|To help you
begin the process of arranging a funeral service or cremation this guide
aims to give you an overview of some of the key questions you may have
and answer some of the legality issues about making funeral arrangements
in Maine. Being responsible for making funeral arrangements for a
loved one can be a stressful and emotional experience, we hope this guide
will ease you through the process, whilst illuminating some important information
you need to know. At US Funerals Online we believe in not only demystifying
the funeral service process, but also in helping you save on funeral costs.
and mortuaries in Maine, so
deciding upon a few factors to narrow your choice of funeral service provider
How do I choose a funeral services
provider in Maine?
Contacting a funeral director
is one of the first things that families automatically go about doing when
a death has occurred. If you have prior experience with a funeral
service provider this can be a straight-forward decision, but if not, it
can be daunting deciding where to start. All funeral establishments
are licensed by the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation,
Board of Funeral Service and funeral businesses are bound by the Federal
Trade Commission’s ‘Funeral Rule’ which protects funeral consumers. There
are in the region of 190 funeral homes
The location of the funeral
service provider and whether you have something special in mind for the
funeral ceremony can be the key determining factors. Do you want
a traditional burial, a cremation or a more contemporary celebration service?
Do you need a simple cremation and plan to conduct your own ceremony? Do
you have a budget in mind? Just having a clear outline of your specific
requirements can help you when contacting funeral providers to inquire
about their services.
Funeral prices are one of
the main reasons that some families are researching online today.
So let’s talk about funeral costs in Maine.
What is the average cost of
a funeral in Maine?
The average price of a funeral
in Maine these days can amount to in excess of $7,000, and this can be
a complete financial burden to those arranging a funeral service if no
pre-planning for funeral expenses were in place. This cost does not
take into account cemetery plot costs. The national average price
is $7,045 (NFDA 2012) and this means that a traditional funeral service
involving a burial in Maine can amount to a cost in excess of $10,000.
However, more affordable funeral options are available and cremation is
fast becoming a preferred means of disposition especially to those working
on a budget, or choosing not to opt for a traditional burial.
cremation without a service,
also known as a direct cremation, can be conducted for in the region of
$1,000 - $1,500.
How much does a cremation cost
Cremation is already the preferred
choice in Maine with 7 in 10 families choosing cremation. The price
of a cremation does vary depending which provider you select and the type
of cremation service chosen. A cremation can be a simple disposition
with no service, the ashes returned to the family, who can then organize
a memorial service themselves. Or it can be as elaborate as a traditional
funeral just the difference being the cremation of the deceased as opposed
to a burial. A full service cremation service is likely to cost in
the region of $2,500 to $4,000. However, a simple
Because the prices from different
funeral service providers can vary quite significantly – for the exact
same service – it is imperative that you compare prices. Ensure that
you are comparing like for like funeral services before committing to a
Know your rights: Funeral laws
All funeral homes in Maine are
required by law to provide you with a General Price List that clearly lists
the prices for all their services. A funeral home should provide
you with information about all the services available to you, but at no
time should pressure you into a sale. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC)
‘Funeral Rule’ is there to protect you as a funeral consumer, so
ensure you equip yourself with the knowledge about what your rights are.
Can I conduct a home funeral
Yes, if you so wish, you can
prepare the deceased yourself and make the required arrangements.
You would need to file for the death certificate and a burial or cremation
permit. There is NO legal requirement in Maine that dictates you
must employ the services of a funeral director. The "authorized person"
responsible for disposition of the body is the next of kin or the person
given signed authority by said next of kin. The authorized person has the
authority to dispose of the body according to his/her wishes as long as
the appropriate permits are held. The authorized person may keep
the body at home, build a coffin, transport the body to the crematory or
cemetery, collect the ashes, hold their own memorial service, and do the
paperwork themselves. It is possible to arrange a home funeral for as little
It is possible to establish
a family burial plot on your property in Maine as long as the site is no
larger than one quarter acre and the burial plot is registered with the
property deeds. (Title 13, Section 1142.)
What do I need to understand
about cremation laws in Maine?
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
Maine 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. Generally there is a mandatory waiting period of
24 hours before a cremation can proceed but this is not enforced in Maine.
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.
Who Can Authorize a Cremation
or Burial in Maine
You can pre-sign a Cremation
Authorization Form to authorize your own cremation without needing consent
from any other family member. However, if you have not preplanned
and completed the necessary authorization for a cremation as part of prearrangements
and laying out your wishes, then your immediate next of kin must authorize
a cremation. It can certainly help, and save emotional decision-making,
if you wish to be cremated to pre-sign a cremation authorization form.
The following people may authorize cremation:
Your adult children
Your representative acting under
your signed authorization.
Who is responsible for paying
for the funeral expenses?
There are basically 2 options
– either you preplan and prepay for your 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
is my best and safest option for putting aside money for a funeral?’
Prepayment Funeral Plans in
Preplanning and prepaying a
funeral can enable you to take the financial burden from surviving family
and also ensure your own wishes are clearly met. As mentioned above,
a POD account, can prove a very safe and adequate way to put funds aside
to cover funeral costs. Due to the state of the economy, and the
national rise in the cremation rate, the cost of funerals is actually coming
down. This means that locking in thousands of dollars into a preneed
funeral contract may not necessarily be a wise investment. If you
are considering cremation you can pre-purchase a direct cremation plan
for between $1,000 and $1,500.
Does the deceased have to be
embalmed in Maine?
A body does not have to be embalmed
according to Maine State law. However, some funeral homes will stipulate
that embalming is required dependent on certain services. For example
if an open casket viewing or service is being performed, or if a body is
being transported across state lines.
