What is a cremation plan and why should you consider one?

Cremation laws

The nation is shifting towards cremation as a preferred disposition method. What do you need to know about preplanning a cremation? We are being asked more frequently about cremation plans, how to set one up, how much it costs, and what it entails, so let’s try to answer some of those questions.

What is a cremation plan?

Cremation planning

A cremation plan is simply a preplanned cremation option. Much like a funeral plan, you take the time to make final arrangements for yourself (or a loved one) and ensure the important documentation is prepared.

Many people still find it a bit undesirable to discuss death-care plans.  But planning ahead can save your loved ones from the stress and financial burden of making arrangements when the time comes.

How can you set up a cremation plan?

You can choose several ways to set up a cremation plan.  Like preplanning a funeral, you can visit a local funeral services provider, discuss your requirements, and prepare the necessary documentation.  You can opt to preplan and pay for your cremation plan.  Funds for a preplanned cremation are generally either put into trust (as legally required in most states), or sometimes a plan can be funded by an insurance product covering your final costs.

However, it is also possible to plan for a cremation without having to prepay. This can be desirable if you wish to have the legal documentation in order but do not want to prepay the funds. It is more of a matter of laying out your wishes for cremation and signing the required Cremation Authorization Form. It is then possible to set aside funds in a POD account to cover the cremation cost.

Cremation laws

A cremation cannot legally proceed unless a Cremation Authorization Form has been signed by the legal next of kin.  This can sometimes cause family disputes and delay a cremation proceeding.  If cremation is what you, or a family member, want…then it can make it easier for the surviving family and your next of kin if this document has already been completed as part of a cremation plan.  Preauthorizing a cremation as part of a cremation plan in those states that allow it is possible.

How much does it cost for a cremation plan?

The price for a cremation plan will differ.  It will depend on which service provider you select and the payment terms determined.  If you require a simple direct cremation plan, then the costs for this type of cremation plan are within the region of $1,200 to $3,000.  A direct cremation service (at-need) costs around $1,000 on average, but with a preplan there is a need to build in inflation costs.

Can I pay for a cremation plan in installments?

Saving on cremation costs

Some cremation providers offer cremation plans that can be paid over an installment period. You would agree to your plan with the provider, who would determine the cost and offer you the option to make payments over an agreed-upon period.

This can help families that would like the option to plan and prepay but do not want to make the payment all at once.

If anything should happen before the plan is paid in full, the surviving family would be liable for the outstanding balance.

It is also VERY important to ensure your family knows about your cremation plan and has access to the documentation.  It is not unheard of that surviving family have already made funeral plans or even gone ahead with a funeral before finding out that their loved one actually had a cremation plan in place.

What do you need to know about preplanning a cremation?

Find cheapest cremation plan

Cremation prearrangements ensure that your wishes are met.  Today, I meet with a lot of people who say, “I just want to be cremated,” along with ideas about what kind of memorialization they would like.  If you or a loved one have specific requests about cremation and your final disposition, then preplanning helps ensure you are in control.  Losing a loved one is a very difficult time, and if the key decisions have already been itemized, it can make it so much easier emotionally for the family.

Many of our senior population realize their children may not financially be able to unexpectedly pay out funeral costs.  Preplanning a cremation enables them to have peace of mind that their funeral wishes will be met without burdening their children.

What are the advantages of setting up a cremation plan?

I have outlined below the key advantages of setting up a cremation plan:

Relieve family of the financial & emotional burden

One of the main reasons people choose to preplan is to relieve their family of making these emotional decisions and bearing the financial burden. Too often, grieving families make emotional decisions that can end up costing them even more on a funeral bill.

Instead of spending time answering questions about arrangements, everyone can refer to the specifics of the cremation plan and wishes as they were set out.

Peace of mind

Unfortunately, we do not like to talk about death.  We especially are not fond of discussing this topic with our loved ones.  This can sometimes leave parents, or grandparents, worried about how they can communicate their wishes and how we will cope in the aftermath of their loss.  Taking the time to make a cremation plan can provide peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones will have a ‘plan’ to go to when the time comes.

Control of your final wishes

If you have decided that your final wish is to be cremated, it can help to plan ahead. This ensures your wish will be honored. As mentioned, there are legal requirements that MUST be met before a cremation can be conducted. It is such a final disposition method that these laws are in place to help protect families.


Cremation Memorial Service

We all embrace personalizes our lives these days….so why not choose how you wish to personalize your final passage?  Taking the time to make a cremation plan enables you to make specific personal requests.  Is there particular music you would like played?  A special place for a memorial service or an ash-scattering?  If you have not had chance, or it has been difficult, to discuss this with your family, then making a plan allows you to outline what your personal requests are.

Discussing death is still somewhat of a taboo subject.  But times are changing and with over 54% of Americans now opting for cremation as a final disposition, it becomes more important than ever to make plans.

Sara Marsden

I have been researching and writing about the death care industry for the last fifteen years. End of life services and experiences are something most of us choose not to reflect upon until we are suddenly faced with dealing with it. I have been contributing comprehensive and independent resources for families that explain how the funeral industry operates, and the laws that govern funeral practices. Sara writes for US Funerals Online and DFS Memorials LLC, as well as contributing to other forums and publications for the death care industry. I have a BA in Cultural Studies. This helps my analysis of cultural death care rituals, alongside a career background in Business Management. The death care industry is undergoing an epoch of change and this fascinates me.

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