Cremation Costs in Illinois in 2024

With a cremation service now the preferred disposition choice for over 60% of Americans, we have put together this guide to help you be better informed about making cremation arrangements in Illinois.  Read on to learn more about cremation costs and services, legal requirements, pre-planning, financial assistance, and many more FAQs.

What does a cremation cost?

Direct Cremation $1,295  Call (773) 901-1564

Trying to establish what you should expect to pay for cremation often brings people online to look for a guide to prices.  Cremation prices do vary depending on the funeral home providing the services and the type of cremation service option selected.

According to funeral price surveys in Illinois, the average cost of a full-service cremation is $6,697, and the average cost for a direct cremation is $2,552.  These are ‘average’ prices; you can make cremation arrangements for less than this.

Now, we will examine the different types of cremation services available and explain why a simple direct cremation is the cheapest option.

What are the different options for a cremation service?

Direct cremation Illinois

Cremation offers versatility in how and where we can memorialize. Choosing a cremation service can eliminate the need for expensive burial vault, plot, and even casket costs.

You can opt for a Full Cremation Service, which is similar to a full-service funeral, except the deceased is cremated following the service.  Or choose to conduct a Cremation Memorial, whereby the crematory first performs the cremation, and you can hold a memorial service once you have the cremation ashes.

Finally, you can select to have a Direct Cremation. This is where the funeral home provides minimal services. They complete all legally required to conduct a cremation, cremate the deceased, and return the cremated remains to the next of kin.

Visit our Ultimate Guide to Cremation if you want to read more about cremation services.

Why is direct cremation so inexpensive?

A direct cremation is a basic service package.  As it requires reduced professional service fees, it can be offered at a lower cost. Some funeral or cremation providers will even request you complete online arrangement forms to streamline the process and reduce staff arrangement time.  It does mean you CAN arrange everything without the need to even visit a funeral home.

Do make a point to check what is included with a direct cremation service package.  Unfortunately, not all funeral homes include all third-party fees, and what seems a low price can add extra charges.

Are there additional charges added to a low-cost cremation package?

funeral prices Illinois

Most cremation service providers offer a package price that includes everything with the exception of third-party fees payable to the county for death certificates, cremation permits, and any other legal documentation required.

The cremation is conducted using a basic cremation container, and the cremated remains are returned in a temporary urn.  A selection of cremation urns may be offered to add to your cremation package at an extra charge.

You should also note that if the deceased was overweight (over 250 pounds), there will likely be an extra charge for a barometric cremation.  Similarly, if a pacemaker needs to be removed, there will be a small fee for this.

Complete direct cremation package – $1,295 (including death certificates & engraved cherry wood urn) Phone (815) 216-4601

The legal next of kin must all sign the Cremation Authorization Form to consent. The funeral director can then obtain the Permit to Cremate. In Illinois, there is a mandatory wait period of 24 hours after the death before a cremation can be performed.

Although, it usually takes 3 – 7 days to complete all the paperwork and schedule the cremation.

How long does a cremation take?

The cremation process takes anywhere between 2 to 5 hours, depending on the grade of the equipment and the time of day.  Newer retorts perform faster, and once the retort has heated for the first cremation, subsequent cases will cremate faster.

What is the best option for setting up an affordable cremation plan?

Cremation service options in Illinois

You have 2 options. You can formally set up a cremation plan with a funeral service provider and deposit the funds. Or you can choose to pre-plan without paying by documenting your wishes, signing off a cremation authorization, and securing the funds in a Payable-on-death bank account (P.O.D.).

You can read more here about Setting up Your Own Cremation Plan.

How do I plan for a loved one in Hospice Care?

Some cremation providers offer a bespoke hospice service to hospices in their service area and may discount a hospice patient case, as their relationship enables them to expedite a case.  It will help the family make some imminent provision for the loss of a loved one, as the hospice can be prepared to make the call and support the process.

Planning a cremation Illinois

What if the deceased is at the Medical Examiner’s Office & the family wants a simple cremation?

If a death is sudden, unexplained, or the result of an accident, the coroner will be called to investigate and confirm the cause of death. Once this is complete, the Medical Examiner’s Office will release the body to a funeral home. They also issue the death certificate and permit to cremate, so a funeral director can generally collect the deceased with all the necessary permits.

You must select a funeral home and sign a release form for the body to be transferred from the morgue.

What is a “no-cost” cremation?

Free cremation in Illinois with a whole body donation

A “no-cost” cremation is a free cremation offered with a whole-body donation. Also referred to as an anatomical gift, once the donation is completed at the Medical or Research Institution, the remains are cremated free of charge and returned to the next of kin.

You can read more on our Body Donation page.

If the deceased did not have a funeral plan or life insurance, what help is there to pay for funeral expenses?

Most counties have a limited budget to conduct Indigent Cremations, and qualification requirements can be quite stringent. Welfare program recipients may receive between $550 and $1,100. You should contact your local county Human Services Family Community Resource Center.

Are there green cremation alternatives in Illinois?

Yes, water cremation or aquamation is legal in Illinois. We are aware of two water cremation service providers in Chicago. A water cremation is more expensive than a flame cremation but has a much lower carbon footprint. 

Prices in Illinois range between $1,397 and $1,795 for a green cremation.

Visit our Guide to Aquamation or Water Cremation to learn more.

What are the options for scattering cremated remains in Illinois?

As more families opt for cremation, so there is an increased demand for ash-scattering memorial tributes.  Some cemeteries offer ash-scattering memorial gardens, or you can choose to scatter on private land, scenic rural parkland, or a special location for the deceased.

Read the section in our Illinois Funeral Planning Guide about the laws for scattering ashes.

If you have further questions about arranging a cremation in Illinois, please contact us at US Funerals Online, and we will be happy to assist you.

Written by

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 15 years.