Cremation Costs in North Carolina 2023

This guide aims to help you learn about cremation costs in North Carolina. We have included a price comparison for the major cities, along with tips for how to cut funeral costs and what you need to know when arranging a cremation service.

Cremation services

How much does it cost for a cremation in North Carolina?

Firstly, let us mention that the cost of a cremation service can vary quite significantly. This can depend on the type of cremation service you opt for, ancillary services, and the service provider selected. 

Funeral homes can still be notoriously poor at divulging their prices online or by phone, but according to the FTC Funeral Rule should furnish you with a General Price List (GPL) or pricing on cremation service packages when you make inquiries.

A cremation service can range in cost from $995 to $4,800.  Depending on what cremation service package you opt for and which funeral home you select.

Best direct cremation prices by city in North Carolina

To help you determine how cremation costs compare and what you can expect to pay for a direct cremation in North Carolina, we have outlined below a table of average direct cremation prices by city.

CityLow-cost direct cremation cost (DFS Memorials)Average Cremation cost Phone number – DFS Memorials location
Charlotte$1,295$1,768(704) 233-7037
Raleigh$995$2,154(919) 213-7889
Greensboro$1,295$1,940(336) 223-5180
Durham$995$2,154(919) 213-7889
Winston-Salem$1,295$1,940(336) 223-5180
Wilmington$1,295$2,102(910) 212-6383

Click to call your local DFS Memorials location for immediate assistance in arranging an affordable direct cremation service.

What is the least expensive cremation option?

Direct Cremation is the least expensive cremation disposition option. A direct cremation service is a basic service package where the deceased is collected, cremated, and the cremated remains returned directly to the legal next of kin.  The funeral service provider conducts no ceremony.

The cremation is completed, and the cremation ashes are made available to the family or mailed by USPS Priority mail.  All arrangements can be made without the next of kin needing to visit a funeral home, and over 40% of funeral homes offer online arrangements on their websites today.

The family can arrange to hold their own Memorial Service once they have the cremation ashes.  This minimal and economic disposition service by a funeral home helps to save on funeral costs and also enables the family to have more control over when and where to memorialize the deceased.

Can I expect any additional charges to a basic direct cremation package?

Generally, a direct cremation package should include the following:

  • Basic Services of the Funeral Director
  • Collection of the deceased (may be an additional charge if outside a specific service area)
  • Refrigerated storage of the deceased until cremation
  • Completion and filing of required documents, authorizations, and permits
  • A basic cremation container
  • The cremation
  • A temporary urn for returning the cremation ashes.

Additional fees are usually ‘third-party’ charges, and these are for county fees such as the cremation permit and death certificates.  Although, do note that some service packages may include the permit fee and one death certificate.

Extra charges you can encounter could be:

  • Additional mileage charge for collection outside of the basic service area
  • A charge for a residential collection (as this usually requires extra man-power)
  • For removal of a pacemaker (or other combustible medical devices)
  • Extra charge for a barometric (overweight) cremation

You need to decide how many copies of the death certificate you need. It is usually helpful to have more than one for closing the deceased’s estate and probate.  Often, it is easier and less expensive to order multiple copies at the time of filing for the death certificate.

Will the state of North Carolina pay for a cremation? Is there any assistance to help me pay for a cremation?

Financial assistance for funeral expenses is very limited. There is no state-run program in North Carolina, although some counties may provide a budget to assist welfare or low-income individuals. 

A County is responsible for taking care of any indigent funerals, but this is usually the most basic of services.

There is a $255 Social Security lump-sum death benefit payment (if the deceased qualifies), and the funeral director will usually assist in claiming this. Some funeral service providers will offer discounts for Veteran or Hospice patients.

To find out more about County support towards cremation costs, contact your local county Social Services Department. You can use this map from North Carolina Judicial to find contact details for each County.

You could also consider a whole-body donation in North Carolina, as a free cremation is offered to those who donate their body to science.  The Experience Anatomy Foundation is based out of Charlotte, NC.

Visit our article on Body Donation and click on the link for Experience Anatomy to learn more.

What laws do you need to know to conduct a cremation in North Carolina?

As cremation is such a final disposition of a human body, there are strict laws that govern the authorization and cremation process. The legal next of kin must sign the authorization to cremate the body before a cremation permit can be issued by the Coroner.  If there are multiple next of kin, for example, siblings, then ALL must agree and sign off on the cremation authorization.

If preplanning a cremation, an individual can pre-sign the required authorization forms, which can make things much easier for surviving families when the time comes.

A mandatory waiting period of 24 hours must elapse following the death before a cremation can be performed.  Although, it usually takes a few days to get all the paperwork in place for a cremation to proceed anyway.

How long does cremation take in North Carolina?

As mentioned above, it is likely to take 3-7 days before a cremation can go ahead.  It can take longer if there is any delay with completing authorizations or obtaining the death certificate and cremation permit.

The cremation process usually takes 3-5 hours to complete. Although this varies depending on the cremation retort machinery, the body, and the time of day, the cremation is conducted.

Is Water Cremation or Aquamation available in North Carolina?

Yes, water cremation is legal and available.  Water cremation is a little more expensive than flame cremation but is much greener, with a significantly lower carbon output.

To learn all about Water Cremation and its benefits – visit our Guide to Aquamation or Resomation.

There are three Aquamation Service Providers in NC located in Hillsborough, Shelby, and Wilmington.  The price for a water cremation service varies between $1,995 and $2,500.

Where can I legally scatter cremation ashes?

The scattering of cremated remains is still somewhat an unregulated practice.  Cemeteries may offer scattering gardens but will charge you for the service.  If you wish to scatter your loved one’s ashes somewhere scenic, public, and special, you need to ensure you follow certain guidelines for dispersal and check any public land permit rules.

Visit our Complete Guide to Scattering Cremated Remains for tips on how to scatter, where you can scatter safely – rules & regulations, and for ideas about creative ash scattering memorial tributes.

For further reading about Cremation Services, we have an Ultimate Guide to Cremation and a section with Resources for Arranging a Cremation.

For further reading about arranging a funeral or cremation – visit our North Carolina Funeral Planning Guide.

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.