|Are you facing
the difficult task of organizing a funeral or cremation? This brief
guide aims to outline some of the main points, and New Jersey state laws,
which will help you start the process. It can be an extremely daunting
task to make funeral arrangements, especially if this is the first time
you have had to do it, and you are coping with your bereavement at the
How do you choose which funeral
home or cremation provider is right for your needs?
Choosing the ‘right’ funeral
home can be very important to ensuring your funeral needs are met.
Traditionally many people just opted for the local funeral home they knew
of, or 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 providers, 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. All
funeral establishments must be licensed by the New Jersey Division of Consumer
Affairs, Board of Mortuary Science and are issued with a funeral directors
license. A funeral home’s license number must be displayed in any
advertising they undertake.
The immediate family generally
makes the funeral arrangements. There is a stature that dictates
the legal order of responsibility. The deceased’s spouse takes precedence
then children over 18, parents, siblings and further next of kin.
If there is any confusion or conflict regarding funeral arrangements you
can consult your funeral home, funeral mediator or an attorney.
How do I find a funeral home
or cremation provider in New Jersey?
There are over 1000 funeral
homes, cemeteries and crematories in New Jersey. 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 your area.
You can also use the short cut links to the main cities in New Jersey on
the right hand side of this page.
Who is responsible for making
the funeral arrangements?
Do you want a burial or cremation?
This is probably the single
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 New Jersey, 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
(with service) can cost around $3,500.
If you opt for a cremation
in NJ, there is a legal 24-hour mandatory waiting period before the cremation
can be conducted. Identification needs to be done and a cremation
authorization form completed.
Can I arrange a ‘home funeral’
or green burial in New Jersey?
New Jersey is one of only a
few states that do actually require you to use the services of a licensed
funeral director, even if you are conducting a home funeral. Legally
the death certificate and the burial or cremation permit must be submitted
by a licensed funeral professional. You can, of course, still carry
out the care of the deceased and conduct a home funeral but you will need
to employ the services of a funeral director. As the funeral director
signs off the burial or cremation permit, he or she would generally wish
to observe the interment or cremation, to ensure the deceased is laid to
rest as specified in the permit. Check out our resources on DIY Funerals
and natural burials if you wish to find out more.
What is the cost of a funeral
or cremation in New Jersey?
Many people get online today
to try and check and compare funeral prices. The difficulty in doing
this is that many funeral companies do not openly disclose their price
list on their website. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s
‘funeral rule’ (FTC) all funeral homes MUST have a General Price List (GPL)
and must openly disclose prices to you if you inquire, even if this is
by phone, and you should not have to provide any personal details.
Prices for the equivalent
services and products can vary significantly between providers, so it is
important to do some comparison-shopping. DFS Memorials works with
Alloway Funeral Home, who offer Direct Cremations in New Jersey for $995.00
complete or a Traditional Funeral Service for $2500.00 including a casket.
For more information contact Alloway Funeral Home on 877-833-3770, John
will be more than happy to assist you and your family.
Sending funeral flowers in New
Funeral flowers are an integral,
but often expensive, enhancement to a funeral service. US Funerals
Online partners with BloomsToday to offer our visitors a 25% discount on
funeral flower orders. Visit our Funeral Flowers page or phone toll-free
on (800) 317-4807.
Is embalming required in New
No, embalming is not required
by law, however, some funeral homes may have a policy that requires embalming
if a public viewing or open casket service is to be held. If you
do not wish to have your loved one embalmed, and are having a timely cremation
or burial, refrigerated storage should be an adequate method of preservation.
What are my options for purchasing
a casket or alternative container?
There is no law that stipulates
you must purchase a casket for a burial. The law only requires that
a “rigid, combustible container” be used for the purposes of cremation.
You are at liberty to build, or purchase, your own casket. The funeral
rule stipulates that the funeral home MUST accept any casket you purchase
from a third-party casket retailer, and they cannot charge you a handling
fee. If a funeral home chooses to show you their selection of caskets,
they must first give you a Casket Price List (CPL).
Caskets can be purchased
from a casket retailer these days from as little as $995. There are
a select number of high street casket retailers, and a great number of
online retailers. Most offer expedited shipping if required, or standard
shipping with delivery in 3 working days.
Most funeral homes will offer
an alternative container, be it for burial or cremation, this can be a
basic cardboard container or a simple wooden box. You may need to
stipulate that you only desire a simple alternative container though, as
it may not be openly offered to you as an option.
What are burial and cemetery
plot requirements in New Jersey?
Non-sectarian cemeteries are
regulated by the New Jersey Cemetery Board operated by the N.J. Division
of Consumer Affairs. There is no law that stipulates that a
burial vault is legally required, although many cemeteries have regulations
in place that require burial vaults for an interment in a plot on their
site. This is largely to protect the integrity of the ground but
is, of course, a significant additional cost. You should also carefully
check the cemetery regulations about what memorial marker you can erect
and how long you may have to wait after the burial, what perpetual care
is included, what the opening and closing fees are and what options you
have to re-sell the plot should it not be required at a later date.
