematory fee.

How do I choose a cremation provider in Atlanta?

It is always wise to check around with more than one provider to compare costs and services.  At DFS Memorials, we have already compared a selection of cremation service providers in Atlanta to find the best direct cremation prices.  We believe this saves you the stress at an emotional time.

How do cremation providers compare in Atlanta

It is always advisable to compare general price lists from several funeral service providers, as funeral costs can vary considerably for the exact same service from different service providers.  A funeral home is obligated by the FTC’s ‘funeral rule’ to disclose prices to you when you make an inquiry – whether face-to-face or by phone/email.

How can you save money by arranging a cremation?

You can actually save thousands of dollars in funeral costs by arranging a cremation, especially a direct cremation.  There is no need for a casket, embalming, burial vault or cemetery plot.  With a direct cremation, you can arrange your own memorial services at a location of your choice, and a time best for the family.

Preplanning a cremation in Atlanta

You can preplan a cremation with a cremation services provider.  You can even lock in the low cost of a direct cremation today in case gas prices do rise.  You can prepay a cremation plan using an insurance policy or funds are deposited into trust.  Alternatively, you can preplan by documenting your wishes and lay aside the required funds in a Payable on Death POD account.

Is there any help with cremation costs in Atlanta?

We do get asked this question too frequently!  Sadly there is patchy help available at best.  Any financial help for funeral costs differs by county, so you would need to consult your local county human services to explore if there is any assistance.  This article explains what options there are to help you pay for a funeral.

Our provider of affordable cremations and funerals in Atlanta offers a basic cremation or burial package:

Direct Cremation $995  – – – Traditional Funeral $2,895 (Incl. casket)

Call (404) 739-4924 for immediate assistance, if you wish to preplan a funeral, or if you have any questions.

The $995 direct cremation package is available in the cities of Athens, Atlanta Metro, Columbus, Dalton & Gainesville and the counties of Fulton, Clayton, Fayette, Carroll, Paulding, Cobb, Douglas, Gwinnett, Rockdale, De Kalb, Walton, Henry, Newton, Oconee, Barrow, Cherokee, Forsyth, Harris, Talbot,  and Dawson.

How Coronavirus has affected Funerals & driven further growth in the direct cremation market

The COVID-19 pandemic has re-shaped our society and affected all of us at some level. One of the most tragic aspects of deaths occurring during our lockdown phases has been the inability of families to come together for a funeral service and to grieve together.

Funeral homes have been forced to quickly adapt to new ways of serving families. This has led to a further increase in cremation services and implementing technology to offer online funeral arranging, document submission, and live-streaming of services.

The funeral industry has previously been critiqued as being slow to adapt to change. During this pandemic, many funeral businesses had to rapidly shift their business strategy.  An industry that was slowly responding to new technology, has witnessed exponential growth in embracing technology.

How has COVID-19 impacted on funeral home services?

Social Distancing

The biggest impact has been the impact of social distancing.  In many cases, this has prevented any funeral services being held.  For other families, it meant the difficult task of choosing those selected to attend the limited attendance number allowed at funeral services.

Grieving and saying goodbye affects everyone differently.  Not being able to physically see a loved one to say goodbye, or attend a funeral service, has left many bereaved family members struggling even more to come to terms with a death.

Social distancing is something that has changed how we all go about our daily lives.  I have found it strange to have to stop hugging family and friends. And, a funeral is a time when we most embrace our social selves and aim to impart compassion by touch.

Delaying services

In some areas, funeral homes and crematories have been so overwhelmed with death cases, that services have not been able to go ahead in a timely fashion. Instead of being able to arrange services in the days following the death, families have had to wait weeks before their loved one could be laid to rest or cremated.

This has put a strain on funeral homes to cope with the storage of remains, be it embalmed remains or refrigerated remains.  Normally, the majority of funeral locations deal with dispositions as they occur and only have a limited capacity to store bodies.  Some funeral homes had to bring in mobile refrigeration units to help them cope with the additional storage needs.  This obviously increased overhead costs for a funeral business without the opportunity for planned provision of additional storage expansion.

Virtual FuneralTechnology

Technology has been slowly adopted by the funeral industry.  For many funeral businesses, it was the era of setting up a website, offering online obituaries, offering online e-commerce for flowers and other funeral products.  Those a little more savvy had added options such as web-casting funeral services or offering an online funeral arranging portals.

With the impact of COVID, technology became a vital tool to connect with families and maintain services.  Web-casting and online arrangement portals became valuable tools to assist funeral directors and families alike.  One of the biggest adaptations funeral businesses are making is to add facilities for families to remotely sign and authenticate permissions and authorizations.  Docusign suddenly became the ‘go-to’ document processing facilitator.

Direct Cremation as the funeral alternative

Cremation services were already on the increase. Nationwide the cremation rate was approaching 55%.  But the rate at which direct cremation has grown over the last five months will most surely have a significant impact on the final cremation rate for 2020 and may impact on cremation prices in the future.

