funeral is no easy task, apart from coping with your bereavement, there
is so much to be done in dealing with funeral arrangements. Finding
the right funeral director to assist you can be key to alleviating some
of the stress. That may be simple if you already know of a local
funeral home in your town in Colorado that has a good reputation, or friends
and family have been able to make recommendations.
If this is your first time
at making funeral arrangements, then it will help to arm yourself with
some basic information to assist you in arranging services that are befitting,
whilst still ensuring you are in control of what is happening, and how
much you spend!
We have tried to give a brief
overview in this article, and some top tips, that should help you to plan
your funeral in an informed and organized fashion. We tend to find
that many people turn to the Internet as a source of information if they
wish to research about funerals in a ‘non-invasive’ way, and most often
this is due to the fact that people wish to find out about costs and often
feel it is inappropriate to ask. Do not at any time feel it is inappropriate
to ask questions of a funeral director.
Apollo Funeral & Cremation
Services in Littleton They cover the wider Denver Metro area, and
offer a simple cremation package for just $895.00. Call Miles and his team
on (720) 310-7849 with any questions.
What is the cost of a funeral
or cremation in Colorado?
An average funeral in Colorado
costs around $7,000 although cremation can make that cost significantly
less. In essence the total cost of your funeral expenses can escalate
when you add together all the incremental services. For example,
if you decide you require embalming, an elaborate casket, extensive funeral
transport and things like flowers, obituary notices and funeral stationery,
then your overall funeral costs will be much higher. If you keep
it simple, you will keep your funeral costs down. DFS Memorials has
teamed up with
Do you require a burial or
Probably the first thing you
need to decide is what method of disposition you require. This then
determines a range of other funeral services and products that are incremental.
Colorado is one of the states where the cremation rate is much higher,
and just over 60% of Coloradans are cremated. There are various options
for a cremation, from the basic ‘direct cremation’ with no services, to
a cremation with a full service and ashes interment.
If you are opting for a burial
you will need to consider such things as a burial plot, grave marker, embalming
and type of casket required. Some cemeteries in Colorado will also
require that you have a vault liner for your cemetery plot. Just
these few funeral products and services alone can add thousands of dollars
to the funeral price.
Colorado is also home to
the only outdoor funeral pyre in the United States. The Crestone
End of Life Project is located in the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado
and offers outdoor ‘natural’ cremations to Coloradans.
Arranging a low cost cremation
– direct cremation in Colorado
Due to changing attitudes and
financial concerns, many more families today are seeking out economical
cremation alternatives. A direct cremation is the cheapest cremation
option. This is when the deceased is cremated without any services
or ceremony, and in the most simple ‘no fuss’ manner. This keeps
the funeral costs down. A direct cremation handles the immediate
disposition of the deceased in an effective and dignified manner.
Once the family has the cremated remains returned, some families choose
to arrange their own memorial service as and when is convenient to them.
If you need a simple, low
cost cremation – contact your DFS Memorials provider. They offer
a complete basic cremation packages at an affordable cost.
Understanding cremation laws
and how they affect arranging a cremation in Colorado
Colorado is the only state that
does not require licensure for its funeral homes and crematories.
However, this still means that funeral home businesses follow careful regulations
for how to dispose of human remains by cremation.
A Cremation Authorization
Form must be signed by the immediate next of kin before the cremation can
proceed. This authorizes the final disposition of the remains.
It is possible to pre-sign the Cremation Authorization Form when you make
pre-arrangements, if cremation is your wish. This can save heart-wrenching
decisions for surviving family. In Colorado there is a mandatory
24 hour waiting period after death before the cremation can be performed,
although it usually takes a couple of days anyway to finalize the paperwork
and obtain a permit to cremate.
There is no legal requirement
for embalming before a cremation and you do not need a casket. A
cremation container is used. This is a simple combustible cardboard
box. The cremation process takes about 3 hours, and then the retort
is cleared and the ‘ashes’ (which also contain bone fragments) are put
through a filtering and grinding machine to produce the fine powdered cremation
ashes that we typically see in a cremation urn. Generally the cremated
remains can be returned to the family within a week, but this can be arranged
on an expedited service if required.
Locating a funeral home in
If you need to locate a funeral
home in Colorado to handle your funeral needs, you can use our funeral
home directory, which lists all Funeral Homes in Colorado by area and zip
casket sales market, it is possible
to purchase a casket online from as little as $995. Your funeral
home has to accept your casket, and in most cases caskets can be ordered
online and delivered direct to your funeral home the next day.
Purchasing a casket in Colorado
Fortunately the Federal Trade
Commission’s ‘Funeral Law’ applies in Colorado, and this means that apart
from a funeral home having to provide you with a General Price List (GPL)
that clearly itemizes each charge, you also have the right to purchase
a casket from a third party supplier, and you do NOT have to purchase it
directly from the funeral home. Purchasing a casket from a third
party can significantly reduce the cost of the casket. Typically
funeral homes mark up the caskets that they retail by around 500%, whereas
with the likes of Walmart and Costco entering the
Purchasing burial insurance
in Colorado, pre-planning a funeral and pre-need policies
It can save a lot of worry and
stress if funeral plans are already in place for family. These days
it is not just the burden of having to make decisions about what kind of
funeral arrangements to make, causing family disagreements, but the financial
burden of the responsibility for paying for a funeral can be crippling.
Making arrangements ahead
of time can make it easier all round. This can simply be done by
researching locally what funeral services are available, deciding what
kind of service you wish to opt for, making your wishes known to family
and putting aside the monies.
Or you can take it a step
further and purchase a pre-need funeral plan or burial insurance.
