|This guide has
been put together to help you through the process of arranging a funeral
or cremation in Indiana. It outlines some of the basic things you
need to understand about funeral laws in Indiana, and explains some of
the initial decisions you will need to make. Whether you are facing
the daunting task of arranging a funeral right now, or are researching
ahead of time to preplan arrangements, hopefully US Funerals Online can
How do you choose which funeral
home or cremation provider is right for your needs?
This is the first task you are
faced with, whether at immediate need or planning ahead, and with some
960+ funeral homes and cremation providers in Indiana, it can be difficult
knowing where to start. It is important to make sure you get a funeral
provider who is right for your needs. To be not be swayed by what
other people think is right for you. Listen to recommendations from
family and friends, by all means, but it is also wise to conduct your own
research or inquiries. What you want in terms of funeral service
can dictate what kind of funeral provider you may need. Are you looking
for traditional services? Do you require a religious service?
Do you plan on a lot of guests and require space for this at the funeral
home? Or are you looking for a simple funeral? Are you considering
cremation? Are you working to a budget for funeral expenses?
All these questions, and more, can help you to narrow down and focus on
what services a provider offers and how they best suit your needs.
The Indiana State Board Of
Funeral and Cemetery Service is the governmental agency that regulates
funeral homes, funeral directors, and cemetery practices in Indiana.
All funeral businesses should be licensed operators.
How do I find a funeral home
or cremation provider in Indiana?
You are already at the right
place. US Funerals Online is a completely free resource and a directory
of every funeral home and cremation provider in Indiana. Choose your
city and you will find all funeral and cremation companies listed in zip
code order. This is to help you find your nearest funeral homes as
easily as possible. If you are particularly concerned about funeral
costs, are specifically seeking your lowest cost option for a funeral,
visit DFS Memorials to find your nearest low cost cremation provider in
Do you want a burial or cremation?
As mentioned above, this decision
alone, can affect how you start to make arrangements. Whether you
elect for burial or cremation is an entirely personal choice. The
deceased may have expressed a preference, or you may have to make a decision
as next-of-kin, based upon not only the deceased wishes, but also the finances
available. According to Indiana law an “authorizing agent” is the
person responsible for making disposition arrangements, and in priority
order this is either: an individual who possesses a health care power of
attorney, a spouse, children, parents, or an individual in the next degree
of kinship. If a spouse was separated or petitioning for divorce, then
he/she can no longer act as an authorizing agent. If there is no surviving
family then either a public administrator, a state appointed guardian or
the coroner becomes the authorizing agent. If both parents survive
the deceased, either parent may act as the authorizing agent, unless a
written objection to a cremation is received from the other parent.
Burial is still the more
common preference in Indiana, with a burial being performed in around 80%
of funerals. However, the cremation rate is increasing in Indiana,
as it is across the U.S. A cremation can be much cheaper than a burial
because items such as a casket, burial vault, cemetery plot and grave marker
are not required. A funeral service can still be conducted if required
and then the body is cremated as opposed to buried. A direct cremation
is when the deceased is collected and taken directly to be cremated with
no service. In Indiana there is a 48-hour waiting period between
the time of death and when a body can be cremated. No embalming is
required and no storage fee should be charged for this period.
What is the cost of a funeral
This is the main question that
many turn to online sources to find out. Unfortunately so many funeral
home websites do not disclose clear pricing. In fact, you can even
call funeral homes for prices and still find you are none the wiser!
The simple answer is that there is no simple answer. The costs for
a funeral can vary significantly between funeral providers and even within
the same area. Insist on price information, they must provide you
with a General Price List (GPL) if you inquire, and before you sign any
contract clearly check all itemized selections.
The National Funeral Directors
Association surveyed the average cost of a funeral at $7,045 (2012) but
this does not include any cemetery costs. So the total cost of a
traditional funeral is likely to be near to $10,000. Of course,
it is possible to arrange a funeral for less than this if you select a
funeral services provider offering a funeral package at a fixed cost or
try to reduce the ancillary items and services associated with a funeral.
Cash advances are the items that you need to pay the funeral director for
up-front, and are usually services or products that the funeral home purchases
on your behalf from a third party.