Purchasing a casket in Maine
You do NOT have to use a casket
according to Maine State legislation. You DO require a “suitable
container”, and the law allows for this to be an unfinished wooden box
or “alternative container” made from other composition materials, canvas,
cardboard or pressed wood. Although grave liners and/or burial vaults
are NOT required by state law, some Maine cemeteries do stipulate that
they require them to prevent the ground sinking around a cemetery plot.
It is strongly advised that you check a cemetery’s requirements before
committing to purchase a cemetery plot.
What can we do with the cremated
remains? Laws for ash scattering in Maine
Maine law stipulates that cremated
remains may be “deposited in a niche of a columbarium or a crypt of a mausoleum,
buried or disposed of in any manner not contrary to law.” (13 M.R.S.A.
§ 1032.) If you wish to scatter ashes, you have
many options. Cremation renders ashes harmless, so there is no public health
risk involved in scattering ashes, they are basically sterile, organic
matter. Use common sense and refrain from scattering ashes in places where
they would be obvious to others.
Scattering on private land
requires the landowners consent, and it is wise to check local ordnance
zoning if you wish to scatter on public lands. If you wish to scatter
ashes in a state park, you should check if the park in question has any
rules about permits required for ash-scattering.
Of course, sea scattering
is popular in Maine but you do need to bear in mind EPA regulations.
A burial at sea should be 3 nautical miles out and a written notification
provided to the local EPA representative within 30 days. Burial At
Sea Coordinator, US EPA Region 1, EPA New England Phone: (888) 372-7341
How do I obtain a certified
copy of a death certificate in Maine?
The funeral home will usually
obtain the necessary death certificates for you as part of their services.
In Maine, the death certificate must be filed with the department of health
within 3 days. (Maine Health & Human Services Rule 10-146, Chp 1.)
If you need additional copies after the death these can be obtained from
the Maine Division of Public Health, and you will need to provide photo
ID and your relationship to the deceased. A death certificate costs $15
for the first copy and $6 for additional copies. You will need certified
copies to formally register the death of the deceased with government institutions,
banks and insurance companies, etc.
Veteran’s funerals in Maine
A veteran and certain dependents
are entitled to certain benefits. This is primarily a free cemetery
plot, grave marker and U.S. flag. Certain funeral homes will also
offer discounted funeral services to veterans. The VA cemetery in
Togus is closed to new interments. There are 4 state-run veterans’ cemeteries:
2 in Augusta, (but one does only cremated remains), Springvale, and Caribou.
To find out more about entitlements for veteran’s benefits contact your
local VA office.
When a Death Occurs Outside
If a loved one dies away from
his/her home in Maine, you may wish to arrange to have the body collected
and returned to Maine for disposition. Transporting a body internationally
can be quite complex but frequently happens. Visit our page on Funeral
Shipping for more information on domestic and international transfers.
However, in many cases it is often easier and more cost-effective to arrange
a cremation wherever your loved one died and then transport the ashes to
or from Maine.
body to science and the benefit
of future generations. They arrange the collection of the deceased,
medical donation, cremation of remains and return of cremains to the family
at no charge within 3 – 6 weeks. The University of New England also
operates a whole body donation program.
Can I donate my body to science
Donating your body to medical
science has been an end-of-life choice around for some time now, however,
it has certainly gained more popularity in recent times. For many
it now seems a valuable disposition method hence why it is commonly referred
to as an “anatomical gift”. MedCure is a national organization that
offers an anatomical gift program whereby you can donate your
Finding a low cost cremation
provider in Maine
With 76% of Americans living
paycheck to paycheck today (CNN October 2013) and 35% now in debt recovery,
it is understandable why more families are looking to lower cost funeral
alternatives. It can be difficult enough to lose a loved one, without
being faced with the unexpected cost of making funeral arrangements.
The least expensive funeral
option is a direct cremation. This is a simple cremation with no
services or viewing. Contact your nearest DFS Memorials provider
to access low cost cremation or burial services near you. A direct
cremation can deal with the immediate disposition in a timely and cost-effective
manner. Family can then arrange their own memorial services at a
time and place that suits family members. This does not have to be
at a funeral home or place of worship, it can be anywhere you may choose.
What help is there for those
on low income with funeral costs in Maine?
The state of Maine Department
of Health & Human Services – Family Independence Division will evaluate
if a family is entitled to any financial support with funeral costs.
The General Assistance administrator is responsible for putting together
an application on behalf of the deceased to determine the municipality’s
share (if any) of the burial expenses (Title 22, section 4313, subsection
2). A funeral director must notify the GA immediately if the family of
the deceased is unable to meet funeral costs. The difference in the application
procedure is that the administrator must also take into consideration the
ability of qualifying relatives who live or own property in Maine to contribute
to the cost of the funeral.
There is also a $255 lump
sum death benefit payment available from Social Security for those that
qualify. Your funeral director will generally submit this claim on
For further information on
how you can pay for a funeral if you have limited funds, visit our article
on ‘What to do if
you cannot afford a funeral’.
If you have a complaint about
how a funeral was conducted in Maine
If have a grievance with a funeral
home in Maine and they do not resolve it to your satisfaction, you may
take up your complaint with the Maine Department of Professional &
Financial Regulation. You must file a complaint in writing to:
Department of Professional
& Financial Regulation
Office of Professional and
76 Northern Avenue
Gardiner, Maine 04345
Hopefully this guide has
answered some of your immediate questions. Arranging a funeral is
no easy task and there are many decisions to be made, often when you feel
incapable of making decisions. Please check out our Library/Info
section where you will find a catalogue of other articles to assist you
through the funeral planning process.
||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.
Revised: January 5th
Homes in Maine
Cost Funeral & Cremation Providers in Maine
Consumers Alliance of Maine