How to arrange affordable cremation services in Athens, GA

The shift to cremation is sweeping across the nation as families demand more affordable death care alternatives.  Cremation is now fast becoming a disposition choice for many families in Georgia.  For those families who do not want to overspend on a funeral, or simply do not have the funds for a costly funeral, cremation is a low-cost alternative.

Cremation questionsWhat is the average cost of a funeral in Athens?

These days we are discerning consumers, very mindful of costs, and people now feel the same way about purchasing funeral services.  Why should we not ask how much it costs?

The average cost of a traditional funeral in Athens is $7,076*.

So how do cremation costs compare in Athens?

Cremation offers a cheaper and more flexible alternative to a traditional burial, and can therefore significantly reduce funeral costs.

No casket, cemetery plot or burial vault is required, immediately reducing some of the most expensive purchases related to funeral expenses.

The average price for a cremation funeral service in Athens is $3,878*.

Direct cremation services in Athens, GA

Direct cremation is the industry term for a ‘simple cremation’.  Only the cremation service is provided by the funeral home.  No ceremony or funeral services are provided by the funeral home.  The deceased is collected, cremated and the remains returned to the family in a basic urn.

Direct cremation offers families lower cost funeral services and more control over the time and type of memorial ceremonial services they desire.  A memorial service can be held in a place of worship, a community venue or even outdoors.  The service can be conducted with, or without, the cremation urn present, and can even take the form of an ash-scattering ceremony or interment in a cremation niche or scattering garden.

A basic direct cremation is available in Athens for around $995, although the average price for a direct cremation is $1,495.   To help families arrange affordable cremation services we have selected only family-owned cremation services providers who can offer a direct cremation package.

Direct cremation means a family can manage to conduct dignified funeral services for as little as $995

Are there are additional fees to a cremation package?

In order for a cremation to be conducted a ‘disposition permit’ must be issued by the county.  At present there is no charge for this.  Death certificates are an additional cost, as these are issued by the county, and are a third-party expense.  Death certificates cost $25 for the first certificate and $5 for each additional copy issued.

How do I know that I am getting the remains of my loved one back?

This is one of the most frequent questions families ask about cremation.  Strict laws govern the cremation of human remains and identity checks must be made all along the way.  The cremation retort must 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) and then ground into the fine ‘dust’ that is returned as cremation ashes.

What if I am not sure about cremation or the family cannot agree about cremation?

Cremation is such a final disposition, you do need to ensure that you are completely sure that this IS the ‘right’ disposition choice for you.  Certain laws are in place to ensure this final disposition can only proceed if the legal next of kin has authorized it.  A Cremation Authorization Form must be signed by the legal next of kin, and in the case of children, many funeral directors will require all children sign.

You can authorize an agent for your final disposition or sign the authorization when you preplan a cremation.

What can you do with the cremated remains?

The options of what you can do with the cremated remains of your loved one are one of the reasons cremation is becoming more popular.  You can, of course, just choose to inter the remains in a cemetery plot. You can inter the remains in a niche or columbarium, or you can keep the ashes at home.  Keepsake urns even enable you to disperse the ashes between several family members, or choose to scatter some and retain a ‘keepsake’ memorial.

Ash scattering is also more common these days and there are many options for how you can create a befitting ash scattering ceremony.

Can I preplan a direct cremation at an affordable cost?

Yes.  You can preplan a simple direct cremation service.  This is generally funded through an insurance product that will cover this cost when the need arises.  All monies are secured in a trust fund.

How quickly can a cremation be performed?

It generally takes a few days to make the necessary arrangements, complete all the legal paperwork and schedule the cremation.  However, expedited services can be arranged if required.  In Georgia there is a mandatory 24 hour wait period after death before a cremation can be conducted.

What do I do if I cannot even afford a cremation?

There is very little ‘free’ money to help families with funeral costs.   What is available is constantly changing due to budget constraints, and varies by county.  Some counties do have a provision to assist needy or low-income families.  Contact Clarke county DFCS to find out what may be available to you locally.

Clarke County DFCS, 284 North Avenue, Athens, Georgia 30603  Phone (706) 227-7021

There is also a $255 lump sum social security death benefit payment if the deceased qualifies, and your funeral director can help you claim this.  So you may find that a low-cost cremation at $850 with DFS Memorials is a dignified, yet affordable, disposition alternative if your family is struggling financially.

 

*funeral prices obtained from online funeral price survey website May 2017

What is a public assistance funeral?

The poor economy has taken its toll on many American families, and as many struggle just to put food on the table, a death can be but an additional financial strain.  Less and less people are investing in funeral plans or burial insurance, simply because savings and insurance policies are some of the first things to go when there is a financial crisis.

help-with-funeral-costsMore often today at DFS Memorials we are encountering distraught families who have found that a sudden bereavement has tipped them over the edge!  We are witnessing an increase in the number of folks seeking out financial help with funeral expenses, and answering questions about what help there is to pay funeral costs.

What kind of financial help there is varies considerably depending on where you live, what your personal circumstances are, and the circumstances of the deceased.  Some states/counties do still offer some public assistance with funeral costs, however, this is very limited these days.  A ‘public assistance’ funeral is where the state will contribute a fixed sum towards the cost of a funeral.  It is sometimes called a ‘welfare funeral’.

The state will pay a fixed amount, generally direct to the funeral director, that will enable a basic burial or cremation to be conducted.  In some cases the family can supplement the contribution.

If you are concerned about how you are going to pay for a funeral, you need to seek some guidance.  You may wish to consult your local county Human Services or Social Services department.  Sometimes they will have a list of funeral homes who will handle public assistance funerals.   The funeral director will complete the necessary forms with you and submit his fees to the county for payment.

public-assistance-funeral

Do be aware, that if for any reason the application for support is declined, you would be liable for the funeral costs your funeral home has incurred concerning the funeral contract you have signed.  You MUST ensure that you can raise the sufficient funds to cover the expenses you are arranging.

Due to the rise in bad debt for funeral expenses, and the reduction in county support, some funeral homes are less willing to accept deceased family members where it is apparent the family may lack funds.  However, there are still funeral homes who do their utmost to help families care for their lost loved ones, no matter the unfortunate circumstances.  It IS important to ensure you are dealing with reputable, funeral professionals who care about helping your family.

There are various financial support funds for deceased veterans and certain dependents, as well as victims of crime.

— Remember: If you have concerns about affording a funeral, try and keep your funeral costs to a minimum.  You can arrange a simple, dignified cremation and conduct your own family memorial, which can reduce your outlay to under $1,000 in many areas of the United States.

Sara Marsden [Google+]