Louisville

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, this funeral and cremation planning guide aims to answer some of the key questions you will have if faced with the task of making funeral arrangements in Louisville. The following FAQs about cremation costs and funeral prices in the Louisville 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 $650 Call (502) 219-4474

First call:  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. Do give yourself some time to select the right funeral service provider for your needs, try not to feel rushed to make a decision straight away.

Cremation Funeral

How to choose a funeral home or cremation service provider in Louisville?

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 48 funeral service providers in Louisville.  If you want to have a funeral ceremony, the physical location of the funeral home will likely be an important consideration.  Also, if you are working to 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 $650  Call (502) 219-4474

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

There are a range of funeral service providers serving the Louisville 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 Louisville?

According to Funeralocity (2021), the average cost for a traditional adult funeral in the Louisville Metropolitan area is $7,356. 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 Louisville?

Cremation cost is generally 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 $3,500, with an average cost of around $6,089 in the Louisville Metropolitan area (Funeralocity 2021).

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 $650 in Louisville.  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 Louisville, with an average cost of $1,788 in the Louisville Metropolitan area (Funeralocity 2021) 

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 pace-maker needs to be removed prior to cremation.

Direct cremation


How do I apply for a Death Certificate in Louisville?

The funeral director will generally file for the death certificate for you and will ask how many copies you require. You can also obtain additional certified copies yourself, if necessary, from the Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics. You can order a copy online through VitalChek or by post, or you can call in person to: Kentucky Office of Vital Records, 275 E. Main St., Frankfort, Ky. The cost for each copy of the death certificate is $6.00, and there is a $12.50 processing fee if you order online. Orders received by mail are usually filled within five to seven business days, but may take up to 30 days. Most county health departments can also issue certificates for deaths that occurred within their jurisdiction.

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 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 payment of the funeral bill.

If you are interested in pre-arranging a simple cremation plan, contact your local DFS Memorials location on (502) 219-4474.

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 State Medical Examiner for Kentucky on (502) 489-5209.

Alternatively, you can find them at:

Office of the State Medical Examiner
10511 LaGrange Road
Louisville, KY 40223

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 common question as more families find themselves not being able to pay for funeral expenses. Unfortunately, there is 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 the means of a pauper burial or cremation.

There is a Social Security $255 death benefit payment (if the deceased qualified) and the funeral director will 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 Louisville, KY

Kentucky law permits cremated remains to be disposed of by placing them in a grave, crypt, or niche, scattering them in a legally-defined “scattering area,” such as a designated section of a cemetery, or scattering them in “any manner” on a consenting owner’s private property. (See Kentucky Revised Statutes § 367.97524 (2018).)

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

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 Louisville, contact your local provider on (502) 219-4474.

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 life time cover for funeral costs should you happen to pass away 75 miles or more away from your home in Louisville.  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 Kentucky.  The cover is worldwide.  Read more about this affordable peace of mind death expense coverage here: Travel Protection Plan.

Arranging a green burial in Kentucky

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. 

Currently, there are no certified green burial cemeteries in Kentucky, however there are funeral providers who offer green burial options. Further details on green burials can be found on our Green Burials Directory.

Can I arrange a no-cost cremation in Louisville?

Yes, you can opt to donate your whole body to science upon your death (or your next of kin may make this decision on your death). The University of Kentucky Body Bequeathal Program accepts anatomical gifts. There may be a small charge for the transportation, and/or the interment of the remains after the donation. Alternatively, you can donate via a national body donation program.  This can sometimes be a ‘no cost’ cremation alternative, as there are no costs attached with some of these programs, and the cremated remains are returned to the family within a few weeks.

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 Kentucky 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 Louisville.  Where can I find help?

You can contact our DFS Memorials affordable funeral service provider in Louisville 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 this is unsuccessful you can make a written grievance to: 

Kentucky Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, 8412 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 4024 Phone: (502) 426-4589.

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.