How much does a cremation cost
Similarly to a burial, the cost
of a cremation in Indiana can vary, depending upon which cremation services
provider you contact and what type of cremation service you select.
A basic cremation (direct cremation) can cost anywhere between $795 and
$3,000. Low cost direct cremations are available from a number of
providers. The DFS Memorials providers in Indiana all offer the best
value direct cremation prices in their area. A cremation with a service
typically costs between $1,500 and $4,000. This can depend upon the
type of service you opt for, and whether you purchase or rent a casket.
Understanding cremation laws
in Indiana – What you need to know to arrange a cremation
The Indiana State Board of Funeral
& Cemetery Service is responsible for the licensing of funeral homes
and crematories in Indiana. They govern the practice of cremation
of human remains. Before a cremation can go ahead there are certain requirements
to be met. A Cremation Authorization Form must be signed by the legal
next of kin. Once the cremation has been correctly authorized, the
funeral director can obtain the cremation permit. In many states
there is a mandatory legal waiting period of 24 hours before the actual
cremation can take place, but no such rule is in place in Indiana. That
being said it generally takes 24-48 hours to get all the legal paperwork
in order and the permit to cremate authorized. No casket is legally
required for a cremation but a rigid combustible container must be used.
This is generally referred to as the “cremation container” and is a reinforced
Is embalming required in
No, embalming is not required
by law in Indiana. Embalming does not prevent a body from undergoing
the natural decomposition process. Your funeral director may suggest
embalming if there is likely to be a delay before the funeral can be conducted.
Or if a viewing or open casket service is requested for health, safety
and hygiene reasons. However, this should be a personal decision,
and do not feel pressured to have your loved one embalmed if you do not
What are burial and cemetery
plot requirements in Indiana?
Requirements vary depending
upon the cemetery you select. As mentioned below, there is no legal
regulation that enforces the use of a casket, however, cemetery regulations
do usually require some kind of rigid container. Many cemeteries
also require the use of a vault or grave liner to help prevent ground settlement
and avoid the contamination of the water table from embalming chemicals.
insurance policy. Preplanning
is a very good idea. It can save surviving family emotional and financial
distress when a death occurs. Aside from preneed funeral contracts
with certified agents, it is becoming more common these days for individuals
to simply outline their personal funeral plan, and put aside the necessary
funds to cover their needs. Funds can be laid away in a payable-on-death
account (POD), also know as a Totten Trust. A member of the family
is named as the beneficiary should a death occur, and then they can withdraw
the funds for the funeral expenses. A Totten trust does not have
to go through probate.
Can I preplan a funeral or
cremation? How does Indiana state law govern preneed plans?
Yes, you can preplan a funeral
or cremation in Indiana. It is what is most commonly referred to
as “pre-need”. In Indiana preneed contracts can be sold by an agent that
has a certificate of authority and is appropriately licensed to sell funeral
contracts. There are three methods of funding – trust funds, escrow
accounts and insurance policies. If you purchase a preneed contract
direct from a funeral home, it will most likely be funded by a trust fund
or escrow account. If you purchase a plan from an insurance agent,
you are taking out a burial
required that is a rigid
or non-rigid enclosure. It must be non-metallic material, have no ornamentation,
be resistant to leakage and rigid enough to handle, whilst protecting crematory
personnel. These days a cardboard container is ordinarily used.
What are my options for purchasing
a casket or alternative container?
There is no legal requirement
in Indiana that a body must be buried in a casket. State law specifies
that a “rigid container” is required, and defines a “casket” as a rigid
1) is made of wood, metal,
or other material;
2) is ornamented;
3) has a fixed or non-fixed
inner lining; and
4) is designed to encase
For the purpose of cremation
an “alternative container” is
Indiana state law is in line
with federal legislation according to the FTC’s ‘funeral rule’ and you
do have the right to purchase a casket from a third-party casket seller.
This may be a retail outlet or an online distributor. Your funeral
home MUST accept your casket and cannot add a surcharge for handling.
