funeral-planning guide from US Funerals Online aims to outline some key
points you should consider if you are faced with the task of arranging
a funeral or cremation service in Georgia, or if you are preplanning funeral
or cremation services.
The responsibility for making
final arrangements can be overwhelming, as there are many decisions to
be made and state laws can vary somewhat. It helps to familiarize
yourself with the Federal Trade Commission’s ‘funeral rule’, but it is
also vital to have a clear understanding of how this translates into practice
in the state of Georgia.
How do you choose which funeral
home or cremation provider in Georgia is right for your needs?
Choosing the ‘right’ funeral
home or cremation provider in Georgia is important to ensuring your funeral
needs are met. Traditionally many people just opted for the local
funeral home they knew of, family had previously used, or they had been
referred to. But tradition is changing, and people can often have
specific funeral requirements that they need to have met, such as working
to a tight budget or wanting something more unconventional. It is
always wise to ask around and check reviews on funeral homes, and we would
recommend you compare services and costs between funeral homes in Georgia
, as these can vary considerably. It will help to be clear about
what your basic needs are to help you narrow down your selection process.
How do I find a funeral home
or cremation provider in Georgia?
There are in the region of 1000
funeral homes, cemeteries and crematories in Georgia. US Funerals Online
lists all funeral establishments in our ‘Funeral homes’ directory, by state,
city and in zip code order. This does make it easy for you to locate
and review the funeral homes and cremation providers in Georgia.
You can also use the short cut links to the main cities in Georgia on the
right hand side of this page. Narrowing it down to your local area,
you can identify local funeral homes in Georgia, and compare services and
Who is responsible for making
the funeral arrangements in Georgia?
The immediate next-of-kin usually
assumes responsibility for making, or carrying out, funeral arrangements
in Georgia. There is a legal stature of responsibility that falls
to the spouse first, then children over 18 years, parents and then siblings.
If there is any dispute about funeral arrangements your funeral director,
a funeral mediator or an attorney should be able to assist.
Do you want a burial or cremation
service in Georgia?
Deciding whether you want a
burial or a cremation is probably the most important decision to be made
initially. Choosing between burial or cremation should be an entirely
personal choice. Burial has traditionally been the preferred disposition
choice in Georgia, however, times are changing and cremation is gaining
popularity. Cost can be a driving factor in making this decision
today, as the average burial costs around $7,755 (according the National
Funeral Directors Association 2012), and this does not include cemetery
costs. In comparison the average cremation costs in Georgia are more
in the region of $3,000 and simple, low cost cremations can cost as little
as $800 - $1,000.
There is a mandatory 24-hour
waiting period in Georgia before a cremation can be performed. This
is standard practice, and a cremation authorization form must be signed
by the immediate next of kin to enable the cremation permit to be issued.
What is the cost of a funeral
or cremation in Georgia?
This is a very valid question,
and for our consumer culture one that we expect to have answered immediately
before making any buying decisions. Yet, unfortunately the funeral
industry historically has steered away from openly disclosing prices.
Today the FTC’s ‘funeral rule’ protects funeral consumers. A funeral
home in Georgia must provide you with a general price list (GPL) if you
make an inquiry about their services. You do not have to provide
any personal information, but still some Georgia funeral homes will ask
for your contact information and insist on having a funeral director call
you back. Why? Because they want the opportunity to ‘sell’ their
services to you, and a funeral is considered an emotional purchase.
I mentioned above that the
national average cost of a funeral is $7,755 (without a burial plot).
In Georgia the average cost of a traditional funeral is in the region of
$4,500 (without cemetery fees). A Georgia cremation can cost as little
as $795, if you opt for a simple, direct cremation, or it can range up
to around $4,000 for a cremation with a service.
Finding a low cost cremation
or funeral option in Georgia
Money tight? If you need to
arrange a dignified send off but have little to spare on funeral expenses,
you may want to contact your local DFS Memorials provider in Georgia.
