How to arrange a funeral or cremation service in Arkansas
Arranging a funeral or cremation service is no easy task, especially with no prior experience. Fortunately, the Internet has made it easier than ever before to make funeral arrangements. If you have arrived at this article in search of guidance and resources to help you plan a funeral in the state of Arkansas, then the information contained below should assist you with some of the key decisions you need to make, as well as how to save money arranging a cremation service in Arkansas.
Selecting a funeral home in Arkansas
One of the first decisions to be made when a death occurs is choosing a funeral services provider. Traditionally many families just went with their nearest funeral home or opted for a local funeral home that was recommended. Today this is changing as families are becoming more discerning funeral consumers and may have different funeral needs.
If you have not yet selected a funeral home in Arkansas, you can use our funeral directory to locate a funeral services provider.
Do you require burial or cremation?
This decision is the next crucial decision to be made. Although a funeral home can collect the deceased from the place of death without the family having decided on burial or cremation, this single choice may affect which funeral services provider you choose.
Choosing between burial or cremation is a personal choice, but these days it can be governed as much by cost as by the family’s (or deceased’s) wishes.
A traditional funeral costs significantly more than a cremation, so opting for cremation can save a family thousands of dollars in funeral expenses. Cremation is gaining popularity in Arkansas (as it is across the United States) because families’ funeral decisions are more often governed by how much they can afford today.
Cremation laws in Arkansas
Cremation is regulated across the United States, but each state has its own laws. Before the deceased can be cremated, a legal ‘waiting period’ is required. This waiting period is 24 hours. Embalming is NOT required prior to cremation in Arkansas, and the deceased can be stored for up to 48 hours without any embalming or refrigeration prior to cremation.
An ‘authorizing agent’ must sign the cremation authorization documentation before the cremation is conducted. The authorizing agent is generally the next of kin, but the law in Arkansas has now changed, and you can authorize your own cremation (when preplanning your funeral arrangements) by signing the necessary forms. This can save the family the issue of making this decision and can simplify the process when the time comes.
The authorizing agent must specify how the cremated remains should be disposed of, and according to Arkansas statutes, if the authorizing agent has not made arrangements for the disposition of the cremated remains within 60 days, the cremation authority may do so.
Cremation services in Arkansas
A cremation with a service is performed very similarly to a traditional funeral. Only the body is transferred to the crematory rather than the cemetery after the service. Opting for cremation eliminates the need for an expensive casket, embalming, a grave plot, and a burial vault. These savings alone can save you thousands of dollars. If you still wish to have an open-casket viewing or service before cremation, it is possible to rent a casket for this purpose.
What do cremation services cost in Arkansas?
This is an important question that many families turn to the Internet to find out. After all, we shop for most products and services by comparing prices and seeking out the ‘best’ deal, so why should purchasing a funeral differ? The reality is that too many families are feeling the burden of the poor economy over the past few years and, more than ever, need to find affordable funeral services in Arkansas.
A direct cremation service costs between $777 and $895 in Arkansas. The price will vary depending on your location. The cost of a simple cremation in Little Rock is $777, but in more rural areas can cost a little more.
Direct cremation in Arkansas
If you wish to have a simple cremation without a service, the least expensive type of cremation service, then you need to ask for direct cremation. This is the industry term for a simple, basic, or immediate cremation without any services. The deceased is collected, transferred to the crematory, cremated in a basic container, and then the cremated remains are returned to the family in a temporary urn.
If you are concerned about funeral costs, Arkansas’s DFS Memorials providers offer low-cost cremation and affordable burial services. All DFS Memorials providers guarantee to offer a ‘best value’ direct cremation package.
How much does a funeral cost in Arkansas?
This is a question that is not easy to answer as it can depend very much on the details of the service you require, what ancillary products and services you choose, whether you purchase a casket from a third party, and if you already have a grave plot. The NFDA (2021) quotes the average cost of a funeral at $7,848 (not including cemetery costs). It is possible to arrange a dignified burial for less than this if you shop around and keep in control of the ancillary items. A traditional funeral can be conducted for under $4,000.
