This funeral and cremation planning guide will answer some of the key questions you may have if making funeral arrangements. Whether you are researching with an interest in making a cremation plan for yourself or need to arrange a funeral or cremation service for a loved one who has passed. 

We have compiled the following FAQs about cremation costs and funeral prices in the Charlotte area, as well as state funeral laws and where you can find help.

Direct cremation service $995   Call Now (704) 233-7037

Cremation cost in Charlotte NC

First call:  What to do when a death occurs

The first thing that you will need to do when a death occurs is to select a funeral home to handle funeral arrangements and transfer the deceased into their care.  The majority of deaths occur in a medical facility, where they can be held for a short period in the hospital morgue if necessary.  It is important not to feel like you must rush this decision.

Give yourself some time to select the right funeral service provider for your needs.

How to choose a funeral home or cremation service provider?

This can be a difficult task if your loved one had no funeral plan and you have no prior experience with a funeral home.  There are around 30 funeral service providers in Charlotte.  If you want to have a funeral ceremony, the actual location of the funeral home may be an important consideration. 

Also, if you are working toward a specific financial budget for the funeral cost, you will likely want to compare funeral prices before selecting a suitable funeral home.

Direct cremation service $995   Call (704) 233-7037

Direct cremation Charlotte NC

What are the funeral service or cremation service options in Charlotte?

With the range of funeral service locations serving the Charlotte area, you can arrange anything from a full-service traditional funeral to a simple direct cremation service.  Decide if you want a traditional funeral, something more modern like a life celebration service, or if you want to consider cremation as a more affordable option.

What is the average cost of a funeral service in Charlotte?

According to a recent survey, the average funeral cost for an adult funeral in Charlotte is $5,352 but can range between $4,210 and $6,495. This is based on the most commonly selected items for a traditional funeral, including a casket and vault. However, it does not include cemetery costs.

A grave space, a grave marker, and opening/closing the grave can easily cost another $1,500 to $2,500. Therefore, a typical traditional funeral and burial cost is likely at least $7,500

How much does a cremation cost in Charlotte?

funeral prices Charlotte NC

It is often more difficult to quote cremation prices as it is dependent on the type of cremation service you opt for.  Whether you opt for a cremation with a traditional service or a direct cremation without a service.  Cremation is definitely a cheaper alternative to a traditional funeral. Cremation prices in Charlotte start at around $1,295.

A simple cremation service with no ceremony is referred to as a “direct cremation” in the funeral industry. 

A direct cremation can be arranged for $1,295 in Charlotte.  This is the most economical funeral service arrangement available to families. However, the cost of a simple cremation can still vary between different funeral service providers in Charlotte and is likely to cost nearer to $3,000.  How much your cremation will cost will largely depend upon what type of cremation service you select and which provider you opt to conduct the service.

It can be a good idea to check what is included in a low-cost direct cremation package to ensure there are no hidden fees.  Sometimes, what can appear low-cost can have additional fees added to the full package price. 

County fees are generally ‘third-party’ additional charges – such as death certificates and cremation permits.  However, some affordable direct cremation packages may include a death certificate and cremation permit fee.

Extra charges that can be incurred on a budget for direct cremation are fees for if a residential collection is required if the deceased weighs over 300 pounds and if a pacemaker needs to be removed prior to cremation.

Cremation laws Charlotte NC

In North Carolina, a mandatory waiting period is 24 hours after death before a cremation can be performed. That being said, it usually takes about three days to make all the necessary arrangements and complete the paperwork, but an expedited service can be arranged if required.

Generally, the funeral director will obtain the death certificate for you and will ask how many copies you require.  Copies of a death certificate can be obtained from N.C. Vital Records. The office is at North Carolina Vital Records (Cooper Memorial Health Building) 

225 N. McDowell St., Raleigh, NC 27603 

The first copy costs $24.00, with each additional copy charged at $15.00. If same-day service is required, it will cost an additional $15.00.

Who is responsible for paying for a funeral?

If the deceased did not pre-arrange and pre-pay for a funeral plan, then the responsibility for paying for a funeral falls to the immediate next of kin.  This can, understandably, be quite a burden for many people, and this is why more seniors today are considering setting up simple cremation arrangements. 

Pre-planning can be a simple and affordable option, giving families peace of mind for when the time comes.  Be aware that whoever signs the funeral contract with the funeral home is legally responsible for paying the funeral bill.

If you are interested in pre-arranging a simple cremation plan, contact your local DFS Memorials location at (704) 233-7037.

What happens if the deceased is at the County Medical Examiners?

If the death occurred outside of a medical facility, was an accident, or was unexplained, the body will be transferred to the Medical Examiner’s office.  It is the responsibility of the coroner to determine a cause of death before a death certificate can be issued.  You will need to arrange for a funeral home to collect your loved one once the coroner releases the body. 

Only a licensed funeral director can transport the deceased from the ME’s morgue, and the next of kin will need to sign a release form for the Medical Examiner to release the body into the care of a funeral home.

The Medical Examiner will issue the death certificate and permit to cremate once they release the body.  If you have further questions about identifying the body and making arrangements for the transfer of the deceased, you can contact the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner at (704) 336-2005. Alternatively, you can find them at:

Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner
3440 Reno Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28216

How do I prepare if my loved one is in hospice care?