Insurance companies nationwide can provide burial Insurance, and many funeral
homes in Colorado are also licensed to sell pre-need plans, which are held
in trust. This basically means you are paying for your funeral on
“lay away”, it does ensure your wishes are taken care of and alleviates
family of the decision-making and the financial responsibility. What
should be considered is that the cost of certain types of funerals is reducing,
and the interest on your money is going to the benefit of the corporation
or trusts who hold the funds. This is why it can be a good idea to
make your own plans and just put the funds in a separate savings account
that family can access when the need arises.
Where can you get help with
funeral expenses in Colorado?
As we have already mentioned,
the burden of having to pay for a funeral for those families already struggling
financially, can be crippling. A death is not something you can defer
until your finances can cope with it! Opting for a direct cremation
can be just about the cheapest method of arranging a disposition, but even
that costs. There is a one-time social security death benefit of
$255 payable to the family of the deceased to help with funeral expenses.
You have to apply via Social Security Administration and the benefit is
assessed on social security taxes paid.
If the deceased was a veteran,
or spouse of a veteran, there may be some assistance from the Veterans
Administration. All honorably discharged veterans are entitled to
a burial in a national or state veterans cemetery, which can be a distinct
saving on funeral costs. The national veterans cemetery in Colorado
is at Fort Logan in Denver, and the state cemetery ‘Veterans Memorial Cemetery
of Western Colorado is in Grand Junction. There are Veterans Service Offices
in each county in Colorado to assist with claims for veteran’s benefits.
There is some assistance
available from Medicaid in certain circumstances, namely that the person
claiming (family of the deceased) must be on Medicaid or another social
welfare program. There is a cap on the total amount a funeral can
cost, and the amount that Medicaid will pay for. In many of these
cases the funeral home will discount their charges in order for the family
to be able to conduct a funeral.
Most funeral homes offer
a professional and caring service, and will work with you to assist you
arrange a funeral within your budget requirements.
Do bear in mind that many
hospices and nursing homes will now require a patient to have burial insurance,
or a pre-need plan, before admittance. In these cases a nursing home
or hospice may recommend a funeral home, but you would be well advised
to shop around, as often this is not necessarily the most affordable provider.
How do I get a death certificate
The funeral director generally
prepares and files for the death certificate. He will ask you for
the personal information of the deceased in order that he has all the required
information. The death must be registered with the vital records
office within 5 days of the death and before the body can be cremated or
You may wish to have more
than 1 copy of the death certificate (multiple copies can be useful for
notifying different institutions and settling the deceased’s estate).
Additional copies of a death
certificate can be obtained from Colorado’s Department of Public Health
and Environment (CDPHE). You can apply by phone, mail, Internet or
in person and you will be required to provide ID to prove your relationship
to the deceased. The first copy costs $20 and each additional copy
costs $13 each.
Whole Body Donation in Colorado
Something now gaining popularity,
especially when funeral expenses are a concern, is a “no-cost cremation”.
All this means is that the family donate the body to an anatomical gift
program, and in return get a ‘free’ cremation once the body donation has
been completed. Donating your body to science and medical research
can be an ideal and alternative way to do something of value for society,
and of course eliminate funeral expenses.
scattering. There are
also a number of organizations that offer ash scattering services in Colorado.
You can scatter ashes in the Rocky Mountain National Park for free, however,
you do need to obtain a permit, which can be downloaded here: http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/permits.htm
What state laws govern scattering
ashes in Colorado?
As the cremation rate is so
high in Colorado, there is a greater demand for scattering ashes, especially
as there are such natural, beautiful areas to perform this ‘last rite’.
The question often asked is “what state laws apply to scattering ashes?”
Put simply, it is legal to scatter ashes anywhere on public land, even
private land (with the owners’ consent), although you may need a permit
for certain controlled public land such as a state park. Read through
our section on ‘Ash Scattering’ to better understand things you need to
consider if you chose to perform your own ash
A popular spot for scattering
the remains of your loved one in Colorado is Pike’s Peak.
If you wish to scatter the
remains of your loved one in one of the lakes or rivers in Colorado, and
conduct an inland water burial, this is regulated by the Clean Water Act
and you will need a permit from the relevant state agency.
Scattering by air is also
popular in Colorado, and this can be performed by an aerial scattering
company, or by filling a balloon with cremated remains, or as in Hunter
S. Thompson’s case firing a canon into the sky.
What happens if your loved
one dies away from Colorado?
Unfortunately this is happening
more and more as Coloradans chose to ‘snow-bird’ and winter away, and as
people need to move for employment. Coping with a death is very distressing,
but if it has occurred whilst your loved one was away from home, it can
be even more difficult. Shipping a body either domestically or internationally
can be inordinately expensive. The typical professional fee for a funeral
director to coordinate the collection of the body at the place of death,
preparing the body for shipping, and handling all the relevant documentation
can cost as much as $3,000 and this does not include the freight charge.
For this reason, many chose to cremate at the place of death and have the
cremated remains shipped back. To learn more visit our section on
Colorado Funeral Directors Association
(CFDA), which is a voluntary trade organization. Alternatively you can
contact the Funeral Consumer Society of Colorado (FCSC), located at 4101
East Hampden Avenue, Denver, 80222. Phone: (303) 759-2800. They are
a local not-for-profit organization affiliated with the National Funeral
Consumers Alliance, and basically support consumer rights with regards
to purchasing funeral services and products in Colorado.
What should you do if you
have a complaint about a funeral home in Colorado?
Funeral homes ordinarily do
their utmost to provide a professional, caring and dignified service to
bereaved families. However, should you have a grievance with the
service provided to you by a funeral home, you should try and resolve this
with them directly in the first instance. If you fail to do this,
you can contact the
If you have any further questions
about arranging a funeral in Colorado, please feel free to contact us.
||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.
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