The purchase of a cemetery plot can be an extremely complex and costly
aspect of the funeral expenses, so do ensure you check your cemetery contract
It appears that there is
no law in New Jersey that specifically prohibits or permits a burial on
your own land. You would need to check with local ordnance and zoning.
The general guidance if you are planning a burial on your own land is to
ensure that the site is at least 150 feet from any water supply and 25
feet from a power line. You would need to record a map of the burial
site and lodge this with the property deeds.
Can I preplan a funeral or cremation?
How does New Jersey state law govern preneed plans?
Yes, you can preplan a funeral
or a cremation in New Jersey. The law states that anyone selling a preneed
contract must be a licensed funeral director or mortician working within
a licensed mortuary. If the contract is to be funded by an insurance
policy or a trust fund, then the seller must also be a licensed insurance
Although preplanning is an
excellent idea, prepaying into a funeral plan can be problematic.
It has been known for funds to be misused, and of course you need to be
clear about what happens if you wish to cancel, you move areas or the funeral
home you have the plan with should close. Another option is
to specify your wishes and put aside funds in a POD account. You
can read more about this in our related articles below. You can also
pre-register with many cremation companies today, which enables you to
make your arrangements ahead of time.
You can scatter ashes anywhere
on private land with the landowners consent. If you wish to scatter ashes
in uninhabited public rural lands, the general guidance is to scatter at
least 100 feet from any road, trail, and body of water or developed facility.
If you wish to scatter ashes in public parklands or a state park you may
need to get a permit. State parks will require that only biodegradable
containers or floral tributes be used, they will not allow any memorial
marker or shrine to be placed at a scattering site.
What are the laws for scattering
ashes in New Jersey?
We are being asked this question
much more frequently today with the increase in cremations. Cremated
remains are basically sterile, organic matter and therefore pose no threat
or detriment to the environment if you choose to scatter them. What
you should, of course, bear in mind is that you are scattering mortal remains.
It should be conducted in a dignified manner and you should be absolutely
sure that scattering is the right choice. It cannot be undone once
New Jersey is in Region 2
of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that regulates any sea burials
or scatterings, and they can be reached on (877) 251-4575. A scattering
should be conducted three nautical miles out to sea. If you wish
to scatter at sea at Cape May in New Jersey, an unattended scattering costs
around $200 and an attended sea scattering costs from $395.
What help is available with
funeral expenses in New Jersey?
There is limited help available
to assist families with funeral expenses. There is a one-off lump
sum death benefit payment of $255 from SSA if you qualify. There
is also limited assistance for veterans and certain dependents, who are
entitled to a free cemetery plot and grave marker, plus sometimes some
additional reduction in costs. You need to contact your local VA
office to find out more.
Within New Jersey some counties
do have limited budgets for indigent burials, and if you are in receipt
of welfare support or on low-income, you may be able to get some assistance.
You need to contact your local county Social Services or Human Services
department to inquire as to exactly what level of support they can offer.
Are whole body donations permitted
in New Jersey?
Yes, you can donate your body
to science in New Jersey. The University of Medicine and Dentistry
of New Jersey Medical School (UMDNJ) accepts body donations.
What do you do if your loved
one dies away from New Jersey?
Unfortunately this happens more
and more often these days, as we have become a society ‘on the move’.
If your loved one passes away whilst away from New Jersey, you need to
make some quick decisions about returning their remains to New Jersey.
You can opt to transport the body home, or arrange a cremation at the place
of death, and have the cremated remains shipped back.
Where do I get a copy
of a death certificate from in New Jersey?
Certified copies of a death
certificate are available from the Department of Health Office of Vital
Statistics (OVR). For a full list of county registrars, visit www.state.nj.us.
You can make an application online, by mail or in person. A certified
copy of a death certificate costs $25.00 and you will need to provide ID,
plus proof of your relationship to the deceased.
What should you do if you have
a complaint about funeral services or products you have purchased?
You should always try and resolve
any grievance with the funeral director in the first instance. If
this is not possible, you can make a formal complaint to the State Board
of Mortuary Science of New Jersey at PO Box 45009, Newark, NJ, 07101
Phone: (973) 504-6425
Funeral Consumers Organizations
in New Jersey:
There are three FCA affiliates
in New Jersey, who all offer membership services, and act as consumer advocates
serving New Jersey residents in the purchase of funeral services and products.
The Memorial Society of
North Central New Jersey
PO Box 509
Madison, NJ 07940
Phone: (973) 540-9140
FCA of South Jersey
401 North Kings Highway
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Phone: (609) 518-8901
The Memorial Society of
Northeast New Jersey
P.O. Box 1327
Montclair, NJ 07042
Phone: (973) 783-1145
||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 New Jersey
Last Revised: 06/08/2013
Cost Funeral & Cremation Providers in New jersey