|This guide aims
to answer some of the key questions you may have as you start making funeral
arrangements. Aside from having a directory of funeral homes in Alabama,
we have put together an overview of some of the legal aspects of making
funeral plans specific to Alabama funeral laws.
Finding funeral homes in Alabama
If you need to arrange a funeral
or cremation in Alabama, the first thing you may be considering doing is
finding a local funeral home or cremation provider. There are 655
listed funeral and cremation businesses in Alabama, so you need to decide
upon a few factors that can help you select the right provider for you.
These can be such things as whether you require a burial or a cremation,
what kind of service you require, if you want a traditional service or
a more contemporary life celebration event, and most importantly – what
kind of budget you have for the cost of the funeral.
Funeral costs and cremation
costs in Alabama
The most important question
many people want to know today is “how much does a funeral cost?”
The cost of a traditional funeral has been steadily increasing for a number
of years now, and the average funeral today can cost around $10,000 in
total. However, more folks are demanding cheaper funeral options.
Not only can many families not afford this kind of outlay, more still are
just electing to save this money on funeral costs to spend elsewhere.
Alabama cremation services
Although burial is still the
preferred funeral choice in Alabama, cremation services are steadily growing
in popularity. One of the main reasons for this is the cost of cremation
services. A cremation can cost a fifth of the cost of a traditional
funeral in Alabama. A cremation eliminates the need for some of the
most expensive funeral service items – such as a casket, embalming, burial
vault and the cemetery charges. This alone can immediately half the
cost of a funeral. A cremation with a memorial service can
be arranged very similar to a burial service, only the deceased is cremated
after the memorial service.
Arranging a direct cremation
not only offers the most affordable funeral in Alabama, it can also mean
that a memorial service can be conducted at a later date/time to suit the
family. In fact, many families are choosing to use a funeral home
to conduct the immediate cremation and then arranging memorial services
or an ash scattering ceremony themselves.
Affordable cremation services
If the funeral costs are a concern
to you, seek out a funeral home or crematory in Alabama who specialize
in offering low cost cremation services. Do be aware that the cost
of a cremation can vary significantly between funeral homes. The DFS Memorials
network of low cost cremation providers all offer a simple and affordable
direct cremation service. Prices vary, depending upon your location,
but range between $765 and $995.
Comparing Alabama cremation
costs and services – a breakdown of funeral costs
Shopping around between funeral
homes in Alabama and comparing funeral services and costs is essential.
What you will discover is that the prices for the same funeral service
or cremation service will differ. It can depend upon which area of
Alabama you live in, and the type and number of funeral homes in your area.
For example, if you have a number of full service traditional funeral homes,
or corporate owned funeral homes, you may find the funeral prices are higher.
Where there is a funeral home offering discounted cremation services, then
the cremation price generally becomes more competitive. Do bear in
mind that a low cost cremation provider, offering direct cremations in
Alabama, may be prepared to service a wider geographical area.
A traditional funeral can
be purchased for $5,000 in Alabama if you shop around and find an affordable
funeral home. This price includes a casket but does not include cemetery
Alternative funeral options
in Alabama – Life Celebrations, Green Funerals & Home Funerals
The ritual of the traditional
funeral in Alabama is changing. We are moving into an era where celebration
and memorialization are changing the way funeral homes conduct a send-off.
Funeral services need not even be held in a funeral home or church these
days. As we become more ecologically minded, more folks are
even returning to the notion of natural, green burial and home funerals
and some families chose to bury on their own land. It is legal in
Alabama to conduct a home funeral, you do NOT have to legally employ a
funeral director. You would need to file for the death certificate
and obtain a burial or cremation permit from the county offices.
What you need to know – Funeral
regulation and licensing in Alabama
All states have different laws
when it comes to funeral practice and licensing. The Alabama Board
of Funeral Service license funeral homes in Alabama. If for any reason
you have a concern or complaint about a licensed funeral home you can contact
them at: Alabama Board of Funeral Service, PO. Box 309522, Montgomery,
AL 36130 Phone: 334-242-4049
Does the deceased have to be
embalmed in Alabama?
No there is no legal requirement
or law that stipulates a body has to be embalmed. However, some funeral
homes do implement policies that require a body to be embalmed if a viewing
or open casket service is being conducted.
The coroner will issue a permit
to cremate and once the funeral director has this, he can proceed with
the cremation. At present there is no charge for a cremation permit
in Alabama. There is no legislated mandatory waiting period before
a cremation in Alabama, however, it generally takes 3 days or so to gather
the necessary paperwork and authorizations. An expedited cremation
can be arranged if required.
What you need to know about
cremation laws in Alabama
As the cremation rate is growing
in Alabama, more folks are asking about the laws and regulations that govern
human cremation. Firstly, let me state that there are strict rules
about how a human cremation can be performed. Only 1 person can be
cremated at once, and the cremation retort must be cleared before the next
cremation. A Cremation Authorization Form MUST be signed by the immediate
next of kin for a cremation to go ahead. If there is any dispute
about this then a cremation cannot proceed.
No casket is required.
A suitable cremation container is used (generally a reinforced cardboard
box) and some funeral homes offer rental caskets should you require a service
or viewing beforehand.
What can we do with the cremated
remains? Laws for ash scattering in Alabama.
As more families choose cremation,
we are asked more often “what can I legally do with the cremation ashes?”
There is a growing interest in the activity of scattering ashes as opposed
to interring them, or keeping them at home. You can choose to scatter
them in a designated scattering memorial garden, inter them in a cremation
niche, keep them in the cremation urn or distribute them between family
in keepsake urns. There are a whole plethora of options for how you
can memorialize cremated remains today – from creating diamonds, shotgun
pellets, cement garden ornaments and cremation portraits.