Planning a cremation Charlotte NC

If your loved one is in hospice care, and the support staff has advised you to prepare for his or her passing, it can help to make provisional arrangements.  This means that when the time comes, the hospice can immediately contact the funeral service provider and arrange the transfer of your loved one into their care. 

If you contact a funeral home ahead of time, you can have some of the preparations in place. This can make it easier when the time comes, alleviating some of the stress that comes with having to make arrangements on short notice.

This also means the hospice knows who to call, and the authorizations and other legal documentation can be pre-prepared.

What help with funeral expenses is there for low-income or uninsured families?

More and more families are finding themselves in a position of not being able to pay for funeral expenses. Unfortunately, there is very limited public or state assistance for funeral costs. The state takes care of indigent deaths (as is their responsibility), but a pauper burial or cremation does this.

Social Security offers a $255 death benefit payment (if qualifying), and the funeral director will be able to assist you with claiming this.

You may also find it useful to read our article on ‘What are your options on how to pay for a funeral or cremation?’. It provides more information on how you can raise funds to cover funeral expenses.

What can I legally do with the cremated remains?  Laws for Scattering Ashes in North Carolina

Cremation Guide Charlotte NC

As the cremation rate increases, more people are opting to scatter their loved one’s remains.  State law in North Carolina permits the scattering of cremated remains on private land (with the consent of the landowner).

Ashes may also be scattered over uninhabited public land, public waterways, or at sea, as long as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and common-sense guidelines are adhered to.

If you scatter the ashes yourself, the general guidance is to scatter at least 100 yards from any road, trail, body of water, or developed facility. It is advisable to wait a little time before scattering, just to be sure about the decision, as it is irreversible. Alternatively, choose to keep a small amount of ashes in a keepsake urn or memento.

Cremated remains are sterile, organic matter and pose no threat to the environment. However, it is wise to ensure you use safe scattering techniques.

You can read more about this in our Ash Scattering section.

I want to pre-plan a simple cremation.  What is the best way to set up a cremation plan in Charlotte?

You can make pre-arrangements with a funeral home and/or crematory.  The terms and payment plans may differ depending on your requirements and age. And whether you make payment in full at the time of purchasing your pre-need plan or opt to arrange a payment plan.

More cremation providers are now offering online arrangement services, so all this can be done from the comfort of your own home.  Pre-planning can provide you with funeral service coverage that will give you and your family peace of mind, reducing the stress associated with making last-minute funeral arrangements after a loved one has passed.

To discuss your options for pre-planning a simple cremation in Charlotte, contact your local provider at (704) 233-7037.

Affordable cremation Charlotte NC

Arranging a green burial in Charlotte

In a recent survey, The National Funeral Directors Association discovered that 72% of funeral homes reported an increase in interest in a green burial from families.  At present, families typically have two options – traditional burial or cremation.  However, a ‘natural’ green burial is less expensive than a traditional burial and more environmentally friendly than cremation.

There are currently three cemeteries offering green burial options in North Carolina.  Typically, a green funeral will cost between $3,000 and $5,000. 

Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, located in Asheville in Western NC, is a Conservation Burial Ground, and there are also 3 Hybrid green cemeteries.  Details can be found in our Green Burial Directory.

Visit our green burial resource section for more information.

What about no-cost cremation in Charlotte?

A “no-cost” cremation generally refers to a whole body donation program where the deceased’s remains are cremated free of charge after the donation. If you wish to donate your body to science in North Carolina, Wake Forest University’s Baptist Medical Center accepts donations for educational purposes. Transportation to the facility is the responsibility of the family, and the cremated remains are returned to the family after two years.

For more information, visit our page on Body Donation.

Cremation Services in Charlotte NC

Is it possible to have a private viewing before a simple cremation?

Yes, you can arrange for a private ‘goodbye’ viewing before a direct cremation. However, this often depends upon the availability of facilities, staff, and scheduling.  Sometimes, it can be arranged at no additional cost, but this can often be dependent on whether there is a need for additional staff, in which case there may be a fee. It is best to consult your chosen funeral service provider for more details regarding private viewing.

Do I need a casket for a cremation service in Charlotte?

No, no requirement (or law) stipulates a casket is needed for a cremation service. Simple cremation is usually conducted using a simple reinforced cardboard container.  However, renting a casket is possible if you wish to have a service before the cremation.  This can also help you save on funeral costs.

I have questions or concerns about arranging a funeral or cremation in Charlotte.  Where can I find help?

You can contact our DFS Memorials affordable funeral service provider in Charlotte with any questions you have.  If you should have reason to be dissatisfied with the services or products provided to you by a licensed funeral home in North Carolina, you can make a formal complaint to the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service, 1033 Wade Avenue, Suite 108, Raleigh, NC 27605 Phone: (919) 733-9380 or find more information here.

Additional Resource: Guide to Cremation Costs, Services, and Laws in North Carolina

Feel free to contact us at US Funerals Online, and we will try and help you if you have further questions about arranging a funeral or cremation service.

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.