a bereavement is an extremely stressful time, especially so if you are
responsible for making funeral arrangements. This article aims to
guide you through the process of arranging a funeral or cremation in Florida,
hopefully answering many of the basic questions you may have.
Florida is the fourth most
populated state in the United States, also being home to a large retirement
population and a transient population seeking a warmer climate. This
does mean that an above-average percentage of deaths can occur in Florida,
and many families are often left with the task of transporting a deceased
family member back to their state of origin.
memorial service at a later
date? What budget do you have for the cost of the funeral?
Just these few questions can help you narrow down a service provider to
How do I choose a funeral services
provider in Florida?
Selecting a funeral home is
not an easy task. There are some 1300+ funeral homes in the state of Florida,
and some 300+ cemeteries, crematories and Memorial Parks. No wonder
then, that it can be a daunting decision choosing a funeral director to
take care of your funeral needs. Clearly defining your funeral needs to
help you select a funeral home can help. Do you require a burial
or cremation? Do you want a traditional service or something more contemporary?
Is location and venue for a service important? Or do you intend to arrange
US Funerals Online provides
a comprehensive directory of all funeral homes and funeral parlors in Florida.
In addition our web site is a resource guide of information and we can
signpost you to reputable companies who service the funeral industry.
There are many ways to save money on arranging a funeral service in Florida,
such as buying a casket online, buying a headstone direct, or even locating
a cemetery plot.
Arranging a Disposition in Florida
A licensed funeral director
(licensed in Florida) can perform funeral services in Florida. The
funeral director will collect the deceased from the place of death and
coordinate disposition arrangements. A ‘direct disposal establishment’
that performs direct cremations can also directly supply cremation services.
What is the average cost of
a funeral in Florida?
The average cost of a funeral
in Florida these days can amount to $6,500 or more, without adding the
cemetery costs. [National average cost for a funeral $7,045 NFDA 2012]
For many Americans struggling under the burden of our economic recession,
this can be an overwhelming financial liability, especially when the deceased
has made no financial provisions. There are funeral service providers
who will offer more affordable funeral packages, so it is vital to shop
around and compare prices between a few providers.
Cemetery plots and burial
vaults can add a significant additional cost to a funeral, with a cemetery
plot in Florida costing anything between $600 - $3,000. Florida law
does not stipulate that you need to purchase a burial vault, although certain
cemeteries may insist on it. You should note that a cemetery company
cannot require that you purchase a vault or grave liner from their company.
It is recommended that you carefully check a cemetery’s regulations before
committing to a cemetery plot.
How much does a cremation cost
The cremation rate is higher
than average in Florida, which has led to many areas in Florida offering
very competitively-priced cremations. On average a cremation can
cost between $500 and $3,500, depending upon what kind of cremation service
you select, and which cremation services provider you choose. Florida
is a state that also licenses ‘direct disposers’ so there are a number
of providers who solely offer low cost direct dispositions. Cremation is
increasingly popular with the baby boomer generation and many retirees,
hence why it is more popular in thestate of Florida. It is also much
easier to transport cremated remains from Florida to another state or country.
The DFS Memorials network
of cremation providers in Florida all offer the best value simple cremation
package in their area. All are local, licensed funeral homes committed
to serving their community.
What do I need to understand
about cremation laws in Florida?
Each state has its own legislation
that governs funeral practice. A crematory must abide by certain
practice standards in disposing of human remains by cremation. In
Florida a cremation can only be performed once a ‘Cremation Authorization
Form’ has been signed by the legal next of kin and the coroner has issued
the cremation permit. In Florida there is a mandatory waiting period of
48 hours after death before a cremation can proceed. That being said,
it usually takes about 3 days to make all the necessary arrangements and
complete the paperwork but an expedited service can be arranged if required.
A casket is NOT required
by law for a cremation. All that is required is a suitable rigid
container. A cremation container is usually a reinforced cardboard
or plywood box. If you wish to hold a funeral service before
the cremation, some funeral homes offer rental caskets.
What you need to know – Funeral
laws, regulation and licensing in Florida, home funerals and green funeral
Funeral laws can vary quite
a lot between different states, but all funeral homes should be appropriately
licensed by their state licensing board. The Federal Trade Commission’s
‘funeral rule’ helps to give some protection for funeral consumers and
it is useful to make yourself familiar with this.
You can legally conduct your
own funeral services in Florida and coordinate a home funeral. Many people
just automatically assume that they have to employ a funeral director but
this is not the case. You can liaise with your local county authorities
to file the death certificate and obtain a cremation or burial permit.
You can apply to have a family burial plot on your own property.
Florida law allows for this on less than two acres of land and without
any rights to sell burial spaces. You need to check local deed restrictions
and zoning regulations. You can contact the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection for further information.
A green funeral, or a natural
burial, is another alternative to a traditional funeral or cremation.
This is where the deceased's disposition is handled as ‘organically’ and
naturally as possible. No embalming is done, the body is buried in
a biodegradable container (pine box, bamboo coffin or linen shroud), in
a designated natural burial site. A natural green burial site is available
in Florida at: Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve, 297 Railroad Avenue,
DeFuniak Springs FL 32433.
