Arranging a funeral or cremation in Texas
Death is still a little-discussed subject in our culture today. Something many people suddenly find themselves having to face without ever having openly considered what the death-care process is. This guide should help you understand some of the key decisions to be made when arranging a funeral or cremation service. What kind of funeral service to opt for, what cremation costs, how to find an affordable funeral service location, what laws you should be aware of, and what assistance may be available to help you.
Locating Texas funeral homes and cremation Providers
There are some 1951 Funeral Homes & cemeteries in Texas. Visit our Funeral Homes section to find listings for funeral homes in Texas by city.
All funeral homes in Texas must be licensed, and the Texas Funeral Service Commission (TFSC) serves to protect the public and legislates the death care business in Texas.
Direct Cremation from $749 Visit DFS Memorials Texas to locate your nearest provider.
What to do when a death occurs
It can be very daunting to know what to do first when a death occurs. When a death occurs in Texas, the determination of death must be made by a coroner, Justice of the Peace, or attending physician.
If the deceased had a prepaid funeral plan or had expressed wishes, these can be implemented immediately, and you will need to locate the paperwork and contact the appropriate funeral home or cremation provider.
If the death is sudden and/or the deceased had no funeral plan or life insurance, you may need to make some rather quick decisions about how to proceed.
Understanding funeral costs in Texas
Funeral homes are required to provide current retail price information by telephone. According to the law, any consumer entering a funeral home and making inquiries must be presented with a general price list (GPL). This must itemize the costs of funeral services and the merchandise for sale from a funeral director.
We often get asked, ‘what is the cost of a funeral in Texas?’ and this is unfortunately not a straightforward question to answer. Unlike many other trades and professions, average service charges can vary significantly.
The NFDA estimates the national average funeral cost of $7,848 (2022). However, this does not take into account any cemetery fees. It would be fair to say that the average traditional funeral in Texas can cost around $10,000.
In recent years, there has been a greater demand for alternative, and indeed more affordable, funerals. The interest in cremation services in Texas has increased because it offers such a cheaper option than a traditional burial service.
The cost of a cremation in Texas can be under $1,000, so a meaningful and affordable funeral can be achieved for a tenth of the cost of an elaborate traditional funeral service.
Cremation Services in Texas
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.
Visit our article on Cremation Laws and How they Affect Cremation Arrangements.
Texas Cremation Services with a Memorial
A cremation service with a memorial is really not much different from a burial service. Only the deceased is cremated instead of buried. There are various options as to how you can conduct a cremation funeral in Texas.
You can hold a funeral service with the deceased present prior to cremation or conduct the cremation and hold a memorial with the ashes present or not present.
Today, we are embracing more novel and alternative memorialization ceremonies. Life celebrations can even be held in locations other than places of worship. Celebrants are leading and officiating at memorial services, as well as traditional clergy and ministers.
Texas direct cremation service providers – cremation costs & packages
Direct cremation in Texas is growing in popularity. A direct cremation means that an immediate cremation is conducted with no service, minimal services, and intervention by a funeral home.
The deceased is generally collected from the place of death and transferred to the funeral home or crematory. After the 48-hour waiting period passes, the deceased is cremated (most often in a simple cardboard container), and the cremated remains are then returned to the family.
Direct cremation in Texas can generally be obtained for between the cost of $749 and $995 (depending on where in Texas you live).
In some rural areas, a direct cremation can be much higher than this, but if you shop around and compare cremation prices, you should be able to obtain a low-cost direct cremation in Texas.
If you are concerned about funeral costs, Texas’s DFS Memorials offer low-cost cremation and affordable burial services. All DFS Memorials providers guarantee to offer a ‘best value’ direct cremation package.
Check out this Guide to Cremation Costs in Texas to learn more about prices and providers near you.
Texas Funeral legislation – laws governing home death care, embalming & Texas casket sales
A family can bury its own dead without using a licensed funeral director in Texas. However, a statement of death and a death certificate are legally required. In the main, local ordinances or deed restrictions prohibit private burials within city limits. You must check with the State Health Department and local zoning authorities for applicable laws.
