|This brief guide
to arranging a funeral or cremation in Delaware aims to help families faced
with the task of arranging a funeral or cremation. We have put together
some top tips to help you arrange an affordable funeral, and the answers
to some key questions you may have about funeral planning and funeral laws
holding a service at the funeral
home facility? Do you want a traditional burial, something more contemporary,
or a simple cremation service? Is your budget important and are you
looking to find out about how much the funeral will cost before you enter
into a funeral contract? These questions can help you form selection
criteria for choosing a funeral services provider in Delaware. All
funeral establishments in Delaware are licensed by the Department of State
Division of Professional Regulation.
Choosing a funeral home in Delaware
Choosing a funeral home to handle
arrangements is one of the first things a family thinks about. Historically
most families just used their nearest funeral home, one that their family
had previously used, or one recommended to them. But today all this
is changing. Families are becoming much savvier about funeral costs,
and much more concerned about shopping around for good value services.
As more families look towards cremation, this can also be a reason why
research into which provider to use can become an important aspect of funeral
To select which funeral home
is right for your family’s needs, it can help to frame some key requirements
you need from a funeral provider. Are you planning on
What does an average funeral
cost in Delaware?
The average cost of a funeral
in the U.S. is $7,045 (according to the NFDA - National Association of
Funeral Directors 2012), and this does not include any cemetery fees.
This gives you a general idea of what ‘average’ costs are. Of course,
a funeral can cost more than this, or you can manage to arrange a funeral
for less if you shop around for an affordable funeral package. The
DFS Memorials provider for Delaware offers a complete traditional funeral
(including casket) for the cost of $4,450. The cost for a traditional
burial is largely dependent on the type of casket you select and the final
cost of your cemetery plot and grave marker.
All funeral homes in Delaware
must have a general price list (GPL) that outlines their service charges
and funeral merchandise prices. They must provide a copy of their
GPL when they quote you a price according to the Federal Trade Commission’s
‘The Funeral Rule’.
It is recommended that you
DO compare the same services, and shop around and compare funeral prices
between more than one funeral home. That way you can be sure that
you have a “best value” funeral service.
Cremation laws and regulations
As more families are considering
cremation, the questions about the legal aspects of cremation arise.
It is important to understand how these affect you. A cremation is
such a final disposition of the deceased that careful regulations are in
place to ensure everything is conducted to the utmost professional standards.
Before a cremation can be performed, the next of kin must ID the deceased
and a Cremation Authorization Form must be completed. There is a
legal requirement for a 24-hour waiting period before the cremation can
proceed. A casket is not required for cremation the body can be cremated
in a ‘rigid cremation container’. This is generally a simple cardboard
or plywood container.
documentation has been completed
and then the cremated remains are returned to the family in a temporary
container. Incremental options, such as a private family viewing
or an upgraded cremation urn, can be added to a basic direct cremation
package for an additional fee.
How much does a cremation cost
A typical cremation funeral
service will cost in the region of $3,500 (depending upon the ancillary
services/products you select). This is the type of cremation service
that replaces a full traditional funeral. A service is conducted
prior to the cremation process. However, it is possible to arrange
a cremation for considerably less than this.
Arranging a direct cremation
A direct cremation can be arranged
in the Wilmington area for $995.00. This is the least expensive cremation
option for families. A direct cremation means that there are no services,
the cremation goes ahead once all the
DFS Memorials - low cost
cremation providers for Delaware
Phoenix (302) 212-0047 - Direct Cremations
How do I decide between a burial
or a cremation in the Delaware?
If the deceased left a will,
written funeral wishes, or expressed a preference, this saves you having
to make this decision. However, sometimes this is not the case and
surviving family members must make this decision. If money is a concern
then the decision can be affected by what funds are available to pay for
the funeral. If you are at all unsure about burial or cremation,
it is wise to consult with family, friends and spiritual counsel.
Do bear in mind that a funeral home can hold the deceased in refrigerated
storage and you do not have to make an instant decision. However,
there could be a daily storage charge for this. Our article on ‘Choosing
a burial or cremation’ may provide further reading.
Does the deceased have to be
No, there is no Delaware state
law, stipulating that you must have the deceased embalmed. However,
some funeral homes may adopt policies that insist upon embalming if a public
viewing or service is being held with the deceased in repose. If
you proceed with a timely funeral, there is really no need for embalming
(and it can just be another fee to add to your funeral costs!)
Delaware state law states that
cremated remains may be “disposed of in such a way as is desired by the
person receiving them.” (16 Delaware Code § 3161.) Cremated
remains can be interred just as you would a body. They can be interred
into an existing grave plot or into a niche within a columbarium.
