Arranging cremation services in Des Moines, Iowa

Want to know how to arrange a dignified funeral in Des Moines at an affordable cost? This short guide will help you through the funeral-planning process and answer questions about the cost of cremation in Des Moines, how to choose a cremation services provider, what you need to know about cremation and how to save money by arranging affordable cremation services.

Why choose cremation services?

cremation-services-des-moinesCremation offers a less expensive and more versatile alternative to a burial service.  Opting for cremation services can save you around 50% (or sometimes more) on the cost of traditional burial services.  No casket is required, or embalming (unless specifically required) and there is no immediate need for a cemetery plot or burial vault.  Eliminating these products and services can save thousands of dollars.

A cremation can offer a more flexible alternative that can accommodate families who have moved away from Iowa, or when a funeral cannot be held straight away.  Cremation also offers a greater range of personalization options with a whole array of ash-scattering ceremony possibilities, and various cremation artifact products.

What different cremation service options do I have?

There are generally three main categories of cremation service options:

cremation-services-des-moines-iaCremation Funeral Service : This is where a cremation is held after the funeral service. The deceased is generally present during the services and transferred to the crematory after the funeral service.

Cremation Memorial Service : This is held after the cremation.  The memorial service can be held with, or without, the cremated remains present.  Often this can take the form of an ash-scattering or cremation urn interment ceremony.

Direct Cremation Service : The cremation is conducted without any service or ceremony and the cremated remains are transferred directly back to the family.

There are variations on these cremation service options, such as options offering a family a private viewing prior to cremation, or enabling family to view (or commence) the cremation process.

How much does a cremation cost?

The cost of a cremation can vary considerably and this will depend upon the type of cremation service you opt for.  A full-service cremation with a ceremony will cost in the region of $4,995, depending upon the length of service held and what kind of casket you purchase or rent.  A direct cremation will cost between $895 and $1,105.

Direct cremation services in Des Moines

If you are working to a budget for your funeral expenses, you may wish to consider a direct cremation.  A direct cremation is the cheapest cremation option and includes 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 if requested delivered/mailed).  A direct cremation can be arranged online or by phone without any need for you to visit a funeral home.

Comparing cremation costs in Des Moines

All funeral homes have a general price list (GPL) that itemizes all services and charges.  Legally a funeral home must provide you with a copy of their GPL if you request cremation price information, either in person or by phone.

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, or collection from a residential address? Is there an additional daily refrigeration charge if the cremation does not proceed after 48-hours?

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

cremation-plan-des-moinesThere 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 Iowa there is a mandatory 48-hour wait period after death before the cremation can proceed, however, 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.

In Iowa death certificates cost $20.00 each.  This is often considered a ‘cash advance’ item and not included in a quoted cremation price.  The funeral director will generally obtain the death certificates on your behalf.

Can I preplan a cremation?

Yes you can prearrange a cremation.  Advance planning can help to ensure you get the most appropriate service provider for your needs, and can save 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.

What can we do with the cremated remains?

As mentioned earlier there is a versatility on 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 to name but a few!

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 would need to make inquiries with Polk County Human Services Department 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.  A low cost direct cremation from a budget provider can be arranged for $895.

There is also a $255 lump sum death benefit payment from Social Security (if qualifying) and your funeral director will assist you with submitting this claim.

What is “no-cost cremation”?

Some funeral homes now offer this option.  This is referring 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.  So all-in-all they do still recoup their costs.  As we all know, there really is nothing that is truly free!  You should always have a Plan B if you decide you wish to opt for body donation at the time of your death, as not all donors are actually accepted at the time of their donation.

If you have any further questions about arranging a cremation service in Des Moines, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions on (515) 200-2959

Selecting Affordable Funeral Services in Chattanooga, TN

The cremation trend is changing the way we think about arranging a funeral.  Although the cremation rate in Tennessee has typically been below the national rate, the demand for low cost funeral alternatives is changing the way many families today approach death care. You can arrange an affordable cremation for as little as $995 in Chattanooga.

How funeral care is changing and economic reasons for choosing cremation

low-cost-cremation-chattanooga-tnDeciding whether to bury or cremate is very much a personal choice.  For some families the decision is dictated by the budget they have for a funeral.  A cremation service will cost much less than a traditional burial funeral.  On average a cremation service is going to save you at least 40% on  the cost of a burial, sometimes you can save as much as 60% on the cost of a burial service.  More families are choosing cremation as it does offer a greater flexibility. The funeral service does not have to go ahead immediately.  Instead a cremation can be performed and the immediate disposition of the body dealt with and then a service held at a later date convenient to the family.

The economy has definitely impacted on how we are changing our approach to death care today.  Many families simply cannot, or do not, want to spend unnecessarily on funeral costs.  A cremation provides a simple, efficient and economical means to conduct a disposition.