Embalming is the use of chemicals, internally and externally, to disinfect and temporarily preserve the body. Texas law does not require embalming. But most carriers will require a body to be embalmed prior to shipping.
The laws of the destination country or state will apply. Because of the rapid deterioration of a body after death, Texas law requires that bodies held for over 24 hours or in transit must be embalmed, refrigerated, or encased in a leak and odor-proof container.
Caskets are not required by law in Texas. However, there may be cemetery or mausoleum restrictions regarding caskets and outer burial containers or vaults. The law does not require a casket for cremation, but the crematory usually requires some type of container, such as a cardboard box or canvas pouch.
To learn more about cremation services, the cremation process, secure ID tracking, cremation regulations, and laws, visit our Ultimate Guide to Cremation.
Donating your body to science in Texas – or ‘no cost’ cremation
You may choose to make an anatomical donation to a medical or research institution within the state of Texas. Most major medical colleges do accept body donations. You will also find that companies in the U.S. manage whole body donation programs and offer a ‘no cost’ cremation in Texas.
Be aware that not all donations get accepted at the time of death. So, it is advisable to have a plan for a cremation service provider.
What happens if your loved one dies away from Texas?
Unfortunately, this is happening more and more as Texans travel and as people need to move for employment. Coping with a death is very distressing, but if it has occurred whilst your loved one was away from home, it can be even more difficult.
Shipping a body either domestically or internationally can be inordinately expensive. The typical professional fee for a funeral director to coordinate the collection of the body at the place of death, prepare the body for shipping, and handle all the relevant documentation can cost as much as $3,000, and this does not include the freight charge. For this reason, many chose to cremate at the place of death and have the cremated remains shipped back.
To learn more, visit our section on ‘Funeral Shipping.’
If you do travel regularly, you may want to consider purchasing protection against expensive repatriation costs. A Travel Protection Plan is an affordable assurance policy that covers an individual for ALL funeral expenses if they should die while away from their home in Texas.
The cost for this plan is just $450 for a lifetime membership. This makes it a great peace-of-mind cover to protect your family from stress, cost, and arrangements. One call to the assurance company when a death occurs, and all arrangements are managed for the family. Click on the link below to read more and enroll.
Hispanic Funerals in Texas
Texas has one of the highest concentrations of Hispanic population, mainly immigrants from Mexico. Although many Hispanics and Latinos choose to repatriate remains, the rapidly growing Hispanic-American population also chooses Texas as their final resting place. Therefore, there are a number of dedicated Hispanic funeral homes in Texas.
Visit our Texas Funeral Planning Guide in Spanish if you need the services of a Hispanic Funeral Home. You can find contact details of funeral homes specializing in Hispanic funeral services.
Planning a Green Funeral in Texas
There is a growing interest from families in green or natural funeral options. Texas has a lot of rural areas, and traditionally, burial was a preferred option. Although there has been a shift to cremation in recent years, this demand has largely been dictated by the reduced cost of cremation and its availability.
As we all become more environmentally conscientious and climate change becomes a mainstream agenda and responsibility for us all, some families are looking towards natural or green burial as an alternative (and more affordable) option.
It is possible to arrange a green funeral in Texas for as little as $1,000, although the average cost is nearer to $3,500.
Visit our Guide to Green Burial Services and Cemeteries in Texas to learn more about arranging a green funeral near you.
Texas Funeral Home reviews and or complaints
Our online review-based consumer culture has reached the funeral business, and now you can review and compare funeral homes in Texas online. Directory sites often include local business reviews, which can help you learn about a funeral or cremation provider. As with reviewing any service or product, some common sense and integrity must be employed.
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 reach a satisfactory resolution, 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
Hopefully, this guide to arranging a funeral or cremation in Texas has answered some of your questions. Please use our funeral resource library to access further articles to assist you with arranging a funeral.
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