Questions about Cremation

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Do people choose cremation only to save money?

There are a number of reasons that cremation is increasingly becoming the first choice for final arrangements. While it is true that cremation is significantly less expensive than a traditional burial, other factors also influence the decision process. These factors include:

  • A growing acceptance of cremation, both from a secular and a religious standpoint
  • A population that is increasingly on the move, with less ties to tradition
  • A growing attitude toward cremation as a more environmentally responsible choice
  • Greater flexibility in memorialization options

What is the average cost to inter an urn in a columbarium?

The average cost to inter an urn in a cremation burial space or columbarium is $995.

What is the average cost of a direct cremation?

In general, when referring only to the cremation process itself, with no additional services or funeral arrangements, you may expect the following average costs. Direct cremation (in which the body is cremated and the ashes returned to the family, with no funeral or other services added) is the most simple, and least expensive option.

Depending on the region in which you live, a direct cremation can run as low as $495 in certain areas (Florida and Nevada, for example). However, in most parts of the United States, the average cost runs somewhere between $700 to $1000. A direct cremation, as defined here, should not cost more than $1500 at the most, regardless of the location.

The best way to find out the average cost of a direct cremation in your area is to contact local
funeral homes and crematories, and ask them for a quote for a direct cremation with no additional services. That way you can compare “apples to apples”. Ask questions to make sure that the price you are quoted is not part of a package, which can significantly increase your cost.

What is the average cost of a cremation?

When looking at cremation costs, the first thing you must realize is that there is no set answer to this question. Cremation costs can and do vary by location or geographic region. Prices are set by the individual crematory providers or funeral homes, and can vary widely from one provider to another, even within the same local area. Cremation costs also depend on whether other services are included with the cremation, the cost of the casket or container used during cremation, and other factors. According to the Cremation Association of North America, the average cost of a cremation with a simple memorial service is $1650. Generally, a cremation with additional services handled through a funeral home will cost between $2000 to $4000. If the cremation is handled directly through a crematory, the average price will fall somewhere between $1500 to $3000.

Is cremation the preferred option if someone dies of an infectious or communicable disease?

According to the World Health Organization, there are no health advantages to cremation over burial, although in some areas of the world cremation may be preferred due to religious or cultural reasons. In the case of a medical epidemic, it is better for the community to leave handling of the bodies to trained medical staff who understand infection control and can make sure that proper practices are in place during transport and disposition of the body.

What questions should I ask when looking for a cremation provider?

It is important to remember that not all cremation providers are the same. You should not base your decision on the price alone. You should also make sure you are getting a quote for the complete cost.

Some Questions You Should Ask The Cremation Provider Include:

  • Are you a member of any industry organizations like the Cremation Association of North America?
  • Do you follow a code of ethics?
  • Do you perform your own cremations, and if not, who performs the cremations? Where are they located?
  • Can I schedule an appointment to meet the staff face-to-face and tour your facility?
  • Can I witness the cremation?
  • How soon after receiving the deceased do you perform the cremation?
  • Do you keep the body refrigerated until cremation?
  • Do you require identification of the body prior to cremation?
  • What kind of tracking system do you use to make sure I receive the correct cremated remains?
  • How will you return the ashes, if no urn is provided prior to cremation?
  • What is your policy on holding cremated remains after cremation?
  • How do you dispose of prosthetics and artificial devices?
  • May I have references of other families you have served in the past?
  • Do you offer any kind of guarantee on your services?
  • Do you offer any options for memorialization or other gatherings of remembrance for my loved one?
  • Is your staff certified and up to date on the proper use of the cremation equipment and care of the body and cremated remains?

Why is cremation regarded as an irreversible process?

Cremation reduces the body down to its basic elements, destroying all organic matter so that all that remains of the body is inorganic mineral elements and bone fragments. With burial, you can exhume a body and still extract identifying information, even though natural decay processes are present. With cremation, you cannot extract any identifying information from the cremated remains of a person, nor can you distinguish between the cremated remains of one person from another.

Why do states have laws regarding a waiting period before a body can be cremated?

Because the cremation process is irreversible, many states require a waiting period of up to 48 hours after death before a body is released to cremation.

Is DNA still retrievable from cremated ashes?

No. Cremation is an irreversible process. DNA starts to degrade at about 800 degrees F. The heat in a cremation chamber may range from 1400 to 1800 degrees F. Any DNA is thus destroyed by the cremation process.

Do cremated ashes pose any kind of health hazard?

No. Cremated remains are essentially sterile in themselves, having been purified during the cremation process.

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