Whether you are researching with an interest to make a cremation plan for yourself or need to arrange a funeral or cremation service for a loved one who has passed in Austin, this funeral and cremation planning guide aims to answer some of the key questions you will have when making arrangements.
The following FAQs about cremation costs and funeral prices in the Austin area, as well as state funeral laws and other funeral/cremation considerations, have been put together to help you know where to start when arranging a funeral or cremation.
Direct cremation service $795 Call Now (512) 253-1110
First Step: What to do when a death occurs
When a death occurs, your first call will be to select a funeral home to handle funeral arrangements and transfer the deceased into their care. Most deaths occur in a medical facility, where the deceased can be held for a short period in the hospital morgue if necessary.
Give yourself some time to select the right funeral service provider for your needs, and try not to feel rushed to make a decision straight away.
How to choose a funeral home or cremation service provider in Austin?
If your loved one had no funeral plan, and you have no prior experience with a funeral home, this will be the first decision to make. There are around 22 funeral service providers in Austin.
If you want to have a funeral ceremony, the physical location of the funeral home will likely be an important consideration. If you are working toward a specific financial budget for the funeral cost, you will likely want to make funeral price comparisons before selecting a suitable funeral home.
Direct cremation service $795 Call Now (512) 253-1110
What are the funeral service or cremation service options in Austin?
There are a range of funeral service providers serving the Austin area, as mentioned above. Therefore you can arrange anything from a full-service traditional funeral to a simple direct cremation service.
You will need to 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.
Read on to find out more about direct cremation and how it is your most affordable option.
What is the average cost of a funeral service in Austin?
According to a recent survey, the average cost for an adult funeral in Austin is $7,775. 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 $9,000.
How much does a cremation cost in Austin?
Cremation cost is often more difficult to quote 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 a cheaper alternative to a traditional funeral, but a cremation with a memorial service will still cost upwards of $3,000, with an average cost of around $3,500 in the Austin area.
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 just $795 in Austin. This is the most economical funeral service arrangement available to families. The cost of a simple cremation can, however, still vary between different funeral service providers and is likely to cost closer to $1,000 to $2,000 with most funeral providers.
Therefore, 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 is always 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. But, some affordable direct cremation packages may include a death certificate and cremation permit fee.
Extra charges that can be incurred on a budget 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.
What legal issues do I need to understand about arranging a funeral in Austin?
If the deceased did not have a paid-for funeral plan in place, then the responsibility for making and paying for the funeral arrangements falls on the legal next of kin.
Texas law prohibits cremating any dead human body within 48 hours after death. A body cannot be cremated immediately following death without a waiver. Only the County Medical Examiner or a Justice of the Peace may waive this time requirement.
After the mandatory waiting period, cremation can be performed. The legal next of kin must sign a Cremation Authorization Form, and a cremation permit will be issued.
How do I apply for a Death Certificate in Austin?
The funeral director will generally file for the death certificate for you and will ask how many copies you require. The first death certificate costs $20.00. Each additional copy (ordered at the same time) is charged at $3.00 each.
You can request additional copies from Vital Records at a later date if you are a relative of the deceased or have a financial concern in their estate.
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 considered legally responsible for the payment of the funeral bill.
If you are interested in pre-arranging a simple cremation plan, contact your local DFS Memorials location at (512) 253-1110.
What happens if the deceased is at the County Medical Examiners?
If the death occurred outside of a medical facility, was an accident, or is 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 Chief Medical Examiner for Austin at (512) 854-9599. Alternatively, you can find them at:
Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office
7723 Springdale Road
Austin TX 78724
Phone: (512) 854-9599
Fax: (512) 854-9044
How do I prepare if my loved one is in hospice care?
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 have provisional arrangements in place. This is so 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 preparation in place. This will alleviate 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?
This is a common question as more families find themselves 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 any indigent deaths (as is their responsibility), but this is done by means of a pauper burial or cremation.
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 Austin, Texas
According to the Texas Health & Safety Code #716.304, cremated remains can be stored in a niche, crypt, grave, or container at home. Texas law also allows for the scattering of cremation ashes on “uninhabited public land, a public waterway or sea, or on the private property of a consenting owner.” Only biodegradable containers may be used if the ashes are to remain submerged or buried.
For inland water scattering, you may require a permit from the state agency that manages the waterway according to The Clean Water Act.
EPA Region 6 Main Office
1201 Elm Street, Suite 500
Dallas, Texas 75270
Phone (214) 665-2760
I want to preplan a simple cremation. What is the best way to set up a cremation plan in Austin?
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 Austin, contact your local provider at (512) 253-1110.
If you travel (as 80% of adults do these days), you may wish to consider purchasing a Travel Protection Plan. This is an affordable assurance policy that provides you with lifetime cover for funeral costs should you happen to pass away 75 miles or more away from your home in Austin.
The plan costs just $450 for an individual or $875 for a couple and will cover all costs for a cremation at the place of death or returning the deceased home to Texas. The cover is worldwide.
Read more about this affordable peace of mind death expense coverage here: Travel Protection Plan. Or click the link below to enroll today.
If you do travel regularly for work, pleasure, sport, visiting family, or snow-birding, you may wish to consider our great value Travel Protection Plan. This plan costs just $450 for an individual for lifetime protection against the costly expense of returning a body home if a death occurs 75 miles (or further) from your residence. It also provides global coverage. Domestic funeral shipping can cost from $3,000, and International repatriation can start at around $6,900.
Arranging a green burial in Austin
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. Typically, a green funeral will cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
There are currently around six cemeteries offering green burial options in Texas. Details can be found in our Green Burials Directory.
Visit our Guide to Green Burial Services and Cemeteries in Texas to learn more about locations and options.
Can I arrange a no-cost cremation in Austin?
A “no-cost” cremation normally 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 Texas, Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center has a Willed Body program, more details including a Donation form can be found on their website.
For more information on whole-body donation, visit our page on Body Donation.
Do I need a casket for a cremation service?
No, there is no requirement (or law) in Texas that stipulates a casket is required for a cremation service. A cremation is usually conducted using a simple reinforced cardboard container. It is, however, possible to rent a casket if you wish to have a service before the cremation. This will help you save on funeral costs, as caskets can be a significant expense for a traditional funeral and burial.
I have questions or concerns about arranging a funeral in Austin. Where can I find help?
You can contact our DFS Memorials affordable funeral service provider in Austin with any questions you have. If you have a complaint against a funeral director or a funeral establishment, you should attempt to resolve your complaint directly with the funeral home concerned. If you do not manage to reach a satisfactory resolution, then you can contact the Texas Funeral Service Commission. A formal complaint against a funeral establishment must be put in writing to them and include copies of all documentation from the funeral home.
Texas Funeral Service Commission
P.O. Box 12217
Austin Texas 78711
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.