So how much does a cremation cost in Chattanooga?

Firstly it is important to state that cremation prices in Chattanooga DO vary quite considerably between funeral homes, and depending what type of cremation service you opt for.  Not all funeral homes have their own crematory but will use the services of a local crematory.  The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) quote the average cost of a cremation at $3,200, however, it is possible to find much lower-priced cremation services in Chattanooga.

An affordable basic cremation can be conducted in Chattanooga for as little as $995 complete*.  This is what is known as a “direct cremation”.  No services are performed, the deceased is collected, transported to the funeral facility, prepared for cremation and the cremation is conducted.  The cremated remains are returned to the family in a temporary plastic urn.  If desired the family can arrange a brief final goodbye viewing at the funeral home.

Call DFS Memorials now on (423) 207-8564 to arrange a low cost cremation for $995

chattanooga-cremation-servicesHow much does a burial funeral service cost in Chattanooga?

Again, the cost for a burial service can vary, depending upon what type of services you require and the cost of funeral merchandise such as the casket and burial vault.  Cemetery costs vary and overhead charged by a funeral home differs.  The National Funeral Directors Association report that the average funeral costs just under $8,000, but this does not include any cemetery fees.

A traditional funeral can be arranged for $3,995, including a casket but not including the cemetery costs.

Call DFS Memorials now on (423) 207-8564 to arrange an affordable traditional funeral for $3,995

What type of cremation services in Chattanooga are available?

You can select from a range of cremation services and packages.  These will start with a basic cremation without any additional services, which is the most affordable type of cremation package you will find in Chattanooga.  You can have a full service funeral that is followed by the cremation, a cremation followed by a memorial service, or just a viewing followed by a cremation.  The change in the funeral industry today is the move towards ‘personalization’ and making a funeral service that fits the needs of the family, whatever they are.

Comparing cremation costs in Chattanooga, TN

As mentioned the cost of a cremation can vary enormously – for the exact same service – but from different cremation service providers.   Ensure that you compare like-for-like services.  Some cremation service providers include crematory fees and cremation container costs in a direct cremation package, and others do not always include these fees.  Death certificate fees and cremation permits are often additional ‘cash advance’ items.

cremation-costs-chattanooga-tnHow do I know that the cremated remains I get back are my loved one’s remains?

This is probably the most common cremation question we are asked.  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.

Understanding the legal requirements for cremation in Chattanooga

As mentioned above, there are laws in place regarding the cremation of human remains.  A cremation cannot be performed until a cremation permit is issued by the medical examiner’s office.  The legal next of kin must sign a Cremation Authorization Form.  It is not necessary to embalm a body for cremation and refrigerated storage is used to preserve the body until the cremation is performed.  The funeral home will generally store the body for up to 5 days in refrigerated storage at no extra charge.  If the cremation does not go ahead within 5 days, an additional fee for storage may be incurred.

What can I do with the cremated remains?

Cremation offers some greater flexibility in what you can do with the cremated remains once you have them returned.  You can, of course, inter them in a grave plot or niche.  However, you can choose to store them in an urn at home or scatter the cremated remains.  There are also options such as having cremation artifacts made from cremated remains such as cremation diamonds, glass jewelry, bird baths and paintings.

Preplanning an affordable cremation service in Chattanooga

If you wish to preplan a simple cremation you can lock in a low cost cremation price.  This may depend upon your age at the time of setting up a prepaid cremation plan.  A cremation plan can be set up using an insurance policy where the funds are put into a trust.  You can also opt to preplan your cremation service without prepaying.  This ensures that your surviving family can proceed with arrangements at the time of need, without having to worry about completing the paperwork or make difficult decisions.  The money to pay for the cremation can be put aside in a POD account (Payable on Death) which your beneficiary can draw out upon death immediately without probate.

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

It is sadly a reality that more folks are passing without leaving the means to pay for their funeral.  If you are faced with this situation, you need to explore what help may be available to you.  Social Security pay out a $255 lump sum death benefit (if you qualify) and your funeral director can assist you with this. Arranging a simple cremation at an affordable cost will help you save on funeral costs in Chattanooga.

The support for indigent burials differs so much by state and county.  To find out what may be available you should contact Hamilton County Human Services Departments.

*death certificates not included in basic direct cremation package

How to choose an Advance Directive to assist with funeral planning

In October 2003, a woman in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) named Terry Schiavo unwittingly grabbed the attention of the global community. Her case would span 15 years and ultimately involve Congress and the president of the United States.

There is probably no better argument for the necessity of having an advance directive in place.

