Are you interested in making a cremation plan for yourself? Or do you need to arrange a funeral or cremation service for a loved one who has passed? This funeral and cremation planning guide will answer some key questions you will have if faced with the task of making funeral arrangements.

The following FAQs about cremation costs and funeral prices in the Tucson 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 $785  Call (520) 200-7742

What is my first call 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. 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 cost in Tucson AZ

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

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 19 funeral service providers in Tucson.  If you want to have a funeral ceremony, the actual location of the funeral home will be an important consideration. 

Also, 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 $785  Call (520) 200-7742

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

There are a range of funeral service providers serving the Tucson area, as mentioned above, and 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 Tucson?

According to Funeralocity (2022), the average cost for an adult funeral in Tucson is $6,693. 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 $8,500

How much does a cremation cost in Tucson?

Compare cremation services in Tucson AZ

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. However, a cremation with a memorial service will still cost upwards of $4,000, with an average cost of $5,254 in the Tucson Metropolitan 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 $785 in Tucson.  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 Tucson area. It is likely to cost closer to $1,000 to $2,000, with most funeral providers, with an average cost of $1,279 (Funeralocity 2022).

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. 

Direct cremation Tucson AZ

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 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.

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.

In Arizona, a cremation can only be performed once a ‘Cremation Authorization Form’ has been signed by the legal next of kin and the coroner has issued the cremation permit.

Cremation laws Tucson AZ

There is a mandatory waiting period of 24 hours before a cremation can proceed, but that being said, it usually takes about three days to make all the necessary arrangements and complete the paperwork. 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. Some funeral homes offer rental caskets if you wish to hold a funeral service before the cremation.

How do I apply for a Death Certificate in Arizona?

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), online or by mail, and they can be found at:

Health Department,
Office of Vital Records
3950 S. Country Club Road, Suite 100,
Tucson, AZ 85714
(520) 724-7932

Who is responsible for paying for a funeral?

Cheap cremation Tucson AZ

If the deceased did not pre-arrange and pre-pay for a 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 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 (520) 200-7742.

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 Office of the Medical Examiner for Pima County at (520) 724-8600. Alternatively, you can find them at:

Office of Medical Examiner
2825 E. District St.
Tucson, AZ 85714

Cheap cremation in Tucson AZ

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 preparations in place, and 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?

Planning a cremation Tucson AZ

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 indigent deaths, 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 Tucson, Arizona

The cremation rate is increasing, and over 60% of Arizona residents choose cremation as their preferred end-of-life choice. Consequently, ash scattering is now a popular memorial activity in Arizona.  You can generally scatter cremated remains on public land without the need for a permit. If you wish to scatter remains on your own private property, you are at liberty to do so. If you wish to scatter ashes on other private lands (i.e., golf courses), you must obtain permission.

For aerial scattering, you must comply with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved dispersion routes over the Grand Canyon. There are a number of aerial ash scattering companies that operate in Arizona. A basic scattering in areas of Arizona starts at around $400 but costs around $550 for the Grand Canyon area, with additional costs for incremental services. 

Scattering ashes in Tucson AZ

To read more about how to scatter ashes, visit our section on Ash Scattering.

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

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 Tucson, contact your local provider at (520) 200-7742.

If you do regularly travel 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.

Read more about this affordable peace of mind death expense coverage here: Travel Protection Plan. Or click the link above to enroll now.

Arranging a green burial in Tucson

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 only two cemeteries offering green burial options in Arizona. Details can be found in our Green Burials Directory.

Can I arrange a no-cost cremation in Tucson?

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 Arizona, The University of Arizona has a Willed Body Program. Still, you will need to check with them directly regarding donor acceptance limitations.

You can find more information on their website here. 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 Tucson?

No, Arizona’s requirement (or law) stipulates a casket is required for a cremation service.  A 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 will help you save on funeral costs, as caskets can be a significant expense for a traditional funeral and burial.

Cremation Services in Tucson AZ

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

You can contact the DFS Memorial’s affordable funeral service provider in Tucson at (520) 200-7742 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 Funeral Consumers Alliance of Southern Arizona, P.O. Box 12661, Tucson, AZ 85732, which actively works as an advocate for consumer rights.

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.


Guide to Cremation Costs in Arizona

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.