Guide to Cremation Costs in Illinois in 2023

With a cremation service now the preferred disposition choice for over 60% of Americans, we have put together this guide to help you be better informed about making cremation arrangements in Illinois.  Read on to learn more about cremation costs and services, legal requirements, pre-planning, financial assistance, and many more FAQs.

What does a cremation cost?

Cremation services

Trying to establish what you should expect to pay for cremation often brings people online to look for a guide to prices.  Cremation prices do vary depending on the funeral home providing the services and the type of cremation service option selected.

According to funeral price surveys in Illinois, the average cost of a full-service cremation is $6,697, and the average cost for a direct cremation is $2,552.  These are ‘average’ prices, and you can make cremation arrangements for less than this.

Direct Cremation $1,165  Phone Now (773) 901-1564

Now we will look at the different types of cremation services you can select from and why a simple direct cremation is the cheapest option.

What are the different options for a cremation service?

Cremation offers versatility in how and where we can memorialize.  Choosing a cremation service can remove the need for expensive costs for a burial vault, plot, and even a casket.

You can opt for a Full Cremation Service, which is similar to a full-service funeral, except the deceased is cremated following the service.  Or choose to conduct a Cremation Memorial, whereby the crematory first performs the cremation, and you can hold a memorial service once you have the cremation ashes.

Finally, you can select to have a Direct Cremation. This is where the funeral home provides minimal services. They complete all legally required to conduct a cremation, cremate the deceased, and return the cremated remains to the next of kin.

Visit our Ultimate Guide to Cremation if you want to read more about cremation services.

Why is direct cremation so inexpensive?

A direct cremation is a basic service package.  As it requires reduced professional service fees, it can be offered at a lower cost. Some funeral or cremation providers will even request you complete online arrangement forms to streamline the process and reduce staff arrangement time.  It does mean you CAN arrangement everything without the need to even visit a funeral home.

Do make a point to check what is included with a direct cremation service package.  Unfortunately, not all funeral homes include all third-party fees, and what seemed a low price can add extra charges.

Are there additional charges added to a low-cost cremation package?

Most cremation service providers offer a package price that includes everything with the exception of third-party fees payable to the county for death certificates, cremation permits, and any other legal documentation required.

The cremation is conducted using a basic cremation container, and the cremated remains are returned in a temporary urn.  A selection of cremation urns may be offered to add to your cremation package at an extra charge.

You should also note that if the deceased was overweight (over 250 pounds), there will likely be an extra charge for a barometric cremation.  Similarly, if a pacemaker needs to be removed, there will be a small fee for this.

Complete direct cremation package – $1,165 (including death certificates & engraved cherry wood urn)

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The legal next of kin must all sign the Cremation Authorization Form to consent. The funeral director can then obtain the Permit to Cremate.  There is a mandatory wait period in Illinois of 24 hours after the death before a cremation can be performed.

Although, it usually takes 3 – 7 days to complete all the paperwork and schedule the cremation.

How long does a cremation take?

The cremation process takes anywhere between 2 to 5 hours, depending on the grade of the equipment and the time of day.  Newer retorts perform faster, and once the retort has heated for the first cremation, subsequent cases will cremate faster.

Cremation Service

What is the best option for setting up an affordable cremation plan?

You have 2 options. You can formally set up a cremation plan with a funeral service provider and deposit the funds. Or you can choose to pre-plan without paying by documenting your wishes, signing off a cremation authorization, and securing the funds in a Payable-on-death bank account (P.O.D.).

You can read more here about Setting up Your Own Cremation Plan.

How do I plan for a loved one in Hospice Care?

Some cremation providers offer a bespoke hospice service to hospices in their service area and may discount a hospice patient case, as their relationship enables them to expedite a case.  It will help the family make some imminent provision for the loss of a loved one, as the hospice can be prepared to make the call and support the process.

What if the deceased is at the Medical Examiner’s Office & the family wants a simple cremation?

If a death was sudden, unexplained, or the result of an accident, the coroner will be called to investigate and confirm the cause of death.  The Medical Examiner’s Office will release the body to a funeral home once this is complete.  They also issue the death certificate and permit to cremate, so a funeral director can generally collect the deceased with all the necessary permits.

You must select a funeral home and sign a release form for the body to be transferred from the morgue.

What is a “no cost” cremation?

A “no cost” cremation is a term used to refer to a free cremation offered with a whole-body donation.  Also referred to as an anatomical gift, once the donation is completed at the Medical or Research Institution, the remains are cremated free of charge and returned to the next of kin.

You can read more on our Body Donation page.

If the deceased had no funeral plan or life insurance, what help is there to pay for funeral expenses?

Most counties have a limited budget to conduct Indigent Cremations.  There can be quite stringent qualification requirements. Recipients of welfare programs may receive between $550 and $1,100.  You should contact your local county Human Services Family Community Resource Center.

Are there green cremation alternatives in Illinois?

Yes, water cremation or aquamation is legal in Illinois. There are two water cremation service providers in Chicago that we are aware of.  A water cremation is more expensive than a flame cremation but has a much lower carbon footprint. 

Prices in Illinois range between $1,397 and $1,795 for a green cremation.

Visit our Guide to Aquamation or Water Cremation to learn more.

What are the options for scattering cremated remains in Illinois?

As more families opt for cremation, so there is an increased demand for ash-scattering memorial tributes.  Some cemeteries offer ash-scattering memorial gardens, or you can choose to scatter on private land, scenic rural parkland, or a special location to the deceased.

Read the section in our Illinois Funeral Planning Guide about the laws for scattering ashes.

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.