Cost of Cremation
Cost is a factor in the growing popularity and acceptance of cremation. Understanding the different costs that are involved when planning a cremation service can help you make a more informed decision when choosing a funeral home to serve your family.
The first step is to understand the cremation options available. If you call a funeral home and ask “How much is a cremation?” they will need to know what service options, if any, you are considering. Services can be very basic or as unique as the life of the person being remembered. Ultimately, the final cost will depend on the services you select when making arrangements.
There are essentially three types of cremation service.
Traditional Service with Visitation
With a traditional funeral, there is usually a visitation for public viewing and a funeral service, held at a church or funeral chapel. A rental or “ceremonial” casket is used, and the casket can be opened or closed during visitation. The actual cremation would be performed after the funeral and the cremated remains are then returned to the family. The average cost is $3,000.
Cremation with a Memorial Service
A memorial service can be described as a funeral service without the body present. The cremation usually takes place a day or two following the death. An urn containing the ashes of the deceased can be present at the memorial service, which can be held at the funeral home, a church or any place that is meaningful, such as a park or beach. The cost will vary, depending on where the service is held.
Direct Cremation with No Service
This is the most basic type of service. The body is cremated, and the cremated remains are returned to the family. There is no service of any kind. The average cost is $2,000.
Every funeral home is required by law to present you with a General Price List (GPL) that lists each service offering and price. To make things simpler to understand, many funeral homes offer packages for a set price. Packages should clearly state what is included and what might cost extra.
These costs are generally included in most packages (not all, so be sure to ask):
- Professional fees of the funeral home and staff
- Transportation of the deceased to the funeral home
- Cremation fee
- Alternative container
These are sometimes not included:
- Death certificates
Other services that might involve an extra charge:
- Medical examiners’ fees
- Transportation (if outside a certain area)
- Embalming (This is never required by law, but is sometimes required for a public viewing)
- Mailing cremated remains
- Private family viewing
Memorial Options for Cremated Remains
What you choose to do with your loved one’s cremated remains is usually not included in cremation prices unless specified. Here are some typical ways families honor their loved one. Prices for all will vary:
- Keepsake urns that hold a portion of cremated remains for families who all want to have a remembrance item.
- Burial in a cemetery ground space, about $1,000-$2,000.
- Placement in a columbarium, or above-ground cemetery niche, $750 to $2,800.
- Scattering at sea, $400-$800 and up, depending on the services you choose.
- Scattering over land or in a scattering garden.
- Cremation jewelry made from the cremated remains of your loved one, created by specialty companies; price can go from $50 to $20,000, depending on how elaborate the design is.