The rule was brought about partly in response to how funeral homes were
marking up caskets by up to 500%. If you purchase a casket from a
third-party casket retailer – just ensure you are dealing with a reputable
Abbey Caskets is based in
Indiana and the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey make quality wooden coffins
that start at around $1,900. They do operate a program where customers
can pre-purchase their casket in advance to secure today’s prices.
Indiana is also home to Batesville Caskets.
Do bear in mind that a cemetery
may have specific requirements about sizes and containment for burial plots
and burial vaults and it is wise to carefully check with your cemetery
before purchasing a casket.
What are the laws for scattering
ashes in Indiana?
Indiana 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
State legislation states
that the department of health should document records of the date, manner
and location of the property where remains are disposed of on private property.
Commingling of cremated remains is only allowed with the permission of
the authorizing agent.
Ashes may be scattered by
air or on inland water. Indiana has Lake Michigan at it northern
point, and the Clean Water Act from the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) regulates scattering in inland water. As cremated remains are not
considered a pollutant, there is no specific legislation against them being
dispersed in the lake, so long as the ashes are dispersed into the water,
or a biodegradable urn/scattering tube is used. Make sure any petals
or flowers or wreaths that are used are also fully degradable with no plastic
or metal ties. Indiana is within Region 5 of the EPA and their main
contact number is 312-353-2000.
What help is available with
funeral expenses in Indiana?
There are various sources and
options you can explore for help with funeral expenses in Indiana.
Indiana government can provide state burial assistance under the Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) fund. A burial claim needs to
be made to the local office of the Division of Family and Children, and
if qualifying, a state reimbursement is up to 60% of the amount expended.
Beneficiaries on Medicaid Aged, Blind or Disabled benefits are entitled
to 100% funded burial assistance.
When seeking state aid with
funeral expenses in Indiana, the amount awarded may also be determined
by the amount contributed towards the funeral costs by relatives and/or
friends. The amount of $750 is exempt from inclusion in the calculation
of what burial assistance award will be paid out. If an amount exceeding
$750, but less than $1350 is collected, then a payment of $600 is payable
from state funds. This amount is calculated on a dollar-for-dollar
amount for the fees in excess of $750. In addition to this, up to
$400 can be claimed for cemetery expenses. To find out more about
the burial assistance program in Indiana, and to check current rates, visit
Chapter 4800 of the Indiana Client Eligibility System (ICES) online at:
There are also veteran’s
benefits that can help towards the costs of a funeral for a veteran or
a veteran’s spouse. Read more on our section on Military
Funerals or contact your local VA to find out more details.
Are whole body donations
permitted in Indiana?
Yes, you can donate your body
to science upon your death if you so wish. Within Indiana you can
approach the Indiana State Anatomical Board Education Program.
Indiana University School
Department of Anatomy &
635 Barnhill Drive
VanNuys Medical Science
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
Alternatively, US Funerals
Online is affiliated with Medcure.org who operate a nationwide anatomical
donation program. There service is entirely free and the cremated
remains are returned to the family.
What do you do if your loved
one dies away from Indiana?
Tragically this is happening
more often as we become a more mobile society. If your loved one
has died whilst away from home you can either have their body shipped back
to Indiana, or have a cremation at the place of death and have the ashes
shipped back. To have cremated remains shipped is the much cheaper
option. To find out more about funeral shipping read our section
on ‘what to do when a loved one dies overseas or out-of-state’.
Where do I get a copy of
a death certificate from in Indiana?
A certified copy of a death
certificate is available from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH)
by mail or online. To collect a certified copy of a death certificate
in person you need to visit the local health department of the county where
the death occurred. A copy of a death certificate in Indiana ranges
from $5.00 - $15.00 depending upon which county the death was registered
in. Details of local health departments and fees can be found here:
What should you do if you
have a complaint about funeral services or products you have purchased?
If you have a complaint or grievance
about funeral or cremation services or products that you have purchased
from a licensed funeral business in Indiana, you can make a written complaint
to the State Board of Funeral Directors. They will investigate your
complaint and take action as appropriate.
State Board of Funeral and
402 W. Washington Street,
Indianapolis, IN 46204
||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.
Memorials of Indiana – low cost cremation & funeral network
Last Revised: 02/24/2015
Homes in Indiana