There are two providers serving Georgia and offering families low cost
cremation and burial alternatives.
Sending funeral flowers in Georgia
Funeral flowers can be expensive.
To send inexpensive funeral flowers to a funeral home in Georgia, visit
our funeral flowers section. In affiliation with BloomsToday we offer
our visitors a 25% discount on a selection of sympathy flowers and everyday
low price savings on funeral sprays and wreaths.
Can I arrange a ‘home funeral’
or green burial in Georgia?
Yes, there are no specific laws
prohibiting home funerals or green burials in Georgia, apart from in Bibb
County. If you so wish, you are at liberty to take care of your own
loved one. You would need to file the death certificate and obtain
the necessary burial permit. If you wish to bury on your own land,
you should firstly check with local zoning ordnance, clearly map out the
burial plot and lodge this with the property deeds. It is recommended
that you ensure any grave plot is at least 150 feet from any water supply
and 25 feet from any power lines.
Honey Creek Woodlands at
212 Highway 212 SW, Conyers, Georgia is a designated green burial cemetery.
Is embalming required in Georgia?
No, embalming is NOT required
by law in Georgia. If you require a public viewing or open casket
service, your Georgia funeral home may have a policy that requires embalming.
Embalming is merely a temporary method to delay decomposition, and if you
would prefer not to have your loved one embalmed a timely burial or cremation
can avoid this.
to purchase a casket form elsewhere
than your funeral home and yet they MUST accept it, without charging you
a handling fee. This rule was introduced because at one point only
funeral homes were selling caskets and they were often marked up by as
much as 400-600%. Today, you can buy caskets online at Walmart and
CostCo, or from other casket retailers, and prices for a basic adult casket
can start at around $995. This change in the industry, and the rise
in cremation, has meant that funeral homes in Georgia have become much
more competitive in their casket prices.
What are my options for purchasing
a casket or alternative container?
A casket is NOT required by
law for a burial in Georgia, and all that is required by law for a cremation
is a “rigid, combustible container”. There is no law stipulating
that you have to purchase a casket, and you can indeed make your own, choose
a simple burial shroud or basket or purchase a simple pine coffin.
The casket is probably the single most expensive purchase of the funeral,
so if you can minimize this cost you will reduce your overall funeral costs.
The FTC’s funeral rule stipulates
that you have the right
Rental caskets are also available
from some Georgia funeral homes, and this can save on the actual cost of
purchasing a casket (especially for a cremation service). However,
rental of a casket is not cheap and can cost around $300 - $600.
What are burial and cemetery
plot requirements in Georgia?
All cemeteries have regulations
that govern how they are operated. These regulations are partly in
place to protect and manage the perpetual care of the grounds. Before
you purchase any burial plot, you would be well advised to thoroughly check
the cemetery regulations.
Burial vaults are NOT required
by law in Georgia, although many (if not most) cemeteries insist upon them.
The burial vault helps them maintain the integrity of the ground and prevent
subsidence – it also costs you around $700. In addition to this,
there will be fees to open and close a burial plot, and guidelines as to
what kind of grave marker you can erect. There are usually regulations
that can limit what happens should you decide you no longer need the plot
and wish to re-sell it.
Can I preplan a funeral or cremation
in Georgia How does state law govern preneed plans?
Yes, of course you can preplan
a funeral or cremation in Georgia. It can greatly alleviate stress
for surviving family if there is a funeral plan in place that eliminates
the need for decision-making, and even financial anxiety about paying for
In Georgia only a licensed
funeral director, operating out of a licensed funeral home, may sell a
preneed funeral contract. Pre-paid funeral contracts and cremation
plans are held in a trust fund. Whilst it is sensible planning to
preplan and prepay for a funeral in Georgia, you should carefully consider
what happens with your contract.
Another option can be to
preplan the funeral services you require by pre-registering with a funeral
or cremation company, and then putting aside the appropriate funds in a
POD account. This ensures your plan is in place, your wishes taken
care of, your monies remain safe and secure, yet your designated POD beneficiary
can easily access the funds once a death has occurred.