You may also store cremated remains in a cremation urn or there are numerous
memorialization options today, such as cremation diamonds and other artefacts.
Purchasing a casket or grave
marker in Delaware
If you are proceeding with a
traditional burial, the purchase of a casket and a grave marker will be
two of the larger purchases to make. The casket market has been opened
up by the FTC’s funeral rule and there are now both online and high street
casket retailers. Once upon a time you could only buy a casket from
a funeral home and at a large mark-up. Today you can buy a casket
from Walmart for $995! You can purchase a casket from elsewhere than
your funeral home and they MUST accept it, and cannot charge you a surcharge.
We have comprehensive guides
to buying a casket or grave marker, so I would recommend you visit these
sections for more detailed information.
What can I do with the cremated
If you choose to scatter
the ashes you can do so on private land with the consent of the landowner.
Generally you can scatter on public lands so long as you pay due diligence
to common sense guidelines, but you should check whether there are any
permits required for National Park lands. Check with the ordnance
of the park before proceeding. Some parks require a permit but do
not charge for it.
A sea scattering can be conducted
if you wish. According to the guidelines of the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) a sea burial must take place 3 nautical miles to sea.
You are required to submit a form declaring the scattering within 30 days.
As cremated remains are not considered a pollutant and are sterile, there
seems to be no specific legislation against them being dispersed, so long
as the ashes are dispersed into the water, or a biodegradable urn/scattering
tube is used. Delaware is within Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic) of the EPA
and their main contact number is (800) 438-2474.
“locks into today’s prices”,
but with the cremation trend increasing, and more funeral homes competing
for the ‘affordable’ funeral market – the reality is that the funeral costs
are not as ‘fixed’ as they once were.
Can I pre-plan a funeral in
Pre-planning a funeral can ensure
your explicit wishes are met and can remove the stress, and financial responsibility,
from your surviving family. You can make pre-need funeral arrangements
direct with a funeral home or purchase burial insurance. A funeral
home in Delaware cannot own cemetery property or receive any commission
in connection with the sale or transfer of any cemetery plot.
What you DO need to consider
is that funeral prices could indeed be coming down. Funeral companies
promote preplanning on the basis that it
Concerns over misuse and
mismanagement of funeral trust funds have also resulted in a lack of consumer
faith in prepaid funeral contracts. Another funeral planning
alternative is to document your wishes and put aside the appropriate funds
in a POD Payable on Death account or a Totten Trust. This enables
family to access the funds at the time of need and make the funeral arrangements,
but you keep in control of your monies and any accrued interest.
Read more in our article ‘What
is my best and safest option for putting aside money for a funeral’.
Can I donate my body to science
in the Delaware?
Yes, donating your body to science
as an anatomical gift can offer an alternative to traditional death care.
Most of the national organizations that deal with full body donation handle
everything from the moment you notify them of the death, including collecting
the body, the donation, the free cremation and the return of the cremated
remains to the family a few weeks later. Opting for body donation
enables family to have the cremated remains returned to them at no-cost,
they can then arrange their own memorial service for the family, if they
so choose. Check out our Body Donation
How can I transport a loved
one either back to, or from, Delware after death?
If a loved one needs to be transported
back to a state or country of origin following their death in Delaware,
you will need the services of a funeral director who can arrange funeral
shipping for you. This generally needs a funeral professional who
can coordinate arrangements at the place of death and wherever the body
is being shipped to.
If transporting a loved one
between states in the US you have the option of flying the body, or transporting
the body by land. Certain regulations do apply on moving a body,
and it is likely that embalming may be required as well as specific containers
to hold the casket. Shipping a body can be quite expensive, so the
other alternative you have is to have the body cremated at the place of
death, and then transport back the cremated remains. Visit our section
on Funeral Shipping
to read more.
Who should I contact if I have
a complaint about a funeral home in Delaware?
It does sometimes happen that
you may have a complaint or grievance with a funeral home and you do not
manage to resolve it directly with the funeral director. In this
case you should make your complaint in writing to the Department of State:
Division of Professional Regulation - Board of Funeral Services that regulate
and license funeral businesses in the Delaware. They can be contacted
at: Cannon Building, Suite 203, 861 Silver Lake Blvd, Dover, DE 19904
Phone (302) 744-4500
I hope this guide has helped
to answer some of your immediate questions. Please check out our
Library/info section for our full catalogue of resources to help you through
the process of arranging a funeral. Feel free to contact us if we
can be of any assistance with any further questions you may have.
||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.
Last Revised: 02/05/2014
Homes in Delaware
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