Finding a low-cost cremation provider in Arkansas
Shopping for a funeral is difficult. It can be an emotional time, and you may not have the luxury of time to reflect and make decisions. Too often, a family chooses a funeral home before inquiring about funeral prices as they feel it is ‘undignified’ to ask how much a funeral is going to cost.
A funeral can be a large expense, and you would not buy a car without asking the salesman how much it is. Do not feel uncomfortable asking about costs. The DFS Memorials network has been set up especially to help families who need a low-cost cremation or an affordable funeral. The network comprises of local funeral homes that disclose the price and offer affordable services. It takes the hassle out of shopping around.
The DFS Memorials provider in Little Rock covers the whole of Arkansas for low-cost direct cremation. Call now for immediate assistance at (501) 203-9717. This price for a basic cremation is extremely competitive and offered by a local family-owned funeral home.
What laws govern purchasing a prepaid funeral plan in Arkansas?
Although the FTC regulates the funeral industry, each state has different legislation that governs the sale of preneed funeral contracts. In Arkansas, any funeral home or agent selling prepaid funeral plans must obtain a permit from the Insurance Commissioner. The preneed contract is funded using a Trust fund, insurance, or an annuity. Do make sure you carefully check the details of any prepaid contract, especially the refund on cancellation or transfer of the plan.
Do bear in mind that you can safely put funds aside in a POD account that can be accessed by your next of kin immediately at the time of death. It should also be considered that the increasing cremation rate, and other changes in the funeral industry, are potentially driving the average cost of a funeral down. Another reason why locking in on today’s funeral prices may not potentially be a wise ‘investment’!
A death has occurred away from my home state. What do I do?
With a more transient population, this eventuality is happening more often. If a loved one has died away from Alabama or needs transporting back to a home state/country, you will need to consider the services of a mortuary shipper. Transporting a body (either domestically or internationally) can work out costly. There are rigid rules to be met, and in the case of international ship-outs, consulate and customs paperwork to be completed. You need a funeral director at the location of the death and where the body is being shipped to coordinate the funeral shipping process. For this reason, families will sometimes decide to arrange a cremation at the location of death and transport the cremated remains. This can work out much simpler and significantly less expensive. Check out our section on Funeral Shipping.
Arkansas Funeral legislation – laws governing home death care, embalming & casket sales
Most families just go ahead and use the services of a funeral home rather than consider handling the death care themselves. However, it is perfectly legal for you to conduct your own ‘home funeral’ if you so wish. In Arkansas, no legal statute dictates that you must employ a funeral director. If you are interested in home death care and a family-directed funeral, check out our library article on DIY Funerals. There are also organizations that support families with home funerals in Arkansas.
There is no legal requirement for the deceased to be embalmed. Some funeral homes in Arkansas may have policies that stipulate they require a body to be embalmed for a public viewing or open casket service. If you do not wish to have the deceased embalmed, you need to carefully check a funeral home’s requirements before committing to their services.
In compliance with the FTC ‘Funeral Rule’, you can legally purchase a casket from a third-party seller in Arkansas and do not have to purchase a casket from the funeral home. If you choose to purchase a casket elsewhere, your funeral home MUST accept your casket and cannot charge you a handling fee.
Donating your whole body to science in Arkansas
Donating your body to science is an ethical alternative, and some also consider it a ‘no cost’ disposition alternative. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences operates a body bequeathal program. Contact the University for more information at 501-686-5180. Alternatively, you can consider a national body donation organization.
Further Information about funerals in Arkansas
Arkansas State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Director’s license funeral homes in Arkansas. For more information about rules, regulations, and Arkansas statutes, or if you have a complaint about a funeral home in Arkansas, you can contact the State Board. http://www.arkansas.gov/fdemb/
If you have a general question about arranging a funeral or cremation in Arkansas that we have failed to address here, then please feel free to contact us, and we will do our best to assist you.