The scattering of ashes in Georgia
is still something of an un-policed matter, however, if you wish to scatter
ashes in state parkland, you would be well advised to just check whether
any permit or approval is required. If you do scatter in rural parkland,
do ensure you conduct the scattering at least 150 feet away from any trial,
developed facility or body of water. State parks in Georgia will
not allow the erection of any marker or shrine at a scattering site and
only biodegradable urns or flowers should be used.
What are the laws for scattering
ashes in Georgia?
Georgia law states that cremated
remains may be kept by the person who has legal control over the remains
(or the authorizing agent), or disposed of in any of the following ways:
By placing cremated remains
in a grave, niche or mausoleum
By scattering the remains in
a designated scattering area or memorial garden
By scattering remains on any
private land with the consent of the landowner
By scattering the remains on
any uninhabited public land or waterway
If you wish to scatter your
loved one’s ashes in the waters off St. Simons and the other Georgia islands,
then you can carry out a sea scattering. There are charter services
that offer an hour-long sea scattering charter for around $250. Georgia
is in region 4 of the EPA, and if you conduct a sea burial, according to
EPA governance, this should be at least 3 nautical miles at sea and a report
of the scattering should be filed with your regional EPA within 30 days.
Region 4 contact number is (404) 562-9900.
What help is available with
funeral expenses in Georgia?
Families ask us this question
so often today, and unfortunately the answer is that there is very limited,
if little, help available for paying for a funeral in Georgia. States
and counties used to have a budget for indigent burial assistance, but
many of these have been cut or completely axed. If the next of kin
is in receipt of state welfare or other benefits, you can contact the Georgia
Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children Services
(DFCS) and find out if any aid is currently available.
Do not worry alone, consult
with friends and local support groups and do bear in mind that a simple
direct cremation is the most cost-effective funeral option if you have
little, or no, money. The DFS Memorials providers in Georgia both
offer a complete direct cremation for under $1,000.
Are whole body donations permitted
Yes, you can donate your body
to science in the state of Georgia. There are 5 institutions that
have body donation programs in Georgia:
You should check with the institution
you are interested in donating to. Terms and acceptance onto a body
donation program can vary.
Emory School of Medicine in
Philadephia College of Osteopathic
Medicine in Suwannee
Medical College of Georgia in
Mercer University School of
Medicine in Macon
Morehouse School of Medicine
What do you do if your loved
one dies away from Georgia?
As a more mobile population
this is happening more often today. If your loved one dies whilst
away from Georgia, you will need the services of a mortuary shipper.
To find out more about shipping human remains domestically, or indeed internationally,
visit our Funeral Shipping
Where do I get a copy of a death
certificate from in Georgia?
Death certificates are only
issued to family members or legal representatives with a tangible interest.
A certified copy of a death record can be obtained from Georgia Vital Records
Office in Atlanta, or from the county office. You can obtain a copy
in person, by mail or online. Do check the office opening hours if
you decide to apply in person. You will need to provide ID and fill
in an application form. The fee for a death certificate in Georgia
is $25.00 for the first copy and $5.00 for each additional copy.
2600 Skyland Drive, NE
Atlanta, GA 30319
What should you do if you have
a complaint about funeral services or products you have purchased?
The state board licenses all
funeral homes in Georgia, and in the event that you should have a grievance
with a licensed establishment that you cannot resolve with the funeral
home, you can lodge a formal complaint with the state board.
The Georgia Board of Funeral
Service can be reached at: 237 Coliseum Drive, Macon, GA, 31217
Phone (478) 207-2440
Funeral Consumer Support in
The Funeral Consumers Alliance
has a chapter in Georgia, and they provide member services to assist people
in arranging funeral services.
Memorial Society of Georgia
1911 Cliff Valley Way NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
||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: 02/12/2014
Memorials Georgia – Affordable Funeral & Cremation Providers