Understanding Direct Cremation: What is a direct cremation?

We are all becoming more familiar with cremation these days as the cremation rate increases in the U.S. and more people opt for cremation as a disposition alternative to a burial.  But people are not yet familiar with the term ‘direct cremation’.

What is a Direct Cremation?

A direct cremation sometimes referred to as an immediate cremation, is when a cremation is performed with minimal services from a funeral home and no service is conducted.  It is what is known in the funeral trade as a very basic cremation disposition.

The deceased is collected directly from the place of death and transported to the funeral home and/or crematory, the necessary documentation is completed, the mandatory waiting period passes and the deceased is cremated.  The cremated remains are returned to the family within 3-7 days.

Many funeral homes package a direct cremation offering and glamorize it with such names as A Simple Tribute, A Family Farewell, A Simple Goodbye, The Legacy Farewell, & Simply Farewell.  These names all symbolize a minimal service, minimal fuss disposition package – something many of us are opting for today!

Saving money on the cost of a casket

direct-cremation-costFor the purposes of the cremation, a basic cremation container is used to house the deceased’s body.  This is all that is legally required and a suitable “rigid, combustible” container is most often a sturdy cardboard container.  This means that no casket is required and eliminates the expense of purchasing a casket.  This alone saves around $1,000 – $4,000 in basic costs for the disposition.

If you did wish to have a brief family viewing before the cremation process, a funeral home can usually facilitate this using a rental casket or even a bed laid out in a viewing room.

The most affordable funeral option

A direct cremation can be considered one of the most inexpensive and affordable cremation options.  As only the minimal services of a funeral director are required and substitute funeral merchandise can be used, costs can be kept lower.  The cremated remains are generally returned to the family in a temporary cremation container, which can be a cardboard or plastic urn.  Of course, the family can opt to upgrade and select a wooden or ceramic urn if desired for an additional cost.   Some funeral homes serving families with direct cremations even offer to carry out an ash scattering or sea scattering these days for a small nominal fee.

What documentation must be completed legally before a cremation can be performed?

In order for any cremation to be performed a ‘Cremation Authorization Form‘ must be completed and signed by the legal next of kin.  A cremation permit must be obtained from the local county, and in some states, the coroner must sign the cremation permit.  This is largely to ensure there is no suspect reason why a body should not be cremated destroying all physical evidence.

There is a mandatory waiting period in all states before a cremation can be performed.  In most states this is 24-hours, but there are a number of states where a 48-hour mandatory waiting period must be observed.

Part 2 : How much does a direct cremation cost?

Tips on how to arrange a lower cost funeral in 2019

With so many families living paycheck to paycheck, unexpected funeral expenses can be an emergency that can create a financial crisis for a family.  Worried about funeral prices? Here we give you some tips for how to keep funeral costs down.

#1  Consider a direct cremation service

This is the most economical option to arrange a low-cost funeral or disposition.  In most U.S. cities, a direct cremation can be conducted for between $600 to $1,000.  This makes direct cremation the most affordable option to conduct a disposition if you have an unexpected death in the family, and limited funds to make arrangements.  A direct cremation is a cremation with no ceremony or services.  The deceased is cremated, and the cremated remains returned directly to the family.  This alleviates the need to deal with the immediate disposition of remains.  Once family have the ashes returned, they can conduct a memorial service (if desired).

How much does a funeral cost?

[Chart reproduced from Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company ]

#2  Shop around for funeral prices and service providers

Unbeknown to most people who have never had to make funeral arrangements before, funeral prices can vary tremendously, even for the exact same service.  It is always wise to check around a few funeral homes and cremation providers before making a decision.  Funeral homes are bound by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ‘Funeral Rule’ to provide a family with pricing information when requested.  If a funeral home cannot simply tell you a direct cremation price over the phone or by email, then that should be a concern.

#3  Ensure a cremation price quoted is fully-inclusive of all fees

Many funeral and cremation service providers offer cremation packages.  However, not all funeral homes include the same services and items in a package.  It is important to check that the cremation price quoted does not have any ‘hidden’ extra fees.  For example, some direct cremation packages include the cremation container, and others add this as an additional cost.  A basic cremation container can range from $25 to $150.  Third-party fees are fees the funeral director must pay out.  For example, county fees for death certificates and cremation permits.  So, these will generally be extra charges, however some direct cremation package prices will include these.

#4  Try and establish if there are any death benefits that the deceased may qualify for

Although there is very little financial support to assist families with burial expenses, there are a few benefits that can help towards funeral expenses for some families.  If the deceased was a military veteran there are certain benefits, the most significant being a free cemetery plot.

Social security has a lump-sum $255 death benefit payment for those that qualify.  Some unions and employers sometimes offer a death benefit payment to long-serving employees.

#5  Enlist a friend or colleague to help with funeral price negotiations

It can help to ensure you have a more ‘objective’ person to assist you with negotiations with the funeral service provider.  After a loss, it is hard to remain impassionate about decisions being made about the deceased and their death care. Having someone support you, and assist you through the decision-making or price-obtaining process, can help to ensure decisions are appropriately made.  Especially, ensuring budget constraints are met.