What is an advance directive?

planing-ahead-funeralAn advance directive is a medicolegal document outlining a patient’s wishes regarding their health care. They may also be utilized to appoint someone to make decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so. There are various types of legally recognized documents. Some of them are complex and clinical while others address only a few areas of concern and are more flexible.

Anyone who is at least 18 years old and legally able to make decisions can execute an advance directive. We strongly encourage all adults have a signed directive.

The forms discussed in this article can be obtained online, through your care provider, or from a hospital or similar institution and usually are free of charge.

Five Wishes

This document focuses a bit more on patient comfort than strictly clinical issues. For instance, one can delineate the type of music that is played at their funeral. You can provide information about your personal care such as religious concerns, ensuring that your lips and mouth are kept moistened, and so on.

As one would expect, there are also areas where you can designate someone to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you are unable to communicate. You can also direct healthcare providers regarding the use of life support.

Important notes

The Five Wishes document is legally valid in 42 states. If you decide to use this as your advance directive, you’ll want to verify its legal status for your state.

It’s also important to note that CPR directives are not included in this particular directive; however, you can write in those instructions.

An additional feature is that a patient can authorize their agent (the person they’ve assigned to make decisions for them) to override their written instructions. Naturally, they can also withhold that authority.

Signing a Five Wishes document invalidates all other advance directives currently in effect.

Some states require this document to be notarized (as indicated on the form). While the other states do not require this, it is wise to go ahead and get the document notarized.

Living Will

This directive has a very solid legal standing but is a bit limited in that it only comes into effect when a person has been determined to be in a terminal or PVS state and lacks decisional capacity (unable to make decisions).

A Living Will does not allow anyone to override the patient’s choices unless specifically indicated. If you wish to give your agent or physician that ability, you will need to make sure the document includes that authority.

This document can be combined with other advance directives, and the declarant (the person signing the directive) can also designate with whom providers may discuss the patient’s condition.

It should also be noted that the Living Will expires upon the person’s death so funeral directions, etc., are not legally binding.

Medical Durable Power of Attorney

funeral-wishesThe MDPOA has a much longer reach than many other types of advance directives. It essentially gives the right to the agent to make all healthcare decisions for the patient, including obtaining medical records, consulting with physicians, etc.

Unlike the Living Will, this directive can also go into effect while the patient is alert and communicative (if that authority is granted). An agent, however, cannot override the patient’s wishes unless specifically given that authority. The MDPOA can be used along with the Living Will.

It is important to note that this authority only extends to healthcare decisions.  It does not empower the agent to act in financial or other matters. Also, states may have varying statutes covering MDPOAs, so a directive executed in California may not have the same authority in Nevada. Generally speaking, there is a “good faith” recognition of directives in other states, but it isn’t guaranteed.

If you choose your spouse to be your agent, you should note that divorce or legal separation disqualifies them to act as your agent.

CPR Directive

This document is limited in scope as it only addresses your wishes regarding CPR. It is usually only used when a patient does not wish to be resuscitated in the event of a cardiopulmonary event (often referred to as a DNR or “do not resuscitate” order).

This document must be signed by a physician and generally applies outside the institution caring for the patient. For example, a DNR order given while a patient is in the hospital expires upon discharge whereas a CPR directive will remain in effect.

In some cases, this directive is placed on hold during surgery, so it is important to discuss this with care providers in advance of a procedure.

Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST)

This is a newer form of advance directive and may not recognized in all states. One of the main benefits of this directive is that it requires an in-depth discussion between the patient and their care provider regarding their care. It allows for a greater understanding and more complete direction of care.

Unlike other directives, it also includes provisions regarding artificial hydration and nutrition as well as antibiotic usage (in some conditions administering antibiotics can actually cause more complications than relief). It is signed by the patient’s care provider (which can be a licensed professional other than a physician) and acts as a medical order that is transferred between institutions.

It is a medical order rather than just an expression of a patient’s preferences and is designed for a chronically or seriously ill patient, or for someone who is a resident of a care facility (so that the provisions of care remain the same between facilities, hospitals, etc.).

Important notes

This directive doesn’t replace the need for other forms of an advance directive. It also does not appoint an agent.

A facility or care provider may refuse to recognize this document based on religious or moral convictions. In these situations, the patient or their agent must be notified of this refusal and offered transfer to a facility or provider who will comply.


There are other directives available, but these are the most common. If you are interested in a state-specific directive, you can visit this site to download the appropriate form.

Funeral Planning

The Five Wishes document is really the only advance directive that provides an opportunity for someone to include information about funeral planning.  What kind of funeral service or memorial, what type of music they want, how they wish to be remembered, etc.

Even if you wish to use a different form of directive, the Five Wishes form can be quite helpful in guiding the conversation with loved ones. It can be difficult and uncomfortable for many family members to have this talk, but it’s a necessary one.