Many families had no option but to opt for a direct cremation in the height of the pandemic.  It was their only solution to arranging a dignified disposition for their loved one.  Then, we have the economic impact of the lockdown, and those families struggling financially who had little option but to opt for a low-cost direct cremation service.

The COVID pandemic has brought death as a threat and reality into all our lives.  As a consequence, it has become a little more acceptable to discuss death and funeral options. As a result, we are observing an increase in interest in cremation planning.  Especially, in the age range of ‘senior’ individuals, who want to remove the cost and stress from their children.

As with any crisis, it will leave a legacy, and there will be those businesses that adapt, adopt, and become adept. I think it will be some time yet before we can evaluate the full impact on the “last responder” industry.

Low-cost simple cremation service $695 – Jonesboro, AR

We aim to help families that want “just a simple cremation” in the Northeast Arkansas area.

We understand that today many families just want a simple and affordable funeral alternative.

A simple cremation, otherwise known as a direct cremation, can be conducted for as little as $695.

What is a direct cremation?

A direct cremation is when the deceased is cremated with no ceremony or services performed by the funeral home.  The cremation is conducted and then the cremated remains returned to the family.  This can enable a family to arrange a memorial service at a more convenient time and place. (And also save on the cost of a service).

How much is a direct cremation service in Jonesboro?

A direct cremation service costs $695. Additional fees may apply for a residential collection, removing a pacemaker or an oversize cremation.  County fees are third-party fees and include the cost of death certificates and charges for cremation permits where applicable.

What laws do you need to consider when arranging a cremation service?

As cremation is a very final disposition, there are strict rules that funeral providers adhere to.  The legal next of kin must all sign the Cremation Authorization Form to permit a cremation to be conducted. There is generally a mandatory wait period after the death of 24-48 hours before a cremation can be conducted.  Although, it generally takes a few days anyway to file for the death certificate and obtain a cremation permit.

Is there any assistance with funeral expenses?

Unfortunately, there is very limited financial assistance for families to help with funeral expenses.  The county is responsible for indigent funerals.  But not many counties provide funds to help low-income families and those struggling as there was no life insurance or provision.

Social Security does offer a $255 lump-sum death benefit payment (if the deceased qualifies) and the funeral home will usually help you claim this.

What can we do with the cremated remains?

You have several options.  You can arrange to inter the cremated remains in a niche, or inter them into an existing gravesite.  However, both of these options will cost upwards of $500 in cemetery charges.  You can opt to keep the ashes at home in a cremation urn or have the ashes made into a memorial keepsake.  Scattering ashes is also becoming a popular choice.  Although you must bear in mind this is a very final dispersing of your loved ones’ remains and consider it carefully.

Call us today on (870) 619-4828 if you need immediate assistance with cremation arrangements. Or feel free to call if you have further questions about cremation services.  We are here to help in these difficult times.

The Funeral Industry, death-care practices, and cremation in the face of Corona Virus.

As we all face extended periods of ‘Shelter in Place’, the impact is rippling through our communities, social culture, and rituals.  We have already heard the reports from Italy of hospitals, morgues and funeral homes struggling to cope with the deceased in the wake of their epidemic.  Here in the US, where the pandemic is now spiraling fast, we hear reports from the funeral industry of the rapid response to change that they are now coping with.

The Funeral Industry

On average there are 7,800 deaths a day in the US.  This number is likely to rise with the increase in deaths from COVID-19.  The estimate ranges from tens of thousands to 2 million in a ‘worst-case’ scenario.  55% of families opt for a cremation service and 40% choose burial.  Whether burial or cremation, many funeral services involve a gathering of people.  Now that the gathering of people is being restricted (in some states mandated), funeral homes are contending with informing families that holding a funeral service is not possible, or very restricted.

How are Death-care Practices changing in response?

Virtual FuneralThe shift to Virtual Funerals & Live-streaming of funeral services.

The immediate, and most significant, response is that funeral homes are ramping up the availability of offering a ‘Virtual Funeral’.  A virtual funeral can involve only the funeral service professionals delivering services and streaming those to the family. Or, allowing just the immediate family to attend and live-stream a service to extended family and friends. Those funeral homes that may not have already subscribed to professional live-streaming funeral technology, are simply putting an iPhone on a tripod and broadcasting on Facebook Live.

Restrictions on Funeral Homes as open Community Spaces.

A number of funeral homes are changing the daily operations of how they function.  Additional precautions are being taken in the collection of bodies.  And stringent sanitizing processes have been put in place each time a member of the public enters a funeral establishment.  Many funeral homes have closed their doors to the community as ‘walk-in’ locations.  Families are still welcome to visit to make arrangements, but by-appointment-only, so that better sanitizing can be implemented between visitations.

Guidelines are being issued and reviewed daily on improving services for collecting bodies and offering funeral services.  A face-mask has to be put on a body at the collection, and additional sanitizing processes accompany funeral personnel working on continuing to offer this vital service to our communities.

