What to Consider when Arranging
a Funeral or Cremation in Mississippi
We have put together this guide
to arranging a funeral or cremation in Mississippi to assist families faced
with the task of making funeral arrangements. We have attempted to address
some of the key decisions that need to be made once a death has occurred,
and provide some tips on how to arrange a funeral or cremation and save
budget and looking to save money
where you can on funeral expenses? Obviously having some clear ideas
of what you do need from a funeral home helps you make the decision of
which funeral home is right for you.
Choosing a funeral home in Mississippi
One of the first things you
will need to do once a death occurs, or even when death is imminent, is
to select a funeral director you wish to handle the funeral services.
There are in the region of
540 funeral homes and mortuaries in the Mississippi so you need to consider
what criteria can help you select the right funeral home for your needs.
Do you require a traditional funeral or burial service? Or are you
seeking a more contemporary life celebration service, or a cremation?
Is the cost of the funeral an issue, are you working to a tight
Traditionally many families
opted to call their local funeral director, and maybe a funeral home who
had handled a previous funeral for the family. Today, as families
have become more dispersed and mobile, and tough financial times are hitting
families hard, a family can find themselves unsure where to turn.
Who is responsible for making
the funeral arrangements?
In Mississippi there is no law
that enables you to name an agent for body disposition if you should want
someone other than your next of kin to be in charge, unless you make advance
arrangements under a “preneed contract.” (Mississippi Code § 75-63-25.)
However, the written wishes of the deceased are to be followed where possible.
The family can legally conduct all funeral arrangements without the services
of a funeral director.
Who is responsible for paying
the funeral costs?
An individual has two options
for preparing to cover their own funeral expenses – he/she can set up a
preneed funeral contract and pay in advance, or put aside a fund for surviving
family to access when the need arises. If an individual does neither
of these provisions, then Mississippi law requires surviving family to
pay the funeral expenses. (Mississippi Code § 73-11-58(8))
What does an average funeral
cost in Mississippi?
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.
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.
Basic funeral director’s services for a traditional burial can be found
for around $3,600 (including casket) in parts of Mississippi, depending
where you are located.
All funeral homes in Mississippi
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’.
We strongly recommend that
you DO compare funeral prices and packages between more than one funeral
home. This ensures that you have contracted a “best value” funeral
available for this. There
is a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before a cremation can be conducted,
and the next of kin must sign the cremation authorization form (if this
was not already signed by the deceased in a pre-arrangement contract).
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. However, it is possible
to arrange a cremation for considerably less than this. A cremation
eliminates much of the expensive cost of a traditional burial – such as
the casket, embalming, burial vault and cemetery fees. This enables
you to reduce your funeral bill by thousands of dollars. A full open
casket service can be held prior to a cremation, and rental caskets are
Arranging a direct cremation
A direct cremation can be arranged
in parts of Mississippi for as little as $995.00 complete. This is
the least expensive cremation option for families. A direct cremation
means that there are no services, the cremation goes ahead after the necessary
paperwork has been completed (after the legal waiting period) and the ashes
are returned to the family in a temporary container. It is possible
to add some extras to a basic direct cremation, such as a private family
viewing or an upgraded cremation urn. This would be at an additional
DFS Memorials - low cost
cremation providers in Mississippi
Biloxi (228) 207-6439 - Direct Cremations
Gulfport (228) 207-6439 - Direct Cremations
Hattiesburg (601) 202-0447 - Direct
Jackson (601) 202-0447 - Direct Cremations
Meridian (601) 202-0447 - Direct Cremations
Southaven (662) 235-1997 - Direct Cremations
Tupelo (662) 235-1997 - Direct Cremations
How do I decide between a burial
or a cremation in Mississippi?
The decision of whether to have
a burial or cremation is very much a personal choice. If the deceased
left explicit wishes, this can alleviate family of the decision, but if
not the family has to decide what the deceased may have wanted and what
the family can afford to pay for. Religious beliefs and available
funds for the funeral service can play a significant role in whether a
burial or cremation is chosen. Having a pre-existing cemetery plot
can also be an important aspect as burial plots can be quite expensive
to purchase these days. Cremation is certainly on the increase in
the United States, and is becoming a popular funeral alternative for many
now. Green burials are also another option that can be considered.
It is legal to conduct a home burial but you must submit a map of the family
cemetery to the county Board of Supervisors (if outside the limits of a
municipality). You must consider the implications of what may happen
should the property be sold at a later date.
If you are unsure whether
to choose between burial or cremation, talk to family and friends, and
discuss the decision with your funeral director and faith/family support
Does the deceased have to be
embalmed in Mississippi?
There is no Mississippi law
that states you MUST have your loved one embalmed. However, refrigeration
OR embalming is required when a disposition will not take place for 48
hours. If you do not wish for embalming, ensure the funeral home
you select offers suitable refrigeration facilities. Many funeral
homes DO adopt policies that require a body to be embalmed if an open casket
visitation or service is being held.
Yes, you certainly can, and
this is becoming a preferred choice for many families in Mississippi now.
Pre-planning your funeral alleviates family of both the difficult decisions
and the financial burden of funeral expenses. You can make pre-need
funeral arrangements direct with a funeral home or purchase burial insurance.
Purchasing a casket or grave
marker in Mississippi
Caskets and headstones are large
outlays in your funeral expenses. These days there are more affordable
options available but laws for this can vary by state. We have
comprehensive guides to buying a casket or grave marker, so I would recommend
you visit these sections for more detailed information.
Can I pre-plan a funeral in
What you DO need to consider
is that funeral prices could indeed be coming down. Funeral companies
promote preplanning on the basis that it “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.
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’
free cremation and the return
of the cremated remains to the family a few weeks later. Individuals
are choosing body donation as a ‘no cost’ funeral alternative, and once
a family have the cremated remains returned to them, they then arrange
their own memorial service. Check out our Body
Can I donate my body to science
in the Mississippi?
Yes, donating your body to science
can be a great way to facilitate your end-of-life needs and, apart from
being a gift to society, can also mean that you do not have any funeral
expenses. 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
How can I transport a loved
one either back to, or from, Mississippi after death?
If a loved one needs to be transported
back to a state or country of origin following their death, 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
If transporting a loved one
between states in the United States 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 will 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 Mississippi?
The Funeral Profession is by
and large a vocation but it is also a billion dollar industry. As
with other consumer sectors 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 Mississippi State Board of Funeral Service,
3010 Lakeland Cove, Suite W, Flowood, Mississippi 39232 Phone:
We trust that 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.
Homes in Mississippi
Cost Funeral & Cremation Providers in Mississippi