#6  Consider a discount online direct cremation package

The Internet has provided a great tool for us to find and check information.  With this tool today, you can obtain cremation price quotes online, and even make funeral arrangements online.  If you are prepared to make all the arrangements online and submit the required forms, you will not need to visit the funeral home.  This can be another cost-saving factor.  Several cremation providers will offer a discounted ‘online only’ direct cremation price.

If you require a low-cost direct cremation service, contact your nearest DFS Memorials provider. Click here to FIND A DFS MEMORIALS PROVIDER

$850 Simple cremation service in Modesto, CA

Cremation cost Modesto CAIf you have an immediate, or imminent, need for a simple low-cost cremation then we can help you arrange everything for one low price of $850.

Call us NOW if you need immediate assistance with arranging an affordable and dignified cremation service.  We are here to help!

Our attitudes to death and funerals are changing and many families are finding that cremation offers a more simple and affordable option.   More families are deciding they just want a simple, “no fuss” option, one that can be delivered at a low cost.

A direct cremation package can help you arrange a low-cost funeral.  The direct cremation takes care of the immediate disposition of the deceased, and once the cremated remains are available, a memorial or ash-scattering service can be conducted.

When you can take care of everything for $850 and are dealing with a local independent funeral business, why should you pay more than this?

What is included in the $850 Simple Cremation Package?

Our simple cremation service includes:

  • Collection of the deceased from the place of death
  • Transfer to the funeral facility*
  • Shelter of the deceased
  • Filing of the death certificate and cremation permit
  • A cardboard cremation container for the cremation process
  • The cremation process
  • Return of the cremated remains in a temporary cremation urn

*an additional mileage fee can apply if outside our basic service area

 Are there any extra costs?

The only additional fees are county fees, which are subject to change and payable to the county in order to facilitate the cremation proceeding.  Death certificate fees in California are $21 for each certified copy.

Can we still have a funeral service if we arrange a direct cremation?

Yes, of course.  You can arrange a memorial service once you have the cremated remains returned.  A memorial service is the type of funeral service where the deceased’s body is not present.  You can hold a memorial service with, or without, the cremation urn present.  A memorial funeral service can also take the shape of an ash scattering ceremony, or a candlelit vigil or tribute.  We have some useful resources to help you plan and make your own memorial tributes in our Memorialization section.

Comparing cremation costs in Modesto, CA

As cremation is becoming a popular choice for residents of Modesto, there are several cremation service providers serving Stanislaus County.  The cost of a cremation can vary significantly, for the exact same service, so it is wise to ensure you do compare cremation prices between a few providers to ensure you are benefitting from a value for money cremation service package.  The average cost of a cremation memorial service in Modesto is $2,748, and the average cost of a direct cremation is $1,119.*  It is important to check that a direct cremation package includes everything.

A cremation significantly reduces funeral costs.  The average cost of a funeral in Modesto is $5,581.

How can you save money when arranging a cremation service?

A direct cremation is the most economical means of disposition there is.  In Modesto, a direct cremation can be conducted for $850 complete, making this very affordable funeral option.   If you need to keep funeral costs down, then a simple cremation arranged through a cremation provider is your lowest cost cremation option in Modesto, CA.  You can then arrange your own memorial services once you have the cremated remains returned.  This significantly cuts down on funeral expenses.

What do I need to know about arranging a cremation?  What are the legal requirements?

A cremation authorization form must be signed by the legal next of kin for a cremation to proceed.  If there are multiple siblings, all must sign and agree for a cremation to be carried out.  There is a 24-hour mandatory wait period after death before the cremation can go ahead.

What help is there with cremation costs?

If qualifying for Social Security, you may be entitled to the lump-sum death benefit payment of $255.  The funeral director will generally assist you with submitting the claim to Social Security.  Of course, many people use life insurance policies to offset funeral costs, but with a direct cremation, the funeral provider will require payment upfront.

There is very limited public assistance support for funeral costs and this can vary by county.   Check out Stanislaus County Community Services Agency. Phone:  (209) 558-5142

How do I obtain a copy of a death certificate?

You can obtain copies of a death certificate from the Vital Records office at: Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder, 1021 I Street, Suite 101, Modesto CA, 95354  Phone: (209) 525-5250

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

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

As funeral directors are familiar with the process, and the body is released with death certificate & cremation permit, it is generally easy to maintain a low cost to offer a direct cremation service for an individual that has been in the care of the Medical Examiner. Stanislaus County Medical Examiner & Coroner office is at: 250 Hackett Road Modesto CA 95358, (209) 525-7216

Please contact your local DFS Memorials cremation services provider on (209) 208-6434 with any further questions you have, or to make immediate arrangements for a low-cost cremation service.

*Cost data obtained from funeral price comparison website 2018