Cremation does render ashes
harmless, so there is no public health risk involved in scattering ashes.
They are basically sterile, organic matter but use common sense and refrain
from scattering ashes in places where they would be obvious, or offensive,
Scattering on private land
requires the landowners consent, and it is wise to check local ordnance
zoning if you wish to scatter on public lands. If you wish to scatter ashes
in a state park, you should check if the park in question has any rules
about permits required for ash-scattering.
If you wish to scatter off
the gulf coast or out of Mobile Bay you need to bear in mind EPA regulations.
A burial at sea should be 3 nautical miles out and a written notification
provided to the local EPA representative within 30 days.
Burial At Sea Coordinator,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street Southwest,
Atlanta, GA 30303 Phone: (404) 562-9395
Who is responsible for paying
for the funeral?
There are 2 alternatives – either
you preplan and prepay for your own funeral expenses, or surviving family
will become liable for your disposition costs. You do not have to
formally set up a funeral contract with a funeral service provider, but
can make adequate provision by putting funds aside in a POD account in
order that the person who will arrange your funeral can access this fund
immediately upon the death. You can read more about this in ‘What
is my best and safest option for putting aside money for a funeral?’
detailed information about purchasing
a casket. Similarly a grave marker does not have to be purchased
at the time of interment. Generally cemeteries will not permit a
memorial marker to be erected until a few months after the burial.
This gives the ground a chance to settle and prevents potential subsidence
of the monument. Therefore, this gives you time to shop around without
feeling you have to commit to a marker whilst making funeral arrangements.
Check out our ‘Grave Markers’ section for
a much more detailed overview of purchasing and erecting a memorial monument.
Purchasing a casket or grave
marker in Alabama
A casket and memorial headstone
can be two of most expensive funeral merchandise items purchased for a
funeral. It is important to understand that you do NOT have to purchase
a casket from a funeral home. The Federal Trade Commission’s ‘funeral
rule’ means that you legally have the right to purchase a casket elsewhere
and your funeral home must accept it. Caskets can often be purchased
from a third-party retailer at a fraction of the cost that some funeral
homes retail them for! Check out our ‘Casket’
section for more
What discounts are there for
Veteran’s funerals in Alabama?
All veterans (& some dependents)
are entitled to a free cemetery plot, grave marker and US Flag. A
copy of the DD214 discharge papers would be required to obtain any veteran’s
benefits. Some funeral homes do offer additional discounts for veteran’s
funerals, so you would need to make inquiries. The DFS Memorials
provider in Mobile offers a $200 discount off a burial and a $100 discount
off the cost of a cremation. The veteran’s cemetery in Mobile is
now closed to interments but Montevallo and Fort Mitchell both have space.
A death has occurred away from
my home state. What do I do?
With a more transient population,
this eventuality is happening more often. If a loved one has died
away from Alabama, or needs transporting back to a home state/country,
you will need to consider the services of a mortuary shipper. Transporting
a body (either domestically or internationally) can work out costly.
There are rigid rules to be met, and in the case of international ship-outs,
consulate and customs paperwork to be completed. You need a funeral
director at the location of the death and where the body is being shipped
to coordinate the funeral shipping process. For this reason, families
will sometimes decide to arrange a cremation at the location of death and
transport the cremated remains. This can work out much simpler and
significantly less expensive. Check out our section on Funeral
I wish to donate my body to
science when I die. Can I do this in Alabama?
Absolutely! An anatomical
gift as a body donation is called is a great way to gift something back
to society upon your death. Another great benefit is that it can
reduce (or remove) any funeral costs. Most body donation organizations
offer a free cremation as part of the donation process. There are
some conditions though when a body may not be accepted, so it is wise to
pre-register, and to also have an alternative plan in place. MedCure
offer a nationwide donation program with a commitment to return the cremated
remains to the family within 4 – 6 weeks.
The deceased had no life insurance
and I can’t afford a funeral. What help is there with cremation costs
Sadly more families are finding
themselves in such a situation. The reality is that there is very
limited public or state assistance for funeral costs. The state takes
care of any indigent deaths (as is their responsibility) but this is done
by the means of a pauper burial or cremation. Social Security offer
a $255 death benefit payment (if qualifying) and the funeral director will
assist you with claiming this. For some further guidance read our
article ‘What do
I do if I Can’t Afford a Funeral’?
How do I get a copy of the death
The funeral director will file
the death certificate. In Alabama, a death must be registered with
the local office of vital statistics within 5 days and a body may not be
buried or cremated until the death certificate is filed. (Alabama Code
§ 22-9A-14(a).) You will need certified copies to formally register
the death of the deceased with government institutions, banks and insurance
companies, etc. You can order certified copies of a death certificate
from Alabama Department of Public Health. You can do this online,
by phone, by mail or in person. The first certified copy of a death certificate
costs $15 and additional copies are $6 each. There is an extra fee
if you use the online ordering system.
What steps do I need to take
when a death has occurred?
If you are choosing to use the
services of a funeral director, you need to select a funeral services provider
to work with. He/she will be able to help walk you through the next
steps once they have the deceased in their care. Visit our article
‘How to Save Money Arranging a Funeral
or Cremation’ for detailed tips to save money and checklists to help
you make preparations.
The Internet provides a great
tool today by which you can anonymously conduct funeral research and make
informed funeral decisions. If you wish to read further information
about arranging a funeral or cremation you can check out our Library/Info
section. If you need immediate assistance and have not found what
you are looking for – please feel free to contact us and we will be happy
to try and help you.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.
homes in Alabama
Last Revised: 12-05-2016
Cost Cremations in Alabama