How cremation may be the preferred viable disposition option

We are likely to witness an increase in cremation services & online arrangement processes.  Cremation was already a growing disposition trend in the U.S., but in some metro areas, cremation may become the only viable option in the coming weeks.  More importantly, direct cremation services are likely to provide the best alternative for many families.  A direct cremation is conducted without any services from the funeral home and can be arranged without the need for the family to visit the funeral home.  Families can gather together to hold a memorial service at a later date when social distancing restrictions are reduced.

An important consideration of the significance of direct cremation is that not only does it limit social contact at this point, but it also offers families an affordable alternative.  Many families have already been laid-off work and are worried about their finances.  A direct cremation can be conducted in most cities for between $700 to $1,000.  The DFS Memorials network of direct cremation providers can help you manage an affordable direct cremation service.

Funeral Homes may have to adapt their storage facilities to hold cremated remains.

The U.K. has already instructed its municipal crematories to hold cremated remains for families until this COVID-19 crisis has passed.   I anticipate that many funeral homes in the U.S. will need to be prepared to hold more remains and offer the storage of remains for families.  This may be more challenging for funeral locations in highly-populated cities experiencing an increased rate of death calls.

In Italy and Spain, the military has stepped up to assist the funeral industry as morgues become overcrowded.  Support has been required with transportation to crematories and additional morgue facilities.

Arrange a cremation onlineCounty, State & Federal responses and adaptations – law changes & emergency measures

It is likely that some existing funeral legislation may have to be adapted in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.  The funeral industry has strict licensing laws that can vary by state.  For example, in New York, only a licensed funeral director can collect the deceased from the place of death.  This may become unrealistic in the coming weeks, and this law may need to be revised, even if only as a temporary emergency measure.

Funeral shipping and repatriation under travel restrictions

As a nation with a strong immigrant heritage, repatriating citizens back to a country of origin has been a staple part of the funeral industry.  However, recent travel restrictions have put limitations on funeral shipping at present.  Families are now faced with two options – arrange for storage of the deceased until such time as travel restrictions are lifted, or to arrange a cremation in the US and ship the cremated remains at a later date.

If you have any questions or concerns about arranging a funeral, reach out to your nearest DFS Memorials provider, or contact us at care@dfsmemorials.com for help.

Comparing cremation prices: How to find an affordable direct cremation

We are price-conscious, price-comparison consumers today.  In a short era, technology has changed many of our consumer habits.  These days we use a number of websites and mobile apps to compare prices for major purchases. And this trend has now impacted on the funeral industry.  An industry that has price-gouged consumers due to the mystery and misery that surrounds the purchase of funeral services. So, how can you compare cremation prices?

What options are available to compare cremation prices?

There are several options you can use to compare cremation costs.

#1 You can phone around a few local funeral homes and ask for prices.

All funeral homes are required by federal law to provide you with funeral prices when you make an inquiry.  They should be able to provide you with a copy of their General Price List. This can be time-consuming and a tad frustrating, as not all funeral homes will give you a simple price over the phone.

#2 You can use a funeral comparison concierge service

Everest’s Funeral Planning & Concierge Service will provide a price-comparison report for you, from up to 8 funeral homes with your specified zip code or mileage radius.  However, they charge a $29 fee for this service.

#3 Use an online funeral price-comparison website

There are an array of funeral price comparison websites today.  These provide a platform for consumers to find and check prices from funeral homes in a given area.  However, there are a few issues with these websites to consider.  Firstly, not all websites inclusively include ALL funeral homes in an area.  So, you may not see a true reflection of all local cremation prices.

Secondly, some of these websites monetize their platform by offering promoted listing for funeral homes that will pay.  This means you again may not see a true ‘un-biased’ representation of local cremation providers and prices.

If you are looking to compare cremation costs, the likelihood is that you want to ensure you do not overpay for a service.  Often, we no prior knowledge of arranging a funeral, we enter the process seeking guidance.

#4 Connect with the DFS Memorials network of low-cost cremation providers

DFS Memorials vetted and recruited local independent cremation service providers that met the criteria of offering their local community a ‘best price’ direct cremation.  So, the DFS Memorials website has conducted the price-comparison (to make it easier for you) and can connect you directly with a local, affordable cremation provider.

All local providers and their direct cremation prices are disclosed online.

How do you find the ‘best value’ cremation service?

Best value cremationCheap is sometimes cheap.  Corners are cut to offer budget services or products. “You get what you pay for” as we will often quip.  However, overpaying for a service can be annoying.

As mentioned above, funeral costs have long been shrouded in some mystery, allowing the industry to confuse families overpricing.

Why pay $2,700 for a simple direct cremation, when the exact same service can be conducted for $795?  So this is where the term “best value” or “best price” comes into play.  It is about comparing the exact same service package.  Cremation service costs can range significantly, and you can save money just by ensuring you have compared what prices are on offer locally.

Why choose direct cremation?

A direct cremation is the industry term for a simple cremation without any ceremony. It is the least expensive funeral option and the most simple, no-fuss option.  As the cremation rate continues to grow, it is largely direct cremation that families are choosing.  Why?  Namely cost, but also just out of the notion of simplicity.

A direct cremation can be arranged in most cities for between $500 – $1,000.  To find out your local direct cremation price, visit your state and city on DFS Memorials.