Baltimore


Are you researching with an interest in setting up a cremation plan for yourself? Or do you need help to arrange a funeral or cremation service for a loved one who has passed? This funeral guide will answer some of the key questions you may have about making arrangements.  We have included information on cremation costs and funeral prices in the Baltimore area, as well as state funeral laws, and other funeral/cremation considerations. Read on to find out more, or call (410) 670-4730 to arrange a direct cremation service for just $1,850.

Direct cremation service $1,850   Call (410) 670-4730

What do you need to do first when a death occurs?

When a death occurs your first decision 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. This allows you some time to select the right funeral service provider for your needs, so try not to feel rushed to make a decision straight away.

Cremation Funeral

How do I choose a funeral home or cremation service provider?

If your loved one did not have a funeral plan, and you have never had to arrange a funeral before, this will be the first decision to make.  There are around 69 funeral service providers in Baltimore.  If you want to have a funeral ceremony, the physical location of the funeral home will be an important consideration.  Also, if you have a specific financial budget for the overall funeral cost, you will likely want to make funeral price comparisons, before selecting a suitable funeral home.

Direct cremation service $1,850  Call (410) 670-4730

What are my funeral service or cremation service options in Baltimore?

As there is a large variety of funeral service providers serving the Baltimore area, 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 Baltimore?

According to recent surveys*, the average cost for an adult funeral in Baltimore is $8,293. 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 $9,500

How much does a cremation cost in Baltimore?

The cost of a cremation service is usually more difficult to quote as it depends on the type of cremation service you choose.  Whether you choose to have a cremation with a traditional service or a direct cremation without a service will significantly affect the overall cost. 

Cremation is a cheaper alternative to a traditional funeral, but a cremation with a memorial service will still cost upwards of $4,000, with an average cost of $7,034 in the Baltimore Metropolitan area.

Direct cremation

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 $1,850 in Baltimore.  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 in the Baltimore area. It is likely to cost closer to $2,000 to $2,500 with most funeral providers, with an average cost of $2,352.*

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 pace-maker needs to be removed prior to cremation.

Each state has its own legislation that governs funeral and cremation practices. A crematory has to abide by certain practice standards in disposing of human remains by cremation. A casket is NOT required by law for a cremation. All that is required is a suitable rigid container. A cremation container is usually a reinforced cardboard or plywood box. If you wish to hold a funeral service before the cremation, some funeral homes offer rental caskets.

How do I apply for a Death Certificate in Maryland?

The funeral director will generally file for the death certificate for you and will ask how many copies you require.  You can also obtain copies of death certificates from the Office of Vital Records (OVR) by applying by mail or online. The processing time is 6 weeks for mail orders, 5 weeks for online orders with regular shipping or 3 weeks with expediated shipping. The fee is $10.00 if you apply by mail, $11.75 if you apply online, or $18.50 if you want expediated shipping.

Visit the Maryland Department of Health website here to apply online or download the mail application forms.

Who is responsible for paying for a funeral?

If the deceased did not have a prepaid funeral plan, then the responsibility for paying for a funeral falls on the immediate next of kin.  This can be quite a burden for many families and 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 whomever signs the funeral contract with the funeral home is considered legally responsible for payment of the funeral bill.

If you are interested in pre-arranging a simple cremation plan, contact your local DFS Memorials location on (410) 670-4730.

Cremation Plan

What happens if the deceased is at the County Medical Examiner’s?

If the death occurred outside of a medical facility, was an accident, or 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 Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Baltimore at (410) 333-3250.

Alternatively, you can find them at:

Office of Chief Medical Examiner
900 W. Baltimore St.,
Baltimore MD 21223

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

If your loved one is in hospice care, and the support staff have 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 know 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 question we get asked a lot 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 but this is done by the means of a pauper burial or cremation.

Social Security offer 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 Baltimore, MD

As more families are turning to cremation as a lower cost funeral alternative, the question arises about what to do with the cremated remains? Cremation ashes can be interred in a dedicated cemetery (just as a body can) in a cremation niche or an existing grave plot. (Do bear in mind there may be opening and closing fees to open an existing family grave plot).

You can also scatter on public land so long as you observe some due diligence. Human cremated remains are basically organic elements and pose no risk to the environment. If you wish to scatter in a public place such as a state park you should check with the park ordnance. If your scattering does not interfere with any park activities, there should be no issue. You do need to consider that any floral tribute should be entirely biodegradable and you will find that state parks will not allow any marker for a scattering site.

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

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 Baltimore, contact your local provider on (410) 670-4730

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 Baltimore.  The plan costs just $450 for a 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 Maryland.  The cover is worldwide.  Read more about this affordable peace of mind death expense coverage here: Travel Protection Plan.

Arranging a green burial in Baltimore

In a recent survey, The National Funeral Directors Association discovered that 72% of funeral homes reported an increase in interest in green burial from families.  At present, families typically have 2 options – traditional burial or cremation.  However, a ‘natural’ green burial is less expensive than a traditional burial, and more environmentally-friendly than a cremation. Typically, a green funeral will cost between $3,000 and $5,000. 

There is currently only one cemetery offering green burial options in Maryland and that is Bestgate Memorial Park in Annapolis. More details can be found on our Green Burials Directory.

Can I arrange a no-cost cremation in Baltimore?

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 Baltimore you can donate direct to a medical school in Maryland. Anatomy Board of Maryland handles all donations to medical institutions. They can be reached at: 655 W. Baltimore Street Room B-026, Baltimore, MD 21201 Phone: (410) 547-1222. However, you should be aware that an anatomical donation may not always be accepted at the time of death, so you should have a provisional funeral or cremation plan in the event a donation cannot be accepted.

For more information on whole body donation, visit our page on Body Donation.

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

No, there is no requirement (or law) in Maryland 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 or cremation in Baltimore, MD.  Where can I find help?

If you have a complaint about the services or merchandise delivered by a Maryland licensed funeral home, you should attempt to resolve this with the funeral director/owner in the first instance. If no resolution is found, you may wish to contact the State Board or the Local Funeral Consumers Alliance Chapter.

Maryland State Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors, 4201 Patterson Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 Phone: (410) 764-4792

Funeral Consumers Alliance of Maryland & Environs (FCAME), 9601 Cedar Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814

We trust that this guide has helped to answer some of your immediate questions. Please check out our Resource section for our full catalogue of resources to help you through the process of arranging a funeral. Lastly, 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.