funeral or cremation can be a difficult task, especially when you are feeling
emotionally vulnerable and this can make all the decisions that have to
be made seem very overwhelming.
This guide to arranging a
funeral or cremation in Vermont aims to provide a starting point and give
you an overview of some of the main things you need to consider.
Being better informed of the laws guiding funeral homes, the costs you
can expect and what options you have, can make beginning the process a
looking to save money where
you can on funeral expenses? Having some clear ideas of what you
do need from a funeral home can help you make the decision of which funeral
home is right for you.
Choosing a funeral home in Vermont
One of the first things you
will need to do, especially if a death has just occurred, is choose the
funeral director you wish to handle the funeral services.
There are in the region of
70 funeral homes and mortuaries in Vermont 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 budget
Many people seek recommendations
or referrals from family or friends, and this is a very good way to get
information. However, if you are not in a position to benefit from
a sound referral, or you are seeking something specific, you may have to
resort to contacting funeral homes yourself. Generally people look
for a reputable funeral business in their own area, but it is always advisable
to check with more than one funeral home and compare services and prices
for a funeral or cremation.
All funeral establishments
and professionals are licensed by the State Board of Funeral Service in
Vermont. If you have any questions about the professional registration
or conduct of a funeral director you can contact the Board on (802) 828-1501.
What does an average funeral
cost in Vermont?
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.
Once you add in cemetery fees, your total cost could be in the region of
$10,000+. 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. Some funeral homes do offer more economical funeral
services, and if you shop around you should be able to arrange simple funeral
service for between $3,500 to $6,000.
All funeral homes in Vermont
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’.
It is strongly recommended
that you DO compare like-for-like, and shop around and compare funeral
prices between more than one funeral home. Prices can, and do, vary
quite considerably even for the exact same service!
around $1,395. This is
the least expensive cremation option for families. A direct cremation
means that there are no services, the cremation goes ahead once all the
documentation has been completed and then the cremated remains are returned
to the family in a temporary container. Incremental options, such
as a private family viewing or an upgraded cremation urn, can be added
to a basic direct cremation package for an additional fee.
How much does a cremation cost
A typical cremation funeral
service will cost in the region of $3,900 (depending upon the ancillary
services/products you select). This is the type of cremation service
that replaces a full traditional funeral. It is possible to arrange
a cremation for considerably less than this.
Arranging a direct cremation
A direct cremation can be arranged
in Vermont for
How do I decide between a burial
or a cremation in Vermont?
The decision of choosing between
burial or cremation is very much a personal choice. The deceased
may have left explicit wishes or surviving family may have to make a decision.
Faith and/or 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 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.
If you are unsure whether
to choose between burial or cremation, talk to family and friends, and
discuss the decision with your funeral director.
Know your rights – funeral laws
Each state has its own legislature
that licenses funeral establishments and funeral professionals. Although
many of these laws are universal, some laws do vary by state, so it is
important to know what these are. You do not have to use the services
of a funeral director in Vermont to conduct death care. You can,
if you so choose, look after the deceased yourself. There are only
8 states that require you to legally employ a funeral director and Vermont
is not one of them.
What do I need to understand
about laws and permits for cremation in Vermont?
In order for a cremation to
be performed, the legal next of kin must sign a ‘Cremation Authorization
Form’ and a cremation permit must be issued. A cremation cannot proceed
until these documents have been duly completed, signed and notarized.
No casket is required by law for a cremation but a suitable rigid cremation
container is required. This can be a simple cardboard container.
If a service is to be held before the cremation, some funeral homes will
offer rental caskets that you can use for the service before the cremation
is conducted using a simple cremation container.
What can we do with the cremated
remains? Laws for scattering cremation ashes in Vermont.
As cremation is becoming increasingly
popular in Vermont, so more families are considering different options
for memorialization. Cremation offers greater flexibility, not only
in that immediate interment is not required, but also that there is a whole
array of cremation artefacts that can be made.
We are often asked about
the legal aspects of how and where families can scatter cremation remains.
The answer is that when it comes to scattering this is not a highly regulated
area. Human cremated remains are basically sterile, organic matter
and really pose no threat to the environment, however, safe scattering
techniques should be employed. Scattering should only be conducted
on private land with the landowner’s consent and you should always check
with any ordnance if you are considering scattering in parklands or public
areas. Common-sense guidelines should be followed and respect for
the fact that you are dispersing mortal remains. Visit our ash-scattering
guide for more information.
The Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) governs the scattering of cremains at sea. Remains can
be scattered 3 nautical miles to sea and a written notification of the
disposition should be made to the local EPA coordinator within 30-days.
Vermont is in Region 1 of the divisional EPA areas and the regional office
is at: 1 Congress St, Boston, MA 02114-2023 Phone: (617) 918-1538.
There are no Vermont statutes specifically forbidding the scattering of
cremated remains in Lake Champlain or other public places. But you
should bear in mind that cremated remains are usually quite white and conspicuous
and you should use discretion when scattering them, and scatter them widely
enough that they're not noticeable.
Does the deceased have to be
There is no legal requirement,
or state law, stipulating that you have to have the deceased embalmed.
However, some funeral homes may adopt policies that insist upon embalming
if a public viewing or service is being held with the deceased in repose.
If you proceed with a timely funeral, there is really no need for embalming
(and it can just be another fee to add to your funeral costs!)
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 Vermont
We have comprehensive guides
to buying a casket or grave marker on US Funerals Online, so I would recommend
you visit these sections for more detailed information about purchasing
a casket or how to order an affordable headstone online.
Can I pre-plan a funeral in
Yes, you certainly can, and
this is becoming a preferred choice for many families in Vermont now.
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’.
You should also consider
that membership of a Cremation Society does not necessarily save you on
cremation costs. Many cremation societies, such as the Cremation
Society of Vermont, offer customers a discounted cremation service package
if they join the society and pay a nominal membership fee. However,
the reality is that in many cases a cremation society will indeed waiver
their non-member service charge if you approach them at the time of need.
Who is responsible for paying
for the funeral?
The deceased must have made
provision for their death care arrangements, either with a preneed funeral
policy, a life insurance policy or a POD Trust, or the next of kin will
be liable to cover the funeral expenses if the deceased left no provision.
Can I donate my body to science
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 free cremation
and the return of the cremated remains to the family a few weeks later.
More people are choosing body donation now, and once they have had the
cremated remains returned to them at no-cost, they then arrange their own
memorial service for the family. Check out our Body
How can I transport a loved
one either back to, or from, Vermont after death?
If a loved one needs to be transported
back to a state or country of origin following their death in Vermont (or
dies overseas), 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 to.
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.
How do I obtain a certified
death certificate in Vermont?
The funeral director generally
obtains the original death certificate on your behalf. Once it has
been signed by the attending physician or Medical Examiner, the funeral
director will ensure it is filed with the Bureau of Vital Records in Burlington.
It generally takes about 3 to 5 days for it to be officially notated and
filed. Certified copies of the death certificate can then be issued
by Vermont Department of Health and certified copies cost $10.00 each.
It is advisable to have more than one copy of the death certificate as
you will need to submit certified copies to institutions and government
agencies to close down the deceased’s estate.
Who should I contact if I have
a complaint about a funeral home in Vermont?
Hopefully you will find the
services of your funeral home more than adequate, as most funeral professionals
are very dedicated in their vocation. Unfortunately though, 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 Vermont Board
of Funeral Service, Secretary of State at 128 State Street, Montpelier,
We hope this guide has helped
to answer some of your immediate questions. Please check out our
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.
Published:: October 19th
Homes in Vermont
Cost Funeral & Cremation Provider in Vermont