Cremations














 
 
 
 
 

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Defining Cremation - How does choosing Cremation affect a funeral service? - The Cheaper Alternative

Direct Cremation - Choosing a Cremation Provider - What to do with the cremated remains - Transporting ashes

Why Cremation?

Cremation is fast becoming the preferred choice of many families in America today.  In fact, the cremation rate is steadily growing and has now reached over 40%. There are several reasons for this including environmental concerns, religious beliefs and of course the costs.  Cremations are generally far less expensive than traditional funeral burial services.  Cremation is an age-old disposition tradition in many cultures, and as modern culture and traditions are changing, so are attitudes to cremation.  In many heavily-populated metropolitan areas in the United States, we are simply running out of room to bury bodies, which is driving up the costs for burial plots, and is yet another reason why more Americans are turning to cremation.   The acceptance of cremation by the Catholic Church has also contributed to a growth in cremation rates.

Defining Cremation

Most of us today are familiar with what a cremation is.  The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) defines it as "The mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments."  The “thermal dissolution” is the typical cremation process that we are all familiar with, which produces the cremated remains or ashes (the ground bone fragments).

Cremation is beginning to be re-defined in modern culture as new means to conduct the “dissolution process” are invented.  For example, a few funeral homes in the U.S. have now launched ‘Aquamation’ – a type of hydrolysis cremation.  You can read more by visiting our library section on Cremation.

You should be aware that modern medical aids, such as pace-makers, need to be removed from the deceased prior to a cremation being conducted.  Some cremation providers will charge an additional fee for this.

How does choosing Cremation affect a funeral service?

In general the actual cremation usually takes place after there has been a funeral service, it just replaces the actual burial aspect of the disposition.  So a viewing or visitation can be held, a funeral service held with the deceased present, and then the cremation is carried out and the cremated ashes are then given to the family in an Urn.  A cremation is just as dignified as a full-service ‘traditional’ burial.

The Cheaper Funeral Alternative

The costs of a cremation can vary quite significantly in the U.S. depending on which State you live in and what type of memorial service, if any, is required.  The actual cost of the cremation can often be dependent on whether your selected funeral home has their own crematory and can perform the cremation, or whether they need the services of a local crematory.  In the U.S. cremations are generally least expensive in the states that have a higher cremation rate, and in Florida for example, a cremation can be conducted for as little as $500.

A cremation is far cheaper than a burial due to the fact that no casket is required - usually the single most expensive item of a funeral. If you do decide you require a viewing, or plan to have an open casket funeral service, many funeral homes do offer a ‘rental’ casket, which enables you to have your loved one laid-out without the large expense of purchasing a casket.

The type of cremation container or Urn can make a huge difference to the costs.  Some very simple urns can be purchased for under $30, and the market is now quite saturated with cremation urn retailers.  Most funeral homes do keep a small selection of urns, or of course you can purchase direct online, sometimes with significant savings.  You generally do not have to have an urn immediately for the cremated remains (or ‘cremains’ as they are often called), as the funeral home can return the remains to you in a basic container, allowing you time to purchase your chosen urn without feeling rushed.  With the rise in cremation, there has also been a growth in customized or personalized urns, which obviously can take longer to order.

Direct Cremation - The cheapest disposition method

Direct cremations, in which there is no service included, is by far the least expensive option.  A direct cremation is just as it states, you deal directly with the cremation provider, who simply collects the deceased from the place of death, cremates the deceased, and then returns the cremated remains to the family, along with the death certificates.  Many may choose not to conduct any funeral service whatsoever, but many families opt to arrange their own memorial service once they have received the cremated remains.  This drastically reduces funeral expenses, and it also enables the family to gather to hold a memorial tribute as and when it suits them.  It is, in a way, returning to how we used to practice death care, whereby the family looks after the care and memorialization of their deceased loved one, not a funeral home.

How to choose a Cremation Provider

These days most funeral homes can conduct a cremation for you, whether on-site or off-site.   DFS Memorials offer cheap cremations across the United States.  They are a network of local, independent funeral homes that understand the need for simple, affordable cremations as an alternative to expensive full-service funerals.  All the member funeral homes of DFS Memorials offer a direct cremation for between $495 and $1,395.  The price of the direct cremation differs due to the location, as mentioned above, the higher the cremation rate in a state and the more competitive the industry is, so you will find a more competitive cremation price.  To find out who your nearest DFS Memorials provider is ‘click here’, and search your state.

What to do with the cremated remains, or ashes

The cremated ashes can be kept in an Urn, keepsake or scattered in a favorite place of the deceased.  The ashes can also be buried or entombed at a local cemetery where other family members are.  In fact, more cemeteries are converting land into ‘Memorial Gardens’ or Columbariums with cremation urn niches.  However, do beware, as in some cases the costs to inter ashes can be quite expensive.   A whole industry of niche products and services for cremated remains is now evolving.  Visit our section on ‘Ash Scattering’ to read further about what options you have.

A death away from home – transporting cremated remains

Asides from having a large immigrant population, we have become more of a transient society, so it is inevitable that more people are dying away from home.  Unfortunately, the transportation of a body can be costly, especially if it requires international shipping.  For this reason, may families choose to have a direct cremation conducted at the place of death, and then arrange for the cremated remains to be shipped back home, or even collected in person.  Cremated remains can be carried on in hand luggage on most airlines.  For more information on transporting cremated remains, visit our section on funeral shipping, or consult a shipping or courier company.
 

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Expert Author: Sara J. Marsden

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.

Related Articles:

Resources:
DFS Memorials – Network of low cost cremation providers in the US
Locate a Funeral Home & Crematory
Last Revised:  04/12/2013