Does the deceased have to be
embalmed in Florida?
The state of Florida does NOT
require embalming. Law stipulates that a body must be refrigerated, or
embalmed, within 24 hours of death. Do note – some funeral service
providers will ‘encourage’ embalming, especially if a viewing or public
service is being held, but there is no legal requirement for it.
What can we do with the cremated
remains? Laws for ash scattering in Florida.
As cremation is so popular in
Florida, this question is often asked. Florida law allows for cremation
ash scattering on any land, but not in any Florida fresh water. You
must check with the landowner as spreading ashes on private property could
be construed as establishing a cemetery. If in doubt, check with
the Department of Environmental Protection.
Ash scattering at sea is
more common in Florida as obviously the state has a beautiful coastline
and the easy means by which to arrange a sea burial. The United States
Coast Guard issues permits for burials at sea within a three-mile limit.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has governance over burials at
sea or sea ash scatterings. Florida is in Region 4 of the EPA, and
can be contacted at, Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street,
SW, Atlanta, GA 30303.
The Neptune Reef and Eternal
Reefs are also situated just off the coast of Florida and provide a unique
way to immortalize a loved one.
Cremated remains are sterile,
organic matter and pose no threat to the environment. However, it
is wise to employ safe scattering techniques. You can read more about
this in our Ash Scattering section.
How do I obtain a copy of a
death certificate in Florida?
The funeral home will ordinarily
obtain the death certificate for you if they are handling your disposition
arrangements. If you need to obtain a death certificate, or further
copies, you will need to contact the county office of the Department of
Vital Statistics. Certified copies of death certificates can be ordered
online, by mail, by phone or in person. The first certified copy
costs $5.00 and each additional copy costs $4.00. In Florida, anyone
may order a Florida Death Certificate "Without cause of death" but a Death
Certificate "With Cause of Death" is confidential by Florida Law and may
only be issued to the deceased family or those acting on behalf of the
family or the deceased’s estate. You will need to provide ID to request
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?’
Purchasing a casket or grave
marker in Florida
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 ‘Caskets’
section for more 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.
What discounts are there for
Veteran’s funerals in Florida?
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. There are still burial
plots and cremated niches in these Florida VA cemeteries: Bushnell, Jacksonville,
Lake Worth, Pensacola, and Sarasota. There is only space for only cremated
remains in Bay Pines and the VA cemetery in St. Augustine is now closed
to new interments.
If a Death Occurs Outside of
Florida, or the deceased needs transporting to another state
If your loved one has died away
from home and you need to transport the body back, the funeral director
will need a burial transit permit. This is issued by the local registrar
of the district, and can only be issued if there are no questions remaining
about the cause of death. If your loved one has died in Florida and
you need to transport the body to another state, you may need the services
of a funeral director specialized in funeral shipping. This often
requires the liaison of funeral directors, both where the body is being
shipped from and to.
Transporting the deceased
can become quite costly, sometimes amounting to as much as $3, 500 plus
the shipping fee. For this reason many people choose to arrange a
cremation at the place of death, and arrange for the transportation of
the cremated remains.
If you need further information
about shipping a loved one from, or to, Florida – please visit our funeral
Can I donate my body to science
Yes. Another possible
option for end-of-life choices today is to opt for a whole body donation
to science. This is a means by which your whole body can be donated
as an ‘anatomical gift’. If you wish to donate your body to science
in Florida, you have the option of donating your body to one of the Universities
or Medical Schools that accept donations, or you can make a whole body
donation to Medcure, a national organization that manages whole body donation
to establishments across the U.S.
Medcure facilities a whole
body donation at no cost to the donor. They arrange to collect the
deceased, coordinate the donation, cremation of the remains and the return
the remains to the family – usually within about 2 months. Visit
our page on Body Donation
payment (if qualifying) and
the funeral director will usally assist you with claiming this. For
some further guidance read our article ‘What
do I do if I Can’t Afford a Funeral’?
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
Finding the lowest cost cremation
provider in Florida
Direct cremation is very competitively
priced in most areas of Florida, with the exception of the Panhandle region.
In the metro areas of Florida a basic cremation can be arranged for between
$600 - $900 (depending on the location). The DFS Memorials network
of low cost cremation providers offer some of the most competitive simple
cremation packages. Check out your nearest
provider to find out the cost of a basic cremation near you.
What immediate 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.
If you have a complaint about
how a funeral has been conducted in Florida
It does not happen very often
as the industry is now very well regulated, however, should you have cause
to make a formal complaint about a funeral home, you can put your complaint
in writing to:
The Division of Funeral,
Cemetery and Consumer Services
200 E. Gaines Street
If you need further information
about the funeral industry in Florida contact:
Florida Cemetery, Cremation
and Funeral Association
325 John Knox Road
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, where we have a whole catalogue of articles to do with arranging
a funeral or cremation. 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 Florida
Last Revised: 10/10/2014
Cost Cremations in SW Florida
Memorials in Florida